Lawless Hearts

Part 15:Sow's Ear
by Kracken


Disclaimer:Don't own them and don't make any money off of this
Warning:Male/male sex, graphic, language,violence

Lawless Hearts

Sow's Ear

I had a lot of time to think as I separated scrap with the claw. Uppermost on my mind, was the fact that I was wasting my time. Heero's plans to separate, sort, and inventory everything, his plan to straighten out my troubles with L2 Revenue, and his intentions of pulling my business out of the red, were now defunct. The only thing I was doing now was keeping up appearances.

There's nothing like chewing on anger and bitterness in high heat. It makes a man rise to a new level of 'pissed off' and 'depressed as hell'. Sure I could be happy that Heero wasn't going to dump me along with everything else, that he actually wanted some promises of commitment from me, but what was he getting? What was going to be left of Duo Maxwell when it was all over? Possibilities ranged from homeless loser to Preventer lockup inmate. Any way I looked at it, I wasn't a prize to begin with, and I definitely wasn't going to end up one after it was all over.

Thinking like that brought me back to my original, insurmountable worries about where we were going with our relationship. Preventer Agent. Scrapman. The two were as opposed to each other as a person could get. Even if I ended up losing everything, it was still hard to put the two of us together in some sort of life. Heero was all about commitment, dedication, and self sacrifice in a position honored by everyone. I was all about surviving, scrabbling, and living on the edge of society. I couldn't see myself moving to a place in the pristine city and being on the other side, being one of those citizens who looked down on scrapmen and never wondered if the weather and the water supply were different for the have nots. I couldn't see Heero turning his back on what he held dear and taking up scrap.

I tossed a large chunk of something onto the pile, the last of it, and then backed the claw into its space. The engine died with a splutter, warning me that it intended not to start the next time I tried it. Climbing down, and burning my hands on the hot metal, I swore and landed awkwardly. I flinched in surprise when Heero's hand was under my elbow suddenly to steady me.

He let go when he saw I was steady, but he continued to look worried. I took off my hat and my bandana and rubbed the sweat and dirt off of my face. I coughed grit and then asked, "Get done?"

My voice must have been full of what I'd been stewing over for hours. Heero frowned as he answered, "You're angry."

No shit, I thought, but put my hat back on, and dipped my head so that the brim hid my eyes, as I replied, "I'm a smart man. I don't need anyone to add up the score for me."

He blinked, thinking about that and then he leaned in close, understanding. "It is very important that we finish this sting," he told me, "but I intend to do all of the things that we planned."

I sneered, I couldn't help it, "And Wu-man is going to let you do that?"

Heero became intense. "Wu Fei isn't my superior, only my partner. There are regulations, rules, that must be followed, but helping you and your business doesn't conflict with those. We are scrapmen. We are supposed to be interested in making this business a success. If we sit and do nothing until we are contacted by our targets, that's suspicious, out of the ordinary."

"And when it's over and it's time to leave?" Okay, I was a blunt son of a bitch. I always have needed it all spelled out and on the table.

Heero scowled. He leaned in even closer, his blue eyes boring into mine. "What I'm feeling for you, isn't going to go away after the operation. What we said earlier to each other... I meant it."

My anger deflated, but my bitterness wouldn't. I'd been on the toe end of the kick too many times. Heero might have the best intentions, he might really love me, but life had a way of tearing that out of my hands in ways he couldn't begin to know. Talk was just that, talk. I needed to see it happening to actually believe in it.

Heero looked frustrated when he saw that I was going to continue to be pessimistic. His grip on my arm was hard. "Wu Fei may seem like-"

"An asshole," I interjected, frowning.

Heero grimaced and then went on, "There is a man under that and he is honorable. He won't stand in the way of my helping you as long as-"

I shook my head sharply and he stopped talking as I looked down at my dirty boots. "Honor doesn't have anything to do with it."

I didn't want to talk about it anymore. Heero didn't seem to understand that Wu Fei thought that I was a criminal, beneath contempt. He couldn't see that part of Wu Fei's attitude towards me was caused by the fact that I was a low life scrapman and that he considered me way beneath Heero's class. He was disappointed in Heero. He was upset by Heero's lapses in judgment where it concerned me, and, I could tell that he was more than half afraid that I was going to fall and take Heero down with me. I couldn't blame him for that last bit. I was worried about that myself.

"So, you didn't answer my question," I sidestepped. "Are you done with the shack?"

"Yes," Heero replied in a subdued voice. I could tell that he didn't like to be doubted, especially by me, and that he still wanted to reassure me about his intentions.

"Let's go see," I prompted, not wanting to give him the chance to talk more about us, about my business. I had stewed about that enough today and I was done twisting myself in a knot over it. When it came right down to it, a lot of things were out of my control, and Heero could say all he wanted, but he couldn't, in the end, tell the world how to treat Duo Maxwell. Wu Fei would happily see me in jail. My lot mate would happily see me dead and my lot open for his claim. L2 would happily like to tax me out of business, one less scrap man to clutter the station. It almost felt good to get back on familiar ground, back to the me against the world... almost.

When I began leading the way to the shack, Heero leaned into my shoulder and gave me a small shove, making me stumble. I put my hands in my pockets, hunched my shoulders, and couldn't help smiling. I shoved back. He stumbled, smiled, and we walked together with me in a slightly better mood. Life had some major shit potential, but having Heero there, even if all he could do was care about me, was comforting in a way I'd never anticipated. Hard, bitter me, would have plowed through whatever came my way, alone and fighting until the end. It was different going into the battle with someone fighting by my side.

The doors and windows of the shack were wide open. I smelled caustic, industrial cleaners as I mounted the steps and cautiously went inside. Wu Fei was opening up one of two cots. Aside from a refrigerator, a sink, and a small cube stove, the place had been completely emptied. The walls, floors, and the one narrow counter that divided the room from the 'kitchen', were spotless. I had an image of Wu Fei going along the baseboards with a fine toothbrush. I'd never seen the place that clean, even when Hilde had been living there.

"Nice," was all I could figure out to say.

Wu Fei straightened and I felt the burn of his dark glare. He didn't say anything, though, and I knew that he couldn't contain his absolute anger at the circumstances in mere words.

I rubbed at the back of my neck as I looked anywhere but at Wu Fei. "Sorry," I told him. He really deserved an apology, whatever I felt about him.

"The circumstances were described to me by Yuy," Wu Fei told me in a voice that was strung so tight I could tell that he wanted to shout and was denying himself the opportunity.

I shot a quick look at him. Jeez! Didn't the man even sweat? It just didn't seem natural, the way he still looked so neat, cool, and collected after cleaning out a complete dive. You know, you can still give a man points for that even if you hated him.

"The floors will take time to dry," Heero said as he came out from behind me.

I noticed then that they were wet from the power hose. I gave me something to look at as I said, "Uh, I'll compensate you two for cleaning this, okay? I'll up your credits on the next sale."

Wu Fei raised a slender eyebrow. "Unnecessary. We are using it for a base of operations."

He wasn't going to give me a chance to get back a little 'face'. All I could do was look like an idiot as I found myself going out again, into the fading sunlight of evening to glare at nothing inparticular. I heard Heero snarl something and Wu Fei's cool reply, but I couldn't make out the words. Somehow, my revenge on Wu Fei had failed and I had come out looking like a vindictive moron. I wondered if Heero saw it that way, too? After all, I'd made him part of that revenge.

"I'm such a fuck up," I hissed at myself and thought about going to Market Row and getting completely shitfaced drunk. I wanted to stop my suffering for at least awhile.

An arm hooked around my waist and began pulling me towards my shack. I looked at Heero, startled. "Wu Fei wants to meditate," Heero told me, "and I want dinner, with you."

"What about 'fraternizing'?" I wondered sourly.

"My cover story is that I'm going to be inputting the scrap inventory, that you took today, into my computer and getting my things from your shack," Heero told me with a pleased smirk. "Both legitimate excuses."

"Heero," I began, feeling a pleased thrill, but still feeling bad enough to drown that out.

"He took a shower and changed his clothes," Heero told me.

I blinked. "What?"

"Before we came to the shack," Heero explained, amused, "He does sweat, stink, and get filthy just like everyone else, Duo, and he does have a heart under all that assholeness. He didn't argue when I told him I was going with you."

"Assholeness?" I snickered, emotions letting go, suddenly. So, my nemesis wasn't superhuman. I started feeling less... inferior and that naturally put me in a better mood. "If he has a heart, it's made out of rusted scrap."

We went into my shack. I stretched sore muscles and yawned as I went into the bedroom. When I noticed that Heero hadn't followed me, I turned and looked back into the office. He was standing near the desk, taking off his hat and rubbing at the grit on his face as his eyes took in the nearly empty room.

"What? Heat stroke?" I wondered.

Heero quirked a smile at me, but it didn't reach his eyes. He motioned to the room. "How much did those men steal? You don't even have pictures on the walls."

I frowned, not really having noticed that myself. I looked at the blank walls, well, accept for my calendar and schedule board, and the clean desk top. I felt suddenly embarrassed, because it hit me all at once why it WAS that bare. I fiddled with my shirt hem and cleared my throat when it unaccountably became dry and tight.

"I guess...," How do you explain that you've lived your entire life moving from place to place, hidy hole to hidy hole, and that being able to do that moving quickly and quietly was as ingrained as peeing standing up? I shrugged as if the question irritated me. I made a dismissive motion at the room. "Just never had time for nick naks and hanging pictures. Besides, the dirt gets into everything here. It's better keeping it all in boxes."

Heero frowned. "What did they take?" I knew he meant my 'employees' and the Preventer agents.

"Computer," I replied and went into the bedroom, making him follow me to get the rest of his answer. "Vidscreen. My music player. My magazines. Some video disks."

Yeah, not much to show for that many years struggling in my L2 scrap lot, but, things weigh you down, make you slow, and that went right back to my street wise youth again. I sighed and sprawled on the futon, sitting back on my elbows, legs hanging off the side.

Heero was looking around my bare bedroom now. "Do you keep things put away?"

Jeez! Wasn't he nosy, I thought, even more irritable now. "Yeah, in the storage closet." I gestured with my chin at the narrow door. I wasn't going to open it and show him my neatly stacked and taped boxes. There were only three and they held the mementos from my life; pictures, an award given to me by Relena Peacecraft herself for trying to save the Earth from her brother, some odds and ends from my life with the Sweepers, my old orphan uniform from Maxwell church, and the 'priest' outfit from the war, and a stuffed cat Hilde had given me for my 'birthday'. Since I hadn't known the exact day, she had picked one for me. April 1. Yeah, April Fool's and all of that. She had a good sense of humor.

I found myself nodding to Heero's question, not really wanting to get into it. That scrap yard was the longest that I had lived anywhere. How do you tell someone that you still couldn't trust that it wasn't all going to change in the blink of an eye, that you still jerked awake and imagined that mobile dolls were destroying everything around you, that your life was steeped so much in the death of everyone you cared about that you thought, of course, it would happen again. It hurt too damned much to put it into words.

Heero picked up two drinks, hit the cold tabs, and leaned to hand me one. I sipped slowly, murmuring my thanks, glad that I had something to look at instead of his expression. He was probably wondering about my sanity.

"Everything I own is in that bag," Heero said suddenly.

I looked up then, in shock, almost crushing my drink. "What?"

Heero shrugged and looked away, his voice small and uncertain. "I stay in Preventer barracks when I'm not on an assignment and I... I've found it best not to own too many things. I travel a great deal."

"Oh," I stared and then came back to myself. I slapped a spot on the futon beside me. "Sit the hell down, Yuy."

He grimaced and managed a very small smile. "I stink. I think I'll shower and change first."

"Okay." I watched him go, understanding how uncomfortable our confessions had made us both. It's not easy letting somebody you care about know that you aren't... quite... normal. On some level, we already did know that. Who could come through our kind of lives and not be hanging from the rafters and howling at the full moon? It was just hard to actually SAY it.

It suddenly occurred to me that I was wasting a perfectly good opportunity to relieve some of our confession awkwardness. So what if it was fraternization and probably a bad idea? So what if it wrapped me and Heero tighter together during a crucial operation? The way things were going, it might be our last time together. I couldn't add, 'until after the operation' and I knew that it was another aspect of the 'it's all going to go to shit sooner or later' syndrome me and Heero seemed to both suffer from. That kind of misery doesn't love company, but we were stuck both being pessimists. Hope could wiggle it's cute nose all it wanted to, but it couldn't win completely against the lessons learned from harsh experience.

The pop of the snap on my jeans was loud as I hurried to get out of them. Tossing my shirt off , I stumbled as I pulled off my shoes and socks as I walked to the bathroom, already sporting the evidence of my strong desire. I knocked once on the wooden door.

I could almost hear Heero's smile as he said, "Come in."

What happened next was a jumble of images, almost like still frames, as I stepped through the door and into the hot water of the shower. Wet, soapy bodies, hot, slippery, mutual hand jobs, devouring kisses, and exploring tongues, mingled with pounding, hot water, the tortured sound of rusted pipes, and our pants and moans.
I came so hard that I cried out and almost fell to my knees. Heero's hand on me was tight, and almost brutal in its motions, as he pumped every drop out of me while he sucked on my mouth. He wasn't far behind, even though my hands stopped teasing his balls and stroking him during my orgasm. I just squeezed tight, convulsively, as he pumped himself in and out of that tight sheath and came against my belly, moaning my name.

Leaning against Heero and panting, I reached behind him and turned off the water. I squeezed his shoulder as I gave his still stiff erection a few last strokes and then let go. Since I was staring down, it was almost comical watching it bob as I released it. I found myself comparing us. We were both cut, we were both about the same size. Heero's erection tended to stand up straighter, though, and curve back towards his belly when fully aroused, where mine tended to stick out straight. Not bad, i thought, as I smirked. Not bad at all. I stroked us both together, almost feeling like starting something else, but Heero protested, even though he sounded reluctant too. He was right. We were both exhausted. We had to eat. Heero had to at least keep up appearances and have something to show Wu Fei when he returned to the back shack.

We ended up in shorts and tshirts, curled up together on the futon and eating dinner. Heero was punching numbers into his computer with one hand while I detailed inventory from memory. How romantic.... but, it was, sort of. We were together and we were doing important work for my business as well as the sting. There was something that was very appealing about that.

When we finished eating, the leftovers went into the garbage and we ended up sitting and looking at each other. "You should go back now," I told him half heartedly.

"I don't want to," Heero replied.

I punched him hard in the arm and stood up. I turned my back on him, as he grunted in pain, and jammed my hands into my short pockets. I could hear him rubbing his arm. Maybe he understood. It hurt. I didn't really know how to deal with that kind of pain, the pain that twisted me up inside, right at the level of my heart. I needed... I guess it was my way of letting Heero know that I needed space, even if only for a couple of minutes.

"Me too," Heero said quietly, after a long while, and I felt that pain grow. "I'm afraid... I've never felt this way before. I expect... I've never been able to keep things, never had anyone close to me... I had a lot of ... defenses against that... I think I would have... become closer to you during the war if that hadn't been true."

"Had?" I wondered in a husky voice.

"They aren't entirely gone," Heero told me, "but... I had some therapy and I let Quatre show me how to be something other than a soldier. I visited him often."

I was flustered at that revelation. Therapy? Quatre? If he had been living out of a duffel bag, and had never slept a whole night with anyone yet, there wasn't much credit I could give any of that, except this Heero was more open, more... I couldn't imagine the old Heero talking in that soft kind of voice, caring about me so honestly, and touching me with that... I remembered cold looks, harsh, short sentences, death threats, and a punch once or twice.

I wanted the pain to be less. I tried to lighten the mood and, dumbass that I was, I said the wrong thing, "You know, I thought you were a stone cold killer, heterosexual, and in love with Relena during the war. I kind of thought... that you'd be with her, so I never called you or anything... It's hard to imagine you taking 'normal' lessons with Quatre Winner "

"Don't talk about her," Heero asked in a completely different voice. It was seething and... full of hate? I turned to look at him and my impression was confirmed. He was glaring at me. Shit.

My mouth hung open and then I said quickly, "Sorry!" Not sure what I was apologizing for, but knowing that I'd accidentally stepped on one of Heero's 'hair triggers'.

Heero almost panted, he was so angry. I could see his chest rising and falling as he tried to get a grip on himself. He bit out at last, "Not your fault. Just... don't talk about her."

"Okay," I replied quickly, completely stumped. My hands came out of my pockets and I hugged myself, feeling weirdly chilled as I turned away again. "Guess... I guess you should be going..."

My earlier fear of it all going to crap wasn't anything compared to actually seeing it go to crap that quickly. When a hand closed on my braid, I twitched. Hand on braid usually meant someone was about to use it as a handhold to do damage to me. It was hard to stop my immediate reaction. It was Heero's hand. I didn't know if he was mad enough to hurt me, but I wasn't going to kick him in the face... yet... not until he did something first.

Heero was looking at me so intensely, his blue eyes seem to glow. Very slowly, he reeled me in by my braid. I let him, amazed at my own restraint. I found myself being brought back onto the futon and then Heero's hands were on me and pulling me close to him. Our bodies wrapped around each other convulsively then and I just breathed into his collar bone, trying to get over the pain in my chest that had suddenly become unbearable.

It hurt too much. Expecting the worst, waiting for it to happen, yet loving this steely strength, this supple, smooth skinned, warm bundle of possibilities that was Heero Yuy, was almost more than I could handle... yet... I couldn't help clinging by my fingernails, digging frantically for every wisp of reason to endure, to make it happen, to make Heero mine somehow, despite everything.

"Don't doubt me," Heero begged, whispering it fiercely into my ear. "I won't leave you. I won't stop loving you."

I thumped his collarbone with my forehead and gritted out, "I'm too old for fairy stories, Heero, was always too old."

He surprised me by holding me tighter and chuckling, though it sounded very strained, "I'll make you believe in them again. I'll make you believe how much I want this." He paused and then said, "I'm sorry."

"S'okay," I muttered, "We're both going to unload the mental baggage once in awhile. Let's... Let's just try not to let both of us do it together next time, okay?"

He kissed me on the cheek, rough with emotion, as if he needed to stamp some sort of official seal on the promise. "Okay."

We rested together, but Heero did go back to Wu Fei eventually. The hurt and the worry was less, though, as we said goodbye on the porch of my shack. It was strange, but, as I watched him walk away, under the stark light of the lot overhead lights, it was as if he wasn't actually leaving me. It felt... like a cord was attached to him, stretching between us. When I turned back to go into my shack. I didn't feel abandoned or alone.



on to Chapter 16

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