by Artemis

Illusions of Love + Part 3

It seemed that Duo had finally rid himself of Zechs Merquise and the ghosts of war the man brought with him. Although one ghost remained--Heero Yuy had once again slipped into Duo's dreams. The boy found himself aching for his former lover all over again and was angry at himself for having such vivid sexual dreams about Heero.

One dream was particularly disconcerting in its similarity to an actual encounter they had shared on a transport shuttle. They were ten minutes from rendezvousing with Quatre, and to Duo's surprise, Heero decided they should make love. Of course, Duo could never refuse Heero, and proceeded to let him fuck him over the ship's control panel. They both climaxed with less than a minute remaining before docking with Quatre's ship.

Moments like that had made Duo love Heero all the more, but dreaming about that day again was a curse. It brought Duo's sexuality back to the surface and masturbation was a poor substitute for the "fuck me" kind of sex he needed.

Days passed and Duo's frustration grew until finally one evening he decided to order a pizza, but not just any pizza, the pizza with the cute blond delivery boy with the long eyelashes. He even asked the girl taking the phone order if Sasha was working that night.

"Yes," the girl had assured him with a giggle.

And so, Duo had put on a pair of blue jeans and a tight blue sleeveless t-shirt in anticipation of the seduction he had planned. He saw it clearly. Sasha would arrive with the pizza, innocently enough, and Duo would ask him inside while he got the money to pay him. Then he would start up a conversation and well, the rest he had fantasized about in the shower just an hour before. It hurt to not have the object of his desire be Heero, but there was no sense in holding on to the false hope that Heero even thought of him anymore.

When the door buzzer sounded at ten o'clock, Duo did not think twice about buzzing in the pretty little delivery boy. Seconds later, there was a knock at the door.

Duo made himself wait a few seconds before opening the door. "Hi there," he said with a bright smile, but the smile quickly faded when he saw that he had not let in Sasha, but the ghost of Christmas past, Zechs Merquise.

"How did you get in here?" Duo asked as his brow tightened.

"You let me in," Zechs said, with a hint of a smile on his lips.

"I mean, how did you find out where I live?"

Zechs frowned at Duo's defensiveness. "I was at the rare bookstore making a purchase and...."

"Well, you can't stay," Duo interrupted. He could not believe this was happening. Sasha would be arriving any moment and Zechs's presence would blow any chance he had of getting laid tonight.

"I realize you didn't invite me here..." Zechs began, but just then the buzzer sounded again.

Duo sighed, and pressed the speaker button. "Yes?"

"It's Sasha from Pizza Plus!"

Duo glanced at Zechs and then said, "Come on up." He held the release button for the security door.

"Sasha, hmm?" Zechs asked, raising an eyebrow. Now Duo's unfriendliness made perfect sense. "You have plans. I'm sorry, I'll leave..."

Duo watched as Zechs turned away, but instead of being relieved, he felt a tightness in his belly. He did not know why, but turning Zechs away didn't seem right.

"What is it you wanted?" he asked, poking his head into the hallway and noticing Zechs's casual attire. For the first time he was not wearing a suit, but was dressed in a white linen shirt and tan cotton pants and loafers.

The man stopped on the landing. "I wanted to talk about the other day," he said, looking back over his shoulder.

"You mean at the coffee shop?" Duo asked, knowing damn well they had parted badly that day, too.

Before Zechs could reply Sasha came bounding up the stairs. The little blond slowed as he reached the landing, looking between the two men. "I've got your pizza," he said to Duo, smiling.

Duo smiled back, but it felt forced. His whole scenario was blown. He could never ask Sasha inside the apartment now.

"Yeah, just a sec," he said, and went back in to retrieve the money from the kitchen counter.

When he returned, Zechs was gone, and Sasha was smiling even brighter.

"I thought maybe that guy was your boyfriend," the delivery boy said.

"Here," Duo said, shoving the money into the boy's hand, and pushing passed to rush down the stairs.

"Krista said you asked for me. Don't you want to see me?" Sasha called after him.

"Just leave the pizza by the door," Duo shouted back.

In seconds, he burst onto the street, bare feet and all. "Zechs! Wait!"

The man was half way down the block already, his long hair fluttering behind him.

"Zechs, please!" Duo called again as he raced to catch up with him.

At last Zechs's stride slowed and then stopped. He turned to Duo, but his expression was hard. "I suppose you want to tell me that I ruined your evening with Sasha."

Beneath the hard facade, Duo caught a glimmer of hurt in Zechs's eyes. Was it jealousy? "I sort of had designs on him, yeah, but I shouldn't have treated you like that. You've never done anything to hurt me."

Zechs raised his brow. "It's true I would never harm you intentionally, Duo, but I shouldn't have shown up here unannounced."

"Forget about it," Duo said, waving his hand. "You said you wanted to talk. How about now? I do my best talking over pepperoni pizza."

Zechs smiled. "I've never had American pizza before."

"No way! Well, then this will be a treat. Pizza Plus has more going for it than a cute delivery boy," Duo said, snickering.

Happy to see Duo's good humor returned, Zechs chuckled, too.

On the short walk back to Duo's apartment building, he caught a glimpse of Sasha driving away. He sighed, now knowing Sasha would have welcomed his advances. So why had he let an opportunity for sex pass him by just to share a pizza and some conversation with Zechs? He cringed as the answer bubbled up into his consciousness. He was beginning to feel something for Zechs, but whether it was simply the comfort of having a connection to someone from his past or something more he could not yet say.

Back in his apartment, Duo placed the pizza on the low table in front of the couch and gestured for Zechs to sit down. "Can I get you a soda? Or water? That's all I've got," he said, as he stood in the doorway to the kitchen.

"Whatever you're having is fine," Zechs grinned as he sat down.

As the braid disappeared into the other room, Zechs let his eyes drift around the tiny apartment. It was clean, but cluttered with piles of laundry and magazines, the furniture looked worn and aged, and the only decoration was a poster of a men's swim team tacked up on the wall across the room.

Zechs guessed that Duo did not have much money. It seemed a waste for him to be living this way when he was such a bright young man, and as a former Gundam pilot had risked his life fighting for freedom. Those thoughts were interrupted when Duo returned with their drinks.

"Hey, you haven't dug in," Duo said as he set the colas on the table.

"Was I supposed to?"

"Yeah, sure. Eating pizza is a casual thing."

The boy settled on the couch one cushion over from Zechs and opened the lid on the pizza box. He took a slice of the pepperoni and cheese covered pie. "Dig in," he encouraged as he took a bite.

"Were you going to eat this all by yourself?" Zechs asked as he took a corner piece.

"Not all at once," Duo chuckled. "I like leftovers, and cold pizza is great for breakfast."

Zechs ate his slice and was surprised that he liked the taste. As Duo took a long swig of his drink and then another bite of pizza, Zechs decided it was time to talk.

"You were unhappy when I visited you at the coffee shop the other day."

Duo's chewing slowed and then he swallowed. "I didn't expect to see you again."

"I think it was more than that. Something was bothering you."

There was a moment's hesitation as Duo wondered how to respond. He had been "bothered" by Zechs's presence, but the root of that feeling was not something he was comfortable exploring.

"You made me nervous," he said at last, and reached for his drink, but Zechs grasped his hand.

"Are you nervous now?" Zechs asked.

Duo gasped at the contact. His first instinct was to pull away, but something held him in place. He did not want to admit it but he liked Zechs touching him. He raised his eyes to find ice blue eyes staring back at him and very nearly penetrating into his soul.

"Yeah, I think I am nervous," he admitted, swallowing hard.

The man smiled and squeezed the smaller hand in his. "We could be a comfort to one another."

"A comfort?" Duo asked, surprised. Why was he suddenly feeling dizzy?

"Yes, a comfort, Duo," Zechs repeated, leaning closer. "I have a feeling your nervousness is the same as mine."

"You're nervous, too?" the boy asked, finding this conversation terribly confusing.

"Of course. I've been anxious to speak with you. I haven't been able to get you out of my mind since the other night."

"W-what happened the other night?" Duo stammered as he leaned back to put some distance between them.

"I got to know you, Duo. Spending time with you is very intoxicating..."

"Whoa, you mean you're attracted to me?"

Zechs's grin turned predatory. "Yes, I'm very attracted to you." He inched closer, backing Duo into the corner of the couch. "You're quite the beauty."

"Hey, wait a minute!" Duo shouted, squirming in his seat. "I-I don't know about this." His heart was pounding hard, and Zechs's proximity was making the temperature in the room rise quickly.

"I understand your reticence. You still have feelings for Heero, but it's been a long time hasn't it, Duo? Is that why you wanted that boy tonight, to relieve the tension? Believe me, he could never please you the way I can."

If this is a seduction, he's doing a damn good job, Duo thought, feeling his face flush.

The man seemed to be closing in on him and not just physically, but with his words. He was very clever, but Duo sensed he was also sincere. Somehow Zechs had become attracted to him and now was circling ever closer like a hawk watching his prey from high above.

"But you're Zechs Merquise!" he blurted out.

Zechs straightened, retreating from his advance momentarily. "Forget about the war," he said harshly. "I am here as a man and not as a soldier."

"But it's not right," Duo insisted as his mind still tried to grasp the notion of Zechs wanting him.

"Not right because you can't forget our roles in the war? Or because your friends wouldn't approve?" Zechs asked, his brow tightening.

Duo shrugged. "You have to admit this is kind of strange. We were enemies..."

"'Were' is the key here. Or do you still consider me your enemy?"

The question was legitimate. Duo examined the man before him. Zechs was beautiful, the kind of beautiful that was dreamt or perhaps created by an artist's brush. He knew this man's past well, had witnessed some of his worst atrocities and yet still could see the beauty. And in those clear, blue eyes, Duo saw once again the loneliness that seemed to plague Zechs. This was a vulnerable man and for all his efforts at control he was struggling to survive. It was this weakness that touched Duo's heart.

"No, Zechs," Duo said, softly. "You're not my enemy anymore."

The relief was visible as Zechs's shoulders relaxed. "Thank you," he said, bowing his head.

Duo grinned. "I learned a lot the other night, too."

"You did?" Zechs asked, looking up again.

"Sure. I kept thinking it was an historic event or something," he said, chuckling. "Even though there was never a truce in the war, I think we made one the other night."

"Yes, a truce," Zechs said, suddenly feeling his desire and his courage swell within him again.

He surged forward, his hands cupping Duo's face, and kissed the boy... hard. It lasted only a moment, but when Zechs drew back he saw he had hit his mark. Duo had been too stunned by the advance to repel him, but he was sure the boy enjoyed it--his breathing was fast and his cheeks were flushed a deep pink.

They stared at one another not saying a word, and then emboldened by his success, Zechs leaned in again, this time brushing his lips over Duo's and then across the soft cheek to his ear.

"Tell me you want me, or tell me to stop," he whispered in velvet tones as his hands moved up Duo's thighs.

Duo held his breath. Was this really happening? His body certainly thought so, the way it was warming and rising to the occasion, but his mind was having a difficult time catching up.

"Duo..." Zechs said softly, kissing the ear and then dipping his tongue inside. "This will only happen if you want it to."

"Yeah," Duo heard himself saying. "I want it."

He wanted it all, to be carried away by desire, to know passion again, to set aside his lonely life for a few hours in another's arms. If this beautiful and enigmatic man could give him that, then he would ride that wave with Zechs.

"Mmm," Zechs moaned as he nibbled around Duo's ear and jawline. He had read the boy correctly, and set to work pleasuring him. His hands rubbed up and down Duo's thighs and then slipped between his legs to find a lovely, willing hardness there. "Oh, yes, you do want this."

Duo leaned back against the couch, his breathing shallow and fast, and his eyes flickering closed as he gave himself over. It had been so long since he had been touched this way that it was a little dreamlike. But Zechs kept him in the moment as he found Duo's lips again and kissed him deeply.

"I knew your kisses would be sweet," Zechs said, pulling back to look into those incredibly large blue eyes.

"Yours aren't half bad either," Duo said, cautiously, secretly fearing the events he had just set in motion.

His stomach fluttered with nervous excitement as Zechs smiled at him devilishly and then dove in for another kiss. Duo tentatively slipped his arms around the man's waist, drawing him closer. He liked these kisses more than he cared to admit, and when Zechs's tongue pressed for entrance, he opened his mouth, accepting the exploration.

While he tasted of Duo deeply, Zechs palmed Duo's hardness, making the boy moan into his mouth. "That's it," he said, pleased with the needy sound. He rubbed the slender hardness, feeling its heat even through the jeans. "Now to free you," he said, and with both hands worked to open Duo's jeans.

Peeling back the front of the jeans, Zechs grinned as he saw red underwear. Though Duo wore mostly black, it seemed his taste in underclothes was more colorful. And Zechs definitely liked red.

He tugged on the jeans to pull them off, but Duo tensed and placed his hands over Zechs's.

"Wait," Duo gasped. His face was flushed, and though his body was giving all the signals that he wanted this, something was holding him back.

"Am I going too fast?" Zechs asked, carefully. He did not want to stop, but he was willing to change the pace.

"Maybe," Duo said, his eyes round, almost innocent.

"I won't hurt you, Duo," Zechs reassured, lifting a hand to Duo's face and caressing his cheek. He looked deep into the boy's eyes and smiled. "It's our first time together. It's all right to be nervous."

Emotionally, Zechs had the upper hand. He did not have the baggage of a recent failed love affair, and he had been honest with himself about his growing attraction to Duo. Duo, on the other hand, had not dealt with his feelings at all. Every time warm feelings of Zechs began to surface he stamped them down, frightened by the implications. But now Zechs had forced his hand and Duo could see that his perception of the former OZ pilot had changed a great deal in the last few days. Even so, it would take time for Duo to completely separate the man he wanted from the soldier he feared.

"Duo?"

The boy looked up. "Oh, I was just thinking."

"Obviously," Zechs said with a chuckle. "Is there anything you'd like to share with me?"

"Not really. Everything's pretty much a jumble right now."

Zechs took his hand from Duo's face and sat back. "You want me to stop."

"No," Duo said quickly. "I didn't mean for you to think that... it's just that so much has changed in the last few days, and now things are really about to change."

"Is that good or bad?"

"It's good... I think. It's just gonna take a little getting used to," Duo said, squirming with need.

"I see."

Duo searched Zechs's eyes. The hurt had returned. "No, you don't... you can't see, because I'm just beginning to see," he said and smiled. "I've done a lot of running in my life. I try to fix things, but sometimes I can't, or I get scared and then I go somewhere else, trying to leave my problems behind. If you hadn't come here tonight and told me how you feel, I would've kept running from you, too."

"You were running from me?"

"Yeah, well not literally. I think I knew the other night I was attracted to you, but I couldn't admit it, so I was hoping you'd just go away. Then I wouldn't have to deal with it."

Zechs nodded. "Then it's good that I came here tonight?"

"Yeah," Duo said simply and grinned.

[cont]