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

A Grudging Seduction: Chapter Two
Getting To Know You

The move to the private high school took a total of three days. The gundams were hidden in a large, commercial warehouse, located and paid in full ahead of time by Dr. J, while G had registered the two highly sought after freedom fighters, labeled on Earth as terrorists, as cousins. The many registration papers for the highly esteemed and prestigious Milmont Academy reported the two boys were related, linked by blood through their mothers and requested the two room together. An attached letter from Mr. Hitto Yung, a purportedly very successful businessman from Colony L-1, requested that his son, Hiiro Yung, described to be introverted and shy, share a room with his more gregarious cousin, Duncan Maxcell, as it would benefit the reticent boy to have the close association with a familiar relative in a new environment. It was a request happily and readily granted by the school when a generous donation came from the boys' families towards the construction of a new library on campus in addition to the already steep tuition fee.

It was late afternoon by the time the two teens found their dorm room and began to unpack their new uniforms from the large shopping bags they'd carried in with them and street clothes from their duffle bags.

"It cost as much to buy these fancy duds as it would be to feed half of L-2's population," Duo groused unhappily under his breath as he tossed the bags onto his bed. "There ought to be a law against clothing, just plain old cotton, being that expensive. Cotton is cotton and school shirts and pants are just that. Paying that many credits for them is nothing shot of being criminal. Don't you think necessities like these should be regulated by the government?"

"This is an upper class school, Duo," Heero answered in a bored tone of voice. "If anything here was inexpensive the students would probably complain about the lack of quality." He sniffed in a dismissive manner. "There's not much we can do about that." He turned with a shrug and pulled his toiletries out of his duffel. "So don't waste any energy worrying about something you can't change."

Duo tossed his empty duffle bag across the room in the direction of the closet. "Hell, Heero, if I thought that way, I'd still be living out of trash cans on L-2," he shot back.

Wing's pilot didn't turn around to look at him as he put his socks in a drawer and continued on with what he was saying, ignoring Duo's brief outburst. "Besides, changing an economic system in any government is a massive undertaking. If, in a democratic society, it came down to a public vote to change the way consumer goods are valued, we probably wouldn't be old enough to vote, our opinions wouldn't be validated."

"That's right," the braided teen sounded sarcastic as he canted his head to the side and put his hands on his hips. "We can pilot gundams from the colonies to Earth and fight for their freedom, destroy military sites worth millions, sometimes billions of credits and risk our lives in dog fights with other mobile suits, but we can't vote or legally drink. What kind of a crazy place is this earth sphere anyway?"

Heero looked over his shoulder in time to see other boy fall backwards onto his bed, flopping down bonelessly to lay sprawled there, a crooked grin plastered on his face. Duo was being facetious, but his comments were not too far off the mark. He noted the L-2 pilot's usual style of humor tended to be filled with sarcasm and truthfully, he was still having a hard time trying to understand and fully appreciate it. He ignored the question asked by the other boy, understanding that Duo wasn't really looking for an answer.

"Wanna try the cafeteria for dinner or order out for some pizza?"

Heero was silently grateful for the change of subject and zipped up his empty duffle. "I don't have a preference. But if we eat in the cafeteria we can check out the school and get a feel for the students."

Duo sighed, clearly disappointed with Heero's suggestion. "You're right," he agreed with a sigh. "But maybe later we can take a walk into town and get some ice cream or catch a movie. I'd like to enjoy being back in civilization after a couple of weeks playing Daniel Boone."

"Who?"

"History, Heero? Remember Daniel Boone? An American frontiersman that lived in the wilds of Kentucky? In a cabin?" Duo smiled as a light of understanding finally lit Heero's face.

"I get it."

Duo's smile got bigger. "I knew you were smarter than the average terrorist."

Heero shook his head, the slight smile on his face showed that he was amused by the other boy's banter. He noticed the small action was caught by the American who looked more than pleased with himself for some reason.

+

The braided teenager watched as his mission assignment walked to the closet and put both of the black leather bags neatly inside. All in all, he was pleased with the progress he was making in gaining Heero's friendship. The Japanese boy was definitely more relaxed than he'd ever seen him before and seemed less irritated with his presence. He felt the stirring of true feelings of friendship forming, taking the place of their previous status of being merely dependable comrades. He'd set one of his goals for the coming week to getting Heero to laugh out loud. He'd seen more than one glimpse of a smile on the face his Japanese friend, and he decided it looked pretty damn nice. It took the harshness out of the otherwise handsome face and made the Japanese boy look more like a regular teenager, though neither he nor Heero could ever make that claim. Once he'd seen that reluctant smile tugging at Heero's lips, Duo had his mind set on seeing it grow and blossom into a full blown laugh. Laughter, after all, was good for building friendships.

The two boys worked closely together for the next five days, scouting out the location of the base that was their designated target, going to classes during the day and dealing with the social interactions that was part of a private school while planning for the base's destruction when the lights went out in the dorms each night. The longer Duo spent in Heero's presence, the more comfortable he became with the stoic and serious teen. He studied Wing's pilot carefully, looking for things the other boy liked and what he disliked; the latter of which happened to be the cafeteria's poor attempt at macaroni and cheese. In their rare moments of down time, Duo worked at coaxing that elusive smile or bits of personal information from his partner, succeeding much more than he previously had thought possible.

After several days of taking mental notes, Duo came to the conclusion that even though he and Heero seemed as different as day and night, they both shared the common goal and the same determination to destroy the military regime that had cruelly oppressed the colonies for decades. With that unified goal, shared with the other gundam pilots, he was certain that eventually their victory would come to fruition by successfully taking OZ out by completing one mission at a time, taking down one base at a time, and even killing one man in one mobile suit at a time. The more he studied Heero and his methods, he could see why Dr. J put such importance on Heero's life. He did fit the mold of the perfect soldier.

Since their first inauspicious meeting, Duo made careful observations of Heero's performance and tactics on and off the battlefield. In doing so, he determined early on that their approach and style for carrying out their assigned missions were definitely dissimilar from each others. He noticed over time that Heero was methodical to the point of being obsessive as far as planning and executing his missions were concerned. It was almost as if he choreographed his movements for the task he was undertaking. He was always prepared, mentally alert and physically able, and took into consideration every possible scenario that might occur while engaged in battle or in an infiltration.

In comparison, Duo knew he was anything but the perfect soldier. He tended to react more emotionally with regards to his own day to day living as well as reactions during a battle. He jumped head first into both life and his mission assignments without much forethought. And when it came to battling his enemy, he exercised an almost desperate need to wipe out everything that represented the Alliance and now Oz. He somehow felt that by destroying them, he could eradicate the pain of his past and give peace to the restless souls of those he cared about, who had died at the hands of a brutal government and who often haunted his dreams.

It came as a surprise to him when he realized that since he'd begun working with Heero, he'd unwittingly altered his usual style of approaching an altercation in school and in mission planning by toning down some of his normal recklessness to balance with Heero's more restrained personality and anal planning. He was pleasantly surprised that Heero, too, allowed some slack in doing thing his own way and had actually begun to listen to him as he gave some of his own sometimes unconventional ideas for the mission. So far, their new system of planning and compromising seemed to be working for the both of them and balanced their differing styles into what he hoped would be an effective working team.

During those days spent at the upper-class school, Duo continued thinking and acting on his mission regarding Heero and, with a lingering reluctance, he attempted to draw Heero closer to a more physical relationship by using every opportunity available to have some sort of physical contact with his friend. He'd been told by Heero once before that in his culture, physical touch, especially by strangers, was not comfortable nor acceptable. Personal space was to be respected. Duo knew he would have to breech that particular barrier if he was to have any type of a physical relationship with Heero. And so he set out with a plan, drawn up in his mind with an goal to accustom Heero to accepting his touch. So he began with a casual arm slung around the strong, usually stiff shoulders, a friendly jab in the ribs as he joked with him, an attempt at finding a ticklish spot on the lean, muscled body, and his leaning against the sturdy boy as they studied assignments or data. The methodical touching was just some of the ways he hoped to establish some physical closeness with Heero.

At first, the friendly touching was done warily. Duo wasn't sure of Heero's response to the increasing breach of the very private boy's personal space. Heero's reaction was somewhat predictable. His body often became rigid at his initial attempts at being touched and was followed by a glare of warning that was shot his way. Duo simply ignored it and proved to be relentless in his tactics.

To the braided boy's relief, no knock-down punches were thrown, though he was pushed off and away several times. After several days, it appeared that Heero had finally given up and accepted his overly friendly touch. He voiced his belief that such constant physical contact seemed to be due to some quirk in Duo's strange emotional makeup. Remembering Heero saying that, Duo couldn't help the smirk that grew on his face. His mission plans were moving along, though slowly, but with some measured success as Heero appeared to accept him, first as a friend and now his touch. He was inordinately pleased that his friendship with Heero was growing along with the more frequent smiles and personal contact. 'Yep', he said to himself, 'the mission is coming along nicely.'

On the night scheduled for their mission, the two boys returned to their dorm room after the evening meal. Their homework was completed for their morning classes, which they would attend no matter how tired they might be in order to give them an alibi for the night's absence should they need one. Their equipment was packed for the mission and they dressed silently in their black surveillance clothing. They retired early to their beds, intent on resting for several hours until the time they were scheduled to leave. Heero seemed to settle quickly, but as usual, the ability to relax or sleep right before a mission eluded the braided teenager. He'd always experienced an upset stomach before his missions, a result of nervous tension, a term Howard had come up with as a label for his condition. His stomach was tight and as tense as the taunt muscles in his neck and shoulders, and try as he would, he couldn't force himself to relax. After shifting several times, trying to find a more comfortable position, Heero's slightly irritated voice barked out from the other side of the room.

"What's the matter?"

"I'm too tense to sleep. I need to pace or just... do something." Duo's tight voice revealed his state of frustration.

A slight rustling sound came from Heero's direction and Duo turned his head to see the other boy's shadowed form coming towards him. "If you can't rest, you'll be too tired to perform with optimum efficiency tonight."

"I can't force myself to sleep," Duo snapped back, irritated. His eyes widened as Heero perched himself on the side of his bed.

"Turn over."

The braided boy stiffened. "What do you mean?"

"Roll over onto your stomach and I'll help you relax."

Swallowing hard while worrying over what Heero was going to do, Duo complied, placing his face against the pillow with his hands tucked under it. He couldn't help the involuntary flinch of his skin when Heero's hands touched his clothed back.

"Relax your shoulders," Heero said, his voice low.

Using all his powers of concentration, Duo tried to comply to the best of his ability. Then the strong and calloused hands began to massage the tightly bunched muscled back in small, circular movements. Heero's palms pressed down firmly into the tense muscles, painfully loosening them up. Duo found the experience to be both uncomfortable and pleasurable and a slight moan escaped his lips as taut muscles gave way under the talented hands. He didn't know how long the massage lasted with Heero working up and down his back, then on his neck and shoulders, but during the process he mentally gave way to completely trusting Heero and as a result, became extremely relaxed and sleepy. By the time Heero pulled those wonderful, talented hands away, Duo felt almost boneless, and speaking slightly incoherently, he mumbled his thanks to his friend and promptly fell asleep.

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