Sand Castles

Inspired by a Davic Archuletta song:Waiting for Yesterday.

Chapter 2
by Kracken

"How much did this cost?" Duo wanted to know as he turned around and surveyed the long strip of white sand beach, the turquoise water, and the waving palm trees and sea oat peppered sand dunes.

Heero fumbled with a key as he balanced his duffle on one shoulder. "Nothing," he admitted as he managed the lock and then swung open the door to the sprawling beach house of white bead board, gray porches, and large windows. Dropping the duffel inside, he moved to open those windows, pushing them back so that they slid ingeniously into the walls and then folding back blue gray shutters to let in the breeze and the light. Turning around he watched Duo enter and felt suddenly nervous. "Relena gave it to me. She said that she never came here. Doesn't like the beach."

Duo grunted as if amused, and then asked,"Where's my room?" He gave the main room a sweeping look that told Heero that he was memorizing the layout like an agent on a mission.

In mine, Heero wanted to say, but he knew that it was too soon. Duo needed to relax first. He needed to stand down. He motioned to the one spare. "In there. "

Duo nodded and carried his duffel into the bedroom. He called back, "Are you really this clean, or do you have maid service?"

"Everything in its place," Heero replied and then picked up his duffel and headed to his room. "I'm changing clothes."

"Good idea. I've been dying from the heat since we left the airport."

Heero was rarely out of swim trunks at home. Always attracted to dark colors, he had taken a perverse satisfaction in choosing every wild Hawaiian pattern he could fine. The ones he chose, this time, were red with white flowers. The shirt that he pulled on was a loose orange t that he had ripped the sleeves off of. Bare feet stayed bare as he went back into the main room.

Duo had on combat khaki shorts with too many pockets and a black tank top. His dog tags and ever present cross were still front and center on his breast. He was barefoot as well, but he looked nervous about it. His legs, Heero noticed had some thick scarring, with the worst one crossing over his left knee. It looked as if something else had burned his neck in a hand sized patch.

There was an air of daring about Duo, as if he hadn't shown that much skin in a long while, as if he had taken off armor when he knew that there was going to be a fire fight. He hadn't taken off everything, though.

"You won't need a gun," Heero promised him.

Duo stiffened and then, slowly, he reached behind him and under his tank top and pulled the small gun from his waistband. He stared at it, smoothed a hand over it, and then turned to take it back to his room. It gave Heero a moment to decide on his next words.

Duo was damaged. He might say that he trusted Heero, but he was like a wild thing, a wrong move or word ready to send him fleeing. When Duo returned, hands in pockets and eyes on the floor, Heero discarded a number of things to say from, 'You look really good in shorts.' to 'I don't remember those scars.' Avoiding anything that the man's false lover might have used to gain his confidence or saying anything that might undermine Duo's confidence in how Heero felt about him, were to be avoided.

Heero stepped forward cautiously until he was toe to toe with Duo. Very slowly, he reached out, took hold of the dog tags, and lifted them up and over Duo's head. He tossed them towards a garbage can in the small open kitchen and they went in unerringly with a clatter and clink. Duo stared after them, swallowed hard, and then gave a single nod.

"I feel..." Duo struggled for words. "I feel like I just jumped out of a jump ship, miles above the earth, and I don't have a parachute."

"I'm here to catch you," Heero promised.

Duo met his eyes. "How did you do it? You didn't have anyone."

"You know me," Heero chuckled. "I just considered it a mission."

Duo laughed lightly and then moved to look out a window. He narrowed eyes at the sun drenched rolling surf and listened to the seagulls calling. "I could get used to this."

"I'm hoping," Heero admitted.

"Une..." Duo sighed, paused for a long moment and then continued, "She practically called me a traitor when I bowed out of that mission. Peterson, though, he's an up and coming if I ever saw one. He could have made Gundam pilot, easy. He's quick, smart, and fearless."

"So was Daniels," Heero told him.

"Your replacement," Duo remembered. "He was good. I liked working with him. On that last mission that we did together, he even managed to get to the command center before me. Took out five terrorists." Duo frowned, his eyes tracking something along the beach. "Maybe we're getting old?"

Heero's eyes slid over Duo's many scars. "It's a young man's job," he agreed. "You age fast; get used up before you're thirty."

Duo grimaced. "I feel used up, now. I think I was done before you ever showed up, I just wouldn't stand down and admit it."

Heero moved to stand behind Duo. He wanted to reach out but a tension in Duo's shoulders stopped him. The light was making strands of fire in his brown, braided hair. Heero admired it and kept his hands to himself as Duo asked, "So, what do you do around here, anyway?"

Heero smiled as he looked out of the window and replied, "Swim, sunbathe, walk the beach, talk with the neighbors, read, collect shells..."

Duo turned and then seemed surprised that Heero was so close to him. He stepped away and looked at the walls of the main room. There were pictures of Heero at events, at parties, posing with friends, and a few showing him building things.

"What are these?" Duo asked as he walked up to them and looked closer.

"Community projects," Heero replied. "Down the beach there's a few parks where older people live. They can't always help themselves when things go wrong with their homes."

"That's sweet," Duo said with a grin.

Heero looked embarrassed and just shrugged.

Duo seemed hesitant and then he said in a soft voice, "You know, I always did want to... build things. Maybe, I could help out, too?"

"I'd like that," Heero replied with relief. Until that moment it had felt as if a feral cat had wandered into his home, and hadn't yet decided to stay and be tamed. "There's always work to do."

Duo took another slow walk around the main room, smiling at a large jar full of shells and a bad attempt, on one side table, to make art out of them. when Duo stopped at the small vid phone, tucked into the corner of the kitchen, behind a coffee maker, he stared at it.

"What... What if she calls?" Duo asked, and almost sounded fearful.

"I have them all blocked," Heero told him. "It will be your decision whether you want to call them or not."

Duo frowned and then nodded. He moved onto the porch and Heero followed him. Duo sat in a wooden chair and put his feet cautiously up on the porch railing. Relaxing, he stared off at the surf. Heero joined him and they listened to gulls and rolling surf for long minutes.

"I like this," Duo decided.

"I'm glad," Heero replied and put his feet up as well. Time would tell, though, if Duo would really stay.


"We're being watched," Duo suddenly said quietly. "Act casual while I get my gun."

Heero's eyes swept the beach, the sand dunes, and the small walkway of sand, lined with palm trees and sea oats, before his eyes went to Duo. "This is a public place," he assured Duo.

Duo was smiling slightly, everything about him giving a false impression of being relaxed and unaware. "Just down the path, behind that clump of tall oats..."

"Think about it," Heero insisted, not giving the spot another glance. "I have friends and neighbors. The beach is a public place. The chances of someone lying in wait to ambush us and torture us for what we know is slim to none."

Duo's eyes narrowed irritably. "They are in hiding-" he began to argue, but a small bark interrupted him.

A small ball of white fluff with two black eyes, came bounding towards the porch down the path. An exasperated voice said, "No, Nancy girl!" and then, shouting towards them as a tall thin man in white casual beach clothes, stepped into view, "Watch it, Heero! You know what happened last time!"

The little dog made the porch as if it had levitated over the stairs and was suddenly squirming and fawning at Heero's feet. Heero gingerly picked it up and carried it back off the porch at arms length.

"Got her, Frank!"

"Watch the tinkles!" the man warned as he reached them and clipped a light leash on the happy dog. He had some gray in his close cropped brown hair and a very lively pair of blue eyes. His face looked chiseled out of bone, with very strong lines, but he was handsome in a rugged way.

Heero put her down and she did, indeed, have to 'tinkle'.

"Sorry, Heero," the man said.

"You know I like your visits, Frank. It's just a hazard." Heero chuckled as the dog fawned for attention again.

"She simply is too excited to go before we get here," Frank sighed. He blinked at Duo, who had stepped off of the porch, now too, and was standing uncertainly. "Is this a new neighbor?"

"New room mate," Heero corrected. "Duo will be staying with me for as long as he likes."

"Duo?" Frank shook Duo's hand, with a small tightness about his face that might have been disappointment, or resignation. "Happy to meet you. Heero definitely needs some company. He's even broken down into making 'shell art'. That's one step from the lonely crazies, if you ask me."

Heero laughed outright. "I only wanted to put my compulsive shell collections to good use."

Frank shook his head. "Everything doesn't need to have a 'use'. If you insist, though, keep putting them in jars and start making walls, like Patterson does in his sand garden."

Heero shook his head. "I don't want any walls."

"Doorstops, then, or lamp bases," Frank amended. There was a pause and then he put a hand on his hip and wondered, "Well, don't we get to come in, Yuy?"

"Only if Nancy is done tinkling," Heero replied.

Frank grinned as he led Nancy back up the steps. "I can't guarantee anything."

Heero gave Duo an 'I told you so' look, before he followed Frank up the stairs and into the house.

Frank kept Nancy on a leash to keep a better eye on her, as he sat down. Heero didn't miss the unobtrusive look around the room. The man wanted to know just how intimate his relations with Duo was, Heero surmised. If Duo had changed anything, that would have spoken to a closer relationship than Heero was admitting.

Heero wasn't unaware of Frank's interest in him, but he had been honest from the beginning that nothing was going to happen between them. He supposed, though, that a person couldn't help hoping for a change of heart. Heero had waited, was still waiting, for Duo to declare whether they might be something more together.

"I've been away," Heero apologized. "I don't really have much besides coffee or tea."

"Don't worry, I'm good, " Frank assured him. "I saw your car up in the dune parking lot and decided to welcome you home. If you need to borrow something, before you manage to go shopping, drop by and help yourself. You know me, always stocked like a survivalist."

Heero chuckled, "Thank you. I might take you up on that. Duo might want to settle in before I show him around our little village."

"I'm not shell shocked, you know," Duo protested with a bit of irritation. "We can go shopping, Heero."

"All right," Heero soothed. "We'll go a bit later."

Duo nodded and Frank looked from one to the other of them with a raised eyebrow. "You're both tense. You need a day to lay on the beach and let the sun and surf put you in a better place." He stood up. "And, on that note, I'll leave you to it. In fact, I'll let everyone else know that you need a few days to relax. You know the Danielson's and their friends, their roving party doesn't need much of an excuse to end up at anyone's house."

"Thank you. I think you're right," Heero said with a wince, having been on the receiving end of the roving beach party a few times. They were fun, but a bit too much more than once a month, or several months, for that matter.

"Good to meet you, Duo," Frank said as he shook Duo's hand. "I'm sure we'll all be good friends."

"I'm sure," Duo replied shortly but his eyes were a bit hard.

Frank released his hand, looking a little nervous, gave Heero a brief squeeze on the upper arm, and saw himself to the door.

"See you in a few days, guys," Frank said. "Maybe we'll have a little beach cook out?"

"Sounds good," Heero replied and then Frank and Nancy were gone as he was left searching the floor and hoping that she hadn't tinkled.

"You're close?" Duo suddenly asked and Heero didn't miss the double meaning.

Heero left off his search and faced Duo. He took hold of Duo's hands in his and met him, eye to eye. "Not like you mean," he assured Duo. "Only one person gets to be close to me like that. I won't pressure him into it, though, so I'll keep it to myself, for now."

"Maybe he knows already, though, and, maybe, he doesn't feel pressured?" Duo replied softly.

"You're worried about Frank, or you wouldn't say anything, not yet," Heero countered. "I'm not going anywhere, Duo. I know that you need more time. The worst thing that we could do is to jump into things, now."

Duo was suddenly angry and stepping closer to Heero. He shook loose a hand, cupped the back of Heero's head with it, and brought him close. "I was totally crapped on, Heero," he said, "But if you think that I can't tell the difference between you and that asshole, then you don't know me at all."

"We have time," Heero whispered, struggling to stay strong despite every fiber of his being wanting to bring their lips together.

Duo made an exasperated sound and then jerked his other hand loose. He grabbed Heero hard and fast and brought them together. His lips devoured Heero's as his body, and obvious desire, plastered itself against Heero's body. He was strong, in command, and all male. Heero groaned into Duo's mouth.

Duo finally whispered against Heero's lips. "Can't I have someone who really wants me?"

"You have me," Heero promised, "But I won't ruin everything by moving too fast. Give it a few days. Come on, Frank was right, let's sit on the beach and watch the surf."

Duo's hands fell and he looked disappointed, sad, and at a loss. Heero took his hand again and gave him a gentle tug until he began to follow him. Once out in the sunshine and cutting between dunes to reach the beach, Duo said, "I'm sorry."

"Don't be," Heero replied. "Just.... Stop wanting because you think it isn't real and that you won't have another chance."

Duo was quiet as they finally stood inches from the surf, the ocean stretching out before them and seagulls dancing lazily over the waves. "You're right, that is what I was doing, but... I really do want you, too."

"It's mutual," Heero assured him and squeezed Duo's hand tightly.


He was tanned, he was relaxed and Heero decided that he was at peace as well. Swimming in the rolling surf, he was like a seal with a long tail of hair. That hair had begun to sport beaded braids, a few dreadlocks, and streaks of blonde from the sun. When he smiled, now, his teeth were white against his darkened skin and his rare purple eyes were arresting. Heero never grew tired of looking into them, or of wanting the man who owned them, but he knew that he had been right to wait. Fresh from betrayal, Duo had been far too fragile, to ready to believe that he had deserved that betrayal.

"Ready to bring him out into the world, again?" Frank asked as he leaned against the railing of the porch, with Nancy sniffing on her leash at his heel, and watched Duo swim as well.

Heero frowned at the thought. "I'm still blocking calls from Preventers and Relena's government. I haven't told him that Trowa and WuFei called, claiming he was necessary to save all of humanity."

Frank looked askance at Heero, "All of humanity? Maybe you should have told him about that one?"

Heero grunted his annoyance. "That was two weeks ago. Humanity is still safe and sound. It appears that others are very capable of saving the world."

Frank still looked a little disturbed but he also managed to smile and shrug it away. "All right, the world is safe. Duo is safe as well, safe enough to have a meet and greet with the locals."

Duo was coming out of the surf, a bronze god dripping water and sparkling with sunshine. "Something small," Heero said warningly.

"Lemonade, tea cookies, and sitting on the porch," Frank promised with a chuckle. "Maybe a cookout later, if Duo doesn't try to defuse Mrs. Havernathy's hearing aides or carry Pertrick to a safe location in the Alps."

Heero winced, remembering his first get together with his friends. "You joke as if that can't happen."

Nancy wiggled excitedly and gave a little bark as she caught sight of Duo. Duo had become her new favorite. Heero didn't blame her. When Duo caught sight of them in turn, and didn't hesitate suspiciously, or automatically reach for a weapon that wasn't there, Heero had to admit that Frank was right. It was time to stop hiding him and treating him like an invalid.

"Tomorrow," Heero decided. "Late afternoon at your place."

"Not too late," Frank warned, "or the bugs will eat us alive."

"Three?" Heero suggested.

"Three, it is," Frank agreed and then waved and called to Duo. "Is that Duo, or a reject from a surfer vid?"

Duo laughed as he pushed little dread locks and beaded braids, wet with water, out of his face. "Surfing lessons are next week."

Duo picked up the dog, to her delight, and tucked her under one arm as he climbed the steps to the porch.

"Heero says we can invite you to a little get together tomorrow," Frank told him. "IS that all right with you."

Duo smirked. "Finally, someone asking me what I think instead of tiptoeing and asking Heero. I like you, Frank."

Frank blushed and seemed uncomfortable, shooting a glance at Heero. "Well, you're going to waste away from boredom if you don't get out for some socialization," Frank chuckled.

"True, though I haven't been bored, yet," Duo admitted."I like the days being the same, the peace, the surf... "

"Then you two make a good couple," Frank replied with a shake of his head. "If we didn't use a pry bar, once in awhile, Heero would sleep most of the day and arrange shells for the rest of it."

Duo laughed and it sounded good to Heero. Watching the water bead and slide along Duo's bronzed skin, the way his swimsuit, a tight, clinging piece of red fabric, molded to his wet body, made Heero wonder if it was time for other things as well. Surely they had resolved trust issues?

frank felt a tension between them that didn't include a third person. He cleared his throat, took Nancy from Duo, and said, as he patted her head, "Time for the old folks to go, I think. You two remember to show up, tomorrow."

Duo looked a bit confused as he watched Frank go, disappearing around a sand dune, but when he looked at Heero and saw smoldering blue eyes he understood. He smiled in return, reaching out and running a hand lightly along Heero's arm. Heero felt goose bumps.

"My bedroom or yours?" Duo wanted to know.

"Let's make one ours," Heero suggested softly.

Duo nodded and they both went inside.

Clothes came off quickly and essentials were gathered from the bathroom. Condoms and lube hit the bed between them and then they faced each other nude, blatantly showing their desire for one another.

Duo's eyes caressed Heero. He suddenly jumped on the bed, rolled, and then came up standing on Heero's side. He pulled Heero into an embrace, their erections coming together.

"That's better," Duo sighed.

"Much better," Heero agreed, but he asked, cautiously, "Is this all right, Duo? Are you sure we shouldn't wait?"

"I won't wait another second," Duo replied vehemently. "You have to understand that I wanted to believe that I was loved. I lied to myself/ Now that I've been with you, I can see the difference. It's like... the difference between standing on the sun and walking a dead moon. This is as real as it gets and I know it. I trust you with my life, with my heart, with everything, Heero. I know that you won't fail that trust."

Heero kissed him and then whispered his promise against Duo's lips."Forever, Duo. That's how long I want to be with you."

"Forever," Duo agreed with a soft smile and then they were sinking down onto a bed bathed in the afternoon light through the window, Duo's long hair, still damp, all around them and the smell of sun and beach coming off of his skin like an aphrodisiac.

Duo kissed Heero, pinched his skin, and ran a tongue along his jaw line, as if he was testing Heero's reality. When he began to kiss a trail down the center of Heero's chest, hands already stroking at Heero's cock, Heero took hold of his hands and stopped him. When their eyes met, Heero kissed Duo deeply.

"I want to have sex with you. I love you," Heero told Duo in a whisper against his lips. "This can last all evening... all night... our entire lives, and I'll still want more."

Heero could imagine how a man who didn't have any interest in another man might want to have sex: In the dark, quick jerk off, and a quicker blow job. Reciprocating that act would be almost nonexistent. This wasn't going to be even a shadow of that, Heero determined, and he was the one who now turned Duo onto his back and made his slow, delicious way down to Duo's cock. When he took it deep into his mouth and caressed it with his tongue, Duo's buck on the bed let him know that the man hadn't been treated like that lately, if ever.

Duo came soon and hard, groaning out his pleasure and gripping at Heero's head. His stammered apology, after, made Heero smile.

"Unless you want to stop now," Heero said to him, "We can do it again."

Duo started to move, eyes sparking with worry. "Of course, you need to come."

Heero caught at him and kept him on his back. He caressed Duo gently. "I meant that I could give you another blow job. I really enjoy doing them."

Duo's eyes were wide and hinted at held back tears. He blinked rapidly and took a deep breath. "God, I love you, Heero!" he suddenly exclaimed.

"I love you, too," Heero said just as passionately. "It's time that someone took care of you and loved you like you deserve. I'm going to be that someone."

Duo chuckled ruefully. At Heero's questioning look, he admitted, "I never thought I'd hear those words from you. I couldn't even hope. That's why-"

Heero kissed away whatever he had been about to say next. "Not here," he said. "Not ever. That's the past. Let it go away."

Duo nodded shakily and then he was pulling Heero into his arms.

They made love, hands caressing, lips teasing and savoring, and bodies coming together again and again. When Heero rode on top of Duo, hands locked together and Duo deep inside of him, Heero's blue eyes were intensely on Duo's eyes when he came, letting Duo see his love there. When He spread Duo wide and entered deep, he made sure that Duo knew that it was with love and passion for him that he came so powerfully, wrapping Duo up in his arms, afterward, and keeping him close all night long.

When morning light woke Heero, Duo was still wrapped in his arms, breathing lightly in sleep, sun beams making his hair seem flecked with gold and red. He looked relaxed, happy, and free of the weight of his betrayal. Heero wasn't fooled that it was gone completely, but he had erased a great deal of it last night.

Restless, Heero slipped out of bed, wrapped a loose terry robe around him, and opened the front door to let in the cool morning breezes off the dunes. He was surprised to see a tray, with a thermos and a bag, sitting on the doorstep.

Heero teased a small note off of the bag and read, Good Morning! Thought you two would like some breakfast in bed. See you this afternoon. Frank.

Heero smiled fondly, carried the tray into the kitchen, snagged two mugs and napkins, and took the tray into the bedroom. Duo was already stirring, a hand sliding over the sheets and finding Heero gone.

"Breakfast, courtesy of Frank," Heero announced.

Not long ago, Heero would have rejected the breakfast as possibly contaminated by enemies. As Duo sat up, hair mussed, and eyes full of sleep, he put the tray on the bed, dug a powdered donut out of the bag and bit into it.

As Heero sat on the bed, Duo leaned over and kissed some of the powdered sugar off of his lips. "Tastes good," Duo announced and then yawned.

Duo poured the coffee for them both and then took up a mug and warmed his hands with it, looking at Heero over the light steam. He seemed embarrassed, unsure, and watching Heero for a clue as to how he should react.

"You were...." Heero searched for the right words and Duo's nervousness grew as he licked his lips and reached for his coffee mug. He took a long sip, considering, and then finished, "Like a force of nature. So passionate, so very sexy, so.... everything I've always wanted."

Duo was relieved, but then he was grinning as he said, "When they made the 'A' list, they were thinking of you as the yardstick. I've never..." he swallowed hard, losing his attempt at humor. "I felt loved," he finally finished and looked down into his mug, blushing.

"Get used to it," Heero chuckled. "If you'll have me, I want to wake up to you every morning for the rest of my life."

Duo looked serious, then, his eyes going distant, "No more missions, no more risking my life, no more living for everyone else. No more lies."

"It's time for us," Heero agreed. "Time to stand down and live our lives."

Duo nodded solemnly. They sat, shoulder to shoulder, exchanging kisses, between bites of donut and sips of coffee. When they were done, they made their way to the surf, and swam in the waves while the rising sun made everything fresh and new and as if for them alone.

The End



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