By : Sunhawk

Conversations (cont)

It was unlike anything I had ever experienced before, and there was a long few minutes while I tried to make up my mind if it felt good or bad... right or wrong. It just felt... strange. He worked my aching length with lips and tongue, distracting me, not letting me think too hard about what he was doing to me with his hands. His gentle, loving hands.

My own hands wanted to reach for him, wanted to bury themselves in that wild tangle of hair, wanted to urge him on... wanted... But I didn't dare, this far gone... I didn't dare. I let go of the sheets and stretched my arms over my head, grabbing hold of the headboard, making sure I didn't forget myself. Guilt welled in my chest, but he had me too lost to dare.

His fingers, massaging and stroking inside me, found a rhythm. He suckled me with a desperate need, matching that rhythm, and I felt something building inside my gut, inside my chest. I cried out with it, thrashing beneath his hands, straining toward something... something I couldn't name, something that was so close I could almost taste it... almost reach it. I writhed into his touch, panting and striving to grasp that... that feeling that was just out of reach. It was right there... so very close; I could almost identify what it was. I was sobbing Heero's name, begging him with incoherent cries to help me attain it... help me seize it. I could distantly hear his own breath panting raggedly. Could hear him, when he could manage it, urging me upward, urging me to let go.

Then his fingers plunged farther than they had before, caressing deep within me and it was like my world turned white, in a flare of heat and cold that rushed over my skin in waves. I bucked, my body leaving the bed, and I thought I heard the headboard crack.

He felt me tightening and pulled away, wrapping his free hand around my swelling erection and began to pump me hard. My orgasm swept up through me with an intensity so brutal I felt my own semen spatter across my cheek. My body clenched tight around his fingers, pushing me over an edge I'd never felt before. I screamed out in near anguish, lost in the overwhelming pleasure coursing through me... and devastated as I felt that other feeling evade my grasp. The bubble of it, that had threatened to expand in my chest until I couldn't breathe, just faded away... unattained and unidentified.

I knew nothing for a time. The roar of my own blood in my ears was all there was to be heard. The flare of that overpowering light seemed to have burned my eyes, and there was nothing to be seen. Feeling had narrowed to the pulsing remnants of an orgasm unlike anything I'd ever experienced.

It was the feel of Heero's fingers slipping slowly and carefully from my body that forced awareness back on my battered senses. I whimpered softly, not liking the strange empty feeling I was left with, and I opened my eyes to look at him. I realized then, how one sided that had been, how I had totally ignored his need while he had met... hell; surpassed my own. But when I looked to him, with guilt nibbling at me, I met only a sloe-eyed, sated smile. I turned my gaze down the length of our bodies and was surprised as hell to find my thighs covered with the evidence of his own completion.

He shifted, sliding up next to me so that we were face to face and he bent to kiss me. There was the faintest taste of salt and I remembered the feel of my own come on my face. Heero groaned softly and deepened the kiss, invading my mouth hungrily, chasing that taste with abandon. When he drew away, he smiled tenderly down and said, "wait here." Then he rose and went into the bathroom. I heard water running and knew he was cleaning up.

Wait here, he said. Like I could have moved if the apartment had caved in. Like I gave a damn. My legs were still trembling so much I doubt seriously if I could have stood up and walked that far. Crawling seemed more likely, but wasn't very appealing. So I did as I was told and waited.

He came back with a washcloth and a towel and bent to cleaning me up with touches that bordered on reverent. We didn't speak. All I could do was stare up at him, my head still trying to wrap itself around what had just happened. All he could seem to do was smile.

When I was as clean as I could be without a full-fledged shower, he returned the washcloth and towel to the bathroom and came back to crawl in beside me. I watched him settle the extra blanket over me and tried to remember what it had been like to sleep in my solitary, empty bed. A hollow feeling crept up on me, bringing the sting of unshed tears to my eyes and making my throat hurt. I suddenly didn't want to remember what it had been like. "I love you," I blurted and the sound of my wavering voice alarmed him.

"Are... are you all right?" he asked, stretching out beside me, pulling the blankets around us.

In answer, I turned toward him and carefully brought my hand up to lie against his cheek. "I'm fine," I told him and watched a smile of pure joy blossom on his face.

He covered my hand with his own. "I love you so much... you know that, don't you?"

"I figured it out," I smiled in return.

We curled together then and I gave in to the exhaustion of the day, letting all the whirling thoughts go away and falling into a deep and dreamless sleep.

It didn't last.

I had slept so much right after the accident, when I'd first been released from the hospital, that I think it had rather surprised Heero, once I was better, that I actually slept less than he did. Left to his own devices, he will sleep close to seven hours a night, where I seldom go more than five or six. Though I had adapted a little since living with him, and found myself more able to go back to sleep if I woke up too early.

That trick failed me miserably when I woke the next morning before five. I tried to just roll over and doze back off, but once awake, the thoughts came rushing back like a tide coming in, and I knew it was hopeless. It was obscenely early for a Sunday morning, and I didn't want to disturb Heero with my tossing and turning. Silently, I slipped from bed and gathering my discarded sweats and the first sketchpad I found, I crept out to the living room. It was too early for breakfast and the television would have disturbed Heero, so I curled into the corner of the couch with my sketchbook. It seemed it had been ages since I'd put pencil to paper and I was moved to do a little bit of drawing to pass the time.

Sunday morning. What an odd feeling; I could remember a time when days of the week hadn't mattered to me. I hadn't known what a lazy Sunday morning was like. Hadn't understood the joys of a Friday or Saturday night, when your time was your own. It sometimes takes me by surprise, these major changes that have happened in my life without any real effort on my part. It still sometimes leaves me with my head spinning, wondering just what in the hell had happened.

I opened the cover of my sketchpad and began leafing forward, looking for a blank page. I grimaced as the pages revealed just which book I had picked up. I hesitated over the strange little self-portrait I had drawn on the way to L3, right before I'd inadvertently almost killed myself. But I wasn't in the mood to dwell on the pain and despair etched into the two faces that were both mine. I was struck again with the thought that I should destroy the damn thing, but again, just found myself leafing past it. Somehow... I couldn't quite bear to tear it up, that strange, dark, double portrait. I flipped on past studies of Wufei's cat, past pictures of Heero, past a portrait of Quatre and Trowa that I really meant to finish one of these days, until I found that blank page. There was a certain... soothing effect that came with sketching, and I rather felt in need of a bit of comfort. In a bit of the familiar.

My head was so full of thoughts that it felt... overstuffed. I couldn't quite stop thinking about my hands, about my scars. Couldn't stop thinking about Heero. Neither of us escaped the war... unmarred, but he just seemed so damn perfect to me somehow. He had his scars, you don't self-destruct your fucking Gundam and walk away unscathed, but they seemed... different from mine, to me. Why did where the scars came from make a difference in how I saw them? I don't really know. He had hit that deceptively small red button at the call of duty. Had taken the third path when given two choices... surrender, or the colonies will be destroyed. He had figuratively flipped Oz the ultimate bird, and made his own choice. That he had lived was a damn miracle. But... it had been noble, somehow, as totally asinine as that sounds. At the time, I had cursed him, cussed him and drunk to his somewhat premature ghost, but somewhere under all the pain, I had seen his sacrifice as something... dignified. The faint scars that traced his shoulder and chest weren't even there to my eyes. I... just didn't see them. Never much thought about them.

But my own... there was nothing noble or decent in how I had gained them. They were nothing to me but a reminder of the fact that all mistakes carry a price. My mistakes on that mission had been many and varied, had cost a young girl her life and almost cost Quatre his. I just couldn't seem to get past that.

There was just no straightening it all out in my head. My scars weren't just scars, I guess, is as close as I can come to explaining it. My disfigurement meant something... something that I wasn't proud of.

Damn, but I was sick of chasing that damn chicken around the barn, and shook my head as though I could jostle the thoughts loose and make them fall away.

My eyes focused on the sketch in front of me and I had to sigh. A detailed study of my own hands had somehow formed under the pencil, while I hadn't been looking. My hands... the way they had been. A long time ago. A very long damn time ago.

I flipped the page almost angrily, and consciously started a portrait of Heero. I really didn't need one of those damn psychotherapy, artistic brain-dump sessions, thank you very much. I had enough of a collection of pictures not suitable for the general viewing audience, I sure as hell didn't need any more.

Sometimes I almost wished I could just go somewhere and sleep for a while. Sleep while all the problems resolved themselves. Not wake up until this strange tension between Wufei and me was gone. Not wake up until Heero had found us a house and moved us in. Not wake up until I had answers to so many of the things that plagued my poor, beleaguered brain most of the daylight hours. The job. The kids. The car.

I had to slap a hand over my mouth to stifle the bubble of laughter that tried to find its way out of my throat. God, didn't I sound like some kind of domestic basket case? I pushed aside the mental image of me, kissing 'the little woman' goodbye with the prerequisite three and a half little kids tugging at my pants leg while I tried to get myself off to work. Dear Lord, but I was totally losing it. I forced my attention back to the paper under my hand and just tried to concentrate on getting Heero's pose right. Sitting with his legs drawn up, his back against something... a wall maybe.

Its not that I really hated my job. It was all right, I suppose. It's just not what I had imagined I'd be doing at this stage of my life. I'd had dreams and plans, once upon a time. Now I just seemed to be getting by. I'd lost my direction somehow.

Don't laugh, but in my wide-eyed youth, I'd imagined that I would own a whole fleet of ships one day. I'd thought that I would be able to bring in ex-soldiers... guys like me who maybe were having a little trouble fitting in. Guys who would welcome the chance to be able to pilot again. I had dreamed that we would make a name that would be known all over the solar system as the crew that could bring back anything.

I had thought that someday I would be bringing in enough money that I'd be able to completely upgrade the Maxwell Home, that I'd be able to send every one of those kids to the best schools money could provide and see to it that they all got as many chances at their dreams as it took to make them come true. Instead of the pathetic one-shot I was barely able to provide now.

I had hoped someday to be in a position to pay Quatre back for the surgeries he'd had done on my hands. I had dreamed of being able to look him in the eye again without feeling that weight on my mind. I had dreamed...

I had dreamed some damn silly things, once, a long time ago.

I sighed again, and remembered why I had always kept myself exhaustingly busy. I remembered why I never used to do the lazy Sunday type mornings. Idleness meant introspective. Introspection pretty much meant brooding. Brooding led to depression, and after that it was just kind of a downhill trip.

I set my pencil aside to look at Heero's portrait and flinched when I realized I'd ended up seating him on the built-in cabinets in the back room of that damn house we'd looked at. He was leaning against the wall, his arms draped over his up-drawn legs, looking out the windows at the willow tree in the backyard. The scene through the windows looked more like spring and the tree was a fantasy of frothy, blowing streamers.

"Oh for God's sake," I muttered to no one in particular, and turned the damn page so roughly I almost tore it.

I realized that guilt-beast was curled on the couch beside me and I thought about that fact for a little bit. Found my thoughts circling around to last night. Circling around to what had happened between Heero and me. Thought about how it had felt. About how I had felt.

My God, but I'd never experienced anything like that before. I shivered, sitting there in the living room, just thinking about it. If my emotions got any more tangled up, trying to sort that whole thing out, I just might throw up right where I sat.

How much of my trepidation came from the simple fact that Solo had told me "No" on this subject in no uncertain terms? How twisted was that? That a man... no, a boy, who had been dead for more than half my life had that much control over how I thought. It makes you wonder about the things that make up your psyche. About the things that formed your damned thinking. Things you might not even really remember. Solo had warned me about the dangers of the street. Solo had kept me safe as long as he had lived. He was the first human being I can ever recall trusting. And I had trusted in his teachings most of my life. His lessons had seldom led me wrong. It was a damn uncomfortable place to be, stuck between the guilt of denying Heero... and the guilt of betraying Solo's rules.

"Yer such a total asshole, sometimes, have I ever told ya that, kid?" Solo's non-voice sounded right near my ear and I had to grin at the nobody who wasn't there.

"Seems like its come up once or twice," I murmured in response.

"Just what'n hell was the rule again?" he snickered and was there, perched on the back of the couch.

"Never..." I hesitated, remembering his real voice all those long, long years ago. "Never sell yourself."

"I don't see no sellin' goin' on here," he smirked at me and I had to blink at him. "Shut yer mouth, rat-boy... ya look pretty stupid."

I heard my own mouth snap closed and I gave him an angry frown, my brother who wasn't really there. "My, aren't we feeling perky this morning?" I growled, voice a mere whisper.

"Yer not much of a kid no more," he said, giving me that appraising look he gave kids before deciding if they were fit to join the gang. "Looks t'me like yer all growed up. This ain't about breakin' my rules... this is about," he leaned toward me, that infuriating smirk on his face, and tapped intangible fingers on my sketch pad. "that," he said in triumph and was suddenly gone.

I looked down into my lap and gasped in shock at the portrait staring back at me. "Jesus God!" I moaned and drew my arm back to throw the damn thing across the room. But it was plucked from my hand before I could let it fly.

I gasped in indignant surprise, jerking around to find Heero standing behind the couch, a worried frown trying to settle on his face, and my sketchpad in his hand. It makes me crazy sometimes, that he can get inside my radar like that. It's a good ten feet to the bedroom door, and I'd never heard him coming.

"Not funny, Yuy," I growled, trying to hide the panic. "Give me that back."

He didn't even dignify the lame attempt at cover-up with a response. Just stood staring at the picture in his hands, his eyes turning dark with a little bit of confusion... a little bit of shock.

I sighed, understanding that the evasion dance was a pretty damn useless endeavor at this point. No way in hell was he going to take a look at that portrait and not have a question or two. He just left me sitting there for a long minute, while he studied what was in front of him. Then he came slowly around and sat carefully down beside me.

"Duo..." he began, seeming very unsure of what to say to me, his eyes full of a thousand questions. "What..." he tried again, hesitating for a long second, glancing from the sketchpad to me. "Who was he?" he finally asked gently, and I let out a gusty sigh, running a hand through my hair.

Who was he? Who indeed. Could I even say? Could you honestly say that any of us street-kids could have answered that question? I guess it didn't really matter, in the end. It hadn't much mattered to the boy in the portrait.

"We called him Froggy," I said, looking at the picture and not at Heero. I couldn't help smiling just a tiny bit, at the memory. "He had these... long legs and knobby knees. Solo said he looked like a frog, though God knows where he ever saw a frog to know."

Froggy's dead eyes stared back at me, flat and lifeless, wide as hell... so damn wide and... stunned. That was the thing that I had remembered the most; the totally shocked look on his face. It had taken a while, for him to die, and he had been so damn... surprised. Like he'd never known before that moment that there were simple mistakes you could make that could cost such a high price.

"He turned up just a couple of weeks after Solo took me in," I told him, still not looking away from Froggy's pale, pale face. My fingers thought to reach out to close those eyes, the way they had all those years ago, but I knew it wouldn't block that memory away now, anymore than it had then. "We were close to the same age... I guess." I thought about that for a second. Wondering, not for the first time, just how the hell old I was. Solo'd had this trick where he made us reach over the top of our heads and touch our ear. If you could reach, you were old enough to go out with the pickpockets. If you couldn't... you had to beg. Froggy and I could both just barely reach. "Times were... rough. We were both newbies, still learnin' the trade... still learnin' how to steal without gettin' nabbed." I stopped, blinking furiously for a second, hearing the damn street accent coming into my voice. I shivered and pushed it aside. "The... the gang was short to start with, then add in the mouths that were still learning... times were hard."

A warm hand enveloped mine and I let myself cling for just a minute, before I became mindful of the pressure and eased off. I still couldn't look up at Heero, couldn't quite tear my gaze away from the dark circled, wide eyes on the paper. He was so pale. He'd been so... pale.

"We hadn't eaten in days. I don't think Froggy was used to it yet... it still got to him." There was a tiny little, tight kind of sound that seemed to come from Heero's chest somewhere, but I ignored it. "We'd been out workin'..." I grimaced, fighting the pull of memory. "Working, and were headed back. Just the two of us. This guy... this guy approached us and offered us money," I couldn't help the hesitation, couldn't help the strange little falter in my voice. Heero kept his silence, holding tight to my hand, and just let me tell it. "If we'd go... He wanted..." I was starting to blush and dared a glance up. "You know?" I asked, squirming under the memory. "Come on, kid... just a quick fuck? Won't take ten minutes outta yer day. I'll give you two whole can eat damn nice on two credits. Come on... it feels damn fine... damn fine... I promise."

"I know," Heero said gently, his voice a mere whisper, and I shivered. He laid the tablet on the couch and wrapped both his hands around mine, holding on tight.

"I told him hell no, but Froggy was so hungry..." I looked back down at those dead eyes and remembered how he'd looked at me. "Come on, man," he'd begged. "Solo don't havta know. Two credits! I'm so hungry!"

I could remember pulling on his arm, seeing something in the man's eyes that had scared me. "Solo says no!" I had yelled at him and pulled for all I was worth, scared to death and not half understanding why. But he had gotten suddenly angry and pushed me away. "Damn you! I'm sick of bein' hungry! You go ahead and run if you're so damn chicken! I'm stayin'!" And I'd run. I'd run like the devil himself was after me. "Don' never sell yerself!" I'd yelled at him. And it had become my damn litany all the way back to the abandoned warehouse that had been our sleeping place that week. "Nevernevernever..."

"I went and got Solo... as fast as I could go," I whispered, having to clear my throat to get the words out around the lump of memory in my chest. "But... it was too far away... we didn't make it."

I'd led Solo and some of the bigger guys back to that alley, running so fast they almost hadn't been able to keep up with me, even though I'd already run the route once. Even though I had thought my lungs were on fire. Even though I hadn't eaten in a couple of days. We found him in the back of the alley, the guy was long gone. "Did'n even pay me..." Froggy had mumbled to me, but I'd barely heard him. I couldn't stop staring at his bare, knobby legs and all the blood.

"All that damn blood..." I realized I'd said that out loud and forced myself to look away from the portrait on the couch beside us. I took a breath, and then had to take another. There's some shit that just sticks in your damn head and won't ever go away. Not ever. "I'd never seen Solo so damn pissed. He was cussing Froggy and cussing that nameless man. Nobody else was sayin' anything... Solo tore up what was left of Froggy's pants and... and tried to stop the bleeding." That part about undid me and I stopped, remembering Froggy's whimpering cries, remembering Solo yelling at him and telling him what an idiot he'd been. It had taken me a long time to understand that was how Solo covered up when he was scared. He got pissed. Flaming, wicked pissed until he could do the things that had to be done. Even when they were ugly, miserable, scary damn things.

"We took him back to the warehouse," I said then, and felt Heero's hands tighten on mine. I had to shake my head, knowing what he was thinking; knowing how he thought we'd messed up. I couldn't contain a bitter little snort. "The homeless don't exactly have insurance cards," I told him. "You want to see the inside of a hospital on L2... you have to prove you can pay."

There was the sound of a sharply indrawn breath, but nothing else. I think Heero was afraid that if he interrupted me, I'd just stop talking. I did stop, for a minute, wanting to collect my thoughts, wanting to tell this without all the hysterical weeping shit. I'd cried that night, helpless and scared and confused as hell. That was the first time Solo had told me, "Boys don't cry, kid."

"We couldn't get the bleeding to stop, no matter what we did," I told Heero softly. "It... took awhile, but he bled to death in that warehouse."

"I'm so cold," Froggy'd told me, over and over while I sat and held his hand. He'd been so scared... so very scared. He'd not said much about what the man had done to him, except to impart to me in a wavering, whispered voice that it had hurt... a lot. He'd died staring at me, his eyes so wide and his face so pale. He'd just looked... surprised, like he couldn't believe what had happened.

Solo had moved us before the body was cold. Gathered the whole gang up and took us out of there into the night. We holed up in the shell of a burned out building. Solo had been so... angry, like I'd never seen him. He'd scared me for the first time ever. Before we dug in for the night, he'd called us to his side and Froggy became an object lesson. A lesson that not a one of us ever forgot. Ever. There were worse damn things in this wicked, wicked world than starving to death.

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