Author: Bane's Desire
see chao. 1 for warnings, disclaimer

A Grudging Seduction: Chapter Twelve
A Rival's Arrival

The following day at school proved to be a much better one for the American. Now that the two of them had formally met as roommates, Duo noticed that Heero spent as much time as possible at his side. Heero's attentiveness towards the new student seemed to be the topic of many whispered discussions held behind the other students' hands and raised notebooks. The situation wasn't helped by the warning glares that was given by the previously aloof loner when anyone approached the boy with the long, brown, braided hair and the large blue eyes. Those few individuals who dared enough to press forward and engage the American in conversation, despite his companion's glowering disapproval, only remained at Duo's side a few moments until the cold, blue eyes finally unnerved them and they made a hasty retreat.

"Damn, Heero, I think you've got a great future ahead of you as a bodyguard to the rich and famous," Duo grinned lazily at his companion, choosing to ignore for the moment that his friend was being a bit too possessive. "Either that or some sort of deranged snake charmer, staring the poor creature into a catatonic state. I figure that since you've perfected that glare of yours, you might as well cash in on it, but I'm afraid you're going to have to work a bit more on what it means to be subtle and blending in."

The Wing pilot shrugged insouciantly as he took the other chatty pilot's arm and led him through the crowded corridor towards their lockers. "Maybe I'll do that, after the war," he replied, earning a surprised look and sly grin from Duo.

"Heero." The braided boy's step slowed as he looked into the other boy's face, then lowered his voice so only the Wing pilot could hear him. "You really do believe there's going to be a time after the war, don't you?"

"I told you that I'd try."

The former grin on the American's face blossomed into a full, dazzling smile. "I'm glad, Heero. Really." Duo said sincerely, silently marveling at the changes he'd been seeing in Heero. Unlike his first impressions of Heero, he now knew that Wing's pilot was more than just a soldier dedicated to his duty and he felt privileged to have seen a side of Heero he doubted anyone else, other than maybe Dr. J, had seen before. He was sure the other guys would never believe him if he were to tell them that Heero Yuy, dubbed by his comrades at times as the Perfect Soldier, had another side to him. Who would believe that the efficient, calculating and stoic Japanese pilot was actually capable of being gentle, sensitive, caring and someone who liked to cuddle? When he thought about it, Duo wouldn't have believed those things himself if he hadn't experienced them first hand.

In reply to his words, Heero gave him a slight smile, his eyes shifting to all the strangers surrounding them, noting their lack of privacy. Taking Duo's arm again, he pulled him forward, moving them towards their lockers.

No sooner had Duo shut the metal door of his locker, when Heero heard a familiar voice calling out through the throng of students. "Heero! What a surprise to meet up with you again."

The Wing pilot had been leaning against the locker next to Duo's, waiting patiently while his partner sorted through the books inside. At the call of his name and recognition of the voice, he stiffened, shot Duo a look that resembled a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming truck, then composed himself and turned his most bland expression back to the girl approaching them with a demure smile on her face. The crowd of dark haired students parted before her like the Red Sea did for Moses, obviously having recognized who she was and making the girl's approach even more dramatic.

Undaunted by all the attention she was drawing to herself and her potential target, Relena came to stand before the two pilots, clutching her books to her chest. She gave a brief nod of acknowledgment to the American before returning her adoring eyes to the object of her affections. "So we meet again, Heero."

"The name is Kazou," Heero corrected her, hoping she'd catch on quickly to his alias. "You remember Clark, don't you? Clark Kent?" He motioned to Duo, who couldn't help the snicker of amusement that always followed the sound of the name that G had selected as his alias. Heero then gave a pointed look at the blond girl telling her, more or less, to play along.

Relena blinked in momentary confusion, then proved she could be quick on the uptake when she needed to be. "So you're going by your middle name now. I like it." Again, the brilliant smile came to her lips, accompanied by the dreamy-eyed look that was focused completely on Heero. It didn't go unnoticed by anyone watching them that she avoided any further acknowledgment of Duo's presence.

"Um... we're going to be late for class if we don't get a move on," the American teen interjected, giving the other boy a slight nudge with his elbow.

"Goodbye, Relena," Heero said with a touch of finality to it.

This time it was Duo who took Heero's elbow and led him quickly away from the scene Relena had created. A buzz of hushed voices followed in their wake. "How the hell did she find us?" Duo ground out under his breath with a frown on his face, hoping their identities hadn't been compromised by the girl's arrival and announcement of their having previously met.

"I don't know," Heero growled, obviously not any happier about Relena's arrival than Duo. "I'm sure I covered my tracks well and our aliases are perfectly legit on the records if they're traced."

"Knowing her," Duo sighed, "we'll have plenty of opportunities to ask her." He was pretty sure he heard Heero groan.

Sure enough, during the dinner hour in the cafeteria, Relena once again took center stage and approached the two boys trying to sit inconspicuously, side by side, with their backs facing towards the wall at the far end of the large, table-filled room. "May I join you?" she asked coquettishly.

Duo looked from Relena to Heero, and noticed his friend's face was stony and unfriendly. It was clear that the only thing he would give the girl permission to do at the moment was to go jump off a cliff. The braided teen took a small measure of pity on her when he saw the hopeful look in her eyes turn to one of hurt. Hell, he never liked to see a girl get her feelings hurt, not even Relena. "Sure, have a seat," he spoke up, motioning to the empty place in front of him. He ignored the 'are you crazy' look Heero shot his way.

Relena gave him a small, grateful smile then proceeded to sit directly in front of the boy she'd chased across the planet. After placing her napkin on her lap and setting her utensils in their proper place alongside her plate, Relena looked up with a satisfied expression on her face. "Well at least the food at this school looks better than the last school we attended together."

Heero's eyes scanned the area around them to determine whether or not he could speak in a frank manner to the interloper without being overheard. Ascertaining the distance between them and other students was sufficient, he leaned forward and spoke to the girl in a quiet voice. "How did you track us here?" he demanded.

A sly smile grew on Relena's pretty face. "I have my ways," she replied, then carefully placed a fork full of rice into her mouth and demurely chewed it with a gloating smile.

"We're on a mission and you could be endangering it by bringing attention to us," Heero said in a stern tone, hoping to reason with her.

The girl's blue eyes rolled. "Oh please," she laughed daintily, and her eyes turned to Duo. "Like he doesn't draw any attention in this place with that hair of his. Really, Heero," she chuckled with amusement as she returned her attention back to the plate in front of her.

Duo gave an apologetic look to the other pilot knowing he couldn't rebut her on that point. His hair color and its length always stood out, and in a Japanese school it was even worse than usual, but he'd be dammed if he'd cut it.

"I don't mind Duo gaining the curious attention of the other students," Heero hissed. "It's OZ that I'm concerned about. You are a notable person, Relena. Your father was an important man for the government and his assassination is still headline news. We don't want the press or government officials to discover us here while they check up on your whereabouts. You're not only endangering our mission, but our lives as well."

"Don't be ridiculous, Heero." Relena replied, casually dismissing his concern. "No one is going to follow me to a new school."

Heero calmly but intentionally pushed his tray forward, signaling he'd finished with his half-eaten meal and was done speaking with the girl. "I'm done," he announced and rose from his bench. He looked down at his partner. "You coming?"

"I'm just gonna finish up my meal. You go ahead to the room. I'll catch up shortly."

Heero's eyes narrowed, wondering what Duo was up to. But the American gave him a reassuring smile and rolled his eyes towards Relena to let his partner know he was going to try and talk to her. The Wing pilot nodded his approval, picked up his tray and left the two more or less to themselves.

Relena turned her head and watched Heero go, her eyes drinking him in until he exited the room. She then sighed with regret as she turned back to Duo, who had moved over from his own spot at the table to take Heero's seat directly across from her. "What is it going to take for him to admit his feelings for me?" She pointedly asked the braided teen as she returned to her meal.

"Ya know, I don't want to hurt your feelings or anything, Relena," Duo replied a bit condescendingly. "But don't you think Heero is sending you some serious negative vibes? Even I can see he's not smitten with you."

Relena shrugged. "It's part of the Japanese culture not to show a lot of emotion, plus it's probably a part of his training. I know him, Duo. He's had opportunities to kill me, he's even threatened me several times but he hasn't done anything about it. In fact, he saved me from being killed when the Alliance attacked the first school we attended together. Heero cares about me; he's just very subtle about it."

Duo wondered how it was possible for the girl to see the situation so differently than how others viewed it. The saying 'love is blind' certainly applied to Relena; she was blind to Heero's antipathy towards her. "I think you're delusional," he said as he finished off his main dish of pork and vegetables.

The girl's eyes focused on him in a discerning way. "Why is it you're always paired with Heero? You two seem to have gotten rather chummy."

"When you work for a common goal, you have a tendency to rely on your comrade," he told her in a quiet voice, conscious of those students around them. "Heero's my friend and I look out for him and he looks out for me as well." He raised his glass to finish off the rest of his soda.

A look of suspicion crossed the girl's face and her blue eyes hardened as they narrowed. "He's going to be mine, Duo. Don't even think for a moment that you can come between us."

The American hadn't expected that, and as a result he choked on the carbonated beverage, mid-swallow, and coughed violently, immediately catching the attention of everyone in their vicinity. After about a minute of trying to get control of his cough, he was able to speak again. "I can't believe you said that," he glared at her accusingly.

"I mean it, Duo," she said with all seriousness. "I know you're from L-2 and what that generally means." A look of disgust crossed her face a moment before her eyes narrowed with determination. "He's mine. Stay away from him."

"Like hell he is," Duo snapped back, shocked and angry now as well. Feeling the weight of many eyes on him, he lowered his voice again and leaned forward so only Relena could hear his words spoken through clenched teeth. "You are a pompous, arrogant, spoiled brat, Relena, who hasn't learned that you can't have everything you want. Heero belongs to no one. He's dedicated only to winning this war. Leave him alone." He pronounced the last three words separately, clearly and in a firm tone, then stood and picked up his tray. He moved around the table, but the paused to bend over and whisper in parting. "In fact, leave all of us alone to do what we have to for the colonies." With that said he quickly left the girl sitting alone at the table with most of the curious brown eyes in the room fixed on her.

After bussing his dishes and tray, Duo strode with determined steps out of the room and down the corridors of the building. Anger seemed to radiate from him and blaze in his eyes as he strode through the hallways. Those students lingering in hallway took one look at the dark expression on his face and quickly got out of his way.

'Why'd she say that?' he asked himself. He wondered for a moment if she was merely afraid that he'd influence Heero to shun her, or if she was insinuating that he was trying to take Heero away from her. Her words could have meant either, but with his mission regarding Heero, he took them to mean that she believed he was chasing after Heero, like she was. That little dig about being from L-2 added fuel to the fire. He knew the reputation L-2 had in regards to the other colonies and Earth. It was a cesspool of thieves, cutthroats, prostitution and drugs. Anyone admitting to come from L-2 was automatically thought to be in one of those categories. It was pretty obvious that Relena had assumed the worst of him even though he hadn't said or done anything in the girl's presence that would indicate he was any of those things or that he was chasing after Heero as her comment might have inferred.

On the other hand, maybe he wasn't as clever as he thought he was. After all, he was, in a way, after Heero, but he considered it a mission and one that had a higher goal than just teenage hormones. His so-called mission to save Wing's pilot would, in the long run, not only benefit millions of people housed in the colonies above Earth when they won the war, but would preserve Heero's life so that he could enjoy the peace they were fighting for. After surviving the war, Heero would then have the opportunity to live a full life, one for which he would no longer think of as disposable. 'But dammit,' he fumed to himself, 'I'm not gay,' his mind insisted, and it bothered him to no end that Relena had indirectly accused him of it.

Before he knew it he found himself outside his and Heero's dorm room. He paused for a moment to calm himself, to let go of his agitation. Once he felt more in control, he took out his key from his pant's pocket and opened the door.

Heero was sitting in the chair at his desk and was bent over to retrieve some books from his back pack. "That was quick," he said, a curious eyebrow raised.

"Yeah? Well, you know what a lovely dinner companion Relena can be," Duo replied and moved towards his own desk and the backpack resting in front of it on the floor.

"What did she say?"

Duo shrugged and replied casually as he dug through his backpack, "That you're hers and she warned me not to come between you two."

"Too late for that," Heero snorted with amusement.

For some unexplained reason, that simple comment by the other boy brought a tidal wave of irritation up from deep inside the braided boy's chest, and before he could catch himself, he blurted out, "Are you sure you're making the right choice, Heero? After all, Relena's not a bad looking chick; she's loaded with money and comes from a hoity-toity family. She could do a lot for you, ya know, take you places you want to go and buy you things that you like, and it's obvious that she's turning herself inside out to get your attention. Don't you think that you'd probably be better off with her than a homeless punk like me? I mean, I've got nothing, zilch, nada, zero, no money, no home or family. I think she'd be the smarter pick for you."

Duo suddenly stopped his speaking and rummaging when the room went absolutely still. He hadn't looked at Heero while he spoke his mind, but now, out of the corner of his eye, he could see the tips of Heero's shoes standing before him. He raised his head and eyes up to see the other teen looking down at him with a scowl on his face.

"Do I look like the kind of guy who would be satisfied by being taken care of by a boot-licking girl?" he snarled.

Duo swallowed the large lump in his throat. "Um.... no."

"Then why did you say that? Why do you put yourself down?"

The braided teenager found his shoulders grabbed and he was forcibly brought up to stand on his feet, inches from Heero's angry face. "I was just talking practically, Heero. Relena comes with lots of perks that I'm sure she'd be happy to share everything with you. Man, I didn't mean to put myself down, just stating the facts."

"I have no home, wealth or family either, Duo." Heero's glare softened slightly as did his grip on the blazer the braided boy wore. "I am a soldier, a killer. I have seen and done things that a girl like Relena could never imagine. I have nothing in common with the girl other than the fact that we both desire peace."

"Opposites attract." Duo said softly in rebuttal. With his eyes unable to meet Heero's they focused on the other pilot's lips.

A sly smile grew on Heero's face and Duo wondered nervously about it. "You and I have many commonalities that bind us as comrades," Heero began. "But I think we are opposite enough in temperament and personality to validate that statement." With that said, Heero impulsively leaned forward and took Duo's lips with his own and began a kiss so passionate, that he was sure the braided boy would not soon forget it.

Duo's hands clung to the back of Heero's white shirt for support as his senses became overwhelmed by what the other boy's talented mouth and tongue were doing to him. For a few moments, time had no meaning and his thoughts abandoned him to the sensations of the kiss. All that existed for him was Heero's mouth on his own, his tongue sweeping erotically in and out of his mouth, and that their bodies were pressed closely together. When he found his mouth freed at last and was able to breathe once again, he looked up with dazed eyes to see Heero wearing a very knowing and satisfied smirk on his face.

"Have you ever had anyone else's kiss affect you like that?"

The American numbly shook his head, his mind reeling from knowing it was the truth.

"See, there are some things that power, money, and a good name can't buy; and we have what others would trade anything for if they could."

"And what's that?" Duo asked, slowly coming back to his senses.

"Chemistry and a connection," Heero answered, then pushed his partner down into his chair. With a crooked grin he added, "We've also got homework to do before we review the mission, so get to it." The dark haired boy then turned on his heel and returned to his desk and his studies.

Duo automatically began to fumble within the confines of his backpack again, not looking for anything in particular but just trying to sort out his jumbled feelings. Shit, Heero's kiss had knocked him for a loop, and the question Heero posed after it, if anyone else's kiss had ever left him feeling dizzy, weak and unbalanced, but all in a good way, had left him reeling. If he was straight, then why the hell were Heero's kisses so intoxicating? He couldn't seem to get enough of them once he and Heero got started, and it was always the other pilot who ended their little make-out sessions, not him, the reluctant seducer.

Did that mean he was gay?

Duo pushed the question aside, not willing to dwell on it or believe it was even conceivable. Instead, he pulled out several books and a binder, trying to recall what assignments Heero had said they had for homework. His notes stated that he had a little reading to do, a one page summary of the A.C. 50 economic crash, and a bit of math. If he concentrated, he could be finished in less than an hour.

"Hey, Heero?" he called out to his roommate. "After the homework's done, wanna go out and do something?"

The shaggy haired boy turned around in his chair looking mildly curious. "What do you suggest?"

"I don't know," Duo shrugged. "We could go out for some ice cream or a movie."

"Ice cream," Heero replied decisively. "We have to go over the mission plans tonight. A movie will keep us out too late."

"I'll be done in about an hour," Duo said, pulling his economics book out of his pack.

"One hour then," Heero agreed. "It's a date."

When Duo's head lifted up sharply at that pronouncement, he was only given the view of the back of Heero's head.

The two boys walked nearly shoulder to shoulder down the city street a little over an hour later. Their eyes and ears were constantly alert for any sign that they were being observed or followed. Such close attention to their surroundings came naturally to the two teenagers: Heero, having been trained to be constantly on guard and vigilant, and Duo, who did it out of habit, a necessary life-saving trait from years of living on L-2.

The first ten minutes of their outing was a bit stiff. All Duo could think about was Heero's last words, 'It's a date.' Damn, he was actually on a date with the guy. But somehow that realization didn't feel as horrible as he thought it would. Heero was his friend and was proving to be a great guy. A little anal at times but, nonetheless, easier to be around since he declared his attraction and intentions of being with him.

Little by little, Heero coaxed him out of his thoughts with questions about L-2 and his life on the streets. Before Duo knew it, he was practically spilling his guts to the other boy. The Wing pilot proved himself to be a good listener, making small sympathetic replies and asking pertinent questions in order to fully understand Duo's convoluted and tragic past.

They arrived at the ice cream shop and ordered sundaes. Duo's had three scoops of various flavors of ice cream, bananas, chocolate and caramel toppings, all of which were liberally coated with whipped cream and toasted nuts. Heero opted for a single strawberry sundae. The shop had only a smattering of customers, being a week night, and that allowed the two boys dressed in jeans, tee-shirts and jackets to sit in a booth in the back of the small eatery that gave them a full view of the room and anyone entering or exiting.

In a low voice, Heero told Duo of his early memories, of training with Odin Lowe. He spoke of hours spent shooting guns, perfecting his shot, and then aiding his mentor when he had 'jobs'. "He was an assassin by trade," Heero said, looking up from under the fringe of hair that hung over his forehead to gauge Duo's response. The braided boy paused in his eating with the spoon dangerously dangling from his loose lips.

"You helped him?" Duo asked after taking the spoon out of his mouth.

Heero nodded, suddenly ashamed. "I took out my first target at ten years old."

"Shit!"

Heero looked curiously at the other boy, trying to decipher exactly what Duo meant by that. Was he upset, shocked, angry, or repulsed? He recalled that the American seemed to use that one-word expression a lot. It only took another moment before the braided teen went on to elaborate.

"Damn, if that's what a parental figure does, I'm grateful as hell that I didn't have one."

Heero nodded his head. His memories of Odin weren't all bad, but there was a lot that were horrifying, and just talking about the man put off the comfortable mood he and Duo had established that evening.

Also sensing the change, the Deathscythe pilot changed the subject. "So, what do you think about Mr. Yashamoto? I don't know about you, but I think that guy needs to have his head examined. I swear I saw him looking up one of the girls' skirt yesterday. Isn't he a bit old for that? He's definitely one weird dude."

Slowly the atmosphere between them began to warm again as Heero listened to Duo speak about various teachers they shared and his twisted observations of their mannerisms and quirks. Their dessert was long gone before they noticed the time. An hour had passed by quickly and Heero mentioned they should return to their room.

They walked back on campus and were casually making their way towards the dorms when Relena suddenly stepped out of the shadows in front of them. The sudden movement caused both soldiers to go on the defensive, reaching for their hidden weapons. They recognized her and relaxed their hands, lowering them to their sides.

"Not a very smart idea to be hiding in the shadows, Relena," Duo told her in a scolding voice.

"I've settled my things into my room and thought I'd take a walk around campus, but it's rather dark and I'm not sure it's safe. I wonder if you'd take me back to my dorm building, Heero."

"It's safe here," the Wing pilot replied in a disinterested voice. "You can take yourself back."

"Please, Heero. I would like a chance to talk to you. I never did tell you of the time I spent with Dr. J."

Duo noticed her words got an instant reaction in the Japanese boy as his body stiffened. "What did he say to you?" he asked in a low voice.

"I'm not sure if I should repeat it in front of anyone else. You understand, don't you?"

Duo looked incredulous at the girl's obvious ploy to get Heero all to herself. He rolled his eyes and shook his head, then looked at the boy standing next to him. Disbelief came when Heero nodded his head.

"Alright, I'll take you back." He then turned to Duo. "I'll meet you in the room shortly. Do not go to sleep."

Duo watched as Heero offered his arm to the girl and the two walked away leaving him standing there, staring after them, a bit confused as to what had just happened. He stood there long enough to see Relena look over her shoulder to give him a smug, triumphant grin. He promptly turned on his heels and went back to his room to prepare for bed.

Sitting only in his boxers on top of his bed, the braided teenager glared at the door and wondered, not for the first time, where in the hell Heero was? He'd been gone for about an hour and it was getting late. Jumping to his feet, he tossed back his covers, turned his bedside light off and crawled into bed. He'd be damned if he was going to wait up for Heero when his partner was certainly taking his time in getting back to the room.

Of course, being in an agitated state didn't help him go to sleep, so he was wide awake when the sound of a key being inserted into the door brought his mind and body to total stillness. He pulled the covers up over his head just as Heero entered the dark room.

There was a long pause before the door closed and the light on Heero's desk was turned on. "I thought I told you not to go to bed," Heero said in an unhappy tone of voice.

"Yeah?" Duo snapped, flipping the covers off his head as he his eyes opened to glare at the Wing pilot. "Well I kind of got bored waiting for you to haul your ass back here, so deal with it." He then flopped his body over to face the wall.

There was another long, drawn-out pause, allowing Duo to calm down enough so that he could hear past the sound of his blood rushing in his ears to realize by the subtle rusting of fabric, that Heero was undressing.

"You're jealous," Heero stated, his voice sounding amused.

"Shut up."

"There's no reason to be."

"I'm not jealous," Duo insisted indignantly, tightening the covers over his shoulders.

The click of the desk light being turned off was the only sound in the room. Duo defied anyone to be able to hear Wing pilot's movements when he was barefoot, because he sure as hell didn't until Heero whispered next to his ear. "I think you are jealous and I like it."

Turning his head to respond with a smart-ass remark, Duo made a tactical mistake by making his mouth available to the boy whose face was only inches from his own. His lips were immediately seized by Heero's and a dizzying couple of minutes passed before the other boy pulled up, leaving both of them breathing raggedly. Their eyes met. Drinking in each other by the moonlight streaming in through the unshuttered window and clouded only by passion, they both silently sought and asked for more of what was growing between them.

Forgetting his former reticence about his body's physical reaction to Heero, when said pilot tugged at the tightly held covers, Duo let them slip through his fingers. He forgot his earlier insistence that this was wrong as the cool hands began to make themselves acquainted with the bare skin of his chest and back. As his mouth was taken by the other's practiced lips yet again, it slipped his mind that he was upset with his partner for letting Relena manipulate him into doing what she wanted. When one of Heero's hands slipped down the back of his boxers and began to massage and knead the flesh he found there, there was an absence of memory that they were being discrete about their forming relationship. He moaned with abandon and called out the other teen's name as Heero's thigh pressed against his growing erection then moved to slide his leg effortlessly between his thighs. The mission, his inhibitions and all past reservations flew out the dorm window as his boxers were pulled down from his hips, and then the world, the war, the school and even Relena disappeared completely as Heero's experienced hands urged him to passion's edge and over. Gasping deeply for a breath during the moment of sensory overload, Duo experienced sensations, emotional and physical pleasure that he'd never even imagined he'd be sharing with the other boy.

Then, when he came back down from that heady place where Heero had taken him, all the things he'd forgotten or tucked away came slamming back home to his conscience. Remorse and self-loathing accompanied his return to the here and now, as well as a deep sense of confusion and loss. Not knowing what else to do or how to handle the overwhelming feelings and thoughts clashing within his mind, he turned into the other boy's body for comfort and hid his face in against his warm neck and quietly cried as Heero held him tightly and murmured words of comfort to him until at last he finally calmed enough to succumb to sleep.

[ch. 11] [ch. 13] [back to Singles a - k]