The Cost

Chapter 5:Pride
by Kracken


Disclaimer:I don't own this and I don't make any money off of it
Warning:Male/male sex, graphic, language, violence, physical trauma, duosufferitus

The Cost


"Just speak to her, please Duo?" Quatre begged.

Heero was frowning, but staring at Duo intently. Duo could feel that he wanted him to do it. Staring down at his hands, one bandaged from a recent operation and much straighter than the other, he thought about how he felt. Outside his door was the person responsible for the condition he was in now and everything that he had gone through. If she had just taken her baby with her, instead of fleeing blindly from her home...

Duo felt that terrible bite of anger again.

Quatre's blue eyes were sad, but insistent. "You won't regret it, I promise," he said. "I promise, Duo," he repeat more forcefully.

"I won't be responsible for what happens," Duo bit out. "I'll say what I feel and fuck her if she can't take it."

Quatre nodded, exchanged a look with Heero, and then moved to open the door. "Please, come in," he said softly.

The woman looked afraid. Dressed in jeans and a tshirt, she looked very young, her hair in braids and her face wide eyed and anxious. In her arms was her young daughter.

Duo felt furious. He'd been tricked. Cheated out of being able to react the way he wanted to. How could he say any of the things he'd stored up in the pit of his being with this little girl present? He felt Heero's hand rest on his shoulder. It was a signal that Heero would help him, support whatever he did. It gave Duo an even greater pause. How could he do that to Heero? How could he show Heero the ugly core of him that hated this person, and his own sacrifice, so much?

The woman looked over Duo's damaged body and tears welled up in her eyes. She trembled. "Dear God! I didn't know that you were hurt this badly," she suddenly wailed. "I 'm so sorry! So very sorry! This is all because of me!"

Her daughter was alarmed. Her mother was holding her too tightly. She began crying as well.

Duo grimaced. "Okay! Okay! Stop it. I didn't let you in here so that you could get my floor wet. Your scaring the kid, too."

The woman made a tremendous effort to regain her composure, but tears still streaked down her face. "I...I just wanted to thank you," she finally managed. "I wanted you to see my baby, so that you could see who you saved."

"Like that makes what happened better?" Duo sneered. He motioned to his broken body. "I traded myself for this, 'cuz you were a stupid b-... stupid person. You think some thanks makes that all better?"

She shook her head. "No," she whispered. "Nothing can, I suppose." She shrank into herself, arms automatically comforting her child."I should be in that wheelchair, or dead, not you. That's a fact. I should have saved my own baby girl."

"Damned fuc- damned right!" Duo exploded and then caught himself when the little girl swivelled around to look at him in fear.

"I- I stopped taking drugs," the woman told him haltingly. "No more drinking. I'm living right, raising my baby girl right. Nothing I can do will be enough, though. Nothing."

"Nothing," Duo growled, agreeing.

The little girl suddenly struggled out of her mother's arms. Unsure, but intrigued by Duo, she took a step forward. Her mother reached down to take in her in hand again.

Duo glared at the little girl and said gruffly, "What's with you? Aren't you afraid of the monster?"

"Picture!" the girl lisped.

"I show her your picture, all the time," the woman told Duo quietly. "I tell her, 'That's the man who's your father. He gave you life.'"

Duo blinked, confused. "What the...?"

The woman shrugged. "Her own daddy never even saw her, why should he get the name?"

"You're nuts," Duo grumbled and looked embarrassed.

"Pret-ty hair," the little girl said and made as if to grab it, chubby hands opening and closing.

"Yeah, only thing that's left that is pretty," Duo retorted angrily and then made an impatient motion with his hand towards the door. "Okay, your time's up. Get out. Nobody feels better. Nobody's going to feel better. Guess that means we'll all feel like crap until we die."

The little girl struggled out of her mother's grip and leaned on Duo's wheelchair, looking up at him. She reached up and touched his braid. "Soft," she lisped.

"Why did you save her, Duo?" Heero suddenly asked.

Duo glared at him and then down at the little girl again. His expression softened despite himself and he replied, "Look at her. Who would want to see a building fall on her?"

"Yeah?" Heero said with a small smile.

Duo sank into his chair and admitted sourly, "Yeah."

The mother knew that something had been given, but she wasn't going to wait for more. She gathered her daughter again and said, "Thank you, Mr. Maxwell, for my daughter's life."

She turned to go, but Duo called out as she opened the door, "So, what's her name?"

"Sherry," the woman replied with a tentative smile. "Mine's Junie."

Duo looked away with a pained shrug, but said, "You keep making it worth what I paid, okay?"

"For the rest of my life," she vowed and then she and her daughter were gone.

"Are you sure I can't drink?" Duo groused to no one in particular. "I could use one after that."

He knew the answer to that and expected the silence.

"Well, are you both just going to stand there or are you going to help me do leg lifts?" Duo snapped as he ignored his pain and turned his wheelchair to the therapy table set up by his bed, "because if you're expecting me to pat any body on the back for that little episode, you'll be waiting until hell freezes over."

Duo sat in a cushioned chair and stared at his bare legs. Scars and open sores marched down the length of them. They look thin and weak, certainly not capable of holding Duo's weight. Still, he managed a smile. "It's good to get some of the hardware off finally."

"Keep the sores clean and aired," the doctor said as he wrote on a computer pad. "If there's any unusual swelling or drainage, I want to know at once."

Duo nodded, but then said, "Doc, about the wires."

The doctor's jaw tightened, but he didn't look up to meet Duo's eyes. "Baby steps, Mr. Maxwell, not Olympic hurdles."

Duo frowned, but Heero squeezed his shoulder in comfort and Wu Fei came forward to help him into his wheelchair. "Thanks for helping," Duo told him as the dark head bent to make sure Duo's legs were comfortable.

"Thank you for allowing me to," Wu Fei said, but couldn't help adding, "At last."

Duo looked guilty and rubbed the back of his neck. "Well, I was pretty disgusting up until now. You understand? I've got a lot of pride, I guess."

"Too much," Wu Fei admonished him.

Duo chuckled, but there was a hard glint in his eye as he said, "Even Heero went green a few times, caring for me, Fei, and you know what kind of guy he is."

Wu Fei's eyes came up, then, very serious and he replied, before he straightened, "You are insulting me."

Duo scowled and then sighed. "Sorry, I just wanted to-"

"Spare me, yes, I know," Wu Fei replied as he helped Heero check Duo's equipment, "but I didn't ask you to do that."

Duo grimaced and then looked down at the hands in his lap. "Maybe I wanted to spare myself?" he said. "I get tired of people getting sick dealing with me."

Heero broke in, sensing Duo's depression. "Duo, you're looking for a fight."

Duo gave him a sideways glare and then he snorted in amusement. "Yeah, I guess I'm wanting a target."

Wu Fei frowned as they began wheeling Duo out of the doctor's office. "You've had your pins removed today. Why does this upset you?"

Duo shrugged and replied sarcastically,"I have more hardware under my skin than a Gundam, I still can't get out of my chair without help, braces, and a lot of pain pills. I-"

"Grip my hands," Wu Fei suddenly said and held them out to Duo.

"What?" Duo replied in confusion, but Wu Fei didn't say anything more, simply kept holding out his hands. Duo exchanged a puzzled look with Heero and then took them.

"Grip them firmly," Wu Fei instructed Duo.

Duo did, squeezing tight.

Wu Fei smiled at him and said, "I feel your strength, your fire, and your determination. Your grip is not that of a man who will fail."

Duo let him go, flexed his aching fingers, and then snorted. "Damned right I'm not failing."

"Then there is nothing to be angry, or depressed, about," Wu Fei pointed out. "The battle isn't lost, it is simply not over yet."

That gave Duo something to think about on the way back home. When Wu Fei had gone, and Heero was helping him to stretch out on the bed to rest, Duo held him by the shirt when he began to turn away.

"I am still fighting," Duo told him, "but there's more than one battle going on."

Heero sat on the edge of the bed, puzzled. "More than one?"

Duo felt Heero's shirt between his fingers and then plucked at it. "Take this off. In fact, take everything off."

Heero tensed, uncertain.

Duo smiled at him as he slid a hand under that shirt and felt strong muscles and smooth skin. "Don't worry, I don't have anything big in mind... just... " He frowned then, went thoughtful, and then asked, "Unless... I'm too... gross... still...?"

Heero's smile was tender as he pulled off his shirt and pants. His straining erection was answer enough. "I can wait, Duo. You don't have to-"

"I don't want to wait," Duo interrupted. "Not anymore. I know I can't really get it up right now, but I can get some happy out of just enjoying you, you know? I didn't get much of a win today, so I think I need a win on this front, at least."

"This won't be one sided," Heero told him sternly as he unbuttoned Duo's shirt and pulled at the velcro that helped him dress over his braces. He only went to Duo's navel, both of them aware that revealing Duo's lack of response would not help in what they were about to attempt.

Heero's hands smoothed over pink scarring with a firmness that Duo needed just then. He didn't think that he could have gone on if Heero had been tentative in any way. Heero bent and kissed the metal brace on Duo's upper arm, keeping his arm in a position to heal smashed and wired together bones. That motion made Duo shiver. Heero had managed to make it erotic.

"All right?" Heero asked as his kisses began making their lazy way to one of Duo's nipples.

Duo nodded as his own hands began smoothing over the hard planes of Heero's body. He didn't need to tell Heero that their trip to the doctor had left him in pain and completely exhausted. He didn't need to tell him that the pain pills had made him almost completely numb. It was the contact alone that Duo needed, along with the knowledge that Heero wasn't disgusted by him, that he could find something stirring about Duo, despite everything. And Duo needed Heero to know that he could offer something in return, and that he wouldn't fail at this battle either.

Duo's hand wrapped firmly around Heero's erection and began a steady rhythm while Heero gave his nipples his full attention. Heero groaned and said softly, "Your hand feels so good, so rough and hard. Hold tighter, I like it tight."

Duo felt heat as his body made a valiant attempt to get excited. It failed, but only after a twitching effort that had Duo moaning himself. Palming and pumping Heero's silky, warm flesh, knowing that Heero was enjoying it completely, was almost enough. There was still frustration, a faint nagging fear that this might be all that they could hope for, but a contentment danced in an out of that, making Duo feel a surge of triumph when Heero spurted hot and copiously all over his hand. The man shuddered, mouth a moist tightness on Duo's swollen nipple, as his orgasm overtook him. When it was over, he kissed Duo's nipple and then sat up.

Brushing hair out of Duo's eyes, Heero whispered, "Thank you."

"I liked it too," Duo assured him with a tired smirk, and then his eyes grew heavy. "I'm not one of those people that gets laid and then goes to sleep on you... just..."

"It's all right," Heero told him as he spread a blanket over him. He looked faintly embarrassed. "I didn't last long. I don't want you to think that I'm like that... always."

"The awkward moment after sex," Duo snickered. "Never thought I'd get to have that, especially with you. We'll both get better at it."

Heero was frowning, though, and that kept Duo awake when he might otherwise have let himself fall into the grip of the drugs. "Duo," Heero finally asked, as he cleaned himself with a towel, "Are we... gay?"

Duo blinked. "Huh?"

"I've never wanted anyone like this before," Heero admitted. "I've never been interested before. I thought that I had something wrong with me, that I wasn't capable of feeling physical attraction."

Duo tried to concentrate on that revelation, but it was hard. "I've always known, since I was old enough to sneak peeks at the sweeper guys in the communal showers. There just wasn't time, though, and maybe that was your problem too? We both had people to save, training to complete, battles to fight... that can take everything out of a guy's libido, even a young guy, when he has to focus like that."

"And after the war?" Heero wondered and then answered his own question. "But then I wanted you, and no one else would do."

Duo grinned. "Me too." He closed his eyes, then, and sank back into his pillow. "I wish we hadn't been such idiots, waiting for the other guy to make the first move.We could have had a lot of good sex before now."

Heero chuckled. "I didn't want to say..."

"It's okay, " Duo told him, more seriously. "It's okay to think of could have beens. That's just natural."

Heero nodded, but then said firmly, "We're together now, though, and it will be all right, as long as that's true."

Duo nodded, yawned, and then reached out to give Heero's crotch a gentle squeeze. Heero made a slight sound of amusement and pleasure as Duo kneaded. "Are we gay?" Duo snickered, echoing Heero. "I'm going to give you a lot of chances to figure that one out for yourself."



On to Chapter six

Back to chapter four

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