The Beginning's End + Part 10 (cont)

I knock again, staring in irritation at the stubbornly closed panel of the door. "Duo?" I call loudly, still pounding.

"Go ‘way!" comes a muffled shout from within.

"I'm not going away!" I shout back. "Let me in!"

It's been several hours since Une finally revealed what Trowa had done, and Duo's been holed up in his room ever since.

"Just go the fuck away, Heero!" Duo shrieks.

"Duo…" Maybe I should go away. Maybe I should leave him alone…But I don't think he would go away and leave me alone, so I should probably not leave him. I think.

"I'm not going," I repeat firmly. "Open the damn door."

There's silence for a moment, and just as I'm about to resume shouting, I hear the click of the lock. Yanking on the handle, I pull the door open.

I step gingerly into the room, not sure what I'm going to find.

The first thing I notice are the signs of a first-class temper tantrum. Furniture is overturned, broken glass crunches under my feet, clothes and linens are strewn everywhere. Duo has a tendency to get a little physical with inanimate objects when he's frustrated.

But all of that fades into the background as I stare at Duo, huddled miserably on his bed, clutching a bottle full of some amber liquid. His hair has half come out of its braid, and flops in clumps and tangles around him. His eyes are red-rimmed and swollen, and there are tears still flowing down his face.

The tears undo me. I can't stand it when people cry. That's something that I had…have…in common with Trowa.

"Duo…" I murmur helplessly, seating myself gingerly on the bed beside him. "Are you…don't…can I…"

I falter to a stop. I have no idea what to say.

Duo laughs bitterly and lifts the bottle to his lips, taking several long swallows of the liquid within. "No, I'm not ok, I'm trying not to cry and no, there's absolutely nothing you can do," he announces angrily, answering all of my half-formed questions. I smell the alcohol as he speaks.

I frown. Is he…drunk?

"Are you drunk?" I ask bluntly.

He laughs again. "I sure as Hell hope so, Heero. Otherwise I've wasted an awful lot of booze."

"You're mad at Une," I establish, more as a statement then a question.

He snorts. "I guess you could say that," he agrees, taking another swallow from his bottle.

I frown. "Are you mad at Trowa?" I question tentatively.

He turns his face toward mine, and for a moment I think that he's going to strike me, the expression of rage in his violet eyes is so intense.

I'd rather he did strike me. Instead, fresh tears well up, and he drops his head into his hands, ignoring the alcohol that splashes over him and the bed as he drops the bottle. "He's dead, Heero!" he cries in a near wail. "Trowa's dead!"

I close my eyes briefly against the words. Trowa can't be dead. "We don't know that," I attempt weakly. "He hasn't been there long. He could still…"

Duo looks up, and the rage is gone, leaving only a despair more deep than any I have seen from him before.

"Heero…don't even try," he says flatly, his words slightly slurred. "You know as well as I do that there's almost no chance that he'll ever come back."

There's nothing I can say. Duo's right. But still… "We've all gotten out of impossible situations before," I remind him, clinging to hope.

He nods. "Because someone in a Gundam came and rescued us," he points out. "We broke each other out of prisons and holding cells. And whatever we have to say about OZ, they didn't torture prisoners. Barton…" He trails off, and I know his mind is full of horrors, imagining what kind of things that cruel man could be doing to Trowa this very minute.

I reach out tentatively, and put my hand on his shoulder. "It's not your fault," I assure him slowly.

I know I've finally hit the heart of the problem when Duo's face crumples again. "He didn't trust us - me! - enough to even tell us what was happening, Heero," he sobs. "He just left."

"He knew we'd have never let him go there alone," I remind him quietly, trying to hold onto my own composure. "He went to save us."

"Save us," Duo repeats bitterly, rubbing in irritation at his damp eyes. "Why didn't he leave a message? Why didn't he say good-bye?"

I hesitate. I don't really know the answer. "Maybe…maybe he didn't think he needed to," I volunteer.

Duo snorts. "He was punishing me!" he announces. Suddenly his voice is angry. "The very last thing he does, he fucking punishes me some more. He goes off to die, leaving me, and the last fucking thing he does is let me know he's still mad at me, still hates me. Fuck him!" he shouts at the top of his lungs. "Fuck you, Trowa, you asshole!" He picks up the discarded bottle from beside him on the bed and throws it with all his strength at the wall. I flinch as it shatters, falling to the floor in a shower of broken glass.

"Fuck you, Trowa" Duo whispers, bending over double, his head resting on the mattress.

I stare helplessly at his trembling form. I haven't got the faintest idea what to do now.

"Duo, I'm sorry," I whisper. All this boils back to me, to what I did, to how I broke them apart.

He looks up, and he looks incurably weary. "Heero…" He stops. "Heero, Trowa's dead," he whispers. "Even if they haven't killed him yet, they will. I almost hope…" he swallows hard. "I almost hope he's dead already, hope that they aren't hurting him a lot before he dies."

I wince. Why is Duo doing this - to himself, to me?

"He and I will never be able to fix what happened between us," he continues. "We left too much unsaid for too long, and we both ran away when everything finally blew up under us. We were stupid, Heero, both of us. Now he's dead, or dying, and it'll never be better."

I wince at the hopelessness in his voice. Duo must be drunk, though. He usually shouts and yells his way through painful situations. I think I prefer that - all this brutal honesty is making me a little nervous.

"I can't fix me and Trowa." His lip trembles. "I love him," he whispers. "God, I love him so much, and I didn't get to say that to him before he left. I'll never get to tell him. But it'll never be gone, Heero. I'll always love Trowa."

I lower my eyes to the mattress. There's nothing I can say, really. My chest aches in response to the pain in his voice.

"Heero." I raise my head and look at him again.

"I can't change that," he tells me again. "And I can't fix what went wrong. But I can keep other things from going wrong the same way."

I frown. Other things?

He takes a deep breath. "You think I slept with you that night because I felt sorry for you." I feel myself flush. "You think it was nothing, just a cheap lay. It wasn't, Heero."

I look away again. Why's he doing this? This isn't necessary - I'm here because of his grief, not my guilt.

"Look at me," he orders. I can still hear the unsteadiness in his voice brought on by the alcohol, but I can't identify the expression in his eyes. "I…care about you, Heero," he tells me earnestly. "I always have. I never stopped, even when you married Relena and I fell in love with Trowa." He's silent for a moment, then he chuckles. "God knows, I've broken just about every law there is, secular and moral, I guess I was going for another. I wanted you both."

Huh? He wanted me, all that time? Impossible. He must be trying to make me feel….feel what?

"That night…I thought I could have it. Have both the men I wanted. But I did it wrong, didn't explain, didn't discuss…and I hurt you both. And I hurt myself. I fucked up."

I can't believe this. Duo, wanted me. He thought…

"I'll always regret I did it that way, Heero. It hurt Trowa, and that'll never be better now. It hurt you too. But you're alive, and you're here, and I'll be damned if I don't tell you…don't try to make things right with you. Heero!"

My eyes jerk back to him. They had drifted away as I tried to make sense of what he was saying.

"Duo, you don't…you can't…" I run a hand through my hair. "You're upset."

"Yeah," he agrees tonelessly. "And I'm drunk. But I'm not lying, Heero."

Duo never lies.

"Heero…" His voice is tentative, nervous. I look at him, and tears are on his face again.

"Don't cry, Duo," I half beg, reaching up to brush the wetness from his cheek. He grabs my wrist, holding my hand against his face.

"Please, Heero," he says in a low voice. "Please…don't leave me. I need you…I need you to…to touch me."

He needs me. He needs me to touch him. But does he need me, or does he need something to banish the picture of Trowa, and the unpleasant death he is likely engaged in dying?

"Let me make something right," he asks fervently. "Please."

Maybe he does just want to be with someone, anyone. But he said…and Duo never lies. Could he - could Duo - really want me? Suddenly, I don't care. He's here, and he said he wants me, and he's not the only one who needs contact with someone warm and alive to banish the thought of what is happening to our best friend.

I move abruptly. He blinks at my sudden movement, and I press my mouth to his, my tongue darting along the line of his closed lips until he parts them. I press forward, exploring the warm cavern of his mouth, my tongue dancing against his, teasing him. My hands rise to his shoulders and I push him to his back on the mattress, ignoring the tangled sheet and the wetness of the spilled whiskey.

He kisses me back eagerly as his hands move up to rub across my back and shoulders, his fingers venturing up to tangle in my hair. My mouth not leaving his, I move my body slightly, my fingers fumbling with the buttons on his shirt. I slide my hand behind his back, lifting him off the mattress, and slide the shirt off his arms. I lay him down again gently and tear my mouth away from his, moving it in a line across his jaw, to his ear, down the slim column of his throat to his chest.

I hear him moan, and the soft sound increases the sense of urgency that seems to be pushing me along. I yank my own shirt over my head, and almost roughly unbuckle and pull off his pants. He moans louder, then cries out as my mouth fastens over one nipple, then the other, gently suckling the pale flesh.

"God! Heero!" he chokes, hips bucking as I slide my hand along the inside of his thigh.

My mouth moves lower, over his taut stomach, over his smooth hip. His breathing is harsh, ragged. I pause for a moment, then I take his length in my mouth.

He shouts, arching up, trying to bury himself more deeply in my mouth. I hold onto his hips, holding him in place as I adjust to the sensation. Slowly I take more of him, shuddering in pleasure at the sounds he makes, his movements, the tremors I feel in the skin beneath my hands and in my mouth.

"Heero! Please…please…" he moans inarticulately, and I'm suddenly unsure. Does he want me to continue? Does he want me to stop? Am I doing this right?

I move backwards, opening my eyes to try to gauge his reaction.

He moans in protest. "Please, Heero," he whispers. "I want you."

As quickly as I can, I divest myself of the rest of my clothes, cursing softly as my pants get caught on my shoes. Finally I'm ready, and I position myself above him. I stare down at him, seeking confirmation of what he really wants in his eyes.

"I want you, Heero," he tells me softly, sensing my question. "I want you now."

I push his legs up, opening him to me. I press against him as gently as I can, and a moan is torn from my own throat as I feel him closing tightly around me.

"Duo," I whisper. I can't hold back any longer, and I surge deep inside him. Then I'm lost, and I thrust again and again into that tight, welcoming heat.

He moans beneath me, his hands again scrabbling helplessly against my back. I hear him whispering in my ear but I can't make out what he's saying. I feel his hardness rubbing between our bodies, smell his skin beneath me…I try to hold onto my control but I can't…The world has narrowed to him and me and this movement…

Suddenly he tenses beneath me, then screams…I feel wetness against my stomach and feel him clench around my shaft and I can't hold on any longer…My body jerks and I empty myself into Duo…thrusting again and again until I am empty and I collapse heavily onto him, feeling satisfied and complete for the first time in my life.

We lay like that for a long time, until I come to myself and roll to my side, taking him with me. We lay quietly, my arms around him, his face against my chest. Slowly, the world intrudes, memory returns and the horrors of the present creep back into our awareness.

I feel a trickle of dampness on my chest, and I know that Duo is crying. Somehow, though, I know that he isn't crying over what we have done so much as he is crying because it allowed him to forget, if only for a few moments, the horror that one of our number is facing alone, without help or support or love. I know that, and I stubbornly hold back the answering wetness that threatens in my own eyes, and pull Duo closer to me. I can't help Trowa. But he entrusted Duo to me, and that trust, at least, I will not break.

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