Author: pyrzm
see ch. 1 for warnings, notes, disclaimer

Broken Warriors + Chapter 32
Surprises

October first.

During the war Duo had been able to tell himself what time to wake up. He still could, which was why for once he was awake before Heero. The clock on the nightstand told him it was six, but it was still dark. The shifts in Earth daylight hours were tricky things, and depended on where on this ball of dirt you happened to be at any given time of year. The autumn days had shortened noticeably just in the time they'd been on the Cape.

That was OK, though. What he wanted didn't need any light. Wrapped around Heero, he could tell by the gentle rise and fall of the chest under his cheek that Heero was still deep in dreamland. Duo ran his hand lightly across Heero's bare chest, loving the feel of the ribs and muscle under that smooth, silken skin. He wouldn't have minded some chest hair, but he didn't need it, either. No, his boyfriend was smooth and silky all the way down to that neat little patch of darkest hair around the base of his cock. Duo ran his fingers lightly through those curls, then brought his fingers up to his nose and inhaled the rich male musk that was Heero's own natural signature scent. Turning his head a little, he did the same with the downy tuft of hair in Heero's armpit. Musk and spice and the ocean tang of sweat.

Duo's cock was up and ready; Heero's still lay plump and limp against Duo's thigh where it lay over Heero's. Lucky for him Heero had turned out to be OK with snuggling. Try as he might to stay on his side of any bed, Duo always ended up wrapped around him like a clinging vine. He inhaled appreciatively again. He'd shared his soaps and shampoos and deodorants with him in Madrid, but Heero had come up with some odd theory about how they shouldn't smell like each other. Anyone who knew anything about colognes and perfumes could have told him that no scent smelled quite the same on different people. It had something to do with body chemistry, apparently. But Heero had his own ideas and had bought himself some new toiletries. Now his hair smelled like herbs and his armpits smelled like spice, but that was just fine. Underneath it all, he smelled like himself and that was pure pheromones to Duo.

Heero stirred slightly as Duo slipped down in the bed and took that soft, warm cock in his mouth, gently sucking and licking. He loved this, too, the rare treat of making Heero hard with his mouth. Usually the job was done long before he ever made contact. Heero was such a clean freak, he tasted good even first thing in the morning, just a little saltier and a lot muskier than right after a bath. Bathing was over rated.

Heero was coming around now. He sighed as Duo's mouth worked, then rumbled deep in his chest. "Mmmmmmmm! Nice. Sleepy . . ."

"Sleep, baby. I'm just playing with you."

Of course Heero would do no such thing. But he stayed still and relaxed, not moving at all at first except to rest his hand lightly on the back of Duo's head. His cock swelled and lengthened against Duo's tongue and he shifted his head a little to accommodate its size. Wonderful size! he amended, swirling the flat of his tongue against the underside of it, enjoying the press of the engorged head against his palate. He shifted a little more and deep throated him.

Still half asleep, Heero curled his fingers in Duo's hair. "Yeah, so gooooood! Mmmmph! Mmmmmmmmmmm."

"Mmmmmmmmmmmm," Duo echoed, letting him feel the vibration in his throat through his cock.

"Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!"

Duo hummed some more, but kept it gentle and playful, letting Heero float on this early morning pleasuring. He hadn't done this before. This early morning wake up was one of Quatre's specialties, he happened to know, and from the noises he'd heard coming out of their bedroom, Trowa really appreciated this kind of attention.

So did Heero. The fingers in Duo's hair flexed slowly and those hips were rising and falling now, working his erection between Duo's lips, seeking out more attention from his tongue.

"Ahhhhh Duo! Love you. Love that--! What you're doing . . .So good. Sooooo . . ."

Duo stroked a hand up Heero's thigh to his balls. Heero moaned softly and spread his legs, inviting further caresses. Duo smiled around his mouthful of cock, knowing what that signal meant. He cupped and caressed the heavy, hot sac for a while, then ran his fingers down the crease between thigh and ass. Heero shivered and Duo kept it up for a few more minutes, until Heero moaned again and pulled the leg Duo wasn't draped across back and up, bending his knee and moving his foot out to give Duo maximum access.

Another advantage of Heero's obsessive personal cleanliness was that Duo didn't mind rimming him in the morning. Another first, another thing Duo had never done for anyone else, ever. With a final long lick, he moved his mouth down to Heero's exposed cleft and took over with his hand on his dick. As many people had observed-- more people than Duo really cared to admit to now-- he was phenomenally good at doing two things at once. He stroked the erection slowly but steadily, working his loose fist up and down, making sure he brushed the sensitive underside of the head each time. Meanwhile his tongue was busy tickling way at that tight, puckered little button below and Heero was already vibrating under him.

Duo had every intention of making Heero come just like this, but suddenly the hand in his hair tightened, gently (for Heero anyway) tugging his head up and making his body follow until Duo was lying between his legs. Dawn was happening outside. There was just enough light for Duo to see how incredibly, fuckably beautiful Heero looked as he gazed up at him under half open lids and whispered, "Want you in me."

That hadn't been part of the plan, but who was Duo Maxwell to argue with such a nice invitation? Reaching under his pillow, he found the lube and coated his fingers. Then, kneeling between those long, loosely splayed thighs, he worked one finger, then two and three into that tight passage. Heero was still totally relaxed, probably using some secret super training method to stay that way, which made Duo's job all that much easier. He'd only been on top three times before, and Heero was still virgin tight, but he took this kind of treatment well and really got off on it when he was in the right mood.

Which he sure as hell was now, as he reached down and pulled Duo's hand away, then used that same hand and arm to pull Duo back into position between his legs.

"OK, OK! I copy." Duo whispered, and slipped his hands under Heero's knees, pulling them over his shoulders. Prepped and relaxed and willing as Heero was, Duo's cock slid in effortlessly, all the way in and he gasped. Every time he was in Heero it felt like the first time on so many good and wonderful levels. And every time it was different. Heero had never been so still under him as he was right now, but it wasn't passive or boring, just receptive.

"Slow and easy," Heero whispered, eyes still closed, head thrown back against the pillow. Duo wanted to kiss him, but Heero had a "no kissing after rimming" rule, too, so instead he ran his hands down those smooth, hard thighs and up that hard, rippling belly to tease Heero's nipples. Oh yeah, he liked that! Just like the way he liked how Duo's cock knew how to home in on that supersensitive little prostate of his as he rocked in and out, in and out.

Heero gasped, but his eyes stayed shut as he caught Duo's left hand and brought it to his mouth, then sucked all four fingers at once.

Duo groaned as the wet velvet caress of Heero's tongue telegraphed straight to his cock. 'Slow and easy' wasn't so easy to maintain as his brain caught fire. 'Fuck Heero into the mattress' seemed like a better idea, but he stayed in control and felt the sensations intensify. Who knew restraint could be so hot? But it was. Heero had taught him that, or at least they'd discovered it together. Heero had done this slow and easy to him once for nearly an hour, until Duo was a quivering, moaning, cum-covered mess under him. Not the best sort of memory for self-restraint, but a hot one. Duo was starting to shake and quiver, too, as the rolling thunder of a major orgasm started to build just behind his balls.

Heero knew exactly what was going on. Taking Duo's wet fingers out of his mouth, he moved them down to his rock hard erection and wrapped them around himself, covering Duo's hand with his own and stroking.

At this point it became highly debatable who was "top" and who was "bottom". Terms like that seemed pretty damn silly these days. It didn't matter who was putting what where, not one bit. It was always the two of them doing each other, fully and lovingly and so damn well Duo felt like a virgin again himself, feeling things for the first time.

Right now he was feeling Heero's tight, smooth, slicked inner passage flexing around his cock, and with that, the mind blowingly hot experience of Heero's cock in his hand, and Heero's big strong hand locked over his, controlling the speed and pressure and grip . . . .

He heard Heero's breathing change to short, hard pants, felt the quiver and thrust of the pelvis underneath him, felt the first hot spurt over his fingers and he was gone, anchored deep in Heero's strength and heat and tightness even as he felt that bright, dizzying sensation he called "flying". If orgasms had a color this one was a rainbow and it was Duo the so-called seducer doing the screaming and bucking now, eyes squeezed shut in ecstasy as he came forever.

Almost forever. Then he was collapsing down against a hard, hot chest, and another heart was hammering against his and strong arms were locked around him, rolling him onto his side to curl up against his lover, as cradled and sheltered as if he was the one who'd just gotten so thoroughly and passionately fucked.

Heero' breath was harsh against his forehead, then Duo heard a single, wondering, "Wow!" and Duo knew he was buzzing and tingling and jangling all over, too, just like Duo was. Happy as he was with all this, falling back to sleep was not part of his plan. Lucky for him, Heero was out like a light again, if he'd ever actually woken up fully at all. Duo waited until the labored breathing evened out and quieted, then snuck out of bed and the bedroom as stealthily as only he could, carrying his clothes with him.

It was time for Phase Two.

+

A dark curving line in the damp sand caught Duo's eye and he pounced happily, carefully digging out the razor clam shell and laying it in his collection basket. It was whole and unbroken, both halves still joined by the dried hinge membrane. That should do it.

He'd gleaned quite a collection over the past few weeks: quahogs, blue mussel, pocket limpets and Chinaman's hats, whelks and stripped periwinkles of all different sizes, scallop shells, a few rare sand dollars, round, beaded shells of sea urchins, and lots and lots of moon shells. Duo especially liked those; they looked like the silver shell on one of the bracelets Heero had given him. He wore that and the Shiva's Eye necklace most of the time now.

Most days Heero liked to help him hunt and clean them. Half the front porch floor was covered in shells, laid out by type on sheets of newspaper. As far as Heero knew, Duo just liked to collect nature junk: shells, interesting stones, nutshells. Heero didn't know about the secret project hidden in a box in the closet of the studio. At least Duo didn't think he did. At the moment, his lover was still asleep in their tangled sheets, the victim of Duo's dawn sex raid. Duo grinned to himself as he picked up and discarded a broken mussel shell; hey, sometimes a guy just had to have it, right? And man oh man, did Heero love to give it!

Duo was pretty sure Heero didn't realize that waking up with Duo's lips around his cock was his first present of the day. Heero didn't even know yet that this was a special day. That was OK. It was supposed to be a surprise, the way their first official date had been a surprise for him.

For once, Duo had been glad a few photographers caught up with them at dinner and over at Ma Rainey's that night, since he'd had no camera himself. The club had taken pictures, too, and Duo had bought prints of all of them, with copies for Tro and Kat. He'd also tracked down the guy who'd caught them kissing in Madrid. Most of these pictures were carefully mounted in a large red scrapbook Heero insisted on buying during a day trip to Martha's Vineyard. He'd bought a camera, too, and they'd already filled eight pages with snapshots of each other. That sort of thing seemed really important to Heero, preserving memories in photographs and sketches. Duo understood; he was making up time for the first lost seventeen years of his life. Duo did the same thing with his collections, and with dates.

They both had a birthday now, one chosen by them to be remembered and celebrated. They ignored the bogus dates on the fake IDs forged for them during Operation Meteor. With their usual warped humor, the old fucks who'd trained them had chosen January first for Heero, February second for Duo, March third for Trowa. Quatre knew his real birthday, of course. It was September 26, but his war records said April fourth. Wufei must have known his birth date, too, but the subject had never come up and May fifth was still the date given on his Preventer ID.

But from now on and forever, as Duo had made known by email to all their friends, his official birthday was September nineteenth, because that was the day Heero had given him the necklace and said "Happy Birthday" to him for the first time. He'd suggested that Heero choose the day he'd given him the jacket in Madrid for his, but after some consideration Heero had chosen January eighth instead. Duo didn't see the significance, until Heero pointed out that that was the date when he and Duo had first met on that pier, fighting over Relena. The fact that Duo had shot him didn't seem to matter, so long as he promised not to make a tradition of it.

So, they had birthdays and a photo album together, and some good shared memories to balance off the bad ones. They had shared a bed, and lots of sex, but they also knew each other's favorite foods and where the other one was most ticklish and what little every day habits annoyed the other guy. Duo got antsy if Heero locked himself away in the computer for more than a couple of hours at a time. Heero insisted hair be cleaned from the tub drain in a daily basis. Duo would keep the radio or television on 24/7 if it was up to him; Heero liked some quiet times. During work outs Duo lost track of his reps if he didn't count out loud. Heero got distracted and lost track of his own when Duo did. Heero hadn't laughed or minded or even pointed out the wasted expense when Duo confessed he needed the bathroom or hallway light left on at night, though after a while, Duo found he didn't need it after all, most nights, as long as Heero was there to wrap himself around. Little things like that needed to be worked out but weren't worth fighting over. They didn't fight.

As of today, they would have another date on the calendar to remember as their own. Just like normal people.

Back at the house, he left the collecting basket on the porch and went inside with the razor clam shell. He paused at the bottom of the stairs; no sound of footsteps or water running. Nothing from the kitchen or workout room either, and no smell of coffee. If Heero was awake, he'd have appeared by now.

All clear. Proceed with mission.

Duo went into the studio and locked the door. A dozen masks in various stages of completion lay spread out on a table by the door, and the life casts Duo had made of his and Heero's faces. As far as Heero knew, they were for masks to be worn in New Orleans at Halloween with Tro and Kat. It hadn't been easy but he'd managed to get the whole Secret Project done without getting caught, mostly thanks to Heero's net surfing habit.

Duo pulled the box from its hiding place and lifted out the special mask. Positioning it on the worktable, he broke the razor clam shells apart and glued them into place with quick drying glue. A few touches of gold paint and that was it. He stepped back, admiring his work. It was done.

He'd called old Jasper at the circus for advice when he first had the inspiration last week. What Jasper didn't know about mask making didn't need to be known. On his recommendation, Duo had formed the base mask out of thick paper mache rather than leather. It didn't matter, because it didn't show. He'd used the life cast of his own face for it, and the features were still clear, even under the elaborate mosaic of seashells he'd covered it with. Graduated arcs of periwinkles formed the eyebrows. Matched sand dollars adorned the cheekbones and long earrings of threaded whelks and scallop shells hung from the sides. Six long looping strands of tiny polished moon shells hung from the underside of the mask like necklaces. Those had been a bitch to do; he'd broken as many as he'd finished, cutting holes to string them with a tiny drill bit. Razor clams, sea urchin shells, and sand dollars decorated in gold formed a sort of crown at the top above the quahog mosaic of the forehead, and the whole thing was surrounded by a wild mane of "hair" made from fine dry purple seaweed and bits of bright green eelgrass.

The eyes and lips had been the hardest to figure out. He'd solved the former by making it a true mask and cutting out the eyeholes and outlining the holes with kohl colored lines, like eyeliner. The lips had been the worst, and he'd tried and discarded a lot of ideas before simply casting his own in plaster and painting them pink. The contrast between the realistic, rather pouty mouth and the empty eyeholes was a little spooky, but there was no time to come up with a better idea. The damn thing weighed close to ten pounds, but it wasn't meant to be worn.

Using the Loose Threads box, tissue paper and ribbon his silk jeans had come in, he wrapped the mask and took it and another, smaller gift box to the kitchen, placing them by Heero's place at the table.

Still no sound from upstairs. Duo quickly put together the coffee and pancake batter and got the vase of red and pink roses from its hiding place under the porch. Good thing there hadn't been a frost. That went by Heero's plate, too.

With the final preparations complete, he showered quickly in the downstairs bathroom and wrapped himself in the red and blue silk robe Heero had somehow conned Hector at the Sanque embassy into sending him. The guy must have been a romantic himself, because he'd somehow known about the brown and black Shantung silk kimono Heero had worn while they were there, and had sent that along, too.

Duo fastened the necklace around his neck, put on a couple of the shell bracelets, and headed upstairs. If all went according to plan this was all the clothing he was going to need until they went out for dinner and a movie tonight; another real dating experience Heero had never had.

The bedroom still reeked nicely of sex. Heero opened one blue eye as Duo sidled into the room. He was sprawled naked in the middle of the bed, sheet tangled around one leg, cock draped limp and still rosy over his thigh. With his dark hair tousled against the pillow like that and those sleepy bedroom eyes open now and tracking Duo like a lion watching an antelope, Duo decided breakfast had a better chance of not turning into lunch if he stayed by the door.

"Jeeze, Yuy, when did you get to be such a lazy bastard?" he demanded, grinning as he twirled the end of his braid in one hand.

"Since you gave me such a good reason to stay in bed," Heero yawned, stretching in what looked like deliberately tempting manner. Holding out his hand, he gave Duo a "look" and Duo's knees and resolve wobbled. "It's not even nine yet. Come back to bed."

Velvet and sandpaper, that morning voice. And Duo damn near obeyed it, too, but somehow he managed instead to snag Heero's robe off its hook and toss it to him. "C'mon downstairs, babe. Got something I think you should see." Fighting every ounce of testosterone currently raging through his veins, he retreated before Heero could put up an argument.

He managed to get coffee poured for both of them without burning himself just as Heero appeared still yawning in the doorway. The sight of the packages and flowers woke him up all the way. He looked curious, and pleased, but also a little taken aback. "What's this? I thought we said my birthday was--"

"Nope, not yer birthday. Happy Anniversary, baby!"

Heero blinked. "Anniversary?"

"I'll forgive you for not remembering this year, but you better mark it on the calendar. The way I understand it, the person who remembers has to get mad at the person who forgets and make him sleep on the couch."

Heero still wasn't following. "Anniversary?"

"Well, this time it's actually more the anniversary of the anniversary. It's October first."

"Yes?"

"One month ago today--September first?"

"Yes?"

Nope, he wasn't getting it. "One month ago today, I got an email from you, telling me that you were still alive." Duo had to pause and swallow around the lump that had risen in his throat. "One month ago today, I decided it was actually worth staying alive myself. And it's the day--" Damn it, he *wasn't* going to fucking cry! Heero came to him and Duo buried his face in the front of his robe. Heero's arms around Duo helped. The world went still and peaceful again. "That's the day I fell in love with you for real. I know you don't remember much that day. You were still so sick---"

Heero cupped Duo's chin and raised his face to stroke his cheek. "You climbed into bed with me the minute you saw me. I do remember that much. I guess it was a sign. September first. I will make a note of that, for future celebrations." He glanced at the roses and the package and a small frown of concern began to form.

"Don't say it!" Duo warned. "We'll get the whole gift giving thing coordinated one of these days. Just consider this my turn to surprise you."

Heero sat down and examined the boxes. "Loose Threads?"

"Uh, no actually." Duo was suddenly a little nervous. What if Heero didn't get this, either? What if he was disappointed with a couple of stupid handmade gifts after the chunk of change he'd dropped on Duo's surprise? He was going to feel like such a total fucking idiot!"

Heero opened the smaller box and a smile of genuine delight lit his face as he lifted out the framed print of him kissing Duo on the steps of the Madrid hospital. "Oh! Oh, Duo, I'm so glad you found this!"

Duo let out a small sigh of relief. The picture had been a good bet. Heero was damned sentimental when it came to things like that, as the album attested. That one had been easy.

He tensed again, though, as Heero opened the big box and lifted the tissue paper aside. He just sat and stared at the contents, then his face lit up with a grin even total strangers would have recognized. Blind total strangers! He lifted the mask out with incredible care, then d held it up by the picture wire installed in the back. The moon snail necklaces rattled and swung against his wrist. "A mermaid! No, wait. It's you! This is my mermaid!"

Duo fell back in his chair, relieved. "Yeah, exactly! You don't think it's too weird?"

"Weird? It's amazing! It's--It's art! We can hang it up, right?" He checked the wire in back and saw the inscription Duo had written there. The grin went wider than ever as he read it aloud. "'To Heero the mermaid-lover, from his mermaid lover. Love you, love you, love you forever. Love, Duo.'" He looked up at Duo and chuckled, but there was a suspicious glimmer along his lower lids. "And you even put in those x's and o's."

"Figured it could be like a tradition or something," Duo mumbled, embarrassed but pleased beyond telling at his lover's reaction. Heero was no actor. This was real joy.

Heero looked around the kitchen, then got up and went out to the living room, still carrying the mask. He cast around here for a moment, then found a spot he liked near the fireplace. Taking down the picture that hung there, he put up the mask in its place. "Amazing!" Turning, he grabbed Duo in a bone-crushing hug; the workouts were working. "No one ever made me anything before, and nothing like this!" He pulled back and kissed Duo hard. "I can't believe you did something like this just for me! All your masks are really good, Duo. Really good. But this?" Lost for words, he shook his head.

Duo snorted as pulled him back to the kitchen. "It's just something I picked up, working around the circus. Glad you like it so much, though."

"No, really. I ran across some sites online the other day, people who make masks like those leather ones for a living. A lot of what I saw wasn't nearly as good as yours."

Duo blushed. "Thanks, Heero. It's not a bad idea. And it meets my baseline criteria."

"And that is?"

"Not killing anyone!"

+

A few days later Quatre and Trowa were telling him the thing as Duo held up their masks to the vid phone for them to see. The pair for "Meld" he'd painted to look like two halves of the same silver, blue, and green mask, with the other half black except for and exaggerated silver outline around the eye. Unsure what the exact nature of "Passages" was going to be, he'd made several of the smaller visor masks with different arrangements of color and eye design. Trowa nodded, saying only that they were all good. The rest, Trowa's grim "Heavyarms" mask and a few others for various other cast members involved in the acts, were all given warm approval.

Heero paused unnoticed in the studio doorway, enjoying Duo's reaction to the praise as he took notes for a few final adjustments and design changes. The actual fittings would have to wait until Trowa and Quatre arrived next week. Leaving him to it, Heero headed out for a run.

+

Duo waited until he saw Heero disappear down the beach, then sighed. "So, what do you guys want to do?"

"Haven't you talked to Heero about it?" Quatre asked.

Duo nibbled absently at the end of his braid. "No, it hasn't come up. I mean, I've told him stuff about us, but I don't think he really understands. Hell, I don't know if I understand!"

Trowa leaned in closer to the monitor. "It's not a problem, Duo."

But Duo could see Kat's face, just behind Trowa and his expression told a different story. But he caught Duo's eye and shook his head slightly, warning him off the subject."

"Hey, we'll figure it out when you get here, OK?" he said, keeping it light as Quatre mouthed 'email' behind Trowa's back. "We're the Gundam Boys, remember? No rules for us!"

"Rules? We don't need no stinking rules!" Quatre laughed, but the motto from their wilder days rang a little hollow.

Duo had done a pretty good job of not thinking about what the arrangements would be, once the other two arrived. Now he didn't have much choice. Decisions needed to be made and it looked like they were leavening it up to him to make them. Only he didn't know any more than they did what the right thing to do was.

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