by Artemis

Illusions of Love + Part 1

The caress of his lover's hand melted into his dream. It became one with the water that swirled around him in the warm pool in his unconscious mind. He delighted in its touch, letting the liquid hand swirl and grasp him.

From the edge of the pool his lover watched, dipping his toes, but not wading into the depths.

"Come on, Heero. The water's perfect," the boy spoke in his dream, holding out his hand invitingly.

"Too deep," Heero said, shaking his head.

"Can't you swim?" he asked, floating over to the edge and hanging on to his lover's ankles.

Another shake of the head.

"Don't worry. Everyone's got to learn sometime," he said, now tugging at the slender ankles.

"No," came the simple yet firm response.

"Please? I'll be right here with you."

"I... can't," the boy said, pulling out of his grasp and standing. He looked down at the boy in the pool. "I can't," he repeated and turned.

"Where are you going? Heero? Heero!"

+

The moaning and kicking was finally too much.

"Duo," Heero said softly, as he leaned up on an elbow. He had tried to decipher the incomprehensible murmurs, but the knit in his lover's brow told him the boy needed to be released from his dream now. "You're dreaming, Duo," he said, giving a nudge. "Wake up!"

The push dislodged Duo from his restless sleep. "Huh?" he asked, as his eyes blinked open.

"You were dreaming again."

"Oh," Duo said, closing his eyes and wriggling closer to Heero as he pulled the sheet about them.

"Want to tell me about it?" Heero asked as he slid back down into bed, pulling Duo into his arms.

"Nah, it was nothing," Duo said, not really sure what the dream had been about.

They held each other for a long moment, caressing each other's nakedness under the covers. It was a simple pleasure, but even these languid attentions were enough to arouse.

We don't have time for another round, Heero thought as he looked at the digital clock on the bedstand. "We have to get up."

"Not yet," Duo said, nuzzling Heero's neck.

"Quatre is expecting us downstairs for dinner in less than an hour."

"Plenty of time," Duo said, as he rubbed his growing hardness against the other boy's thigh.

Heero's face warmed at the provocative touch. He knew Duo could easily seduce him into making love for the third time that afternoon, but he would make an effort to resist. "We both need a shower... especially you."

"Why especially me?" Duo asked, as he hooked a leg over Heero's.

"Because you can't go down there smelling like you do."

Duo nipped his lover's earlobe. "Oh, really? I thought you liked me smelling of sex. And besides, Quatre and Trowa know what we've been doing."

"And what's that?" Heero teased, as his groin stirred from the nibbling at his ear.

"You know..." Duo said, letting his tongue map a wet line from Heero's ear down his jaw and to his lips. He pressed his lips to Heero's and the other boy accepted them in a slow, deep kiss. A fire was smoldering in each of their bellies, but they would play this game a little longer.

"Sorry," Heero said, as he pulled out of the kiss. "My memory seems to have lapsed. I can't remember a thing from this afternoon."

"Oh, you can't, huh? Another side effect of the war?" Duo asked, a smile tugging at his lips. "Maybe you need reminding?"

"If you insist," Heero said with a smirk.

"You bet I do," Duo said, and moved more fully on top of his lover. "Does this ring any bells?" He proceeded to kiss a path down Heero's neck and across his chest to a nipple.

"Vaguely," Heero said, even as his heart quickened from anticipation and sensation.

It pleased Duo that in moments like this, when they were alone, Heero could be playful. He knew this playfulness was reserved for him, and yet as close as they were, as intimate as they had become, Heero was still a bit of a mystery.

Maybe that's what turns me on so much, Duo thought as he sucked the nipple into his mouth. He rolled his tongue around it, bringing it quickly to a firm peak.

"Hnnnn," Heero moaned, grabbing Duo's partially unraveled braid.

It amazed him how Duo knew all the right buttons to push even though they had been together for only a short time. What had started out as mutual annoyance had quickly turned to attraction, but the demands of the war and their missions to free the colonies had taken precedence over personal desires. Heero suspected that Duo had been open to a relationship much sooner than himself, and yet Duo had not been the first to make a move in that direction.

He got under my skin, the former Wing Gundam pilot thought.

The moment of truth had come when Heero had held a gun to Duo's face with every intention of killing him, but could not. He had seen Duo as an impediment to the completion of his mission, but when he had stared down the gun's barrel at those bright, round eyes and heard the disbelief in Duo's voice, something had clenched inside of him... around his heart. He had suddenly realized that Duo was not just another player in the war, he was something more... something that Heero was still trying to define.

Now that the war was over they were greedily spending their days feeding on each other's desires. "Yes," Heero said, moaning. "That's it."

"Now you remember what we did this afternoon?" Duo asked, as he pulled off the nub and rubbed his cheek over it.

"Yes, yes," Heero relented, happily. His resistance had ended, as it always did, and in a move reminiscent of those on the battlefield, Heero flipped his lover off and pinned him under him. "Now I'm going to remind you," he said, and dove in for a hungry kiss.

Duo accepted the kiss eagerly, opening his mouth and tangling his tongue with Heero's. From their first kiss, hell, from the first time Heero had looked at him with those intense blue eyes, Duo had known this boy was passionate. The fact that it had taken months to release that passion was of little concern to him now as he wrapped his legs around Heero's waist and ground their hard cocks together.

In moments, Heero was slipping inside, feeling the deliciously tight grip around his shaft. "Ohhhh," he moaned, moving slowly as he savored the sensation.

Duo arched under him, moaning with each gentle thrust. "Oh, yeah," he said, letting Heero guide the rhythm of their lovemaking.

It was so much better now that the war was over. They had time for each other. They could make love as slow or as fast as they needed and in a real bed instead of in closets or on cold, metal floors.

"Need to... speed... this up," Heero said, increasing the pace of his thrusts.

"Worried we might... miss dinner?" Duo asked, as the harder thrusts pushed him further up on the bed.

"They're expecting... us... uhnnnn," Heero said with a moan.

"That's my Heero... you even come... on time," Duo said, chuckling.

To ensure that they both would come soon, and be satisfied, Heero changed his angle of entry. Now each thrust rubbed against Duo's prostate, sending tingling, sizzling messages up and down the other boy's spine and nestling in his cock.

"Oh, you are in a hurry!" Duo said, but he could hardly complain; it did feel wonderful. The combination of that slick, hard fullness inside him and the growing desire to reach orgasm had Duo wanting to rush to the end with Heero. "Come on, Heero. Let's do it together!"

The words of encouragement had barely passed Duo's lips when Heero felt his orgasm breaking free. "Ah!" he cried out as he plunged inside his lover, emptying himself.

Duo was just a heartbeat behind with his own forceful orgasm. They cried out together as their bodies instinctively moved harder and tighter against each other as they spent themselves in these final moments of passion. At last, when they could move no more, they lay on top of one another, sweat-slicked and out of breath.

It was several minutes before even Heero had the strength to disentangle himself. Duo did not seem to notice as he rolled over and fell to sleep. Heero shook his head and made his way to the shower. He made quick work of getting clean, then put the stopper in the drain and filled the tub with warm water. He padded back into the bedroom where the sound of Duo's soft snoring confirmed that he had indeed fallen back to sleep.

Well, at least this time he's not dreaming, Heero thought, as he bent down and scooped the other boy into his arms.

"Wh-what?" Duo asked, waking to the sensation of being nestled in a strong embrace.

Heero carried his lover into the steamy bathroom.

When Duo focused his eyes he was surprised to see the tub filled and ready for him. "You made me a bath."

"Very observant," Heero said, as he set Duo down on his feet. "Get in," he ordered, and then turned to grab a washcloth.

The water was just right as Duo slipped down into the tub without hesitation. "Perfect," he said, flipping his braid over the edge and leaning back. "What's the occasion?"

"I don't want you to be sore... I was a little rough that last time."

Duo watched as Heero knelt next to the tub. "You weren't too rough," he assured him.

"Well, then... good," Heero said as he dipped the washcloth into the water and proceeded to rub one of Duo's arms. "Usually we take turns."

"Oh," Duo said. Now he understood. Normally they took turns topping, but today for some reason, Heero had seemed hungrier, needier than usual, and so Duo had let him top each time. "It's okay. You needed it more today," Duo said with a shrug. "But I appreciate the bath. You can do this anytime!"

Heero grinned and then turned his attention to cleaning Duo. The boy definitely smelled of sex, but as Duo had said, Heero enjoyed the smell on him. It sent his own pistons to firing again, but now they were most certainly out of time for such play.

Being bathed by one's lover was definitely a treat. Duo mewled and stretched and jabbered away about nothing at all as Heero soothingly and thoroughly washed him. This was definitely above and beyond Heero's norm of attentiveness. Though he had on occasion braided Duo's hair and was always a generous lover in bed, Heero had never been one to follow Duo around doting on him. This bath certainly ranked with doting.

What's gotten into him today? Duo wondered as he leaned forward so that Heero could wash his back. But he knew he should not ask. That would only ruin things and he never liked Heero's explanations anyway.

+

Twenty minutes later, Heero and Duo were downstairs standing in the formal dining room of the Winner estate house. Though they had eaten in this room nearly every night for the last three weeks, this was the first time they had seen it prepared with all its finery.

"I think I'm underdressed," Duo said, as he moved to his chair.

"You look fine," Heero said, noting that Duo looked very tempting in those tight fitting black jeans and snug red turtleneck.

Heero was also dressed simply in blue jeans and a light blue shirt, but did not feel bad about his casualness when he saw Trowa and Wufei come into the room dressed just as comfortably.

"What's with all the silver and candelabras?" Heero asked, looking to Trowa for an answer.

"I think Quatre's decided we're housebroken enough to bring out the good china," Trowa said with a laugh.

"That or he's going to ask us to leave," Wufei said pessimistically.

"What... like this is our Last Supper?" Duo asked as he reached across the table for the figs in a shining silver bowl.

"Of course it isn't," Quatre said as he came into the room. Everyone sighed in relief when they saw that Quatre was also dressed casually, wearing a white shirt, tan trousers and loafers. "It just occurred to me that we never really celebrated the end of the war," he said and gestured for everyone to take their seats as he sat down at the head of the table. "I've even got that non-alcoholic champagne we talked about!"

"You're kidding?" Duo asked, laughing. "Well, I'm just glad we all made it through the war."

"And I'm happy that everyone accepted my invitation to come to my home, but I should have prepared this banquet weeks ago," Quatre said and clapped his hands for the servants to begin with the first course.

"Your offer was very generous, Quatre," Heero said, grabbing a fig off Duo's plate. "We needed a place to think about the things that happened."

Duo looked over at Heero. If his lover had been thinking about the war, he had not shared any of it with him. In fact, Heero had seemed to go out of his way not to mention the war. After that last battle in which Zechs Merquise had nearly succeeded in his warped vision to destroy the Earth in order to obtain peace, Duo could not blame Heero for wanting to put it all behind them.

Five courses later, Quatre bid his guests to join him for more conversation and after-dinner drinks on the patio outside the dining room. Two large double doors opened onto the brick patio where torches had been lit and placed at intervals. Each of the former Gundam pilots was seated in a wicker chair and given flavored coffee.

Duo chose amaretto coffee in keeping with his romantic mood. His body still vibrated with the memory of Heero's touch. And now, after sharing a savory meal with friends and sitting here under the stars, he was thinking of how this perfect day would end with a perfect night in his lover's arms. He looked over at Heero dreamily, envisioning the new heights of passion they might achieve.

It seemed that Trowa and Quatre had much the same idea, for they were making eyes at one another as well.

"While all of you have been looking deep into each other's eyes and doing... what you do," Wufei said, fidgeting a bit in his chair, "I've been coming to terms with killing Treize."

That snapped everyone out of their private reverie and back to the horrors they had seen.

"And have you... come to terms?" Quatre asked, remembering the rivalry between the two men.

"It was a mistake," Wufei said firmly.

"How can you call killing Treize Khushrenada a mistake?" Heero asked abruptly.

"He was not the monster I thought he was. There was no justice in killing him," Wufei said, lowering his head.

"You killed him in battle. You did what you had to do," Heero said, matter-of-factly.

The tone in Heero's voice sent a chill through Duo. It reminded him of the war, too much of a time when Heero was more machine than boy. To hear him speak so now jolted Duo back to the reality that the war was still fresh in everyone's minds. Not everyone was so quick to shed their memories or their ways as Duo had hoped.

He shook off the ill feeling and focused on Wufei. "What made you change your mind? About Treize?" he asked, feeling a terrible tightness form deep in his belly.

Wufei raised his eyes to Duo, appreciative of the other boy's interest. "He knew how many soldiers had died for his cause, nearly a hundred thousand, he knew all their names."

"He did?" Quatre asked, his brow knitting. "Heero, you also came face to face with Treize. What was he like?"

"Arrogant," the dark haired boy said, simply.

"And a worthy opponent. I never meant to kill him..." Wufei said, his head dipping again.

There was a moment of silence, not so much for Treize, but for the war in general. Each boy had seen and done so much in the name of the colonies that it was still overwhelming to consider. As fresh as the memories were in their minds and hearts, it was unusual for them to speak of it. It was as if it had been too much and none could put it into words.

At last Wufei broke the uneasy silence. "Sally has asked me to join her. She's rebuilding villages in China that were destroyed in the war. I think the work will do me good. It will be my penance."

"Penance? Like you committed a sin?" Duo asked, surprised that any of them would feel a need to atone.

"Meditation has not brought me the peace I seek, but maybe work can. Maybe it can cleanse me of this injustice."

The other pilots stared at Wufei, confused and surprised to hear him call killing Treize an injustice.

He's really broken up about this, Duo thought. It was a difficult thing for him to understand. For Duo the war had been a chance to make amends, take revenge for Maxwell Orphanage and do the right thing... for a change. As best he could figure he was a lucky guy, he had survived the war and even found a lover in the process.

"Then you're leaving?" Duo asked, saddened that the team would be separated.

"Yes," the Chinese boy said and stood.

"Now, Wufei?" Quatre asked, noting the rigid stance of his friend.

"Yes, I'm catching a flight tonight," he said, and bowed to Quatre. "Thank you for your hospitality. I hope one day to return the favor."

Quatre stood as well and held out his hand. "I wish you didn't have to go, but I understand."

Each of the pilots stood and wished Wufei luck in his journey. A short time later, he was gone.

The four remaining pilots returned to their chairs on the patio, taking up their drinks and sipping quietly. Under the deep blue night sky each boy came to the same conclusion. The war was truly over. The Gundam team that had been united in the final battle was now disbanded.

Wufei's taken the first step toward the future, Quatre thought as he let his eyes drift to each of his friends. They were all deep in their thoughts and probably thinking the same thing. The past three weeks had been necessary and good, but very soon each of them would need to choose his future path.

"I'm glad Wufei stayed as long as he did... even though he spent most of his time alone," Quatre said, trying to sort this out.

"He was never comfortable being part of the group," Trowa pointed out as he took Quatre's hand in his.

Quatre smiled at his lover's reassuring touch. "Well, at least we know we'll all be together for a while."

"Actually, I have an announcement," Heero said, looking to Quatre. "I received a message from Relena yesterday. She's asked me to become her security advisor."

"Huh?" Duo asked, gaping. This was the first he had heard anything about it.

Quatre exchanged a glance with Trowa and then looked back to Heero. "And what did you tell her, Heero?"

"I accepted her offer."

"You did what?!" Duo asked, jumping up from his chair.

"She needs my help," Heero said matter-of-factly. "There are still threats against her and the pacifist movement."

"And you're the only one who can help her?" Duo asked, sarcastically.

"I'm the only one she asked, and I'm leaving in the morning," Heero said, reaching over and giving Duo's thigh a little pat.

Duo smacked Heero's hand away, not wanting any contact when he felt so betrayed. "When were you planning to tell me?"

"Now," Heero said, simply.

Duo took a step back, faltering as this new reality took root in his mind. "You can't be serious. We never discussed this."

"Was I supposed to ask your permission?" Heero asked, bristling at the thought.

Before Duo could answer, Quatre rushed to Duo's side. "I'm sure this happened very suddenly," he said, trying to ease the growing tension.

"Not for Heero," Duo said, bitterly. "These weeks without a purpose have been eating at him... Haven't they, Heero?"

"I'll admit to some boredom, but we all needed a break..."

Duo crossed his arms over his chest as his lower lip began to tremble. "Your mind's made up?"

"Relena needs me," Heero said, standing to face Duo.

"And I don't?" Duo asked, clenching his hands as he looked into Heero's eyes.

"You can take care of yourself like you always have," Heero said, not backing down from that determined gaze.

For Heero the choice was clear. Relena was important to the stability of peace in the EarthSphere. She needed help in order to maintain that peace, but Duo had never needed him. What he and Duo had was of a physical nature, a sexual hunger for one another, but it was something they could live without. Or so he thought.

"Taking care of myself isn't the issue," Duo said, setting his fists to hips, his face flaming with a building anger.

"Then what is?"

"If you don't know by now, then what's the point of me telling you?" Duo replied in a huff and turned tail back into the house, his braid whipping behind him.

+

[cont]