Pairings: 2X1
Warnings: yaoi, angst, pov
Dedication: For my Dear Wifey Noa ...

The Biting Silence
Part 3
by Nazarri

See me, Feel me, Touch me, heal me
      - The Who "Tommy"

"Um Duo. That's an interesting outfit." Quatre pointed out diplomatically.

"Nice, isn't it?" Duo snickered. His eyes are still trained on me as he lightly runs his fingertips over the leather codpiece. "Indulge the bulge, I always say." (1)

Quatre's sisters burst out into girlish giggles as Zechs chokes on whatever he is trying to swallow. Wufei glares at Duo while Quatre and Trowa just continue eating.

Duo seems to notice none of this. He pushes himself from the doorframe and stalks around the table, toward me. His eyes never break from mine.

It is the strangest sensation, one that I hadn't felt in a long time. I was not being looked at; no, I was actually being seen. It isn't just a matter of feeling whole, but to feel solid and real. This is what Duo brought to my life.

But I had pushed him away with my silence.

After the wars when Quatre asked us to come live with him, I was exceptionally grateful since I had nowhere to go. I had assumed that Duo would be there too. But he left, looking back at me with a question in his eyes that I couldn't answer.

I hadn't known how to ask him to stay.

The emptiness that I felt over his absence was far more painful than I had expected. So I did what the perfect soldier would naturally do, I shut it away. Duo and all my feelings that revolved around him was put in a mental lock box, not to be touched or seen.

I have been so stupid.

Was it possible that I hadn't swept Duo from my thoughts at all? Could my underlying pain be the knowing ache in my heart? Was the biting silence a blatant yet subconscious reminder of my own silence when confronted with having to deal with my feelings and need for Duo?

I stand to face him; his name escapes my lips. "Duo."

He doesn't hesitate or stop, he simply pulls me into his embrace and holds me tight. My face is buried in his hair, he smells of leather, earth, and just plain Duo. "Of course it's me." He whispers into my ear. "Who else would come across space dressed like this just to give you a hug?"

I smile, despite myself. "Only You." Truer words were never said.

He kisses my neck before releasing his hold on me and taking the empty seat beside my own.

My entire being is momentarily stunned to inaction. Duo Maxwell kissed me. Perhaps it isn't as intimate as a kiss on the lips, I wouldn't know. Nonetheless, it is a kiss.

I slowly turn to look at him in the next chair. I stare at his face; my mind is in shock. He looks up at me. I must have the most incredulous expression on my face because I can see the effort that he is expending to not giggle at me.

The smirk that Duo is wearing tells me that he is very pleased with himself. He kissed me and no one else saw it, our little secret. He pats my chair cushion with his hand. "Come on, Heero, sit."

Of its own accord, my damned body immediately follows his orders; I am sitting before my mind can process his words.

I hear muffled snickers around me; my eyes drop to back to my empty plate. First I am invisible, now I am a joke. Dying would be such a pleasant experience right now. I am worse than nothing.

The damped noises suddenly turned silent. I hesitantly look up to see what has happened.

All eyes are on an extremely angry looking Duo; a very clear non-verbal message of "back-off" is written all over his face.

Without a care as to who is watching, Duo moves his chair until it is touching mine. His hand reaches under the table and guides my leg closest to him to drape over his own. I feel him pat my knee to let me know to leave it there if I am comfortable with that.

I am, very comfortable.

My heart warms. This is how it is been between Duo and I, an unspoken declaration. He loves to touch me and I love to feel his contact. I need it; I suspect that he does too.

Most people do not understand about Duo and I, but that is a fine, we do not have to explain us to anyone. As Duo would say, "Fuck them." We understood each other and that was enough.

So many would have us with others, their twisted minds think that they know what is best for Duo and I. But those are their desires, not ours. The arrogance of such people is astounding. Duo and I are mated through the soul; a million lives together or apart changes nothing to that fact.

We were never intimate during the war, but we always knew that we belonged to each other. There was never any doubt. Partners from the very beginning, anyone with sense could see this.

The world is right when we are together.

But I had not given him a reason to stay with me. He left, looking back at me with sadness. Deep down I knew that it wouldn't have taken much to keep him with me, but I am so inept and didn't know what to say or do. I am a horrible person.

Quatre tries his best to be the great host that he is. "So, Duo, where have you been?"

Duo's face relaxes as he smiles warmly at his friend. "Oh Quatre, just around. You know, traveling in the Renaissance Festival circuit. We went all over space and Earth."

Trowa remarks to Quatre, "That explains the clothing".

"I would sing and tell stories and people would drop money in my hat." A servant brings Duo a place setting. "Hey thanks, I'm starving." I watch his eyes move over the table, taking in all of the food choices. Breakfast was always large and generous since most of the household only eats two meals a day.

Moving so quickly that people hardly noticed, Duo loaded up his plate at the same time that he was placing bits and pieces on mine as well. Of course, Duo would notice my empty plate.

Duo's eyes were quickly drawn to the bonsai on the table in front of me. I watch his eyes taking in every little minute detail. "Oh my God, that is beautiful."

"Heero did it." Quatre quickly speaks up. His smile grows big as he reaches for Trowa's hand.

Duo looks at me with those perfect eyes; I can see that he is somehow pleased. "You did? Do you know what kind it is?"

I simply nod. "It's a Serissa foetida; they call it the Tree of a Thousand Stars."

"I can see why, these little white flowers look like tiny stars." He leans forward to get a closer view; I am thrilled that he sees the beauty in it that I do. "Heero, this is amazing." Duo's voice expresses a sense of awe that gives me a feeling of appreciation.

The tree's purpose comes to mind and I understand what I should do with it. I push it lightly so that it is in front of his plate. "Duo, I would like for you to have it."

I am certain that he doesn't understand what the symbolism is, but it means to world to me that he has expressed any interest in my life, in me.

Duo's expression turned to slight apprehension. "Oh Heero, I couldn't. I would kill it."

As naturally as breathing, I place my hand over his. He laces his fingers through mine. "I will show you how to care for it. Please accept my gift, it would mean so much to me. Please."

"Thank you Heero. It is an honor that you would trust me with something so special." He looks me straight in the eye; I think that he might understand, just a little.

We begin to eat, neither of us moving our joined hands.

The biting silence is no more.

(1) "Indulge the Bulge" is a slogan used by the Codpiece International. I just thought that it was cute; it wasn't my idea.

on to part 4

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