Author: Bane's Desire
Grudging Seduction: Chapter Thirteen
He was mortified, not only by what had happened, but by his loss of control, both physically and emotionally, in front of Heero. He'd always prided himself on his ability to project a persona of being a carefree yet competent person, in control of his own destiny. In reality, he hid his troubled past and his emotional turmoil behind the facade of having a devil-may-care attitude and a practiced through charming smile. Last night he'd come undone, giving Heero a glimpse of his true self, letting him see that sometimes he really didn't have much control over anything, much less himself.
Toying with the idea of sneaking out of bed and the room in order to avoid the awkwardness that was bound to be felt between them when Heero woke up, he quickly discarded the thought. He knew full well that Heero slept like the well-trained soldier that he was, having an almost invisible, mental radar that would wake him up at the slightest disturbance within the area of his hearing. So he lay still for a while longer, contemplating the night before and his loss of control and physical reactions to Heero's touch. He wanted to deny the glaring facts and recent events and cling to the belief that he was a normal, healthy guy who liked girls. He craved normalcy, never having had it, and he had to wonder, with his usual sense of sarcasm, if he had somehow been cursed from his first breath to have misfortune and weirdness as his life-long companions.
He was still contemplating his cursed life when, without thinking, he lifted his hand to rub the crusty matter from his eyes, an after-effect of crying the night before. That memory brought yet another wave of humiliation to him. How could he look Heero in the face after last night? He'd let the other pilot touch him, undress and caress him, then jerk him off. His face grew hot with embarrassment as he recalled calling out Heero's name as he tripped over the edge of orgasmic pleasure.
"Duo?" Heero's voice was soft with concern. "Are you alright?"
The braided teen swallowed down his emotions. "Yeah, I'm fine," he answered, his voice sounding thick and groggy.
He found himself rolled over so that Heero was poised above him, and in the dim morning light, he could see worry etched in the stoic pilot's face. "Did I hurt you last night? Was I too rough?"
Duo assumed from Heero's question that he was somehow trying to understand his emotional breakdown after he'd reached his climax by the other boy's hand. "No, Heero. It wasn't you, it's me. I... I don't think I was ready for that yet." He could feel his face heating further with an embarrassed blush.
"You enjoyed it," Heero stated, his face unemotional but the slight crease between his eyes displayed his continued puzzlement.
"I think that was pretty damn obvious," Duo replied in a disgusted tone and brought his hands up to cover his face and hide his shame, avoiding Heero's penetrating gaze. After a few moments of trying to compose himself, he felt Heero's hands on top of his, gently trying to pry them away from his face and eyes.
"Duo, talk to me. I don't understand."
The mission. Remember the mission, Duo told himself, hoping that reminder alone would center him while so many conflicting emotions roiled within his mind and body. As he felt the damn irritating emotions rising yet again to the surface, he realized that his control over them was being worn away by Heero's tender concern. Resisting the force of Heero's hands on his own, he spoke through the heels of his palms. "Don't you get it, Heero? I thought I was straight. Do you have any idea what it's doing to me to find out that I'm not? That everything I believed about myself, who and what I am, is a lie? You know how much I hate lies, and now I find out I am one. Dammit, Heero," he tried to steady his shaky voice but found as he continued that he couldn't. "I wasn't ready. I can't do this right now. Please, just... just let me get my head together."
The strong hands that worked against his own eased off and then lifted completely, but Duo could sense the steady gaze of his fellow pilot turned what, lover? Boyfriend? What the hell was Heero to him any way? And what exactly was he? Straight or gay?
"Duo, listen to me," Heero began again in a gentle voice, and Duo felt the hair on the top of his head being petted in a manner that was most likely meant to soothe him. "I'm sorry. But I thought because you didn't say no, that you were alright with what we did last night. Maybe you are still straight, still attracted to females. But I would think from your reaction, that you might be bi-sexual. If that is the case, you weren't living a lie. You only found out something new about yourself."
For some reason, that simple re-labeling and rationalization seemed to make the braided teen feel a bit better. He shifted his fingers a bit so he could peek out from between them to look up at his friend, still hovering above him. "Are you bi, Heero?"
An amused smirk came across the Japanese boy's face and he shook his head. "No, I know my preference," he replied with a knowing look on his face.
With a sigh, Duo dropped his hands. "I just can't help feeling weird about this," he said dejectedly.
Heero's eyes studied him for a moment, then he nodded, coming to some inner agreement. "It appears that you do need more time." Their eyes met, and Duo couldn't help but detect a wave of disappoint coming from the other boy as he continued. "Since I took the initiative last night, I'll stand back and wait until you feel you're ready. If, or when you want to resume any physical aspect of this relationship, it will be up to you to make the move. Agreed?"
Duo thought about it for only a moment, feeling a great sense of relief that Heero was leaving the choice up to him. "We're still friends through, right? And you'll promise not to kamikaze on me?"
Heero nodded, and a small twitch of his lips showed Duo he was pleased by the reminder. "And if it won't bother you too much, I'd like to continue sleeping by your side at night, platonically, if you wish. It somehow works to curb the bad dreams."
There was only a moment's hesitation before Duo nodded his agreement. He was still confused and unhappy about his actions the night before, but he had to admit to himself that he'd actually slept very well while pressed against Heero's body.
"It's still early," Heero said with a glance to the bedside table and the alarm clock sitting on top of it. "If we get up now, we'll have time to go over the target's site plans and review the mission's timing before breakfast."
Duo watched as Heero promptly removed himself from the bed and felt an unusual pang of loss from the missing warmth that had been next to him all night long. He sighed, as he watched the other boy, wearing only his boxers, stretch out his arms and yawn, working loose some tight muscles. He admitted to himself that he could appreciate the strong body Heero possessed, including the sleek muscles that were so incredibly strong and yet so tender when they wanted to be. He put the pillow over his face, hoping to keep himself from staring at his roommate, and appreciated the coolness of the fabric on his heated face. He was definitely confused by what he was feeling and also from the way his body reacted to even the sight of Heero's strong, half-naked body.
With his eyes closed and the sight of Heero successfully blocked, Duo's mind returned to the conversation and agreement he'd made with the other boy moments before, and he realized he'd gotten exactly what he'd wanted all along; an agreement from Heero to not self destruct while keeping himself safe from his fellow pilot's advances. So why was he experiencing a feeling of being let down? He definitely wasn't jumping around, elated by the agreement, and wondered if his lack of excitement was due to the knowledge that he'd disappointed Heero by putting a hold on their growing physical relationship, something Heero had clearly wanted. He knew for certain that he didn't want to hurt the other pilot, but he just couldn't give in or do anything more at the moment. He was just too confused to be making life-changing decisions. He continued for a few moments to analyze and dissect his feelings and recognized the fact that there lingered within him a malaise about the whole situation that nagged at his mind and tugged at his heart.
The long-haired boy lifted the pillow from off his head and turned his eyes to find Heero once again and thoughtfully tracked his movements as he finished his stretching and walked to his closet. Once there, the messy haired boy removed his neatly hung-up school uniform for the day and set them on his undisturbed bed.
Thinking of the night before once again, Duo recalled Heero's actions and knew the other boy had been both tender and giving towards him, trying to make his first attempt at male-to-male intimacy an enjoyable one. As the events flashed through his mind, it suddenly dawned on him that while he had been sexually satisfied the night before, Heero hadn't been. He'd broken down into an emotional wreck and hadn't done anything to ease Heero's discomfort as he probably should have. He now clearly recalled the feel of Heero's answering erection through his boxers and resting against his thigh the night before and had mixed feelings about the fact that Heero had ignored his own need in order to comfort him. The mere thought that Heero had considered his needs over his own warmed the braided boy's heart considerably towards Wing's pilot. He continued to openly watch Heero as he began to dress for the day, and felt a sudden need to give him something in return for his kindness towards him during his moment of weakness.
"Heero?" Duo called out softly, causing the other boy to look up from buttoning his white shirt. "I think you were right last night. I was jealous."
A soft smile graced the handsome face of the Japanese teen. "There's no need to be," he replied, then with that pleased grin lingering, he continued with the chore of dressing for the day.
Several days went by with the two pilots slipping into their daily routine as if nothing of an intimate nature had happened between them. They attended classes, interacted with other students while keeping mostly to themselves whenever possible and avoided confrontations with Relena as much as they could.
But the girl was relentless.
"Kazou!" Relena's voice was sharp with disapproval as she angrily approached the dark haired boy at his locker.
With a forced, patient-weary sigh, the dark blue eyes turned to her. "What do you want?" He asked irritably.
"I want to know why you've been avoiding me," she demanded as she planted herself in front of him, her eyes expressing her anger.
"I think the answer would be obvious," he replied with an indifferent tone of voice.
"Why?" she persisted.
"Relena, we've discussed this several times," Heero said, his eyes darting around to see if anyone was listening to their conversation. There was a lot of noise and chatter going on around them so that it didn't seem possible for anyone to casually overhear what they were saying. Nevertheless, he lowered his voice further as he said, "We're on a mission and you're endangering it."
"That's ridiculous," she argued.
Heero knew it was useless to speak any further to the girl as she could only understand her own point of view and was not open to anyone else's. So instead of continuing on in a redundant debate, he shut his locker door, turned and walked away from her.
He only got about three feet before she latched onto his arm and smiled determinably up at him.
"It almost seems as if you prefer Duo's company to mine," she said with a teasing smile that didn't quite match the serious look in her eyes.
"He's my partner and watches my back," Heero replied, trying to ignore her. If wishes came true, he thought, the girl hanging on his arm would be transported to Neptune where there were no shuttles to bring her back. He didn't really dislike the girl, but she was a danger to the mission as well as to his and Duo's life with her constant interference. He decided to try being patient with her, again, hoping she'd eventually get the hint and leave him alone.
"It amazes me that you seem to prefer the company of someone with a less than desirable background," Relena continued, despite the frostiness in the air between the two young people. "And you seem to have made him your closest friend," she added, her voice remaining in a polite conversational tone. "I've had a background check done on him, you know, and though sketchy, it appears he's led a most undesirable life."
Heero stopped short in the middle of the hallway to glare at her. "Are you judging him as a person because of the colony he grew up on?"
Relena's back stiffened at Heero's accusation. "Surely you know what they say about the people from L-2, Heero. Most of them live on the streets, are uneducated, lawless and lack any form of cleanliness and manners. They're involved in all types of criminal behavior including prostitution, gangs, thievery, murder and rape. The list of abhorrent crimes go on and on for those that live on that colony, and it seems that Duo is no exception to the rule."
Heero gripped the girl's arm and forcefully moved her from the center of the busy corridor to the left side, pinning her uncomfortably to the wall. His eyes bore into her with such intensity that Relena finally got it that he was not pleased by her analysis of L-2 and its citizens. "What exactly are you accusing Duo of?" Heero hissed.
A little intimidated now by the gundam pilot's reaction to her newfound knowledge, Relena felt a bit reluctant to go on, but the pinched grip on her arm forced her to continue. "My sources traced Duo to an orphanage. He's also on public record as being a street urchin, having lived on the streets before his stay in the orphanage, and he's got a record with the L-2 security force's as a thief and a member of a gang. And some of those unfortunates in his gang were known to be prostitutes. Unofficially, the authorities on that god-forsaken colony believe Duo had something to do with the orphanage he lived in being destroyed by the Alliance. It wasn't clear what part he played in the unfortunate incident, but he's the only one who survived. That's very suspicious, if you ask me. He might have turned them in for something or done some illegal activity that brought the authorities to the hospital the orphanage."
"You don't know anything about Duo other than vague reports and speculation," Heero ground out between his clenched teeth. "I think it would be best for you not to judge someone unless you've lived as they have. L-2 is a far cry from how a pampered daughter of a government official has lived. And I, for one, prefer the company of a so-called 'street urchin' to a princess."
Abruptly letting go of her arm, Heero turned and marched off, leaving Relena standing alone amidst a sea of other students, with a look of disbelief and hurt on her face. Though Heero wasn't aware of it, the slowly the expression on her face changed, and was replaced by eyes that were narrowed with scorn. "We'll see about that, Heero," she muttered under her breath. "I'll show you the difference between my true worth and Duo's." With her head held high she proceeded with practiced poise down the hallway to her next class with a determined look lingering in her eyes.
Duo abruptly stormed into their shared dorm room with a snarl on his face and forcefully slammed the door behind him. "What the hell is she telling them?" he asked his roommate, anger sparking in his narrowed eyes as they focused on the boy squatting down on the floor.
Heero looked up from studying the base plans that were spread out on the floor and calmly answered, "What does it matter? The mission will be over soon and we'll leave a few days after that."
"It matters because they're all looking at me as if I have horns on my head, cloven hooves and a barbed tail. I haven't done anything to deserve that kind of treatment, so I can only guess it's Relena's fault."
Heero absently shrugged one shoulder. "Like I said, it doesn't matter in the long run."
Duo eyed the other boy suspiciously. "You know, don't you? You know and you're not telling me. What the hell is that all about?"
Heero sighed, then turned to look up at the angry boy standing above him. "Someone asked me if I was bothered by sharing my room with a prostitute."
"A what?" The braided teen shouted, his eyes wide with a horrified expression on his face. "Who asked you that? Dammit, I'll pull their tongue right out of their head when I get my hands on them."
"Calm down." Heero's advised, his voice firm and authoritative.
"People shouldn't go around saying things like that about other people," Duo continued as he threw down his backpack and angrily jerked off his blazer and flung it with considerable force onto his bed.
"Who cares what they say," Heero said, standing and moving towards his roommate.
"I care," Duo snapped back angrily. "You don't know, Heero. You didn't come from where I lived, where turning tricks was one of the last resorts the street people, especially kids, turned to when they got too hungry to care about anything but the pain in their empty bellies. Have you ever been so hungry that a corpse looked tempting as your next meal? Have you any idea how painful it is to starve to death?" The deep blue eyes were anguished looking as the braided boy's demeanor changed from anger to profound sadness. "It's horrible and it's hell," he whispered. "I'd only wish that kind of torture on the leaders of the Alliance so they could really know what the embargos they imposed on L-2 did to my colony's people. I had friends who would do almost anything a john wanted just for the promise of a meal."
Heero studied the braided teen and noted the increase of his respiratory rate, the redness of his cheeks and the excess moisture glittering in his haunted-looking eyes. If what Duo had told him in the past few weeks was correct, Heero knew the American didn't fall into the trap of selling his body for food. "How did you escape that fate, Duo?" He asked, his voice remaining even and without criticism.
The Deathscythe pilot looked Heero in the eye to see no sign of judgment or condemnation in his steady gaze. He shook his head, sadness lining his face and eyes. "The head of our gang of kids, Solo, refused to let any of us to turn tricks," he said and shrugged. "Not that any of us wanted to."
"Then how did you obtain food?"
"Solo," Duo choked on the name and he pursed his lips together in an attempt to gain some control over his emotions before he continued. In a steadier voice he began again. "He was older than the rest of us and my memory tells me he was handsome. He went out at night when things were really bad and the little ones were crying from the pain in their bellies. He always brought back food. When a couple of us discovered him turning tricks, we confronted him. It didn't seem right that he should have to do something that he forbid us from doing. He argued with us that it was better for just one of us to take the risks and humiliation so that the rest could be safe."
A long stretch of silence filled the room before Heero took the last few steps that separated him from the sad-looking boy. Reaching out his hand, he brushed the back of his fingers over Duo's soft, smooth cheek, absently noting the perfection of the other boy's complexion. "It wouldn't have mattered to me if you were one, if you'd had to prostitute yourself in order to survive."
Duo's eyes fixed onto Heero's and a frown formed on his face as he snidely replied, "That's right, some of your best experiences were with prostitutes. Did you ever think about the fact that they might have been forced by circumstances to accept pay from a perverted old geezer to seduce a kid?"
Before he could continue with some more scathing comments, Heero interrupted him by saying, "I knew gentleness and kindness from those who were sent to my room. I never looked on them as anything other than being teachers who taught me what I needed to learn in a compassionate manner that I rarely experienced from anyone else. They became the only pleasant memories I have of my training."
It was like having the air knocked out of him when Duo recognized the sincerity of Heero's words from the look displayed on his face, which had softened considerably. He realized that Heero's training must have been hell in order for him to think fondly of those who had serviced him. "You really wouldn't care, would you, if I'd turned tricks?"
"Would it make you less desirable?" Heero asked with a soft voice, then shook his head in answer to his own question. "Less breathtaking?" His fingers again stroked the soft cheek as he again shook his head. "A less talented pilot, the crack shot or computer whiz that you are?" A small smile graced his face. "No, I like you for who you are, no matter how you got to this point."
Duo had never heard more beautiful words in his life than what his teammate had just said to him. And Heero meant every word, he could see it in the steadfast gaze that was focused on him, probably to gage his reactions. Stepping forward, he threw his arms around the other boy and held his body fast against him. "Thank you, Heero," he said in a strained whisper. "You have no idea how much that means to me." In response, the Wing pilot brought his arms up to firmly encircle the slender body that was pressed tightly against him.
They stood that way for several moments before they simultaneously took a step back from each other. Heero looked at the braided teen and pushed some of the long errant strands of hair back behind one ear. "Don't worry about what rumors might say about you," he spoke quietly. "We both know they're not true and we'll never have to see these people again after we complete our mission."
Duo nodded, still feeling angry about the rumors circulating about him, but he knew Heero was right. "So are we ready for tonight?" he asked.
Heero nodded. "You better get your homework done. In case OZ manages to catch sight of us and comes to the school looking for suspects. We don't want to draw any attention to ourselves with assignments not turned in tomorrow. It's imperative that we act like normal students, fearful of a bad grade reported to our parents."
"Do you ever wish that was our only concern, Heero?" Duo asked, his manner more subdued and thoughtful. "That we had parents to please and that our grades were all that really mattered?"
The Wing pilot paused before nodding his head. "It doesn't change anything, but sometimes I have wished for such things."
Duo suddenly experienced the urge to embrace Heero again, to hold him tightly and to be held in return, sensing there was safety in the other boy's strong arms. The need to connect physically with the other pilot was almost too much to deny. Yet the boy from L-2 forced himself to hold back, recognizing that he was feeling extremely needy at the moment and, having learned from a long line of past hurts and disappointments, his sense of self-preservation fought against him wanting anything as badly as he wanted to be close to Heero at the moment. He managed a nod at the other pilot, offered him a shaky smile, then picked up his backpack and went to his desk, his anger from the circulating rumors diminishing enough for him to do the required school work.
The city buses in Kyoto stopped running at ten p.m, so the two teens who had successfully snuck out of their dorm room, took a taxi to the sister city, Kasatsu, and had the taxi driver take them to a popular movie theater one mile short of the factory that was their target. They walked the rest of the way carrying their surveillance equipment in their school backpacks and were careful to keep to the shadows as much as possible to avoid any curious eyes that might later be able to identify them. They were grateful that the night wasn't cold and that their light jackets would be enough to keep them warm during the night out. They crossed the bridge that stretched over the tip of the protected bay and made their way to the industrial parkway where Messato, the factory that was their target, was located.
They hid within the shadows of a neighboring building, behind large shipping crates, and studied the large rectangular, metal structure from a distance, using the night goggles they'd brought to observe the perimeter. Duo took notes, jotting down details and sketching the location of the entrances and windows and listing the more obvious routine security arrangements.
Just before midnight, a group of roughly thirty workers, all dressed in matching orange jumpsuits, approached the building and lingered about the southern entrance. The red-glowing ends of many lit cigarettes moved slowly in the smokers' hands as the employees chatted amiably together while they waited for the shift change. Then precisely at midnight, a loud metallic click was heard from the metal door facing the water and a slew of eager employees, dressed in the same orange jumpsuits, flowed out nosily from the building and as quickly as possible. As soon as the entire group had finished exiting, the midnight shift of workers began to enter, ready to begin their night's work.
The two boys sat close together, crouched down in the shadows while sharing some of their body heat to combat the cool breeze that had come up off the water, as they watched the plant throughout the night. After hours of observing the nocturnal comings and goings of the company's employees, they determined that the four rotating guards, keeping watch on the outside of the building, were definitely OZ soldiers disguised in private security clothing. The most obvious giveaway was their movements, each man bore the posture and comportment that marked them as trained soldiers, and their rotation around the exterior of the plant was on a precise time schedule that followed military standards.
Duo wrote down the exact time the main door opened, three times in all, allowing the employees out for two breaks and a half hour lunch. Other than that, the only thing of interest was the arrival of a boat at approximately three a.m. It approached the dock slowly, floating on the inky water though the dark of night, its engine powered down with the lights dimmed as it approached the dock adjacent to the plant. The small craft's captain, suspiciously dressed all in black and wearing a beanie over his head, disembarked and secured the boat. Without any formality or greeting with the exterior guards, the man approached the keypad next to the door, entered the security code and disappeared into the guarded factory.
The boat remained unattended for approximately twenty minutes before the same man exited the factory carrying several large boxes in his arms. He brought them to his boat and promptly set the lot down in the back of it. After watching him make three trips to the factory and back again, each time laden with several boxes, the man jumped into the boat and it instantly rumbled to life again. Then slowly, without any sign of hurry, it floated gently out into the bay to disappear into the darkness.
The two hidden teens looked at each other, exchanging curious glances. "What do you think that was about?" Duo asked.
Heero merely shrugged, then turned back to the night goggles to continue his study of the area surrounding the factory.
At the first hint of the approaching morning light, when the black of night eased into a shade of dark gray, the two teenagers, now chilled from sitting near the waterfront for too long, made their way back to the school and snuck into their dorm room just as other students were beginning to wake up to their new day. They huddled together in Duo's bed and under all the covers available in the room in an effort to warm up. Through the chattering of teeth, they decided that they'd wear warmer clothing when they returned to the target site later that night.
Duo made it through the first two classes of the day without too much difficulty, but when a lecture on the industrialization of ancient Japan droned on, his head found its way to his arms, folded on his desk, and he promptly fell fast asleep. By lunch he'd received two written referrals and was facing at least one after-school detention. He skipped lunch and left the busy corridors to seek his room and ultimately his bed, only to find Heero walking behind him.
"What are you doing?" Wing's pilot asked, his voice barely above a whisper.
"Taking a nap," Duo mumbled. "I can't keep my eyes open any longer."
"You can't skip class. You'll draw attention and maybe suspicion to yourself."
The braided teen turned with exasperation clearly etched on his tired face. "Kids get sick at school all the time, Heero. It's normal for everyone, I guess, except us. Just tell the nurse that I went to my room with a stomach ache. What are they going to do, put a mark against my perfect attendance record?"
The door to the room was unlocked and Duo withdrew his key and entered their shared living space. Dropping his back pack to the floor and toeing off his shoes, he moved forward and collapsed onto his bed where sleep was well on its way to capturing him.
"You get cranky when you're tired," Heero observed in a matter-of-fact voice.
"Later, Heero." Duo yawned, dismissing the other boy in order to give into his exhaustion.
Heero stood in the same spot for several moments, watching the other boy and noting Duo's breathing as it evened out and slowed. He thought it utterly amazing how quickly the American could fall asleep. Taking a few cautious steps forward, he continued to eye the other pilot, taking in the fact that his trim and slender body looked good in his school uniform. It occurred to Heero that no matter what Duo wore, he always made it is own and managed to look ... appealing, even the strange jodhpur-style pants he wore on missions were strangely attractive on him. He made a mental note to himself to have the braided teen explain his odd choice of mission clothing one day. He continued to study the handsome face, softened now in sleep, and thought to himself that Duo was very attractive, almost beautiful. And despite the issued warnings and caution given by Dr. J and his other trainers at the beginning of the war, to keep himself unattached and emotionally distant regarding his missions and any personal entanglements, he wanted the Deathscythe pilot as a friend and as a lover. And as he looked down upon the unaware and sleeping boy, a surge of affection for him flowed through him. He knew that he wouldn't give up trying to win the Deathscythe pilot until Duo Maxwell was his; heart, body and soul.
He bent at the waist and placed a gentle kiss on the sleeping boy's warm cheek. It was all he would allow himself until Duo took the next step in their relationship, that is if he made it. If he was going to succeed in making Duo Maxwell his lover, he had to move slowly, methodically and with great care for the other boy's confused feelings. For his final goal wasn't just to have Duo as a lover for the short term. No, he had decided while getting to know the attractive, cinnamon-haired teen that he wanted more from Duo than just a war-time lover. He wanted the American as his companion for as long as he continued to exist. He just had to consider carefully what course of action to take in convincing Duo that he wanted the same thing too. Another quick kiss to the other boy's brow, and Heero turned and moved to his own bed, deciding to take a twenty minute nap before going to the head nurse with an excuse for Duo's absence from school.
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