Shinigami's Lover Arc 2

Part 18: Lightning
by Kracken

Disclaimer:Don't own them, don't make any money off of this.
Warnings: Male/Male sex, graphic, language, violence, NCS Flashbacks

"Harrison Manuel Kevara Montoya," Heero read as he fingered the card the housekeeper had left. He studied it closely. It was plain and not expensive, a definite laser print job that a man could get anywhere at anytime. Booting up his laptop, Heero ran the info strip through his scanner and information scrolled across his screen.

"Well?" Duo asked as he dried his hair, wet from his recent shower, and walked behind Heero wearing only water droplets and his gold cross.

Heero snorted. "I'm not THAT good. It will take some time. This is just a standard resume form. He's not going to put something detrimental to himself here."

"I didn't mean that!" Duo growled. "I meant, 'what's your first impression?'"

Heero shrugged. "If this is accurate, he IS very qualified to clean up after two soldiers. His family was and is heavily into the military. He also has extensive hand to hand combat training, though he seems, strangely, to have shied away from weapons courses of any kind. He isn't registered as carrying a weapon either."

Duo looked over Heero's shoulder and whistled. "With that kind of martial arts training, he doesn't need a gun."

Duo dripped water onto Heero's bare shoulder. Heero was only wearing a pair of white boxers and a pair of thick, green striped socks, a gag gift from Duo that he had found surprisingly comfortable and warm. Heero flinched at the chill feel of the drops. Duo patted him dry with the edge of the damp towel he was using on his hair. Heero slid out of the chair to avoid the cold cloth and Duo chuckled and slid into his vacated seat.

"You're worse than a cat about the cold," Duo said jokingly and began looking over the file himself.

"Just cold water," Heero growled as he stepped back and gave Duo room to work. "If you wanted to look yourself, you should have said so."

"I'm saying so," Duo mumbled and then louder, "Baby? Make me coffee, please?"

"You use sweet words only when you want something," Heero complained as he snagged a thick robe from the bed and draped it over Duo's shoulders. "I heard you sneezing earlier. Don't run around naked, dripping wet, when you aren't feeling well."

"Okay, mom," Duo replied in a slightly mocking tone, "Are you going to make some soup to go along with my coffee?"

Heero almost snapped something cutting in reply and then thought about it again. "Yes," he replied instead. "I think you need it. Rice and beans wasn't really heavy enough on the protein. I think we still have some freeze chicken. I could boil that..." Duo was nodding and not listening at all. Heero sighed, smiled, and went to make the coffee and the soup.

For so long Heero had seen Duo wasting away in their home, cut off from everything that he had loved to do. Now, he was energized. Tackling a new job and doing one of the things that he did best, hacking into computer data bases, was bringing him back to life again, bringing back the talented, intelligent, and competent man that Heero had fallen in love with during the war.

If Harri was using a false I.D., then Duo would be the one to find that out, Heero thought. Duo had even hacked into Heero's personal files once and he had thought that his codes were undecipherable by anyone other than himself. His lover's expertise in that area, and his skill with bombs, had been Sally's reason for choosing him for the upcoming mission. Where a boy from the streets of L2 had acquired the capacity for that kind of ability had always been a puzzle to Heero. When he had asked during the war, Duo's expression had gone very tight and he had joked that it was 'in his genes probably from his unknown parents.' Heero still wondered, but knowing that the subject bothered Duo, he still hadn't pursued it any further.

Heero made the soup and the coffee. The freeze chicken was a hermetically sealed package in a stack of other sealed provisions of differing kinds. They were emergency supplies that neither of them had been able to talk themselves out of keeping on hand. Old habits died hard and some of them never died. The chicken came out of the package as fresh as it had gone in and Heero was able to boil it into a broth rich soup in very little time. Satisfied with the results, he put coffee and soup on a tray and carried it up the stairs.

"Hah!" Duo crowed triumphantly as Heero entered their bedroom. Duo stood up, robe falling from his slim shoulders and wet hair swinging, as he pointed to the computer screen. "Can't hide anything from Shinigami!" Duo said proudly. "Get a load of that!"

Heero put the tray aside on the desk and sat in the chair, dragging his attention from the body of his lover with an effort. It was hard to think clearly when Duo was, for once, displaying himself unselfconsciously in all his glory. Heero read the words on the screen, blinked, and then looked at Duo as he said in confused, disbelief, "Harri is working for Sally Po."

"He didn't list it on his resume," Duo said as he whipped his hair back over his shoulder. "If he was just cleaning her floors and dusting the mantel piece, he would have listed it, don't you think?"

"Unless she asked him not to," Heero replied reasonably and then frowned. "It is understandable if she was concerned about security issues. It wouldn't be wise to have someone know that this Harri had access to her home. If we hired him, I'm sure that I would ask for the same discreteness."

"The paychecks are regular," Duo noted, "and certainly not anything above the pay of a housekeeper."

Heero quirked a smile at his lover. "You look disappointed. Would it have been better if he were a double agent working under Sally's guidance to... what? Spy on us? Bug our home? See what we eat for dinner?"

Duo looked annoyed. "I would question Sally's judgment if she weren't watching us Heero. We were terrorists once, what's to stop us from doing it again? Unless Mr. Hulitt is in on it, though, I don't see how she could time everything to coincide and anticipate when and where he would call for a house cleaner." Duo didn't mention the conversation that he had overheard where Sally had hinted that there would be more tests for Duo to see if he was mentally sound. That she had decided on giving him an assignment didn't mean, in his mind, that she fully trusted him. She needed him and she was taking a gamble.

"Further research into our new housekeeper can wait," Heero said with a yawn. "We don't have to have him in right away and we don't have to start our assignment until Monday. Tonight and tomorrow we can both rest.

Heero walked over to the bed and stretched out languidly. His erection was obvious through the material of his shorts, but he didn't acknowledge it as he pretended to close his eyes, watching Duo covertly through his dark eyelashes.

Duo looked frustrated. He turned from the computer, to Heero, and then back to the computer. He ran a distracted hand through his chestnut bangs. He wanted to crack the mystery that was Harri at once, impatience clear in every line of his body and expression. He couldn't understand Heero's sudden nonchalance about the subject.

Duo looked at Heero again and then he noticed Heero's condition. Heero saw him pause, consider possibilities, and then smile slowly and softly. He let his towel drop as one hand turned off the computer.

It was much easier in peacetime, Duo thought as he settled his weight on the end of the bed and then crept up to Heero almost on his belly. They had time. There wasn't the frantic sense that they had to hurry and dare the chance of touching off the hidden bombs of memory that lay within each of them to grasp at togetherness before the next mission. They had dangerous jobs. They were still needed, but, unlike in the war, they could choose when to take up their duty and when to set it down in favor of each other. Duo could choose not to make love to Heero and there would be another day, another quiet evening, and other chance... unless something went terribly wrong on their new assignment, Duo thought, as he kissed Heero's strong, rounded shoulder, but then he shoved that worry aside. He couldn't think like that. As agents of the Preventers, they faced single and small groups of men with limited weapons, not the might of Oz and cutting edge, killing technologies. Duo couldn't compare the two, or feel the sense of fear and danger in a small Preventer mission that he had felt infiltrating an Oz installation full of armed soldiers and suits.

"Are you tired?" Duo asked tentatively.

"Part of me isn't," Heero replied carefully, "but I can make it go to sleep with the rest of me."

Duo thought about it as he ran a finger along Heero's collar bone. He searched out his feelings and his own desires. A usual they were tangled and complicated. He knew his body wanted Heero, but was his mind in a place where it wanted him too? Thinking about the war had put him on edge. It wasn't helping him to decide.

Duo looked around the room, at the gauze canopy of the bed, at the solid masculine furnishings, and Soda curled up and going to sleep on his pillow in the corner. Duo felt safe and reassured by that domestic scene. He wasn't in the war. He wasn't on L2. No one was going to interrupt. They were alone and they were in love. They could do anything they wanted or nothing at all and it would be all right either way.

"I wish that I didn't have to wonder whether our housekeeper was a double agent," Duo sighed. "I guess it's reminding me of too many things."

"Too many things from the war," Heero clarified knowingly. "I thought that you were showing the signs. That's why I wanted you to stop your investigation into Harri for now. The hardest thing that I had to learn when I joined the Preventers was not to switch into soldier mode when I was preparing for and implementing an assignment. It's a destructive frame of mind.

Duo nodded. "I WAS thinking, 'I'll find out he's out to kill us, or get Preventer information from us, and then he's going to get a very nasty surprise from Shinigami. I can't think like that anymore. You're right about that. "

Duo looked down the length of Heero's body, picking out the thick scars from when he had self destructed with his Gundam, and the smaller wounds that he himself had inflicted on Heero; the price the man had paid for daring to love a mentally ill killer. Heero was still aroused, Duo saw as his eyes drifted to Heero's middle. Heero's erection looked painfully constricted against the cloth of his shorts.

"Is this part of your plan to distract me from soldier mode?" Duo wondered as he touched it through the material.

Heero squirmed and his skin flushed red. "No," he breathed, "just a response to seeing the man that I love naked and dripping with water as if he were covered in diamonds."

Duo looked at his own body, at the crisscrossing scars, thick, thin, and ragged. "I need diamonds to make this look good."

Heero opened his eyes and regarded Duo. "Nothing can compare to how handsome you are Duo. Diamonds pale by comparison."

Duo blinked and then grinned. "Sometimes, Heero, you say the sappiest stuff! I forget that you have a poet buried down inside somewhere. Just tell me, "Hey, Duo! You are one sexy thing with only a towel on your wet hair. Screw the computer and let's knock boots!"

Heero laughed. "It isn't the computer that I want to sc-"

Duo put a hand on Heero's lips and then lowered it when Heero stopped talking. Duo's amethyst eyes were intense, almost glowing. "Let's fuck."

Heero blinked. He knew that Duo often covered up his nervousness by joking and being crude. Heero didn't fall for the ruse. He didn't reply again in kind, seeing that Duo needed more than for Heero to join in his false humor. Instead, Heero said softly, "I'd rather make love."

Duo's eyes softened and his joker mask lowered as he nestled his cheek against Heero's breast. "I'd like that," he replied and his hand slid over Heero's erection teasingly.

They touched and kissed, fondled and stroked, but Duo was the one to initiate first and Heero watched his lover's face, wishing that he could see into his mind and read what he was thinking. It would have made life with his volatile lover much easier and safer, would have warned Heero that Duo was eager, but not eager to be mounted by Heero. When Heero slid Duo's legs back and positioned himself between them, gently kissing Duo's neck, he wasn't ready for Duo to flinch and tremble as if he were barely keeping himself from doing Heero some harm.

"Look at me," Heero whispered, lifting his weight up again and holding himself poised, his erection cooling a little between them. When amethyst eyes found his, Heero said, "I'll wait as long as you want me to. I'll never touch you unless you ask me to."

"I don't want to remember the past," Duo replied bitterly.

"Then stay here with me and we'll make better memories," Heero told him. He rolled onto his back and waited. He didn't wait long and that was a relief to Heero. During the war, they had often taken one step forward and then two steps back where it pertained to Duo's mental heath. They had made a truce with those memories for some time, Heero calming them with gentle patience, but Heero had never fooled himself into thinking that they were gone forever. When Duo ran a hand over his chest and tentatively pressed his body along Heero's side, Heero could sense the apology in that touch.

"You lead," Heero whispered lovingly. "I'll follow."

Duo nodded and Heero felt the tickling brush of Duo's bangs against his shoulder before a hand closed around his erection and brought it back to life.

That night, after they both fell into exhausted sleep, there was a storm. Sunday found them cleaning up after it, but the sun was bright and warm. When they were through cleaning, they lazed with the dogs in the back yard, swinging together in the hammock, Duo sleeping on top of Heero and Heero dozing and lightly running a hand over his lover's hair and back. It was restful, a calm before a storm of another kind, a storm that had to do with an assignment and a true test of Duo's stability. Heero almost wished that he could stop that day and play it over and over again; the sun shinning in Duo's chestnut hair, the dogs playing all around them, and a light breeze ruffling the leaves of the trees and giving the hammock a slow , comforting sway.

Heero would never admit to Duo that he was unsure about allowing him on his assignment. If he could, he would have kept Duo at home, safe, playing with the puppies, and filling his days with quiet, untroubling pursuits. He knew that it was only a dream though. Heero himself had joined the Preventers because he couldn't give up the adrenalin rush of missions, the need for a purpose, or the fight to attain peace for Earth and Outer Space. He could no more keep Duo safe and at home then he could force himself to do the same.

"Stop thinking so loudly," Duo complained against Heero's heart. "Everything will be fine. Don't ruin today by worrying about tomorrow."

"Reading my mind?" Heero wondered softly.

"Reading your heart," Duo replied. "It beats faster when you worry."

The wind blew through Duo's hair, lifting up long strands and sending the hammock swinging. "I think it's going to rain again," Heero replied. "We should go inside."

Duo levered himself up to look into Heero's eyes. "Punishing me?"

Heero blinked and then reached to run fingers along Duo's cheek, careful not to touch too hard, his nerveless fingers sliding down from that cheek and following the trail of Duo's braid until he found the end. He ran the soft hairs through his fingers. "I'm not going to punish you for telling me exactly what I told you. Work stays at work." He brought the end of Duo's braid up and touched Duo's nose with it, making Duo chuckle. "There's a warm fire and a soft couch out of the rain though and I would like to make the most of the evening too, if you don't mind?"

"I think I would like that," Duo replied, but then, seriously, "I'll be fine tomorrow, Heero. Once I go into mission mode, not much rattles me, you know that."

"I know." Heero sighed. One of the puppies came nosing and pawing and Heero reached down and fondled his ears. The puppy wriggled in delight. Heero made an effort to reclaim the peaceful moment. "They are getting big, Duo."

"Mmmm," Duo murmured noncommittally as he nuzzled Heero's chest. Heero felt his shirt ride up and then Duo was slipping his head underneath the hem. Warm lips began kissing Heero's skin. Heero shivered and closed his eyes, his one hand still playing with the puppy's ears. As Duo's lips claimed one of Heero's hard nipples and he began suckling and licking it, Heero suddenly didn't care about missions or puppies.

There was a hard knock on the gate. As it swung open, Mr. Hulitt calling out, Duo tried to shove himself away from Heero, only to tangle in Heero's t-shirt. There was a frantic moment when Duo almost panicked as Heero tried to sit up and free Duo at the same time. Before that could happen, the hammock swung alarmingly, twisted, and then dumped both young men onto the ground in a heap. The ecstatic puppies piled on top, thinking it was a new game, while Soda nosed Duo in concern.

Mr. Hulitt froze just inside of the gate, taking in the scene. "He, he, " he chuckled, "A little rough housing with the dogs, I see. I hope you two finished cleaning up before you started the wrestling match."

Duo pushed himself up off of the ground, blushing red and looking very nervous as he gained his feet. Heero reached up and used Duo's belt to lever himself up, almost pulling Duo over, but anxious to have a hold on his lover in case Duo decided to do something rash in his excitement. They swayed together as Heero found his feet and steadied Duo. Duo clasped Heero's strong arm unconsciously as he faced Hulitt.

Hulitt's expression had changed. He looked at Duo's grip on Heero, on the way they stood together, at Heero's expression of concern and protectiveness. "I guess old men do get kind of blind," Hulitt said, sounding stiff and uncomfortable. "I guess you're more than just war buddies, right?" Hulitt was suddenly very interested in the dog kennel, staring at it very hard. "I'm not sure how I feel about it. You're kind of young to be doing stuff like that. There's laws..."

"There were also laws against children being soldiers and Gundam pilots," Duo reminded him viciously. "And I'm sure there were a few laws about making children kill, too. Me and Heero love each other. You can't separate us because you don't like that. If we have to, we'll disappear. We'll find a new place to live. If you call Services, it won't accomplish anything."

Hulitt frowned, scratched at his balding head, and then sighed. "Damn the people who took away your childhood. Damn the people who let you out on your own and told you to be adults. This isn't right, not by a long shot. None of it is." He sighed, closed his eyes, and then opened them. "I know I can't give you back what they took. I can only help you as best I can. I don't care that you're homosexuals, but I do care that you are trying to be adults when you aren't."

Heero very seriously and very quietly replied. "We are adults, Mr. Hulitt, in every way. We do have a loving, strong relationship. We will be together for the rest of our lives. There isn't any doubt of that, sir. We are not playing. We are not pretending to love and to have a home. We are serious, we are committed, and we do understand what we are doing."

Hulitt finally looked at them, first at Heero, as if measuring his resolve, and then at Duo. When he saw Duo's anxiety plain on his face, he softened. "All right. You won't get any trouble out of me," Hulitt relented. "Keep it private though, so I don't have to notice it. I'll pretend that you were just wrestling so, if anyone asks later, I didn't know a damn thing. I'm just a fool old man."

Duo's face suddenly relaxed and he chuckled. "Me and Heero are always rough housing, sir, and practicing martial arts for our jobs as Preventers."

"Don't 'practice' in a hammock," Hulitt grumbled as he bent to pet the puppies at his feet. "You might break your fool necks next time!"

Go to Part 19: Fire

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