Author: Ravengirl
Rating: NC-17
Pairings: 1x2x1
Warnings: songfic, angst, yaoi, post EW, abuse (absolutely NOT 1x2), graphic M/M sex
Disclaimer: Not mine, never have been, never will be, so don't bother suing. Won't get anything outta me anyway... I'm po'. 'With or Without You' is the sole property of U2.
A/N: This fic is the companion piece to 'Stay', which was told from Duo's perspective. This is Heero's. I'd recommend reading them both, 'Stay' first. Each fills in parts of the story that the other doesn't. For those of you who haven't read 'Stay', it's archived on Dacia's 'A Little Piece of Gundam Wing' and in the 1x2ML-fic.

/ / = lyrics
[ ] = Heero's direct thought

With or Without You

/See the stone set in your eyes
See the thorn twist in your side
I wait... for you/

You stand utterly still within this mass of shouting, seething humanity. It is necessary that you do so. You are never sure what will trigger one of the deadly responses programmed into you from the time you were a child, so you surround yourself with inviolable space.

Almost against your will, your gaze is drawn to the stage the crowds nearly obscure... to the man up on it, singing, his voice an open wound in what passes for your heart.

Perhaps your hair-trigger reflexes are the reason you've never put your hand out to take hold of the only thing you've ever wanted... the only selfish desire in your entire existence. If you hurt him... if you hurt him... you're not sure your sanity would survive it.

Although, you're not positive you were ever sane in the first place.

Wailing guitars and throbbing bass bombard your eardrums as his soaring tenor fills your senses. This is one of your few guilty pleasures... standing out here, hidden amongst his rabid fans, watching him the way you couldn't in the past. He can't see you, but you can gorge yourself on the sight and sound of him.

He is in his trademark black tonight... it is his still his dominant color choice, all these years later. The mock-Priest's outfit has given way to leather pants, velvet chokers, and finely-wrought silver webs that glisten against long, thin fingers and bony wrists. His thick chestnut braid whips out behind him as he dances along the stage's edge, a light sheen of sweat visible on his bare torso.

He is the most beautiful thing you've ever seen -- has been from the first moment that violet gaze met yours and he coolly shot you for the second time. Your eyes track his slim, lithe form: taut muscle and prominent bone... tight, coppery nipples... the calf-length braid that curves enticingly with the flow of his body.

You remember watching his reflection on your lap-top's screen as he sat on his bed in one of the dorm-rooms you shared during the war, brushing that river of flame-touched silk until it shone. You desperately wanted to rise and go to him... to find out what the fall of his hair would feel like against your skin. To see if his flesh was as smooth and perfect as it looked.

You never did. You doubt you ever will.

Motion in the amphitheatre's wings catches your eye, and your gaze automatically searches out the source. Icy-hot shivers race up your spine and you freeze, your body poised for violence, adrenaline flooding your system.

You know who he is. You've never met him, but you have an inches-thick file on the man hidden in your desk's locked drawer back at the Los Angeles Preventer headquarters.

He is the one who hurts Duo. He is the one who damages that perfect body, batters that beautiful face. It fills you with impotent rage that there is nothing you can do to alter the situation.

Until Duo himself realizes that absolution is not achieved through humiliation and physical pain, you have no recourse. You can only keep doing what you've already done: open your home and offer him refuge. And pray to a god you don't believe in that he will climb out of the grave he's dug for himself while he still can. While he's still breathing.

/Sleight of hand and twist of fate
On a bed of nails he makes me wait
And I wait...without you.../

The day he told you he was leaving the force, your grasp on reality slipped and for a moment you thought you'd stepped through a warp-gate and into some alternate universe.

You might not have had the guts to reach for him, but he'd always been there: a solid presence at your back in times of danger, a bright distraction in your life of by-the-book routine and the ever-present mission. You could not fathom the possibility of his suddenly vanishing, leaving a Duo-shaped hole in your existence.

He stood beside your desk, mingled guilt and relief a palpable aura around him, restless fingers arranging and rearranging the piles of paper there.

"Man, Heero... I'm really sorry, but I just -- just can't do this anymore. Those two kids last week... I'm too close to it in my head. I'm loosing the edge, y'know? I gotta get away from here. Seems all I do, lately, is think about L2 and the wars."

A sharp pain lanced your chest.

[And me, Duo? Am I just another unwanted reminder of things you'd rather forget?]

"I hate leavin' you without someone I trust to watch your back... so I asked 'Fei if he'd consider transferring here. He jumped at the chance. I think mostly 'cause he's been dyin' to have you for a partner."

The wide grin you love curved his expressive mouth.

"He's always been kinda pissed that I got you instead of him."

You couldn't seem to do anything but stare at him. No words presented themselves to your blank mind.


His tone and face were worried, so you nodded to show him you'd understood before turning back to your laptop. Speech -- never very reliable even at the best of times -- had deserted you. You'd no reassurances to offer him.

You're not sure what you said to him at the retirement party. The only thing clear about that night is the confusion and hurt in his beautiful eyes as you walked away from him.

You could not stay, though. You were on the verge of doing something unforgivably stupid... like hauling him off to a dark corner and devouring him whole. So you left him standing there in a pool of light, surrounded by the life he was leaving behind.

You next saw him two years later. The door-com woke you in the middle of the night and you opened the port to find him standing there, his face nearly unrecognizable under the bruises and blood.

/With or without you
With or without you/

That night, you experienced for the first time the primal desire for a specific man's death. Not the ingrained pressure to protect and complete your mission... not the calculated need to eliminate your target... this was a fiery haze of blood-lust that drenched you in sickening red waves, filling you with the almost unstoppable urge to kill.

You didn't, of course. You let him in, bandaged and cleaned his body and put him to bed. He went to sleep immediately, the pain-killers you'd forced on him doing their job, but you lay awake, staring at the ceiling, until your com buzzed.

It was Noin. Meth-lab explosion, three agents down. Mission failed.

Stopping by his door on the way out, you soundlessly crossed the room to look down at him. He sleeps messily... you remember that from the boarding-school days. Braid and limbs sprawled every-which-way, he is child-like in his abandon.

You know better. The one time you forgot and tried to wake him with a quick shake of his shoulder, you were on the floor with a knife at your throat before you could react.

Carefully, you leaned forward... ran a finger the length of his bound hair. It was as silky as you'd imagined. He flipped over, restless in the grip of fever-dreams, and you withdrew swiftly, damning yourself for an idiot the entire time.

/Through the storm we reach the shore
You give it all but I want more
And I'm waiting for you/

You watched the vicious cycle birth itself and grow like some blood-infused parasite... watched and knew it for what it was, but had no idea how to end it.

Every time he came to you, bruised and broken, your heart cracked open all over again until you felt you might bleed to death internally. You knew he was using... could see it in the wild dilation of his eyes... the shaking of his hands.

In the silence of your mind, you asked him to stop hurting himself. Pleaded with him to get help: if not from you then someone else... anyone else. Your lips remained closed. You knew he would just smile tiredly and tell you he was fine.

He was touring almost constantly by then, the shades he'd once worn occasionally a permanent fixture. You went to hear him whenever Tripwire was in town, though you never made your presence known.

And you were there for the aftermath of the orgies masquerading as dinner parties that he gave on a regular basis.

Duo usually left before they got going, but sometimes he'd end up trapped by his own friendliness and have to turn down some wealthy pervert's advances. Most of the time they had his blessing. Refusal was reason enough for a beating in the bastard's mind.

They were getting worse, too. The last three times, you'd taken him to the emergency room. The doctors and nurses always looked at you like you were Satan, at first, but by the time you and Duo left they'd usually figured out that things weren't quite what they seemed. They gave you sympathetic platitudes and shoulder squeezes meant to bring you comfort. You wished they'd just leave you alone.

There was one woman, though -- a trauma specialist and former soldier -- who you'll always remember. It was she who cleaved a beam-saber through the brittle walls of your glass house and brought them crashing down around you.

/With or without you
With or with-out you, ah-hah
I can't live... with or without you.../

"It's not your fault, you know."

You look up to see a slim strawberry-blonde standing near you and recognize her as the doctor who'd been hovering over Duo, shouting orders. She seems young, at first, until you notice the faint lines at the corners of eyes and mouth.


She sighs, taking the seat beside you.

"That boy in there. He's your friend, right? Maybe even your best friend?"

Tired green eyes that have seen too much blood and pain meet your own battle-haunted gaze. You nod silently, your throat too tight to answer her and she watches you closely.

"More than that, then." Emerald eyes grow distant, stare through you. "I had someone like that, once. She was absolutely beautiful. Strong, vibrant, loving... she had this -- light -- inside that made her shine. Eventually, it attracted the wrong man's attention. She died for it.

She was the sister of my soul... and there was nothing I could do. I reported the attacks to the base police... put her bones back together more than once... I tried everything I could to get her away from him. But she kept going back."

Her gaze sharpens, focusing on you once more.

"It took me years to realize that if she couldn't make herself leave him, my attempts were nothing more than a bandage over an infected wound. He," she nods at Duo's room, "has to take the first step. You can't do it for him."

Paralyzed by sudden hopelessness, you are unable to respond to her words. She has told you what you already know, deep down. It took hearing your own thoughts spoken aloud by a stranger to make you acknowledge them.

A slender, callused hand wraps around your own, and you look up into empathetic eyes.

"Try to give yourself some distance. You need to break the cycle, not enable it. It's going to take one helluva wake-up call to get through to him. Our psych-guy says he has a deep-seated guilt complex. He probably thinks he deserves this."

"The war." Your voice is raspy and distant, as though it no longer belongs to you. "Gundam pilot."

Her eyes widen minutely, understanding filling them.

"Maxwell. I didn't make the connection. Makes sense, though." Then she looks sharply at you and you see her put two and two together. "01 and 02."

A slight smile touches her generous mouth, and she raises the hand she holds, giving it a brisk shake.

"Dr. Delia Hendrickson... Lt, first class, Oz Medical Corps. Never expected to meet you, Mr. Yuy. Not face-to-face, at any rate."

It seems strangely fitting... sitting here in this sanitized waiting area, solemnly shaking hands with the former enemy who just stitched the best and brightest part of your life back together.

"Going to be a tough road, 01." Delia Hendrickson's mouth quirks. "But I think you're up to it. Can't tell you how many bases I helped mop up after you five left."

"I -- I don't..."

"It was war," she says softly. "I know you'll deny it, but there's no getting around the fact that, no matter how adult your life-experience, you were all children." She glances back towards Duo's closed door. "And now you are paying for the mistakes both sides made."

Rising, she scrutinizes your face until you shift uneasily in your seat.

"Go home and get some rest. I'll call you myself when he's ready to leave." You open your mouth to protest, but she raises a hand to stop you. "And I'll make sure no one but you is admitted to his room. Okay?"

You analyze her statement from all angles, turn her earlier words over in your mind. Maybe it's time to achieve some of that distance. You won't be able to do it when he's awake.

"Acceptable. May I see him, now?"

"Sure. He's doped up to the eyeballs, but what the hell?"

You thank her silently, hoping your eyes tell her what your voice cannot. Then she opens the door to Duo's room and he is all you can see.

/And you give yourself away
And you give yourself away/

He flinches as you gently tug the split skin of his lip back together. It is only once and almost undetectable, but you are so attuned to him that you feel the racing of his heartbeat through the fingertips resting lightly on your left hip. They dig in harder as you stitch, being as careful as you are able but knowing that drawing this out will only cause him more pain.

"Just get it over with," he mumbles around his torn flesh. "I can take it."

Suddenly, you can't.

"Is that what you're thinking when he hits you?"

You thought this was over. He finally kicked his meth habit... just got out of rehab a month ago. You hoped it meant he would jettison him along with the drugs. For a reason that eludes you, it didn't happen.

He is staring at you out of wounded amaranth eyes, asking without words why you have broken the silent trust between you. But now that you've started, you can't stop. Your thoughts pour from you, along with the emotions you've blocked off for too long. It is both extreme torture and profound relief to finally set them free.

For once, you allow yourself physical contact. Your palms cup the round of his shoulders, your forehead touches his.

"I can't keep doing this, Duo. I can't watch my best friend destroy himself one shattered bone at a time. It's been six years. If you can't forgive yourself, at least find some other form of penance."

/And you give
And you give/

In your relatively short lifetime, you've achieved goals most would not even attempt... have overcome obstacles that rose sky-high in their magnitude. Of all those impossible tasks, this is the most difficult: letting go of the person who means more to you than any other ever has or will.

"If you go back there, please... don't come here again."

/And you give yourself away/

The shattered look in his eyes matches the splintered pieces of your soul. Tears spring from unused ducts, burning you with their salty, unfamiliar sting.


Your hands release him and you step back, turn, make yourself walk from the room. As you reach the door, though, some mocking inner demon grabs hold of you and rips your mouth and body from your control. Your fingers grip the frame so hard they leave dents.

"When you need me and not just someone," you hear yourself say, "I'll come."

/My hands are tied
My body bruised, he got me with
Nothin' to win and
Nothin' left to lose.../

"Perimeter check complete," Chang's voice murmurs into your ear-com. "Medriano and Jannsen are in place."

Your lips barely move as you respond.

"Three minutes to midnight."


You glance around the enormous ballroom in disgust, the travesty of the drugged 'merchandise' displayed against velvet-draped tables an acid burn attempting to crawl it's way up your throat.

The children's ages range from late adolescence to early teens... none are older than you and Duo were when Operation Meteor sent you plummeting to earth. And you know from occasional comments he's dropped over the years that Scythe's pilot is no stranger to this particular type of transaction.

He gained his knowledge on the mean streets of L2, but to you the Auction is no different. Only the wealth and power of the people in this room separate them from the johns a twelve-year-old street rat might service in a filthy alley.

This particular flesh market is held once a year in late January. The location changes, but the client list rarely does. And this year they made the mistake of holding their twisted celebration early and in the city where you reside.

Your eyes stay towards the latest 'host'. The good people of Southern California will be appointing a new governor when the ash from tonight's inferno settles.

Straightening the cuffs of your tux, you make your way towards the arrogant bastard you've been looking forward to nailing for quite some time. His bodyguards fall back at the sight of your ID, and suddenly the room is full of agitated voices and Chang's shouted commands.

"Everybody down! Faces to the floor with your hands behind your heads, or force will be used!"

Stepping up to the dazed Governor Macklin, you shove your badge and ID in his face.

"Gregory Macklin, by order of the federal government of the United Americas and the Preventers Organization, I'm placing you under arrest for the prostitution and sexual abuse of minors. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will..."

You recite the words without conscious thought... you've said them so many times, they come without effort. You pay as little attention to the blustering of man you're cuffing. All over the room, private bodyguards are disarmed and their employers taken into custody.

"The gods wept, Yuy. The lengths to which these perverts will go for their thrills make me want to puke."

You turn your head and see Wufei, who -- having approached in cat-footed silence -- stands just to your left. Aristocratic nostrils flare and his lip curls in elegant distaste.

"In my clan such things were dealt with privately, though not tolerated by any means." The sneer becomes a feral smile. "It's quite difficult to rape or murder when your guts are hanging from your open belly and you've been staked out for the pariah dogs."

You raise a brow in question.

"My uncle found raising dingoes to be an amusing pastime," is the brief reply. "Where do you want these sons-of-bitches? We've got a full house."

"We'll use some of the rooms here for interview," you say. "Most of them will go to the cop shop, but I want the ones who actually made the deals taken to Central. I'm going to shut down the skin trade on this coast. Since it's the West, that'll slow everything else considerably. This is their hub... and their hunting ground."

"Ai." Black eyes glitter at you. "It will be justice for those too young to achieve it themselves."


Your partner and SIC leaves your shoulder to rejoin the massing groups of body-armor clad Preventers and you turn, needing to get away from the entire sickening tableau. Wufei has things well under control and you know you'll be able to step out long enough to clear the miasma of corruption from your throat, if not your mind.

You pass a crowd of EMTs on your way out. They must be here for the kids. The gods alone know what effects the drugs pumped into them will have on their immature bodies.

Ducking through an emergency exit, you take the stairs to the ground floor and burst through the door into the night. Greedily, you gulp deep lungfuls of frigid December air... no, not December anymore. It's nearly 01:00 on the first of January. The new year has officially begun.

Slumped against a concrete wall, you look up at the midnight sky with its sprinkling of stars and wonder where he is tonight.

It's been nearly two months since you asked him to stay away, and you still feel as though you reached into your chest and tore your heart free with your own hand. Some nights the longing and guilt are so intense that you're sure they will suffocate you.

Hacking into several hospitals' patient databases has become an almost daily ritual and you check the obituaries obsessively. Not that you need to. His death would doubtless make the leading edge of the news-vids.

Liquid freezes on your cheek even as it falls, startling you. You find it somewhat surprising that you are able to cry. Not many years ago, it seemed too human a reaction to belong to the Perfect Soldier. Duo ripped that illusion from you, though, revealing your fragile inner self... the remnants of whoever you'd been before Odin Lowe and J came into your life.

Your eyes close as you imagine a chestnut-bright braid and velvety heliotrope eyes. Imagine a wide, indomitable smile that always seemed just for you.

[Happy New Year, Duo no baka. Wherever you are.]

/And you give yourself away
And you give yourself away/

His call comes as you are coordinating the strike. A week ago you trapped the buyers... tonight you'll take down several high-profile procurers. You can't afford to be distracted, but when has he ever done anything the easy or convenient way?



"I need you."

The connection is summarily severed and you stare blankly at the com in your hand, the months' old conversation as clear and immediate to you now as it was then.

"Yuy?" Wufei is beside you, eyeing the hand-unit like it's a poisonous snake. "Bad news?" he asks, and you realize you've been standing there unmoving, gazing off into space like a zombie.

"No. Not bad."

/And you give
And you give/

You are uncertain as to the veracity of that statement, but something in Duo's voice gives you hope.

"Good. Let's get this done."

Nodding, you turn back to your team, deliberately shutting out everything but the mission.

/And you give yourself away/

It doesn't take you long to discover his whereabouts... or to associate the call you heard over the police frequency this morning with him. The address hadn't registered until now, but when you double-checked...

A tight smile escapes your rigid control. He actually broke the bastard's wrist. He got off easy. You would have done considerably more damage than that.

It's after midnight when you finally scale the outer wall of Quatre's hillside estate. You didn't want to deal with the questions and delays that showing up at the front door would provoke. The laser-scarred body-armor alone would send 04 into a tailspin and arouse 03's subtle curiosity.

All you want is to be with him. To look into those wide violet eyes and see... what? You know what you want, but you don't count on it. This is Duo, after all, and he is the eternal Wildcard.

You land soundlessly on the balcony of the room he always uses, leaving the thin rappelling line where it lies. The French-doors are open, as though your arrival is expected. And perhaps it is.

He is sitting, legs curled under him, on a chaise lounge. The butt of his cigarette glows as he inhales deeply, its fiery red striking sparks off the depths of night-dark eyes.

"Tough day at the office?"

His smoky voice abrades already raw nerve-centers, sending jolts of alternating desire and apprehension through you.

"They held the Auction early this year. In my city."

"Careless of them," he purrs, uncoiling long limbs and rising; shaking out his heavy mane as he does.

/With or without you/

"Heard an interesting call over the LAPD channel this morning. Early."


He is prowling towards you, the drift of his hair a living thing provocatively caressing his naked body. Moonlight illumines pale, flawless skin and your fingers twitch, dying to touch.

/With or with-out you, oh-oh/

"Yes. Man over in Pasadena with a broken wrist... said he was attacked by unknown assailants."

He stops mere inches from you, his laughter soft on the air as he tilts his head back to meet your eyes.

"Poor guy. The crime rate these days is just shameful."

A slender finger slides along your body-armor's seal and you feel it open beneath the light pressure. Your fingers curl around his wrist, halting the progress of that single digit.

"Duo. Be very sure."

You don't want him waking tomorrow and regretting what you know will happen if he doesn't stop what he's doing.

He tilts his head to the side, eyes searching yours. Then that wild grin lights his face and he twists from your grasp, sliding long-fingered hands over your chest.

"I'm not sure... I'm certain."

His voice is a seductive, deadly current and you give yourself over to it, letting it drag you past sanity's surface into chaos. Your hands tilt his face up to yours and your mouth is finally touching his. He is hot and sleek and hard against you and you cannot resist him... you don't even want to.

The Soldier J intended to dominate your personality cries out in protest, but the rest of you -- the lost, hurting boy beneath the trained killer -- rises to silence his shrieks. You succumb without protest.

/I can't live...with or without you.../

Afterwards it all seems a blur of lust and want and... love. You can admit that last to yourself, if not to him. Not yet.

He takes you inside him but you are not the dominant here. As he rises above you -- head thrown back, mouth parted -- and slowly rides you to completion, you are caught... utterly trapped within his sinuous body and streaming hair... trapped by his desire.

Tight, slick muscles constrict around you as he comes, pulling your own climax from you, and you dig your fingers into his hips and arch upwards. A strangled shout is wrung from your throat as you empty what feels like decades worth of need into him.

"Dn' go," he slurs against your throat, his voice that of a man driven beyond his limits into complete exhaustion.


You bury your face in yards of cool, smooth heaven and follow him into oblivion.

/With or without you.../



The faint rays of dawn have just barely breached the dim quiet of the room. He turns in your arms to search your face, his hands coming up to trace your features. You know what he sees: high, sharp cheekbones... pointed nose... mouth too pretty for a man... eyes as cold as a winter's night.

Maybe they aren't, though, for him. He has always been able to look beyond the Soldier. It is what first drew you to him -- his unshakable belief in your humanity. Perhaps he recognized the banked flame behind your hard blue gaze.

His violet eyes are solemn as he pushes up on one elbow to lean over you. Warm fingers tilt your chin.


Those fingers trail down your torso, stroke the taut line of your abdominals.

"Duo..." his name hisses from between your clenched teeth as his hand wraps firmly around your renewed erection.

"Yeah Heero?"

He spreads your legs wider and settles between them, eyes glinting at you as he leans down and takes first one, then the other of your balls into his mouth; gently rolling them in their sac before releasing them.


Breathless laughter spills over you. A wet tongue traces the underside of your cock as slim digits deftly explore the cleft of your ass. When they brush across the sensitive skin of your entrance you shudder, arching into him. The fingers disappear momentarily, then return, slick with saliva.

You have to force yourself to relax as one finger gently penetrates your anus, the muscles there unused to this kind of activity. It's been a long time since you were on the receiving end of things.

"Been a while, hn?"


"Mmm..." It's definitely a purr. "I'll just have to take extra special care, then, won't I?"

While you were distracted by his voice, he managed to slide another finger in alongside the first and they curl a little, searching...


"There it is... up and back. Have to remember that."

The presence inside you is taking up all your attention and you barely hear his words. His fingers twine together, twisting as he pulls them out then pushes back in. They brush your gland just enough to drive you mad without giving you the impetus to come.

"Goddammit Duo, quit screwing around!"

"Babe, I haven't even begun to."

There is smug satisfaction in his voice and he reaches over your head, pulling something from the space where mattress meets headboard. Growling impatiently, you grab for him but he shoves you back down, shaking his head at your misbehavior.

"No you don't, buddy. This is my show, remember?"

Flicking open the end of the tube, he squirts a liberal amount of lube onto his fingers. The touch of slippery cold against your puckered opening makes you jump, but then his fingers are easing back inside you, scissoring to stretch the muscle, and the slick pressure cranks your arousal up a few more notches.

"You're damn tight, Heero. I think this is gonna hurt a little even with the lube."

"I... don't... care," you grit out as he pulls his fingers from your body, bending down to nip sharply at your throat.

You watch him smooth more lubricant over his hard cock, his whole body tight with need. Then he is above you once more and you reach down to guide that thick erection where you want it.

/With or with-out you, ah-hah/

The pressure is enormous. He is not small and your body protests as you are stretched almost beyond bearing. Then something inside gives and he slides home, his balls pressed tight against your ass.

You stay motionless as he props himself up on his palms, breath coming in hurried gusts. The slightest quiver of movement makes you spasm around him and your cock is wet with your own fluids. When his hips shift, the erection inside you prods even deeper and a burst of agonizing pleasure blinds you for an eternal instant.

Your fingers dig into his shoulders with unforgiving strength and he jerks in your hold.

"Move," you rasp, your voice a coarse thread of sound.

His first thrust is short and sharp, a jab that jackknifes your body unmercifully. He twists his pelvis slightly every time he bottoms out and the extra stimulation works your gland steadily.

It can't last... it doesn't. Both of you were on the edge even before he pushed into you, your bodies acutely sensitive with the past night's erotic stimulation.

"C'mon babe... don't wanna leave you behind."

Reaching down, you wrap your fingers around your almost painful erection and pull. Three quick tugs are all it takes and you are coming for the fourth time in as many hours, your semen warm against your skin.

A strangled cry explodes from the man above you as wet heat erupts deep inside your ass. He is beautiful like this; sweat-slick, throat a graceful curve, mouth open in wordless ecstasy. You gaze up at him from beneath heavy lids, watching him come down from the rush of hormones and adrenaline.

Finally, he slumps forward, his full weight on you. You take it easily... gratefully. The feel of his slim body against yours is right in a way very little else in your life has been. He nuzzles his face into your neck like a sleepy feline, sprawled over your body in his quintessential fashion.

" 'Ro?"


"Let's not wait another six years to do this again, 'kay?"

A startled laugh escapes you.

"I have no intention of doing so, I assure you."

He snorts caustically against your neck and drapes a long arm over you.

"Sorry it took me so long to get my head out of my ass," he mumbles sleepily.

Your laughter is silent this time.

"Go to sleep, baka."

/I can't live.../

You know it will not always be like this... Duo and 'easy' are diametric opposites.

/With or without you.../

But you also know that having him in your life is worth the aggravations and arguments that are bound to arise between two personalities as disparate as yours.

/With or without you /

It's worth, in fact... everything.


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