Disclaimer: I don't own them and I don't make any money off of this.
Warnings: Male/Male sex, graphic, language, violence, NCS flashbacks
"Well?" Heero said as Duo finished in the bathroom and sat on the bed to brush out his hair with strong, masculine strokes of his brush. Duo was wearing nothing but a few beads of water as Heero confronted him in a shirt and briefs, yet Heero still managed to look serious.
Duo frowned at Heero, brush poised in mid motion. "That 'well' better not be about sex. I expect a little more 'lead in' from you."
Heero looked confused for a second and then said quickly, "I think you know me better than that! I'm referring to the fact that you obviously have something to say and you're not saying it."
"Think so?" Duo replied evasively and then began brushing his hair again.
Heero watched him, waiting stubbornly.
Dropping the brush at last, Duo sighed and began a swift braiding of his hair, fingers flying in and out expertly. "Okay," he said at last, giving in with exasperation. "I was thinking hard about something that I over heard at work today. I couldn't help wondering if you knew anything about it."
"Why not just ask me?" Heero wondered as he gingerly sat on the bed as well.
"I'm not sure...," Duo replied thoughtfully. "I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. On the one hand , I understand why it was done, but, on the other, I can't help being angry about how it put other people in danger."
Heero became alert at once. "Duo, if someone did something that seriously wrong, you should inform Sally Po."
Duo chewed on his bottom lip and then released it as he replied, "Well, I would, but she was the one who made the decision."
It was obvious that Heero respected Sally and that he was reluctant to believe the worst. He said carefully, "You might have misinterpreted something that she did. Tell me what happened."
Duo studied Heero with his amethyst eyes, trying to see evasion and lies. He didn't find either. Heero was genuinely puzzled and anxious. Duo took a breath and then said quickly, before he could think better of it, "Sally staged that incident in the alley way. It was a test to see how I would react, to see whether or not I was the right material to train as an agent."
Heero's face went white. "A test? She- I-" He was speechless for a long moment and then he burst out, furiously, "I was terrified for you! Those men, they could have died! I though that she understood how well trained we are."
Duo made a face. "I'm a skinny, little, long haired teenager. I can see her not putting me in the same category as you and Wu Fei. People make that mistake all the time."
Heero's hands worked, opening and closing into fists. "I'm going to demand some answers in the morning. I'm not going to let this pass without a protest."
Duo shrugged as he tied off the end of his braid. "It'll get filed where ever they file complaints, I'm sure. Sally's a big enchilada. I'm sure she doesn't give a shit what a Preventer agent, even the war hero, Heero Yuy, thinks about her methods."
Duo saw by Heero's expression that it was the uncomfortable truth. "Still," Heero persisted doggedly. "I will complain. I want to be on file as objecting."
Duo flipped his finished braid over his shoulder and touched Heero lightly on the knee. "That means a lot to me, but, like I said, I'm mad, but I WAS allowed to prove that I can handle myself." He paused and then added, "I'm glad that you didn't know about it. I didn't want to think that you could do something like that to me."
Heero's hand covered Duo's. Duo felt his thick callouses. Heero said intensely, "I would never do something like that, Duo."
"My heart and head knows it," Duo said thoughtfully, "but that little six year old in the back of my brain will never really trust anyone," Duo replied.
Thrown on the streets of L2 to fend for himself, a prostitute at six, an orphan who had watched priests, nuns, and children slaughtered by soldiers, the survivor of a plague that a government had let loose on its own people, and the pilot of a Gundam who had been betrayed again and again by the very people he had promised to give his life for, Heero could well understand the fragileness of Duo's trust.
Heero stretched out on his back on the bed and shivered. Sally had breached that trust and she didn't even know what damage she had done. Duo would never trust her again.
"Baby?" Duo crept to Heero's side. He laid down, hands tucked between his legs and clasped together tensely, body curled around itself as if for protection. Heero reached out, took the end of Duo's braid and kissed it lovingly. "You're upset," Duo said.
Heero nodded and replied bitterly, "She shouldn't have done that to you."
"No, she shouldn't have," Duo agreed and reached out to gently touch the side of Heero's face. He caressed with the back of his fingers. Very slowly, he trailed his hand along Heero's neck, down one strong arm, and stopped at Heero's hip. That hip gave a small twitch. "What are you thinking now?" Duo asked in concern.
"About how cruel men... and women can be. How they destroy without caring," Heero replied, almost in a whisper.
"I haven't been destroyed," Duo replied, but knew that Heero was speaking of the past, not Sally's transgression. "Neither have you."
Heero noted Duo's tense curl. "No?" he said in a pained voice.
"It makes reflexes we would rather not have," Duo replied as he forced himself to uncurl and move against Heero's side, "but we can over come them for someone we love and trust."
"Do you trust me?" Heero wondered bleakly.
"Sometimes, I don't trust you not to be pigheaded," Duo chuckled, "but I do trust you when I'm in my right mind."
"Always honest," Heero breathed. "Sometimes, I get... nervous about things, but... I do trust you... when I'm in my right mind."
Duo felt a pang. Heero still had never admitted fully to what had happened to him during the war. He had nightmares on occasion, grew anxious when confronted by certain things, and sometimes avoided being touched. Still, he was strong, stronger than he himself was, Duo thought, and he often didn't let his anxiety over power him. His sudden honesty and vulnerability made Duo feel protective.
Duo reached and pulled Heero against him. A question was in Heero's eyes. Duo answered it with a sparkle in his own.
They went infinitely slow, reassuring each other with gentle touches and patience. They spent forever just kissing and wrapping needy bodies around each other, building the fire between them a little at a time until it rose high enough to conquer any hesitation, any fear, any memory of the past.
"God! Heero! Yeah, Baby!" Duo moaned. His back against the headboard, and sitting in his lover's lap, Duo lifted his knees, bending them back as Heero entered him as deeply as he could. Heero kept his balance by putting his strong hands on Duo's knees, controlling an urge to grasp them tightly as he began to push in and out of Duo's tight entrance and groan in pleasure.
Duo reached back and grasped the top of the headboard with white, tense fingers, using it to support himself as he began a rhythm that was a counterpoint to Heero's, driving himself down as Heero pushed up. When he felt himself reach a pinnacle, Duo let one hand drop to his lap and he began stroking his erection with swift, tight motions. The sight of that forced a deep, wild moan out of Heero and Duo felt him swell and grow even harder inside of him. Heero's motions suddenly became more urgent.
Heero leaned forward, capturing Duo's lips with his own and devouring them as he shuddered in the throes of a shattering orgasm. As Heero cried out into Duo's mouth, Duo felt the explosion of Heero's hot cum against his most sensitive of places. It sent him over the edge and he bucked and shuddered as he reached his own, powerful orgasm.
Panting and breaking their kiss at last, Duo grinned and wrapped his legs around Heero's waist possessively. "Well?"
Heero grinned back, a startling expression on his usually stern, intense face. "Do you want a performance report, Little Baka?" he chuckled between pants.
"Why bother?" Duo snickered. "You always perform at a hundred and ten percent. I meant, 'do you understand what I mean now?' When we do the things that count, being with each, we over come. That's what matters. The rest is just... forgettable."
Heero nodded and kissed Duo lovingly, wanting to believe Duo's words with all of his heart.
"DUO!" Heero shouted frantically at the entrance to the attic. His empty gun holster was in his hand, taken from the jimmied lock box where he always placed it as soon as he came home from Preventer Headquarters. "DUO!"
Heero was afraid to climb the ladder. Shots had woken him from a dead sleep and he had found the box at the foot of the bed and Duo gone. Going into the hallway, he had seen the ladder to the attic extended and Soda anxiously pacing underneath, head cocked upwards. It was obvious where Duo had gone, but not obvious what his state of mind was.
Another shot rang out and Heero instinctively ducked. Soda barked anxiously. There was a scrambling sound and then footsteps above. Duo's head appeared at the attic entrance. He was grinning triumphantly, discharged gun in one hand and dead rat in the other. He dangled it at Heero as he said, "I refuse, ever again, to live in a home with rats. This guy tried to sneak in through the hole in the roof. Get your gear on, Yuy, we have some repairs to do."
"Duo!" Heero exclaimed, suddenly angry now. "I think the standard method of pest removal is laying down traps or poison, not shooting with a glock!"
"Couldn't wait," Duo replied and then he looked pained. "Hearing him scrambling around gave me a nightmare. If another one gets in..."
Duo ducked his head and his bangs hid his expression, but Heero could see that it was dark memories of the past that had entered his nightmare. Heero sighed, rubbed at his eyes, and then headed back into bedroom. "Let me get dressed."
"Thanks, Baby!" Duo's voice floated after him and that gratitude made the sting a little less when Heero saw that it was only three o'clock in the morning.
Dressed, and a cup of coffee in his system, Heero was finally alert enough to make sure that they had the right tools and safety equipment as they climbed onto the roof. Duo placed a lantern to light their work and then began sawing the offending tree branch with a will as Heero spread a cloth and set out their tools in the order he thought that they would need them.
"It's like you're going to do an operation," Duo commented as he finished sawing and then tossed the heavy branch over the edge of the house. Heero heard it crash into a lawn chair and winced. Soda, pacing the yard below whined anxiously and the puppies, all pressed against the fence of their enclosure, barked. A sharp word from Duo quieted them.
"We have to try and be quiet!" Heero admonished. "We don't want to wake the neighbors!"
"Then stop yelling!" Duo snapped back as he crouched by Heero to survey the damage to the roof. He grinned. "You're just not a night person, Heero."
"It's morning," Heero pointed out sourly in a calmer tone, "Not night."
The roof was steep. Heero saw that several fallen in parts of the roof would have to be pried out before he applied the patch. He picked up a rope and tied it to his belt. "Get us tethered to something strong."
Duo looked ready to scoff. He had rarely used a tether when working on his tall Gundam. Many times, Heero had seen him hanging by one leg or a hand to reach a broken part of his deadly machine, only his own strength and daring keeping him from falling to his death. Duo thought better of an argument though, realizing that making Heero mad at that point might keep the hole from being repaired. He meekly tied on a line and worked his way up the steep roof until he found another overhanging branch. He tied both lines to it securely and then scrambled back down to Heero.
"What did you do with the rat?' Heero wondered as he took the claw end of his hammer and began levering up the part of the damaged roof.
"Put it in the garbage," Duo replied off handedly as he reached into the hole and tried to help Heero by pulling with his fingers.
Heero paused and glared. "Inside?"
Duo looked up, puzzled. "Yeah."
Heero made a face. "That's completely unhygienic! When we get down, you are going to take the garbage outside!"
"It's in the garbage, not sitting on the cutting board!" Duo replied defensively.
"No, but your carburetor is!" Heero shot back.
"I was cleaning it out."
"On the cutting board? We put FOOD on there , Duo!"
"I didn't say anything about you and your mound of dirty dishes. I think they MOVED the other day, Yuy."
"WHY are they MY dishes?"
"It was your turn."
"Uh.... when did we do them last?"
"I..." Heero thought about it and then shrugged irritably. "Let's repair the roof and talk about domestic tasks later."
"Okay by me." Duo flipped his braid behind him and crouched to give himself leverage. He pulled strongly as Heero pried with the hammer.
The broken roof gave suddenly. Thrown off balance, Duo fell backwards down the sharp incline of the roof. Dressed only in a pair of shorts and a loose t-shirt, he snarled a curse as his skin scraped on the abrasive tiles of the roof as he fell towards the edge.
Heero threw himself towards Duo instinctively and grabbed an ankle. Falling flat, he anchored his lover and Duo stopped short at the gutter.
"Crap, there's water and stuff in here!" Duo growled in disgust as he started to roll the part of his body that was in the gutter back onto the roof.
"Duo!" Heero snarled. "You didn't make the lines short enough. They're supposed to keep us ON the roof!"
"Yeah, yeah!" Duo muttered and then cried out as the gutter suddenly gave. He hadn't retreated completely back onto the roof yet and was still shifting his body to reach safety. Off balance again, Duo couldn't stop himself from toppling sideways and off of the side of the roof.
"Duo!" Heero didn't know how long the tether was. With images of his lover, broken on the tile patio below, flashing madly through his brain, Heero grabbed Duo's line and tried to brace himself. The tiles his feet were braced on weren't ready for the double punishment of Heero's steel toed boots digging into them and Duo's falling weight as he jerked at the end of the line. They gave instantly and Heero went over the edge as well with a shocked cry.
Heero felt his line jerk him to a halt just as a small part of his brain was thinking that at least they would die together. Eyes swimming in a panic, Heero swung in a wild circle and looked for his lover in the darkness. He let out a loud sound of relief when he saw Duo's shocked face hanging not far from his own. Both of them were dangling above the patio at the end of their lines.
All of the puppies were barking madly now and Soda was running around in agitated circles beneath them. Duo shouted for them to be quiet and then panted apologetically to Heero, "Uh... sorry 'bout that, Heero. Guess I didn't get the lines right."
"Really?!" Heero snarled back. "I guess our lives weren't worth a double check, is that it?"
"I wasn't that far off!" Duo shot back.
Heero looked down. "Three feet past the roof isn't 'that far off', Duo?"
Duo sighed, "You are REALLY not a night or morning person, Heero."
The beam of a flashlight suddenly shone in their faces. They looked down and saw the puzzled face of Mr. Hulitt. "You boys up kind of late for hijinks, aren't you?"
Duo snickered. Heero tried to wrap some dignity around himself and replied calmly, "We were attempting to fix the roof. A rat used the hole to gain entrance to the attic."
"Ah, I see," Hulitt said and his eyes crinkled at the corners. "I can lend a hand, if you think you need it?"
"Please, sir," Heero replied, "That would be very much appreciated."
"I bet," Hulitt said and then panned the beam of the flashlight. "Ladder on the side of the house?"
"Yes," Heero replied.
Mr. Hulitt went to retrieve it and Heero glared at Duo. Duo laughed, "You have to admit, Baby, this is FUNNY!"
"At three in the morning? No, it is NOT!" Heero snarled.
"Awl!" Duo said and he swung so that he could grab hold of Heero. He pulled himself in close and kissed Heero on the lips. Looking into Heero's angry eyes, just shinning points in the darkness, he said, "Sorry, okay? I guess I was more punchy than I thought, getting the lines wrong like that."
Heero sighed and let his anger go. He loved Duo too much to stay angry. The ridiculousness of their situation hit him suddenly and he couldn't help laughing. Duo grinned back. "You are NEVER boring, Little Baka," Heero told him.
"It's part of my charm," Duo replied with a smirk.
Hulitt positioned the ladder under them. "If you boys are tired of flying...?"
"Never," Heero whispered.
"Never," Duo echoed at the same time.
They looked at each other and laughed as a puzzled Hulitt scratched his head and seemed to be wondering if his two neighbors had been drinking. "Maybe you two should have a spot of coffee before we start in on the roof?" he suggested.
"Sounds great!" Duo replied enthusiastically.
Heero and Duo untangled themselves and climbed down the ladder, while Hulitt went into the house to see about the coffee. Finding the pot almost empty, he took out the old filter of wet grounds and prepared to make a new pot with the ease of someone who knew his way around that particular kitchen. That wasn't lost on Heero and Duo as they reassured Soda, calmed the puppies, and then joined the old man in the kitchen. As they slid into chairs at the kitchen table, Duo and Heero exchanged embarrassed looks.
"Kind of a mess..." Duo trailed off.
"Been for awhile," Hulitt replied. "I come in here to get the pet food, remember?"
"Yes," Heero said with a blush of shame.
"I'm not a maid," Hulitt continued. "I'm not going to clean up after you two like a damned mother hen."
"We wouldn't expect-" Heero began to reply anxiously, but Hulitt cut him off with a frown.
"Boys will be boys and bachelors aren't the cleanest of animals," Hulitt conceded, "but I'm going to have to put my foot down when I start seeing rats, shot full of holes, in your kitchen garbage. That tells me you two don't have a clue how to make it on your own. Common sense..." he rubbed at his eyes. "I don't want to have to call the government."
"Jeez!" Duo exclaimed in a panic. "Don't do that!" The very thought of being forced into a government run orphanage, forced to follow their rules, forced to separate from Heero... Duo felt the gibbering edges of madness. He began begging frantically, "We'll do better, sir. Please... I can't live like that! Please, don't call them!"
Hulitt's voice was calming as he replied, "I know, boy, I know. Don't worry, that will be my very last resort. You two are smart. You can learn! You just need a teacher, someone to come in here and show you the ropes." He scratched his balding head for a moment and then snapped his fingers as an idea occurred to him. "A maid. I'll call up and find someone who's tolerant of odd ex-soldier boys, and that person can come in and give you some instruction a few days a week while keeping rats out of your garbage and carburetors out of your kitchen."
Heero sighed in relief. "That would be acceptable," he replied.
"Yeah, sounds great!" Duo added, anxious to please, plans to pack quickly and run to the colonies suddenly suspended.
"You weren't given a choice. "Hulitt growled. "Now, if you would please take the rat outside?"