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

A Grudging Seduction: Chapter Ten
You Say Goodbye and I Say Hello

Heero was up and the place where he slept had long since gone cold by the time Duo woke the next morning. The braided teen slowly rose from the bed and limped stiffly over to his duffle bag to find some clean clothing. He noticed almost immediately that some of the constant ache and pain from his wounds had lessened, making them a bit more tolerable. Then rummaging through his duffle, he realized with a start that all of his clothing was missing from his bag. Turning his head to take in the immaculate room, he didn't see anything lying around either.

Hobbling to the bedroom door, he flung it open and bellowed, "Heero!" He was answered by silence. Looking back into the bedroom, he noted the clock on the bedside table said it was ten forty seven a.m, his stomach said it was time to eat. With a determined huff, he moved towards the stairs and looked over the banister to observe the area downstairs.

"Heero? Wufei? Man, where is everyone?" Again, only silence came in reply to his queries and it was beginning to become damn annoying.

Clothed only in his wrinkled boxers and t-shirt, Duo made his way down the steep staircase one cautious step at a time, his irritation mounting as he went. Once down, he limped to the kitchen, holding onto any available furniture on the way to help keep his balance.

He vaguely noted that the kitchen was immaculate and devoid of any clutter on the laminate counter top. Without sparing any more thought about it, he went to the refrigerator and opened it, only to find it nearly empty. A half carton of cream, several sticks of celery and carrots were in their respective plastic bags and various condiments were all that was available. With a huff, he forcibly shut the door and moved to the cupboards, finding them in a similar state of emptiness. A long suffering sigh carried him back into the living room where he sat and took up the TV remote. He turned the television on and flipped through the channels for at least ten minutes before the front door to the safehouse opened . Turning his head, he saw Heero enter with an armload of folded clothing. Spying his familiar black clothing in the stack, he gave his friend a berating look.

"I wondered what happened to my things," he said, hoisting himself up from the soft cushions with a bit of effort.

"I realized they were dirty and decided that I would wash them since I was doing laundry anyway," Heero shrugged as he replied, then had to grapple with the large pile to keep it from toppling over from the slight movement. "Besides, I wanted to find some way to thank you for last night."

It was in the middle of that sentence that Wufei walked into the apartment, stopped cold, then raised a questioning eyebrow at Heero's statement. He cleared his throat to get the Wing pilot to move so he could carry the several bags in his arms into the kitchen.

Duo blushed almost crimson at seeing Wufei's reaction, but let the subject drop, slightly afraid that anything he said now in response to Heero's comment would be misconstrued by Wufei to be something other than what it was. Change the subject, his mind told him. "I hope that's food you've got in those bags, Wufei, because I'm in danger of starving here."

"I'll fix some lunch," the Chinese teen said, hurrying faster than usual past Heero and towards the kitchen while keeping his eyes averted in an obvious attempt to avoid meeting those of the other two boys. His quick retreat left the other two pilots alone in the living room once again.

"Well that was awkward," the American said, feeling embarrassed, and reached up his hand to self-consciously to scratch the top of his head. A movement out of the corner of his eye caught his attention and he turned to see Heero moving away from him and towards the stairs that he proceeded to climb, the bundle of clothes still in his arms.

"It's only awkward if you want it to be," the darker haired boy replied quietly as he disappeared up the stairs, leaving Duo little doubt that Heero had offended by his simple comment.

He sighed deeply as he watched Heero disappear. He'd inadvertently messed things up once again and wondered how he was going to make it right with the other boy. One thing was for sure, he couldn't do anything sitting on the couch. He stood up from the padded sofa and hobbled over to the stairs and began the climb to the second floor. He paused at the top of the landing to get his balance, then followed Heero into their bedroom.

As he stood inside the doorway, he watched as Heero moved about, pointedly ignoring him by occupying himself with separating the pile of clothing, putting Duo's neatly folded clothing on the top of his bed. Then returning to his own bed, Heero reached down to pull his well-worn duffle bag out from underneath it and began to put his neatly folded clothing into it.

Duo watched the other pilot with a growing curiosity. There was a dresser in the room and he wondered why Heero wasn't using it. His own clothing hadn't been removed from his own duffle because he hadn't worn anything other than t-shirts and sweat pants over his boxers since he'd arrived. Maybe Heero wasn't planning on staying. "Going somewhere?" he asked, noting Heero didn't even look up from his task as he answered.

"Mission."

"When?"

"Tomorrow."

That seemed suspicious to Duo as the other boy had just returned the day before. They usually took three to four days to recuperate from a mission before taking on another. He couldn't help but think that he might be the reason for Heero's early departure.

"I'm sorry, Heero. I feel like I offended you downstairs."

The other boy continued placing his belongings into the duffle. Duo swallowed hard. Why did he have to start on page one every time he had a mission set back? Father Maxwell's words came back to him again; an old, wise adage that said, 'If at first you don't succeed, try, try again'. That might have to become his new motto with Heero as his mission objective. He walked up to the Wing pilot and put his hand on the middle of his back. "Thank you for doing my laundry. That was really nice of you."

The hands that could bend metal bars paused in their task. "You're embarrassed by the feelings I have for you," the Japanese boy stated, his facial features stiff, though his eyes looked almost crestfallen.

Duo was once again at a pivotal moment in his mission and his budding relationship with Wing's pilot. Be as honest as you can, he told himself a moment before responding. "I don't know how I feel, Heero. I told you, this is new to me. I want to figure out how I feel about this, about us, before the others realize what's happening. Do you really mind keeping this under wraps until I get it sorted out in my head?"

Heero straightened from his task and turned, looking at eye level with the violet-eyed pilot. "I understand being discrete with the public at large because of social prejudices against homosexuals," he replied. "But I don't care if the others know. They're our comrades. Our personal feelings for each other should have no bearing on their interactions with us."

"But what if it does?" Duo countered. "Did you ever think that they might not understand this kind of relationship or want to work with us if they have a problem with it? Did you see Wufei's reaction downstairs? From some of the statements he's made lately, I think he's figured out that something is going on between us. And if you didn't notice, just a simple, innocent statement from you sent him scurrying off to the kitchen. He wouldn't even look at us."

Heero took the two steps that separated them, bringing himself mere inches from the other boy's face. "I'm not ashamed of wanting you, Duo," he stated simply, then closed the distance between them to capture the full lips before him with his own. Strong arms went around the braided teen's waist and back, holding him in place while Heero used all his practiced and adept techniques to weaken the other boy's hesitance along with turning his knees to jelly. He didn't let up or seem satisfied until he heard the Duo moaning with helpless pleasure in his arms.

Duo found himself lost in the kiss that seemed to reach into his body and stir up sensations he didn't know he was capable of. His treasonous body was quick to react to the sensuous kiss, despite the mental whisperings near the surface of his mind reminding him that this wasn't right. Yet the physical responses he was experiencing as a result of Heero's lips on his own were telling him something altogether different. The two of them parted after an undetermined amount of time, each panting breathlessly and hearts racing.

"Shit, Heero." The words were spoken in an awed, shaky voice, because that was all Duo could manage as he looked into the warm blue eyes intently observing his reaction.

"Lunch!" The words were yelled by Wufei from the bottom of the stairs and caused the mood to be broken between them. Duo stepped back, trying to extricate himself from Heero's arms and put some space between them, but Heero's grip on his waist held him firmly in place.

"He's probably afraid to come up here and find us in this kind of position," Duo said blushing, alluding to the fact that they were still standing much too close to each other with their arms draped around the other's body and their lips slightly swollen, telling of their recent activity.

The look on Heero's face clearly showed that he didn't give a damn for what Wufei thought. Rolling his eyes in response to that expression, Duo gave Heero a lopsided grin. "I'm starving. Let's go eat."

He turned to move towards the doorway, noting the other pilot's contact with his body remained in the form of a firm hand resting on his left shoulder. It wasn't overtly announcing Heero's claim on him, but enough of one that it made Duo uncomfortable. He stopped just before exiting the door to look at the other boy, his voice pleading as he spoke. "Please, Heero." He nodded towards the hand touching him possessively on his shoulder.

Heero frowned, but reluctantly nodded. His hand slipped off the braided boy's shoulder and slowly, almost sensuously, trailed down the length of Duo's arm until their fingers touched, and in a movement that seemed strangely natural, their fingers entwined, bringing rough, calloused palms together. With their eyes locked on each other, Heero held their hands that way for just a moment, then let his fingers relax and slowly fall away, releasing his hold. Without another word, he turned and walked out of the room, leaving the braided teen to follow.

Duo took in a deep, strangely shuddering breath and willed himself to calm down, then ordered his body to act normal. Placing his practiced grin on his face, he decided that, after going downstairs again, he would not shy away from Wufei and his piercing, all-seeing gaze. If he did, the Chinese pilots might become even more suspicious of his actions and guess what he was up to, maybe even discovering his duplicitous charade with the unsuspecting Heero. He only had to hold out until tomorrow, when Heero would leave for his mission. Once Heero was gone, he would have some time to get clear his mind and set a course of action towards keeping Heero interested enough to continue fighting and living without compromising his sexual identity completely.

Following after Heero, Duo once again moved with caution as he took the stairs down towards the kitchen and the food waiting below. Halfway down the staircase he stopped, finding himself puzzled about something odd that was happening within himself. There was a definite odd feeling growing inside him, a heaviness of heart that he couldn't quite place. It was a weighted sensation that seemed physical as well as emotional and made him feel decidedly uncomfortable. He paused to wonder at it for a moment, examining where the feeling was coming from. His conscience had been pricked, he decided, and chalked up the heaviness inside himself to his recent bout of lying and his intentions to manipulate Heero by using his attraction towards himself to complete a mission. Manipulating another person, even if it was for their own good, was something he would despise in anyone else. He didn't think he liked himself very much at the moment.

"Duo!" Wufei's voice interrupted his inner turmoil. He decided now wasn't the time to psychoanalyze himself, he'd have to examine the unsettling feeling later and then deal with it. With that course of action decided, he pushed his concerns to the back of his mind, but even then, the heavy feeling didn't go away.

Heero spent the remainder of the day on his laptop and gathering supplies for the next morning when he would leave for his mission. Wufei straightened up after lunch then sat in a corner chair of the living room with a well-worn book. Duo settled himself on the couch and, with the TV remote held possessively in his hand, he surfed the many television stations, commenting frequently to no one in particular on the poor quality of programs and advertising during the day. He groused about how it seemed impossible to have seventy-two channels and still there was nothing to watch.

Wing's pilot took over the preparation of the evening meal and the three pilots discussed the details of Heero's mission, with Duo and Wufei asking a few questions for clarification, then deciding in the long run that the Heero's plans for his mission were solid.

Duo settled into his bed as Heero made use of the bathroom. He pulled his covers up and over his shoulders, then closed his eyes with a sigh with relief; another day had passed well and he was dead-dog tired. He couldn't help but feel pleased about how things in general were going. His body was healing quickly and his long-term mission regarding Heero seemed to be on track. He was grateful to the seemingly enamored pilot for being discrete about his feelings and intentions towards him in front of Wufei since their talk that morning. The afternoon and evening had passed without the strained feelings he felt coming from both Heero and Wufei before and during lunch. Their quiet afternoon spent quietly together had eased any discomfort any of them had felt earlier, for the most part. He had received some rather odd and questioning looks from the Chinese pilot, but Wufei remained silent, not asking the questions that were obviously on his mind.

He yawned deeply and the thought went through his head that tomorrow might prove to be an interesting day. He should really come up with some pat answers for any possible questions Wufei might ask; but frankly, he was just too damn tired to think anymore about it.

As sleep came upon him and the silence in the house deepened along with the darkness, he was unaware of the over head light being shut off, nor the near silent footsteps that padded into the room and came straight to his bed. He did notice, however, when his covers were momentarily drawn back and Heero climbed into bed with him.

"What the?" Duo asked, coming back to wakefulness immediately.

"Would you mind?" Heero asked quietly, pulling the covers back over the both of them. "I need a good night's sleep, without nightmares. Your physical presence last night seemed to help."

What was he supposed to say to that? Duo thought, resigning himself to once again sleeping in the same bed with a boy who desired him in a sexual way. He resisted the urge to groan at the tangled web he'd gotten himself into. Instead, he answered, "Alright, just don't hog the covers. I get cold easily."

There were no words of gratitude given for his generosity. Heero merely turned onto his side and raised Duo's arm up to a point where he could move around it to rest his head on the braided teen's left shoulder, then, moved his upper arm to drape over the injured boy's chest. He placed a chaste kiss on the American's smooth cheek then lay back down. It took a few moments for the both of them to settle comfortably, and several hours after that before Duo joined Heero in his restful sleep.

Heero woke early the next morning and in an amorous mood. His roving hands and fleeting kisses quickly woke Duo up from his sound sleep. The make-out session lasted for a good fifteen minutes before Duo declared a painfully full bladder and made a wobbly but hasty retreat to the bathroom where he told himself that his very present and embarrassing erection was due to waking up and not in response to Heero's sensuous foreplay.

He didn't come out from the bathroom until he heard Heero leave the bedroom and descend the staircase. He quickly hobbled to the shared room and changed into his clothing for the day. He stayed there, basically hiding, until he heard voices below, indicating that Wufei was up and it was safe to go downstairs and face Heero again.

Scrambled eggs and toast was the morning's meal, and the three seemed to enjoy it in relative silence. Duo offered to do the dishes, his reasoning being that the other two had done the majority of the cooking since he'd been brought to the safehouse. Wufei gladly relinquished the job to him, and Heero only paused with a questioning eyebrow raised towards him before he turned and also left the room.

There really weren't many dishes, but Duo lingered within the kitchen as long as possible, not quite knowing how he was going to say goodbye to Heero or the answers he would give to Wufei's expected questions. Everything had to balance. His words, actions, affection and responses all had to be calculated and measured for their effect. He rubbed his slightly aching forehead, never having dreamed a mission intended to keep Heero from self-destructing could be so taxing.

A sound behind him brought the braided teen back to the moment, and sensing it was Heero behind him, he bent stiffly to put away a the last frying pan.

"I'm leaving now," Heero announced abruptly.

Duo turned to give him a smile and observed that Heero was dressed in his usual black shorts and tank top, his choice of clothing for missions. A duffle bag packed with extra clothing, food and an assortment of ammunition and weapons was sitting by his feet. "Kick their royal asses for me," he said, still grinning while Heero advanced on him, coming close enough for Duo to feel the heat of his body against his own. It was obvious to him that Heero wanted a proper goodbye and wasn't going to leave without it.

"Um... Wufei," Duo reminded him in a low voice.

Heero put his fingers against Duo's lips, then quickly replaced them with his own, soundlessly kissing the braided teen. They parted with a slight smack of their lips, and Heero gave the American another one of his knee-faltering smiles, promising so much while saying absolutely nothing at all before he turned and promptly left the room.

Hearing the front door to the safehouse shut behind Heero, Duo let out the breath he'd been holding and leaned back against the counter top, his fingers rising to his lips where the lingering sensation of Heero's kiss was still present and fresh in his mind. He snorted and held back a chuckle, feeling at least somewhat gratified that Heero wasn't into lengthy, flowered-phrased goodbyes. No, instead he'd received a parting typical of Heero Yuy, that being a concise, efficient and perfectly executed farewell kiss. And that last look he shot over his shoulder let Duo know, in no uncertain terms, that he'd be back for more.

[ch. 9] [ch. 11] [back to Singles a - k]