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

A Grudging Seduction: Chapter Eight
One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

The next two days passed with relative ease. Both teens returned to their previous relationship with each other, though now it was a bit more friendly and comfortable. Their routine continued, including Heero changing Duo's bandages and putting Wufei's ointment on the healing skin twice a day. The braided boy couldn't help but notice how Heero's hands lingered on his skin, how his touch was gentle and that he was apologetic for even the smallest amount of pain or discomfort his doctoring caused. He found it a natural reaction for his body to tense when Heero's fingers first touched his skin as they began their chore, but the practiced and knowing hands always eased him into a state of relaxation until the other boy's touch became welcomed and even comforting.

It was in the evening on the sixth night of their stay in the safehouse that Duo found out just what Heero's intentions towards him were. Thinking he had convinced the other boy to put aside any notion of a physical relationship, Duo was startled to look up from the sink where he'd just spit out his toothpaste, to see in the mirror's reflection that Heero was standing silently behind him. The other boy's deep blue eyes were blazing with a strange intensity as they met his own in the reflected glass. He found himself at a loss for words as Heero stepped closer and reached a hand up to push aside a thick strand of hair, still damp from his recent shower, from off his neck and bent his head to gently nuzzle his bare shoulder. The teasing lips proceeded to move slowly up his pale, slender neck, causing him to hold his breath.

Closing his eyes, Duo thought about how good the sensation of Heero's mouth on his bare skin felt. He could feel the soft lips press small, almost ghosting kisses against his damp flesh, and the warm tongue that came out of Heero's mouth pressed suggestively against his rapidly beating pulse. Finding himself tilting his head to give Heero even more access, the long haired boy mentally caught himself as his body began to respond.

"Wait, Heero. We talked about this," he managed to say in a low and slightly strangled voice.

"What if I gave you my word, an oath?" Heero said, his lips moving upward towards Duo's jaw.

Feeling slightly dazed with the sensations Heero was causing within his head and body, Duo replied rather torpidly, "An oath? About what?"

"What if I promise not to self destruct anymore? What if I said I wanted to live? Could I then be someone you would want to become emotionally attached to?"

Duo's mind registered the fact that this was it, the moment when he could "bind" Heero to himself like Dr. J ordered, by having Heero's pledge. His mission would be accomplished just by the acceptance of his oath. But what of the payoff? Heero was stating a willingness to change his belief in the value of his own worth in order to get him into his bed. Shit! "Heero, I..."

Whatever he was going to say was cut off when the distant sound of the front door opening and then quickly closing came to their ears, causing Heero to step back, his eyes shooting towards the open bathroom door and his hand moving towards the gun sticking out of the waistband of his jeans.

"Anyone here?" Wufei's voice called out, allowing the two to relax slightly after they recognized who it was that had entered the safehouse.

"Upstairs," Heero answered and gave Duo a slightly apologetic glance before leaving the room. The long-haired boy let out the breath he'd been holding and slumped forward to grab hold of the sink, flooded with relief. Saved by the bell, so to speak, he told himself. But he knew Heero wouldn't let this go. He clasped the sides of the porcelain sink tightly and shook his head in disbelief. He was supposed to be the one seducing Heero, the one calling the shots, but the other pilot was now the one making the advances. How the hell did he get himself into these situations?

Limping heavily from the bathroom, the braided teen made his way back to his bed and, still aware of his aching wounds, slipped off his towel and gingerly put on his boxers and a loose t-shirt to ward off some of the chill in the room. He sat on the edge of his bed and began to separate and braid his already brushed hair. While doing to, he studied with disgust the dark brown healing scabs on the exposed skin of his right leg and arm, knowing from looking in the mirror moments before, that his face and right side looked just as bad. How could Heero be putting the moves on him when he looked so... mangy?

"How are you feeling?" Duo jumped at the unexpected sound of Wufei's voice and looked up to see the Chinese pilot standing in the doorway of his bedroom looking battered and worn out.

"Better," Duo replied, motioning the other boy into the room, then slipped the elastic band off his wrist and wrapped it around the end of his braid and flipped the rope of hair over his shoulder. "How about you?"

"Tired," Wufei stated the obvious as he limped into the room with a definite exhausted slump to his shoulders.

"Wanna talk about your mission?"

"No, not really."

Sitting on the bed's edge, next to the long haired boy, Wufei looked aside at him. "You and Yuy getting along all right?"

Duo looked questioningly at the other pilot, wondering what brought that question up. "Yeah, he's been a regular Nurse Nancy."

Wufei gave him a half smile and Duo chuckled.

The Chinese pilot never could figure out the American's humor half the time, so he let it go in order to observe the other boy. "You're healing well," he stated after his visual appraisal of his condition was completed.

Duo snorted. "Yeah, just call me Scab Boy."

"I think Scab suits you just fine." Wufei offered a tired smile. "You always shorten everyone's name, so your new one should be shortened also," he explained. "Scab," he teasingly taunted.

"Woof," Duo barked like a dog with a grin on his face. He promptly found his braid pulled. "Hey!" he complained and reached back with his undamaged arm to snatch the poor excuse for a ponytail the Chinese boy always wore. His attempt was thwarted when Wufei anticipated the move and leapt to his feet, placing himself out of touching range.

"I'm off to bed," Wufei said with a chuckle, then turned towards the door only to see Heero standing there with a deep frown on his face. "Something wrong?" he asked.

"I made you a sandwich. It's on the kitchen table," Heero informed him, and stepped into the room so that Wufei could easily pass through the door.

"Thank you," the Shenlong pilot answered, a bit wary of the change in Heero's disposition from when he'd greeted him at the foot of the stairs moments before. He gave a questioning glance back to Duo, catching the other boy's eye. Duo gave him a slight shrug, obviously not knowing what was going on either.

"Night Woof-fei," Duo called out after him, and Chinese boy was able to catch sight of the L-2 teen's teasing smile a brief moment before the door was abruptly shut in his face. With a huff of exasperation, he turned and went towards the stairs, hoping Heero made something other than the Wing pilot's favorite sandwich consisting of a large stack of sardines, topped with mustard and placed between two pieces of bread. Even the thought of it had him swallowing with distaste.

Duo waited until he heard Wufei's footsteps start down the stairs before he spoke. "Uh, what was that about?" he asked, regarding the odd exchange, shifting nervously on the bed as Heero moved away from the closed bedroom door and began to approach him with a strange, intense look on his face. The braided boy's defensive reflexes kicked in and he awkwardly scooted back towards the headboard.

"Do you like him?" Heero asked, his dark eyes boring into the other boy's.

"Who, Wu?" Duo asked, then smiled at how silly his question sounded. It faded quickly however as Heero continued forward, crawling up on the bed like a large predator cat hunting its next meal and pressing forward until his close proximity forced Duo to lie down on his back while he hovered over him. The Wing pilot quickly straddled Duo's hips, careful not to touch his wounded side, and sat poised menacingly over him.

"Do you like Wufei?" Heero asked again, his body tense and his dark eyes never wavering from Duo's face.

The braided boy looked nervously up at Heero. "He's a nice enough guy, a good backup on a mission," he answered, hoping that was what Heero wanted to hear. Then it came to him that Heero was jealous and he rushed to make his feelings clear. "I like him as a friend, all right? But not the way I like you, Heero. Honest."

The darker haired boy suddenly lunged forward and captured Duo's lips, brutally kissing him and forcing his lips open. The whole act gave Duo the feeling that Heero was placing a claim on his mouth as his property. Fortunately, the contact was short and to the point and Heero pulled back quickly, only to search Duo's frowning face.

"Shit, Heero, that hurt!" Duo spat, reaching up and using the back of his hand to wipe the excess saliva from his bruised lips. "Don't bother kissing me anymore if that's the way you like it."

Heero took Duo's chin and forcefully turned it until the two of them were looking into each other's eyes. "I don't want you kissing anyone but me," Heero said in a firm, no nonsense tone of voice.

Red flags went up in Duo's mind as another realization came to him; Heero was not only jealous, but possessive. It shouldn't have come as such a surprise, he thought to himself, after all, he'd seen how possessive Heero was about his gundam and laptop. If Heero considered him his own, he would no doubt be put into the same category, being protected at all costs. Considering who he was dealing with, the game he was playing was getting more dangerous by the minute. He needed to set some guidelines, and fast. "Listen Heero," he began, forcing himself to calm down and speak rationally. "You know this is all new to me. I told you I've never been in any kind of relationship with a guy before and I'm certainly not going to go around jumping our friends. You need to understand that I'm not yours, not until I decide I can be, all right? Being jealous and attacking me or the others is just wrong. There'll never be anything between us if that's the way you're going to act."

"I don't want you to want anyone else," Heero said, looking angry and yet somewhat vulnerable.

Duo puffed out a deep breath of air and the hair over his forehead rose upward for a moment before resettling into place. "There's something you've got to understand, Heero," he began, calling on all his patience to explain himself. "I'm a social kind of guy. I like other people whether they're male or female, young or old. I like to talk to them, laugh with them, joke around with them, but that doesn't mean I like you any less. The other guys are my friends. I want to be their friend. Hell, with my background, I need all the friends I can get."

"Is that all I am to you?" Heero spoke up abruptly, his face frowning still. "Am I just another one of your friends?"

Duo mentally cursed himself, he was somehow messing this up. He knew what Heero wanted, what he was looking for from him and what his orders were. Dammit, girls were so good at this, baiting guys and then effectively holding them off from going too far. From his observations, such tactics seemed effortless for them. Why was this so hard for him?

And then it hit him.

Of course, he already had all the information he needed on how it was done, he'd observed it acted out hundreds of times by girls in the schools they'd attended. Hell, he'd had it practiced on him more times than he could remember. He recalled that the mating dance always started with flirty little come ons by the more aggressive girls he remembered, with innocent but constant touching being part of the ritual, and an intense interest in the males' activities. When the girls who practiced this art had the guy interested in them, their actions were then followed by a coy retreat. If the targeted male's interest began to wane, the girl would draw him in again using her feminine wiles and unspoken, enticing promises. He could do that... if he could just follow the steps he'd observed from the teenage girls he'd had such encounters with. Step one, he decided, was to flirt with a physical suggestion of something more to come.

"Heero," he lowered his voice to a soft whisper and brought his hand up to caress the other boy's cheek. It was surprisingly soft and flawless under his fingers. "I like you. More than any other guy. I can promise you, without any reservations, that I will never, ever kiss any guy other than you." Duo smiled at his sudden inspiration. Of course he'd never kiss another guy. Being straight, he had no desire to.

"Do I have your word?"

Duo blinked, seeing from the stern face and lips pressed tightly together that Heero was deadly serious. The dark blue eyes belonging to the Japanese boy searched his face for any signs of deception. And so it was without guile that he replied honestly. "I promise that I will never kiss another guy, Heero. And you know I never lie."

The muscles of Heero's face began to relax. Well hell's bells, Duo thought as he let out the breath he was holding and gave the other boy a relieved smile, another mini mission accomplished. Heero had accepted his word.

The corner's of Heero's mouth turned up slightly. "In return, I'll try to not be jealous of the other people in your life," the Japanese boy conceded, his voice soft. He then lowered his head towards Duo's.

Instead of receiving what he expected to be a kiss from the boy above him, Duo was surprised when Heero merely touched his forehead to his own and paused there for the longest time, allowing them to share a different kind of intimacy with their eyes closed and breathing in each other's breath.

When at last Heero pulled up, Duo opened his eyes and was gifted with a rare, sweet smile from Heero that he was sure no one but himself had ever been the recipient of. He found his hand moving of its own volition to let his fingers trace that enigmatic upturn of Heero's lips, memorizing by sight and touch the wonder of that smile.

"Do you need anything?" Heero asked, looking a bit reluctant to break the contact even as he moved from off of Duo and then the bed. He stood by it for a moment, leaving the braided teen looking and feeling confusingly bereft at the loss of his close presence..

The Deathscythe pilot belied that odd feeling with a shake of his head. "Nah, I'm good," he replied, dismissing any need, then settled into a more comfortable position on top of his bed while keeping his eyes on the other boy.

His answer seemed to satisfy the Wing Gundam pilot as he watched Heero turn and exit the room without further word, leaving Duo to stare at his hand, wondering at the tender touch he'd given Heero and the odd feelings it had provoked within him.

When the recovering teen woke the next morning, it was to the sound of someone entering his room. He was surprised to see it was Wufei who came in bearing a tray of food. "Where's Heero?" Duo asked as he pushed himself up into a sitting position, eyeing the tray's contents to see that it bore a bowl of rice, a plate of scrambled eggs, and a tall glass of orange juice.

"Mission," Wufei answered.

Duo frowned as the tray was set on his lap. "He didn't say anything to me last night about it. Isn't it too soon?"

Wufei shrugged. "He seemed well enough. Besides, you know Heero. He doesn't like to turn down a mission." He then moved to the end of the bed and took a seat on the edge of it and waited patiently as he watched the other boy eat his breakfast rather enthusiastically. The Chinese boy seemed to time his next question for the moment after Duo had chewed and swallowed the last of his eggs. "What's going on between you and Yuy?" he asked abruptly.

Duo's hand paused as it came to rest on the glass of orange juice. "What do you mean?" he asked in return, his eyes not rising to meet Wufei's.

"If I'm correct, the tension between us last night was jealousy. Why is he jealous of you and I speaking together?"

Duo's heart was beating rapidly and he willed his body to remain relaxed, not wanting Wufei to know how much his question unsettled him. He had hoped to keep his mission and his more personal interactions with Heero from the other pilots. It was humiliating enough for him to have to come on to a guy without other people knowing about it. He didn't know if he could do what needed to be done if the other pilots were watching and believing he wanted this physical relationship he was being ordered to initiate. Besides, he couldn't imagine what would happen if Heero learned about his deception, and anyone else knowing about his orders increased the odds that the astute Japanese man would do just that. He had to think fast and evade the true answer without lying.

Looking up though the long hair hanging over his forehead, he smiled at the Chinese teen. "Seems Heero hasn't had many friends before and now he sees me as being his only one. He doesn't understand that a person can have more than one friend at a time. He's learning though, so don't take it personally."

He resisted the urge to nervously shift under the dark eyes that studied him so closely. Wufei was obviously appraising the situation and dissecting his words to see if they matched the reactions of Wing's pilot the night before. "You're... friends?" Wufei asked at last, one eyebrow raised in a skeptical manner.

"Yeah," Duo replied, putting more confidence in his answer. "We're friends."

Wufei continued to stare at him and the unsettling silence between them stretched out uncomfortably. Duo found himself glad for the large bowl of rice and orange juice so that he had something to distract him from that penetrating gaze focused on him.

"If you need anyone to talk to, Duo, I can be a discrete listener."

Duo chuckled, and from the look on Wufei's face he could see his humor at the situation surprised him. "I always need to talk, Wufei. Do you have any idea what you just committed yourself to? I'm bored to tears here and have been dying for someone to talk to. That's not one of Heero's strong points, you know. Where should we start? The war, television shows, movies. I know," he gave the other a saucy grin. "Let's talk about hair and why you wear yours pulled back so tight. I think the only reason your eyes are slanted is because your face is too tightly pinched back with your hair forced into that restricting ponytail of yours."

"I can see I may have misspoken," Wufei said with the barest hint of a smile.

Duo laughed. "No taking it back now," he warned, laughing still as the Shenlong pilot's eyes rolled heavenward.

[ch. 7] [ch. 9] [back to Singles a - k]