Disclaimer: See all the others; status unchanged.

Pairing: 2x1
Contents/Warnings: Yaoi, lime/lemon, language

AN: Written for the 'Enemies to Lovers' contest at [ Under The Bridge ]

Board Games, Bored Games
by kebzero

"Space, this is boring..."

With a single low grunt, Heero acknowledged Duo's statement.

The storm outside graciously sent another gust of hard rain against the single window of their dormroom. The bad streak of weather was on its third day, and with it came the near complete halt of OZ operations - and as an almost direct consequence, also of their own operations. It was a serious lull in missions. The first day they had spent conducting a thorough maintenance check of their Gundams, the second day they had done a follow-up inspection and studied the few new intel reports there were. Today, the third day... there was nothing left to do.

Even their cover as students couldn't help them; there was a break in classes this week, due to local holidays being observed. Whatever celebrations there were, they couldn't really join. Closed parties could be dangerous to infiltrate, and there would be no large public gatherings to hide within in this weather.

In the top bunk, Duo put both feet against the white ceiling panels, walked in over himself, arching his back. By the time he was resting on his shoulders and neck only, he let go; back, butt and legs slamming down on the mattress quite audibly and vibrantly.

From the bunk below, there came an annoyed growl. "Would you stop doing that? Sooner or later you'll come crashing through."

Duo snorted, scratched an itch underneath his shirt collar and put his hands behind his head. "Sure, whatever..." He closed his eyes, listened to the rain, to his own breathing, to the soft flips of pages below. Growing restless, he rolled over on his side, and peered down over the bedside. If he didn't know what Heero was reading, he might actually have believed him to be no more than a student casually slung on his bed, studying. Heero's blue denims, loose off-white T-shirt and fairly relaxed posture furthered the illusion - but Duo knew better. "You're not still reading those damn intel briefs, are you? Sheesh, what is this, the fourth time?"


Duo rolled his eyes, and flipped back on his bunk. "Geez... My mistake. You do the whole 'anal-retentive' thing thoroughly."

Heero sent a cool glare to the bedside. "It's important that we know-"

"That we know all possible details, in case we get a mission. Yeah, I know. I wasn't just picked at random and tossed in a Gundam, Heero. I know how to do my job." He sighed. "Only, right now, there's nothing we can do - and I'm bored out of my wits here!"

Dismissive grunt. Heero returned to his paperwork.

"Hey, can I borrow your laptop? I'm sure you've got some good games on it, or something, and-"


"Sheesh, don't be so stingy, pal. Who helped you out when you got caught at that hospital, and when you lost your Gundam, and when you busted your leg, and didn't even complain when you stripped his Gundam for spare parts?"

Low growl. "You put me in that hospital - and who saved your hide in the last battle, and the battle at New Edwards before that? And like hell, you didn't complain!"

"Okay, so I made a few comments-"

Deadpan, touch of annoyance. "I thought I was the one giving scary death threats."

Snort. "Oh, ha-ha. Very funny. You had one coming, stripping Deathscythe like that. Heck, we offered to help. Howard and I could have gotten you real spare parts, but no-o-o-o, the great Heero Yuy can't possibly accept help from others, and-"



"Shut up."

For a while, Duo obliged. Then he put his feet at the ceiling and walked in over his torso again, only to let go with a bang back to the bunk. He repeated the process. At the third go, Heero's patience was worn out.

"Would you stop that?!"

"Well, I'm bored, damn it!"

"Then go watch TV or something."

Duo shook his head. "Can't. They shut down the heating for most of the commons, including the downstairs living room. It's probably freezing down there now."

Grunt. "Bring a blanket." There was no answer. Heero heard two feet planted against the ceiling. He could barely contain the groan. "Go to the computer lab, then - or the library."

"Same thing. The lab's closed, and the library too."

Last-ditch attempt. "The kitchen is still open."

Duo shrugged, but put his feet back on the mattress. "Not hungry."


"Heero, quit trying to help, okay? If there was anything I could do, I would have done it. There's nothing to do here. Heck, we don't even have school stuff to deal with this week, and we're probably the only ones still at the dorms. Everyone else have gone home to their families, or gone with friends. Unless we get a call from the old geezers, you're stuck with me, pal."


"Yeah, I can tell you're thrilled. Believe me, I am too."

Another grunt. Duo couldn't see the vague smirk of agreement that was wrapped around it, though. Heero finished his fifth reading, satisfied he had committed all important details to memory. At least one of them would know the battlefield well enough next time. Maybe he'd have to save Duo's hide again. The prospect wasn't entirely dislikeable. If nothing else, he could use it to rub Duo's nose in, use it as a reminder for Duo to take his tasks more seriously - and more importantly, do them without bothering him.

Heero put the reports aside and flipped over on his back, hands behind his head. He closed his eyes. The most beneficial thing he could do right then, was to rest. If a call came, there was no telling when he'd get the chance next. He wasn't tired, but there was little point in-

The crossboards of the bunk above him sounded off again as Duo made another roofwalk-to-backflip. Heero's eyes flew open, and he scowled into the top bunk. "Duo," he snapped, "If you don't quit doing that, I'll-"

"You'll what?"

Heero tilted his head to look at the mischievous grin shining at him from the bedside above. He scowled, and looked away. So, this was Duo's tactic - find entertainment in pissing him off. Or perhaps he wanted a fight. Heero took a deep breath. No, incapacitating a pilot that was - roughly speaking - on his side, wasn't a valid strategy. Even merely bruising Duo a little didn't feel right - though Heero certainly had the urge to. One way or another, he wanted to wipe that grin away; it was much too unsettling. To laugh in the face of danger was utterly reckless - there was such a thing as an acceptable risk - but Duo's limits appeared to be far more flexible than his own.

Duo stretched down to give Heero a light punch in the shoulder, braid dangling down his face a good three feet closer to the floor, tip almost brushing against the beige carpet. That Duo didn't fall, was a small miracle. That Heero didn't grab Duo's arm and pull him down by reflex was a miracle worthy of sainthood. "You'll what, huh?" Another punch. "You'll what?"

Heero gave Duo another ice-cold glare, and made a loose grab for his wrist. Duo evaded with ease, but then again, Heero hadn't been serious - hurting a somewhat useful tool, and all that.

There was that grin again. "Oh, you're no fun, Heero..."

Grunt. "Don't you have anything to read?"

Duo shrugged, and inched back up. "Nothing in here. If the library was open..." He sat up straight, and dangled his feet off the bedside. A minute later he grew restless and climbed down the ladder at the end of the bunkbed with two great steps. Tempting danger, he sat down at the foot of Heero's bed. He sighed.

Heero groaned. "Isn't there anything you can do?"

Another shrug. "Nope. The gym's closed too. Everything is locked up, except the dorm kitchen and the downstairs living room - but like I said, they've shut off the heat there, so-" He paused. "Hey, isn't there a stack of board games down there? I think I've seen some of the guys play now and then, and-"


"Oh, come on, Heero. A couple of rounds of cards or something isn't going to kill you."

"Play solitaire."

Impish grin. "Okay - but then I fully intend to whistle the whole time."


"Or sing."

Heero's brows came frightfully close together.

The grin did not back down; quite the opposite. "Off-key."

Growl. It was much too clear to Heero he wouldn't get the rest he'd scheduled. He didn't need it at present, but it was still infuriating to have his plans disrupted by extortion. "Fine. I'll play a game or two - but that's it. Unlike you, I have better things to do, and-" He stopped, realizing he was speaking to Duo's back, and then to an open doorway. With a sigh of resignation, he lay in a pursuit. He'd seen the selection of games down in the commons - some looked interesting, a great deal looked incredibly boring. If he was going to suffer through them, he wouldn't let Duo make the choice of games all on his own.

Duellists has to agree on the weapon as well as the time and place, after all.


They'd hauled up a considerable stack of games from the commons room, despite Heero's warning he wouldn't play more than one. Two, at most. Duo hadn't listened, and stacked up as many games as he could, after putting quite a load in Heero's arms as well. Heero gave up, and carried his share of the burden back to their room, Duo right on his tail.

They didn't have any table large enough to play games on. Their two workdesks were fairly cluttered as it was already - old school assignments, books, pencils - all for cover, Duo had said. Heero fought his inner neat-freak at the sight, but accepted Duo's effort at disguising them as run-of-the-mill underachiever students. Duo had followed up that cover with a carefree attitude towards grades as well, and Heero had taken to follow his lead. To Heero's initial surprise, it was fairly effective, and thus worthy of notice.

Lacking a table, they had to sit on the beige wall-to-wall carpet floor. At least there was room there, once they'd pushed chairs and desks aside, and tidied up some of their cover-up clutter.

And they started playing.


"I can't fucking believe this!" Duo shouted, throwing his arms up in frustration. "This isn't fair!"

Heero dared a smirk, and snorted dismissively.

"That's the third damn time in a row! I swear, the die has been tampered with - no way I could be unlucky enough to land at the same damn snakehead three times!"

"Well, you did," Heero flatly stated, and moved Duo's piece down the aforementioned serpent of the Snakes and Ladders board, since it was clear the agitated Deathscythe pilot wouldn't do it himself. The move put Duo soundly in for a defeat, half a board behind Heero, who only needed one more good roll to win, barring the final possible snake bite. He grabbed the die, shook his fist twice and let it roll. Five eyes later he chalked up another victory; his fifth straight win out of the six games they had played so far - the one loss being their initial Snakes and Ladders game - which was the reason for them playing it a second time. Duo had thought it his lucky game; an illusion that was now thoroughly shattered.

Disgruntled, Duo had folded his arms and turned his back to the board, the end of his braid grazing the wall-to-wall carpeted floor.

While Heero hadn't been too enthusiastic about playing these silly games in the first place, he had found it quite satisfactory to crush Duo in them. He didn't even have to gloat to rub it in; Duo did that job quite adequately on his own. He wasn't sure why Duo felt it was such big a deal. A victory here had no real meaning, after all. With a dim sigh, he took to clearing up the board and pack the game away. It was much too obvious Duo wouldn't help until he had cooled down a bit more. "Duo, it's only a game."

Scowl over shoulder. "Oh yeah? Then why do you have that smug look on your face? Are you telling me you wouldn't mind losing?"

Heero shrugged, and put the lid on. "Like I said, it's only a game."

Duo scooted around again. "It's bad luck, that's what it is."


"What, you disagree? We're just rolling dice - what do you call it, if not bad luck? 'Uneven carpet'? 'Loaded dice'?"

"You're assuming it's all a game of chance. It isn't."

Frown. "What, 'the secret is all in the wrist' or some bullshit like that, then?"

Heero shook his head. "No - strategic choices."

Duo's jaw chewed air a few times. "Strategy?! We're throwing dice!"

"Not in all of these. In the Yatzy game, we-"

"Throw the dice, and nothing else, short of noting down the score." Duo cut in.


"You're saying we didn't?"

"No, I'm saying that isn't all there is to the game. Sure, much of it is a game of chance - like Snakes and Ladders - but in the later half of Yatzy, you choose which dice to keep for the combinations. You can gamble, or play it fairly safe. Depending on the scores so far, you make a strategic choice."

Duo rolled his eyes. "Oh, please - that's not strategy at all!"

Heero shrugged. "If you say so. I still won because I played it safe."

"You were leading in points. You could afford a low total score at the combinations. I had to gamble."

Smirk. "So, you admit it - you made a choice. You didn't just roll the dice."

Duo growled. "Fine, twist my words around, why don't you?"

"I am."

Duo's glare intensified to a frightening resemblance of Heero's trademark glare, and Heero leaned back a little on pure instinct.

"Look," Heero started, "You picked all the games, and all of them were mostly games of chance. Why don't we play something that requires a little thought? Parcheesi isn't all that much of a mental challenge."

Duo's scowl moved from Heero to the stack of games. He grew a sinister smile. "Okay... Monopoly, then. I'll crush you."

Snort. "We're only two players. It would be pretty boring."

"Okay, so we use a John Smith rule - we give the bank a car too, and roll on that before our own turns. Deal?"

Heero nodded, and reached for the box.


Duo placed his third hotel in the red district, grinning like a maniac. "There. Now, get to 'chance' and move directly to my fancy new digs, Yuy. I want your cash."

Snort. Heero surveyed the board. True, Duo had managed to secure four complete color series, and he had only two. True, Duo had five hotels now, and plenty of houses, while he had about half of that. Had it been a straight game, Heero would have been in trouble. However, the banker car was a wildcard, one that had served Duo so far, since he owned more streets. Still, the game was far from over. Heero rolled the dice, and landed on a street in the pink section, thankfully one with only two houses.

It was enough to make Duo grin even greater, though. "Why, welcome to Château Maxwell - fork over the rent, pal."

Heero frowned, but started counting up the fee from his already drained cash reserves.

Snicker. "Oh, your ass is so mine this time, Heero."

With a grunt, Heero handed Duo the bills. "In your dreams, Duo."

Duo snatched the bills out of Heero's loose grip. His grin had momentarily wavered, but Duo was sure he had hid it in time. If Heero only knew half of what went on in his dreams... He mentally shook his head. No, that would only result in pain - his pain. Getting beaten to a pulp by one Heero Yuy wasn't particularly appealing, nor was getting beaten by the same in games. Duo focused on the game, and gave a whoop as he drove the banker to one of his own hotels. Heero's deep frown pleased him mightily. Oh, the ways he could gloat over this one - especially since this time chance had much less to do with it; skill was the deal here.

Heero focused too. He was not going to lose, despite the wildcard of a banker. With only two players, the often ridiculous bartering between players was unlikely to ever happen - and that he had counted on since the start. All he needed, was for the wildcard to give him a break.

Three turns later, it came, and Heero got two new hotels.


"Uh - Here, Heero. Your turn."

Heero frowned. "It's still your turn. You haven't paid."

"Paid what?"

Heero tapped the dark blue third-to-last square, currently decorated with a newly erected hotel, and with Duo's car at the parking spot.

Duo sighed, and masked his face with a shaky smile. He'd had a slim hope Heero wouldn't notice. Of course, that's a lot to hope for in a mere two-player round of Monopoly, even more so considering his opponent. "Well, it was worth a shot..." He counted up the cash he needed for the exorbitant rent. He was a bit short, and therefore he pawned two more streets, leaving him with but a morsel of his earlier empire.

Heero scoffed, took the cash and rolled for the banker. Duo groaned as the car landed between two of his still open streets.

"That's so unfair!"

Heero smirked. "That's the game. Deal with it." He rolled for himself, and moved to a recently pawned street. "Oh, too bad..." he said with vaguely veiled sarcasm.

Duo glared him into remission, and grabbed the dice. "Oh, I'll make you eat those words, Yuy!" And he rolled, dice bouncing happily along the carpet, slowly settling down.... Duo gaped at the dice. Both of them were giving him the evil eye. He looked at Heero, and saw only a predatory smirk.

"What, two? Oh dear, Duo - that would put you-" Heero moved Duo's car. "-here." The last street in the game. With a hotel. One of the grand total of five Heero owned, scattered over his two street series.

Duo groaned.

"What, you can't pay?"

Duo scowled at Heero, and stuck his tongue out. The other had the nerve to snicker. Duo's eyes narrowed to slits. "Oh, up yours, you bastard."

The snickering continued. "Sorry, but you didn't win, Duo. I get to keep my ass." He started clearing away the game, delighting in Duo's red face. Of course, he thought it was from rage alone.

Duo got to his feet, a little wobbly since his legs had almost fallen asleep. Part angry, part embarrassed, he let impulsiveness get the better of him, went for his belt buckle- "Oh, yeah? Want mine?" -and proceeded to show Heero the moon.

The latter barely registered the cheeky side of Duo wiggling in his peripheral vision. "Oh, very mature, Duo. You lost, get over it." He was packing away the small plastic buildings when he noticed a tiny smudge on one of the usually covered globes. As luck would have it, Duo chose that precise moment to temporarily come to reason and hike up his pants. Though even Duo had once referred to him as superhuman, Heero lacked x-ray vision. The black cotton of Duo's pants was more than enough to block the direct view, if not the outline. "What was that?"

Duo glared at him. "Uh, Heero, if you're that behind in anatomy class-" He bit his tongue, thinking of something better. "It was an ass, Heero. You shouldn't have a problem recognizing one - you see one every time you look in a mirror."

Heero was about to state how incorrect that was, unless the light bent in an extraordinary fashion, when he caught Duo's meaning. "Oh..." he muttered. Maybe he had been a little vindictive in this game - but he wanted to get even with Duo, somehow, and when the opportunity had shown, he'd grasped it eagerly with both hands. Still, now he was left wondering. He shook his head. "No, I saw something - was it a birthmark?"

"None of your damn business, Heero." Duo went over to the small fridge they had set up in their room and took out a can of soda, taking big swigs of it to wash down the bitter taste of defeat.

Heero's brows came closer to each other. "No, it wasn't a birthmark - it was too dark, and the shape..."

Duo finished downing the can, and tossed it in the waste bin. "Just stop it, okay? It isn't funny."

Heero folded his legs up as if mediating, closed his eyes and folded his arms, contemplating further.

"Hey, stop mentally visualizing my ass, Heero!" Duo bit his tongue. For one, he couldn't believe what he'd just said. Secondly, he couldn't believe that was actually what was happening too. Third - it was something along the lines he had hoped for, but in very different contexts. There was no fourth, as by that time, he'd opted to attack, as Heero still paid him no heed.

He tackled Heero out of the meditating pose at a bit more speed than he was going for, and sent them both tumbling a few times around each other across the floor, fortunately along a cleared space, rather than into the game pile. As they stopped, Duo realized a few things. One, he was lying stretched out on top of Heero. Two, his right hand was clutching the short sleeve of the cheap cotton T-shirt, which now had a significant tear from the neck and halfway down the chest. Three, Heero's eyes opened at that precise moment, chilled blue aimed straight for him. He gulped, fearing he'd just signed up for that woodwork processing job; human to pulp in two minutes flat. His motto of 'run and hide' screamed in his head, but he remained frozen because of those eyes. "It was a cloverleaf," Heero flatly stated.

"Huh?" Duo finally managed to get out, baffled he was still conscious.

Heero pushed Duo off, though not all that rough, and folded his legs up once more. He picked at the torn shirt, but didn't bother with it beyond flipping the sleeve up to his shoulder again, leaving the fabric gaping in a small 'v' down his chest. "That mark - it was in the shape of a cloverleaf. A tattoo?"

Duo sat up straight. After some hesitation, he nodded. "Yeah. A tattoo." He cursed himself for not remembering that one when his impulse to be obnoxious and crude had cut in.


"I was young and stupid, and I had the money. Leave it at that, Heero."

A minute passed. Then two. Duo could tell from the intense look given him that Heero wasn't about to let it go. He sighed, figuring it would be less painful just to spill it all out. "Look, it was part of the Sweeper rituals, okay? Everyone got a tattoo or another. Kinda like a rite of passage for those guys - 'course, most of them were old enough to get them legally. I was exempted from the rule, but I didn't feel like I'd fit in if I didn't have one. I told Pestilence as much."

Weary, raised eyebrow. "Pestilence?"

"Professor G. One of the horsemen, and all."

Snort. "There were four horsemen, and there's five scientists."

Duo shrugged. "So maybe Famine had a split personality. Who cares?"

Grunt, smirk. "Go on."

"Okay, G wasn't too happy about the idea. He didn't have a problem with me wanting to bond with the group, but he didn't think I should get another unique characteristic." Grin, tug of braid. "Well, I finally convinced him I could get something small and discrete as long as I placed it somewhere the sun rarely shines. Now, one of the Sweepers ran a tattoo parlor before signing up. I managed to rent the gear we needed, and he helped me out. Vouched for my tattoo afterwards too, so I didn't have to go moon everybody." Chuckle. "Couldn't sit without wincing for over a week afterwards, though. Never would have thought the little thing could sting so bad."

Heero mulled on it for a while. "Okay, so you stuck it on your butt so it would be covered even in sleeping or bathing shorts, and go unnoticed in sloppy strip searches - but why a cloverleaf?"

Duo shrugged. "I don't know... Maybe I wanted something that was a hint at Father Maxwell's and Sister Helen's ancestry - or maybe my own. I think we all had some Irish blood in us - not much, but a little. That, and I figured it couldn't hurt to bring a permanent good-luck charm with me." Chuckle. "I think the damn thing was done wrong, though - I seem to be stalked by bad luck."

Silence. Heero looked to the far side of the room and mumbled something.

"What was that?"

A little louder. "I said, you've had the other side of luck, though."

"What do you mean?"

"Haven't you heard the saying? 'If you have good luck in gambling, you have bad luck in love' - and vice versa. You've always had someone. Friends, a kind of family - you've been loved, while I-" He looked away, bothered by his own words.

Duo's face dragged down a bit, a sullen smile all that was left. Heero was so wrong. The conclusion was all wrong. Duo's fortune had never lasted - and besides, if you were lucky in gambling, you could rake in tons of cash - and money could buy everything; even happiness - right? He didn't have the guts to say that though, given the can of worms it might open, so he went for a bit more neutral ground. "Say, do you have any tattoos?"

Heero shook his head. The thought of plastering a recognizable feature upon your body was hardly advisable when you sought anonymity.

"Okay - if you were going to have one, what would it be, and where would you stick it?"

Heero gave Duo a half-hearted glare, unsure of the point of such stupid questions. Still, he contemplated an answer. "As long as the war is on, I wouldn't. Afterwards, maybe - but I don't really know... Maybe a small sunflower, somewhere discrete."

Well, that certainly took Duo by surprise. "A sunflower?"

Heero's eyes glazed over. He looked away again, and struggled to get to his feet. "Forget it."

Duo got up too. "No, I want to know. Please."

Heero opened his mouth as if to speak, but nothing came out. Again, he shook his head, this time to clear the image of a dead puppy from his mind's eye. "Maybe some other time."

Duo wasn't about to relent that easily, but didn't voice it, merely kept the eerie quiet between them alive. He knew it'd make Heero uneasy - when you're known for making much noise, people grow restless at your silence - they half-expect an attack.

Because of that, Heero went for a pre-emptive strike, frowning. "You let someone tamper with your body - voluntarily."

Baffled by the sudden statement of disapproval, Duo chose to counter-attack. "And I suppose that's not what we let the old geezers do? I don't know what J did to you, Heero, but I snatched a copy of the medical records from that Alliance hospital I sprung you out of. Over two hundred injuries to your bones alone? That's a lot, Heero."

Generally sour demeanor. "It was necessary for my training. They all healed, and I grew stronger from it."

"What, and not from little bits of experimental surgery or special 'vitamin' shots, or something?"

Heero scowled at him, nostrils flaring. "At least I didn't let a stranger play Etch-a-Sketch with my ass."

Duo was taken aback by that one, but broke out in a grin, snickering. Heero kept the sour face. He couldn't see what could possibly be so funny. Duo put his arms akimbo. He didn't care what Heero might think or do anymore - if they kept going, they were in for a brawl, anyway. He opted to just drop another little bombshell; the source of his amusement. "Sorry, Heero, but I'm not like that. Nobody plays me. I do moons, and I do moons - not the other way around." With a wink, he put a period mark for his statement.

The scowl remained. It was much too clear Heero didn't get it, or misinterpreted it somehow.

Maybe telling it through a joke hadn't been the best of ideas, after all. Duo sighed. He had to make sure it got through. Sooner or later, Heero would notice the fact anyway - and it was better to deliver the message himself than to be confronted with it at some random point in the future. "Heero, what I mean is-" He locked onto the sharp blues, not going to lose this showdown. "I'm gay." Of course, the other half of the truth, there was no need to state just yet - not that Duo was ready to accept it himself either.

Heero's scowl gave way to surprise; absolute, total surprise. Duo wished he had a camera handy; it was most definitely an expression worth recording. Nobody would believe him without photographic evidence. Heero regained control of his reactions quickly enough, though. His mouth opened, but no words came. The glare returned. "You're not."

Grin. "Gee, thanks for making that clear to me, pal. Sorry, but I am."

Narrowing eyes. "You're not. You're just saying that to get me off balance. Why else would you blurt out something crazy like that?"

"Not a believer in stereotypes, are you, Heero? Seen my braid?" Duo tilted his head and tugged at the braid for good measure. "Really long hair, slim build - nothing that shouts-"

Frown. "You're not feminine."

Laugh. "And since when is that a requirement for being gay?"

"I never said it was. You were the one who brought up stereotypes - and you're too ugly to be effeminate."

Scoff. "Gee, thanks a lot."

"And then there's your manners."

Return frown. "Hey, my manners are just fine, and-" He paused, part of the soda coming back up as a thorough belch.

Slight smirk. "My point exactly."

Back to grin. "And I'm not gonna apologize for it, either. So, we agree I'm not a stereotype gay."

Once more to frown. "You're not gay."

"Oh? In denial, Heero?"

Heero's brows came dangerously close to forming a unibrow. "Me? Why would I be-"

Duo grinned, deciding to go offensive. Since Heero hadn't initiated a fistfight already, maybe it was safe to coax him on. If nothing else, it might flush out many of the future problems Duo's little admission might create between them. Better to deal with them sooner than later, however painful that process might be.

Not that Duo intended to lose any fight, should they have one. He had a chance, even against the so-called superhuman.

"Maybe because you are gay?"

Growl. "I'm not-"

Duo's voice grew mocking. "Oh? And how would you know that?"

"I know."

Duo threw his arms up. "Then do tell, Heero Yuy - what great, wonderful experiences have you ever had on either side of the fence?"

There was no answer but the cold glare - at least at first. Heero lost himself in a myriad of thoughts, thinking more than one question of Duo's over, struggling to reach decisive conclusions, finding few beyond preset parameters, but some curiosity to explore further was there. He filed that thought away for future consideration. Finally aware of his sudden, prolonged silence, and faced with Duo's amused expression, Heero looked away, unsure. "I..." he mumbled, "I have no experience either way. I- I suppose I haven't really thought about it..."

"Oh, that's bullshit. Every damn teenager thinks of that - especially guys our age. Are you saying you've never even had a wet dream, or jerked off?"

Heero felt his cheeks warm up, but fought it to the point of it never showing. "I..."

Duo sighed. "Okay, you don't have to tell me." Scoff. "Not that I think you have anything to tell, anyway."

That near-challenge broke Heero free of his sullenness. He glared hard at Duo, daring him to face him. "I've masturbated."

Tempting though it was, Duo refrained from laughing - but he couldn't stop the grin. "Uh - okay..."

"Doctor J gave me lessons on all aspects of my physical and mental well-being. I know about sex, and how to get rid of any such impulses on my own. I won't let anything interfere with my performance during missions, not even-"

"Hey, wait a second," Duo interrupted. "You're saying your mad scientist showed you how to jerk off? Damn, what else did he do - replace that claw of his with a special 'attachment' and give you a unique thick middle finger salute?"

It took a few seconds for Heero to decipher the more-than-implied lewd part of Duo's words. His frowned deepened to the point of him baring fangs, body moving into an attack posture. Yet, he neglected to answer, making the very bad assumption silence was the best way to make the question go away.

Duo took notice of that all too well, grinning even wider. He also took a step back, preparing himself for a strike. It never came. They merely kept glaring at each other, slowly calming down.

"And what great experiences do you have, loudmouth?" Heero finally snapped back.

Duo shrugged. "I've picked up a thing or two along the way. When you're with a bunch of guys like the Sweepers, you learn things."

Scowl. "So you did let them play with-"

"Hell no!" Duo erupted, resenting the implication. He shook his head, took a few relaxing breaths. "Okay, so I'm mostly on theory, too - but I think the Sweepers were a better group to draw this sort of knowledge from than that wrinkly, crazy old 'uncle' of yours has ever been."

Heero couldn't argue against that - it was simply a matter of math; more people meant more experiences - but he was certain that all the things Doctor J had taught him, albeit possibly limited when it came to such affairs directly, were fact. From what he knew of the Sweepers, their stories were far more likely of a fictional nature.

As he had not yet been brutally clobbered, Duo dared assume Heero didn't have a problem with him being gay. What really intrigued him, however, was how vague Heero was about his own preferences, whatever they were. They still had a lot of evening to kill - and teasing Heero might be fun. If nothing else, it would keep him occupied, and- He glanced at the stack of games, and a new idea shaped in his mind. "Say... Heero, why don't we make a bet?"

"A bet?"

"Yeah. I'll show you what I've picked up - give you some pointers and stuff, for when you get your ass in gear and decide to get a girlfriend - if you beat me at games."

"That's if I win?"


"And if I lose?"

Duo grinned wider. "Well... Then you're all mine."

He didn't have to think hard to understand what Duo was implying, and felt outraged by it. "What?!"

Snicker. "I told you, I'm gay. If I win, I get to play freely with you."

Snort. "No bet. There's nothing in it for me at all."

More light laughter. "What, you don't think you'd get any pleasure out of the things I'd show you, too? I might be good, you know..." Duo wiggled his brows suggestively for good measure. Sure, he knew this wouldn't win Heero over either, especially if Heero was as straight as he pretended to be - but if he could just get the bet going... "Okay, then - what about my humiliation? Some of the things I'm thinking of would not be something I'd gloat about, and-"

Heero shook his head, clearing his mind of various mental images, some lewd, most not - but getting there. "Wait - just what 'things' are we talking about?"

Duo shrugged. "Where's the fun in me telling you that from the start? You'd have to play to find out." Watching Heero scowl again, Duo added "Look, I guarantee you'll enjoy it. Or at least enjoy me being humiliated doing them."

That last verb reverberated in Heero's mind. Whatever Duo was planning, Heero had a feeling it was a set-up.

"Okay, how about this, then - if you win six straight games, I won't bother you for a whole month. No chatter, no practical jokes, no annoying habits - heck, I'll even read the boring reports ten times, if that's what you want me to do."

Relaxed frown. "No."

"Two months, then."

Heero suppressed a smirk. This might be beneficial, after all. How far could he push the deal in his favor? "No."

Sigh. "Okay, three months, and you get to choose the games. That's as high as I'll go, though."

Heero needed but a second to consider it. It was an acceptable risk. "Deal."

Duo grinned back. "I think that's my line - if your first choice is cards."

A grunt. Heero studied the pile of games. After some consideration, he reached for the chess box and held it up, shaking its contents twice. "Do you know how to play?" he asked - he wanted to win, but because of skill and deep thought, not because Duo tried moving rooks diagonally.

"Yeah," Duo answered, and snapped the box from Heero's hand. He sat down on the floor, opened the box and began setting up the board. He was not going to lose.


Duo was losing. He had grown impatient at Heero's initial slow progress across the board, and had taken the initiative. It quickly turned into a massacre at the center of the board, and while he'd removed over half of Heero's pieces - including all but one pawn - Duo was only left with eight pieces of his own. Far worse, the remaining eight were in the wrong places; most posed for an attack against Heero's nearly unprotected king. Of course, Duo's own king was equally vulnerable, perhaps even more so. Heero had noticed, if not outright planned for it. His three attacking pieces; a knight, a bishop and the queen, were in the perfect spots.

Smirking, Heero moved his queen into position, taking out a pawn. "Check."

Duo sighed. He couldn't remove Heero's queen, nor could he move his own king, pushed up against the edge of the board as it was. Of the five squares around the piece, Heero's bishop covered two, his queen another, and the last two escape routes were blocked by Duo's own queen and a long-neglected pawn. With all of his attack pieces far off at the sides or struggling to get close to Heero's king, Duo only had one piece with which to block Heero's charge. Reluctantly, he moved his queen one square forward.

Immediately, Heero replaced that queen with the other, and proclaimed the result. "Check mate."

Duo scowled at the board, not wanting to face the gloating smirk directly ahead. He couldn't even attack Heero's queen now that it was within the king's reach, since it had a knight as her guard. If only he had seen the attack a move or two sooner - then he would have had time. His own attack wasn't far from pushing Heero's king around, either - but much can happen in two moves, as he'd just experienced.

Duo kept glaring into the black and white squares as Heero packed the pieces away. As Heero folded up the board, Duo made a wry grin of his own. Yes, he'd lost - but he might still get some revenge out of the gloating, blind bastard. Embarrassing Heero was always fun - even more so when no retaliation was likely. Heero had agreed to the rules, hadn't he? There was a reason - more than one - that Duo had allowed the stakes to be raised just high enough for Heero to bite.

"So... Time for your prize, then - some of my grand knowledge."

Heero raised a brow in suspicion. Duo's grin was often a prelude to annoyance. He just wanted to continue playing - five more games, and he'd have the delightful peace and quiet he'd sought ever since they'd started sharing a room. This other business didn't interest him much, but what was the worst the braided fool could say or show, anyway? Only a little more chatter to ignore - and there was absolutely no way he would lose any of the other five games, especially not when he could avoid the games of complete chance. In calculation and planning, he was Duo's superior - although, the other's ability to improvise was frightening, and had almost turned the chess game around. He flashed his scowl a notch deeper, and relented a bit again. "Fine, but speak quickly."

"Speak? And quickly?" Duo chuckled. "Now, where's the fun in that?"

Heero felt even more uneasy. He hadn't seen that mix of predatory mischief and crowing delight in Duo's eyes since the time he'd found a whoopee cushion in Wing's seat - locating it by wind sheer and audio, the device conveniently hooked up to trigger the external speakers upon sound-off. The crew aboard Howard's ship had given Heero an even wider berth after that; his stern expressions and standoffish attitude had already given him a decent comfort zone - after the incident, he was almost always left alone.

And still the twit got pissed when Heero relocated a few choice Gundam parts the next day. 'Stealing' was such a bad word for it. 'Collecting dues' or 'payback' sounded better. 'Revenge' in a pinch.

Regardless, Heero had an ominous feeling as Duo scooted closer, halting a few feet before him.

"Okay, let's start with basics - have you heard of pleasure spots?"

Heero glared at Duo's sparkling eyes. There was a hidden agenda here, he was sure of it. Duo had said these 'hints' would be humiliating for him - but Heero had a feeling it would go both ways, if Duo had anything to do with it. Maybe even-

"Okay, I'm to take that as a 'no', then?"

Mentally shaking his head clear, Heero focused. Best get it over with; they had five more games to play before he'd get some piece of mind. And body. No practical jokes, no excess noises. Three whole months worth. No more whoopee cushion incidents, ever. "No."

Duo rolled his eyes. "Gee whiz - so the soldier prodigy only knows how to polish his knob?"

It took some mental restraint not to lash out at that. The words 'three months' rang in his ears. He'd scowl and bear it, but saw no reason to grin. Duo did that for the both of them.

"Anyway... Heero, pleasure spots are places where you like to be touched, especially during-" He shrugged. "Well, you know." Careful and playful, he added "Right?"


Chuckle. "Okay. See, most people manage to find their own spots. The trick is to find them on your significant other. People aren't the same - some have sensitive feet, others have a sweet spot somewhere in their side, or maybe along the shoulder blades, or at the nape of the neck - these places could be anywhere. Sure, there's the standard spots, which would probably respond to touch - think you could name one?"

Dismissive snort. "Duo, get on with it."

Duo snickered, unbuttoned and rolled up his shirt sleeve. "I was about to do just that..." He stretched his arm towards Heero's shoulder, and placed his index finger down, softly pushing at the flesh. Slowly, he let it trail down Heero's biceps, go out by the elbow, then shift to the other side of the joint-

Heero jolted a little, glared at his arm. It hadn't been much, but the slight tingle had been enough to unnerve him. If this was the kind of spots Duo referred to, Heero could instantly name five other spots that'd react similarly. He'd catalogued it as 'sensitive skin' in his mind. A cross-reference to 'pleasure spots' was now added.

"Well, that's one..." Duo grinned, moved the finger to Heero's cheek, barely touching the skin, and trailed a jagged line from cheekbone to chin, tilting up at the end to bounce off Heero's bottom lip. It wasn't anything like touching a statue; Heero might not have moved much more than to blink and breathe, but his skin felt soft and warm to the touch. Duo traced the outline of Heero's left ear, then streaked down the neck, curling along the collar bone.

Heero sat still. That one digit; the feather-light touch - wherever it went, it sent dim sensations; more than a tickle, less than a touch - but always a spark.

Duo let the tip of his nail graze the skin up along Heero's neck, over the quiet Adam's apple, under the soft curve of Heero's jaw and off his chin. He waited a moment before commenting, a bit miffed there had been no clear reactions. He knew that if Heero had done the same to him, he'd reacted. Whether that meant punching Heero's lights out, or throwing himself at him, Duo wasn't sure. Maybe it had to be a gut reaction thing. "So... That's caressing, Heero. If you ever get a girlfriend, that's something you might want to try." Duo straightened up. "Of course, you have to wait for the right moment. If you're too pushy, you'll blow the whole thing. Girls are fickle like that."

Heero snorted. "How would you know? I thought you were gay."

Shrug. "Yeah, and how do you think I figured that out? Unlike you, I had somewhat of a social circle, back with the Sweepers. Like I said, I'm mostly on theory, but at least I got that far."


Duo hesitated, quickly wetted his lips and gulped, not sure if he should ask or not. Then again, nothing ventured; nothing gained. "Uh... Do you want to try?"

At first, there was but the traditional glare. Then, Heero's eyes mellowed a little, and tentatively, he reached for Duo's face, cupped his cheek, slid his palm back a little, just enough to put his thumb to Duo's cheek bone. He pushed too hard initially, he judged as much from the minute wince on Duo's face; barely perceptible, but there. Heero relented a little, tried to graze his thumb along Duo's skin in the way he'd been shown. Then his own words repeated in his mind. I thought you were gay. He pulled his hand back, almost as if burned, and frowned again.

So, this was Duo's game - even if he'd lose, he'd win.

Heero's determination hardened. Two could play that game, he figured. Granted, he was going for the overall victory. What could Duo possibly hope to accomplish with just a few touches and pointers? There was nothing in it for him, Heero decided. Other than perhaps making Duo's game within games backfire. He would not lose; he had a prize to attain.

...though, Duo's caresses hadn't been entirely uncomfortable. Heero allowed himself a half-lived smirk. Maybe he should chalk it up as another incentive to win. He looked at Duo, but the braided boy turned away, the slightest hint of color coming to his cheeks - a little more on the one Heero had just touched. Indeed, embarrassment could work both ways. "Are you done?"

Grin gone, replaced by a sullen line, Duo gave a half-hearted nod. "Yeah, I suppose..." Then his eyes hardened. "For a first lesson, anyway - not that I'm going to give you any more freebies. I'll win, and then you're all mine - remember?"

Heero nodded. He remembered - but that wasn't going to happen. Duo could wish all he wanted, but he wasn't going to win anything here. Heero looked at the stack of games again, evaluated several - then decided one game which he didn't think Duo would have much prowess in. A dirty trick, perhaps - but here, the winner literally took all; and Heero was not about to lose himself to Duo.

Not that he had any desire to win Duo - but his silence was indeed pure gold.

He studied the game pile again. One small box in the far corner caught his eye, and he went for it.

"What's that?"

Heero suppressed a predatory grin. He'd hoped for a reaction along those lines. Granted, it wasn't fair to pick a game Duo probably didn't know how to play, much less play well, but as much as Heero hated to admit it, Duo had done far better at chess than he had expected. While making mostly random moves, including some completely moronic ones, Duo also made quite a few ingenious moves. It was only a move or two between what would have been his defeat and what turned out to be his victory. Duo had simply missed his chance - but not by much. Therefore, Heero saw no point in taking chances - he had more at stake here than Duo had, should he lose even once. "It's called Go. Ever played it?"

Duo shrugged. "Gave it a try once. Watched the other guys play it a few times - think I understand the base rules. You just try to capture the opponent's pieces and territory on the board, right?"

Heero nodded, feeling a little more justified in picking the game if Duo knew at least the basics. This particular Go set was only a ludicrous practice set for beginners, though - only a grid of eleven horizontal and vertical lines, as opposed to the nineteen and nineteen line grid of a real Go board. Given that, he had all intentions of winning, and winning fast - but still... "If you don't know how to play, then-"

Duo waved him off, snatched the box out of his hands, sat down and unpacked the contents of the box. "I know enough - plus, the bet says you get to pick the games." He put the white stones over at Heero's side. "Can't remember throwing this one in the stack, though."

"You didn't," Heero said, joining Duo on the floor. "I included it. You kept picking childish games, so I thought-"

Glare. "Oh, I'll make you eat those words. Black moves first, right?"

Again, Heero nodded, struggling not to smirk. This was going to be easy.

His determination wavered somewhat when Duo's fingertips slammed the black stone to the board in anything but a beginner's way.


"All in all, you're half a moku short."

Duo groaned. "Damn it! It's not fucking fair!"

A smirk and a grunt covered Heero's uneven breathing. That had been much too close for comfort. Had it been a real board, he'd have done better - but Duo had evidently learned something from watching the other students play on this pitifully small board, and picked up a technique or two. Heero refused to believe it was his own style of play that had nearly failed.

Once more, Duo turned away to sulk, leaving Heero to clear the game away. Two down, four to go. He eyed the stack of games, wondering what to play next. While there were some games that could be played quickly, few of them involved the strategic sense Heero relied on to win. He couldn't sell himself off to the luck of the dice - which he would be doing. Duo had entered the bet for a reason; the odds were in his favor... if they were random.

Naturally, Heero had to keep stacking the odds, to prevent a loss. Even one was fatal. Draws were unthinkable. There was still the lure of the endgame prize, but each win against Duo also brought amusement. The braided pilot could act so incredibly childish sometimes - though, this particular time it didn't bother Heero. Quite the contrary. He'd almost decided on the next game, when Duo's soft fingers touched his cheek. Startled, he turned to face the other boy. The sullen smile there broadened to a mild grin. "So... Ready for another dose of my infinite wisdom?"

Heero's eyes steeled over, new resolve forming. If Duo just wanted a chance to touch him, why didn't he simply say so? Not that Heero wanted that; in fact the whole deal was vaguely unsettling. Being caressed by another guy - no, being touched, period - was not something he was used to. Usually, the perpetrating fingers were snapped in two or more pieces seconds later - if he was in a good mood. During bad moods, there was a risk they'd make one final twitch, and then grow still, forever - along with the rest of the body.

"Turn around," Duo whispered. Obedience. Heero felt Duo place cool hands on his shoulders. Was the temperature in the room dropping? He hadn't noticed - and there was absolutely no way his internal body thermostat could be out of order... was there?

Duo's hands began massaging his shoulders roughly, prodding and kneading his flesh through the thin white cotton, before pushing the sleeves up to gain direct contact. "Duo, just what-"

"Relax," came the soft answer. "Just going to show you another trick or two to pull on your future girlfriends, okay?" Lax chuckle. "Or would you rather come to my side of the fence? You know it's always greener on the other side..."

Heero tilted his head enough to give Duo a glare out of the corner of his eye. It bounced right off mischievous purplish blue. Momentarily giving in, Heero did as ordered, and tried to let the stiffness go from his shoulders. It turned out to be far easier than he had imagined.

Then, Duo's hands wandered, going down Heero's biceps and lower arms, all the way out to his hands, briefly entangling their fingers. Duo came closer, placed his chin on Heero's shoulder, their cheeks meeting. Heero felt uncomfortable again. Was Duo merely toying with him? If Duo was gay, he had to be getting some pleasure out of this, right? It wasn't as if-

Duo had abandoned Heero's hands after guiding them to Heero's knees. One set of fingers sneaked up under the T-shirt, chilled tips drawing circles on Heero's abdomen. Heero was about to object again, only to let the comment turn to a light gasp as the other set of cool digits made their way through the torn v-gap of the white clothing, brushing across one of his nipples repeatedly, natural reaction not delayed the slightest. Then, Duo tightened the hold, tilting Heero back towards his chest.

Heero went completely passive, content with observing and sensing. No, more than content, really. He couldn't remember the last time he'd let someone touch him, let alone this... intimately? The word felt alien, and he remembered who it was that caressed his skin so carefully, so deliberately, so... He sighed in relaxation, let the worries fade for a moment. Another sweep across the taut surfaces. "Duo, I-"

Duo bit down softly at his shoulder. Heero immediate reaction was to stiffen up again, but the initial faint sting was replaced by the gentle sweep of lips and tongue on the offended skin, in sync with the hands roaming his chest and belly, and just as Heero dared admit he was enjoying the experience-

Duo stopped, and withdrew completely. He slapped his hands together. "So - you try something like that on your future girlfriend, and I almost guarantee you'll get lucky." Chuckle. "Well, at least that's what some of the Sweeper guys told me. Not sure if I believe them, 'cause Irene - one of the few women in our outfit - said it was more likely to give them a black eye." Grin. "Probably shouldn't go for the boobs that soon, I guess - but the massage thing is a decent move, and the belly rub is fairly innocent, as long as you don't stray too far up or down."

All the while, Heero kept glaring at Duo. The fool had to know his scheme was up by now, right? Duo couldn't possibly think this whole 'I'll teach you' front still worked?

Evidently, he did. "So, want to try for yourself?"

Heero didn't bother to consider, and shook his head. He was not going to give in to the remote curiosity, much less give Duo something that he might actually want. Plus, there wasn't time. Silence awaited a few games away, after all.

Duo slouched a little, but kept grinning. "Oh, come on - it's not like it's dangerous. I just did it on you, right? Think you'll magically turn gay if-" The momentary scowl made Duo shift topic mid-sentence. "Well, only an offer - if you want, I can always go 'oooh' and 'aaah', in my best girlish voice. Would you like that?"


Lopsided grin. "Is that a yes-grunt, or a no-grunt?"

Another grunt.

Duo snickered. "Okay, okay, I'll stop teasing - still, I can't really teach you these moves if you don't try them for yourself, you know."

Heero realized that, but he had no intention of using this knowledge - certainly not in the immediate future. Maybe, if they won the war, he could worry about such peripheral things like relationships. Right now, trusting anyone was dangerous - even the grinning bastard sitting a few feet away. No, especially him. Even so, they'd already saved each other's lives repeatedly. Maybe there was a select few he could grow to trust, grow to-

He mentally shook his head, not wanting to give in to temptation. Duo was an annoyance more than anything, an annoyance he had a chance to silence in a non-violent fashion - at least for three months. He eyed the stack of games again, but still let his tongue slip in his eagerness to move on. "Reign check - let's play on."

Heero felt like slapping himself in the face for letting that go. Duo was the one that was supposed to feel humiliated by these things - not him - but judging from the braided imp's monstrous grin, it didn't work that way.

But Heero was also adamant that was about to change. He took out a rather big, colorful box.

Duo read the big, bold, red letters. "Risk?"

Nod. "Do you-"

"Yeah, I know how to play - I'll conquer the world before you can do as much as blink, 'Ro."

Heero grunted. For the sake of expediency, he let the undesired nickname pass. Also, he knew from experience that if he reacted, Duo would think of something worse. Why did Duo work so intensely to ridicule and embarrass him, anyway? Even the brief lessons J had given on the nature and values of friendships didn't include any data on this subject - and that unnerved him quite a bit. Taking a deep breath, Heero focused on the game board. He had a global war to win.


Duo rolled the blue die. Or rather, he threw it to the carpet. It was pointless, really. He had but a single army left, valiantly defending the western half of the United States, with four massive armies of Heero's, fifteen strong each, blocking him, and with Heero owning every other province on the planet. Duo had fended off three attacks so far, but with Heero's three red dice versus his sole blue, it was only a matter of time before his luck ran out.

He checked the die. It just did. Duo gritted his teeth, muttered a small string of curses - a few which were potent enough to make Heero's brow rise in reaction - and swept his hand across the board, toppling most of Heero's green army. Heero picked up the sole purple soldier left on the board, and stuck it amidst the rest within the box of the game. "I don't get it - I held all of America, and most of Europe and Africa. How come you were able to-"

"You extended your reach too far, Duo - and you forgot to defend properly. It wasn't hard to send a picket army through Europe and across Iceland and Greenland to ruin your American continent bonus."

Sour face, low disgruntled voice. "It was those cards of yours. You got lucky."

Frown. "I admit, getting the right bonus cards at that moment was beneficial - but it wasn't the sole reason I won. I didn't need those ten armies to push through there, and you know it."


"Furthermore, your attacks were unorganized. You kept hitting my front door along Eastern Europe and Egypt. You never went for Kamchatka. I didn't have backup armies there, when you exchanged your bonus cards. You could have-"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. I could have - but obviously, I didn't. Fine, you win, oh great master."

Heero didn't like it. A Duo in a truly bad mood was even worse than a mischievous one, and Duo was fast approaching the former. "Duo..." He got no answer but Duo's back and crossed arms. Heero sighed, cleaned up the board and put the pieces away, already considering the next game - if there was one. He'd have to let Duo cool a little, of that much he was certain - but he was also certain Duo would continue to play. This was a bet, after all, and from experience, Duo was a notorious gambler - both on and off the battlefield. Moreover, he usually had the devil's luck - but right now, he was positively saintly.

And getting over himself. Duo took a deep breath, and let a relaxing sigh go before turning around again. "Okay, so you win..."

Heero kept a straight face, and nodded. He judged it the best way to make this expedient; they were halfway now.

Duo fidgeted a little, fingers restless. He folded his hands, then twisted them around to crack the knuckles, trying to relax. "Uhm... Heero... Have you ever kissed anyone?"

After a quick scowl, Heero's face went blank again, and he shrugged. "No. It's irrelevant, anyway. I haven't had any relationships, nor do I have any immediate plans to form any. There isn't anyone I could trust myself to right now, and the war has barely begun."

Duo nodded, accepting that much, not expecting much more anyway. He still felt uneasy asking this. "Uhm... well, the reason I ask is that some people think their first kiss is a really big deal, and I don't want to spoil that for you, and..." He unknotted his fingers, scratched an itchy spot at the back of his neck, put on a nervous grin. "The thing is, you see..."

Expediency, Heero thought. "Your next lesson is on kissing?"

For a few seconds, Duo froze. Not getting attacked, he allowed himself to relax. "Yeah..."

Heero shrugged again. "Okay."

"Okay? You mean, you don't have a problem with it? I mean, I don't want you to be pissed at me for stealing-"

"Duo, a kiss is a kiss. Lips against lips, correct? What difference does it make which sequence they're in, or with what gender? Everyone has lips, don't they? What more is there to kissing?"

"Tongue and teeth, with a little luck," Duo muttered to himself, biting his lower lip as he saw Heero's brows knit a little tighter. He'd heard, obviously. In his mind, Duo cursed himself.

"Get on with it," Heero told him, impatience clearly marking his voice. He was sure this wouldn't take long, and the nuisance was minor compared to the potential prize. Three more games; for three months...

Duo brightened up a little. "Okay... Now, this is your last warning - if you don't want me to-"

"Just kiss me already."

Duo chuckled. Heero swallowed, fought the heat coming to his cheeks. He hadn't meant it like that, and was about to say as much when Duo placed warm hands along his jaw. "Look, this'll probably be a bit different from when you get a girlfriend. For this one, I'm going to take the initiative. Depending on the girl you find, you might or might not want to do that. If you're a bad kisser... well, better to let her run the show, right?"

Heero didn't answer, only stared at the face that inched closer, at Duo's slightly parted lips - silent, slightly trembling lips... for the split second that lasted.

"Oh, and you'd want to watch out for the nose. You have to tilt your head a little, or you'll bump into each other. Not a good thing, believe me. You don't want a kiss to end with a nosebleed." As he spoke, Duo tilted his head, his hands going a bit further back, one set of digits brushing against the edge of Heero's right ear.


A slight nudge, really. A repeated nudge, growing firmer. Heero felt Duo's lips part, the tip of a tongue teasing his own upper lip, before wedging itself in. Heero relented, let Duo get what he wanted, let their tongues meet. Again, he relented, thinking it the fastest way to get this over with... That, and the best way to make Duo cheerful again - provided the hunch he had Duo was enjoying this. He tried not to think of how conceited that sounded.

In a distant corner of his mind, Heero admitted to himself that he was enjoying it, too - very much so, and it was a vague pang of loss when Duo pulled back.

Duo was a bit star-struck himself; he hadn't expected Heero to let go of all control that easily, nor his lips to feel and taste so sweet. Granted, much of that had to come from the unreasonable expectations he'd had on the topic - dreams, really - but reality was blissful, for that one moment. Of course, he'd only shown Heero one side of it, and was about to ask to see if Heero had picked up on it-

When Heero showed him he obviously had; firm hands around his neck pulled him close, thumbs nudged his jaw to make his head tilt the right way, warm lips on his own, soft, growing harder, flick of tongue... Duo let himself go with the flow, allowed Heero to pull the shots, more than satisfied the other had picked up just about everything he'd been shown.

Duo was short of breath when Heero pulled back, and couldn't keep from smiling.

Heero could; same dour expression returning.

Chuckle. "Damn, Heero - that was-" Wheeze. "God, what the heck came over you?"

Struggling against the heat build-up in his cheeks, redirecting some to his ears, Heero gave a low grunt, not wanting to give into embarrassments, much less explain the sudden desire he'd felt - and acted upon. "I have to try for myself if I am to learn. You said so yourself earlier."

Again, Duo laughed. "Well, I'd say you pass, with flying colors."

There was the slightest hint of a smirk on Heero's lips. Then the mission parameters returned, as did his focus - and consequently, his frown.

"Whoever you pick will be one lucky girl, Heero - never thought you had this in you, pal," Duo said, wiping the back of his hands across his lips. "By the way - you might wanna go a little easier on her, though, or you'll end up bruising the poor babe, not just suffocating her."

Heero almost pouted at that. He hadn't intended to be so rough about it, but it had been his first kiss - no, second, come to think of it - and he felt that was a good enough excuse for messing up a little. It wasn't as if Duo couldn't take it, anyway. He knew it took way more hurt than such a trifle detail to harm Duo - he'd seen as much during their battles. He had some respect for the soldier - but not so much for the boy. Especially when Duo grew talkative. Heero smirked to himself. That was another benefit of this; with his mouth so preoccupied, Duo wouldn't go blabbering about - that was always a plus.

Never mind how he'd enjoyed it, too.

On that thought, he leaned in again for a repeat.

Duo blocked Heero's advancing lips with an open palm, greatly amused. "Sorry, pal, but that's all you get for one game."

Heero pulled back, frowning. He was far from convinced Duo was serious - partly because he assumed this was what Duo wanted through the bet, anyway. He'd thought Duo's small tantrums at losing was all for show - but that belief was fast wavering.

The impish grin returned. "Hey, you actually liked that, don't you?"

Heero looked away. Never before had the wallpaper been as interesting, despite its monotone color and pattern. From the corner of his eye, he could see Duo was still waiting for an answer. Seconds passed by. He knew he couldn't escape it - and Duo already knew the answer.

Now Heero knew it too. Ever so slowly, he nodded.

"Despite me being a guy, and all."

Again, the reluctant nod.

Duo reached out to grab Heero's shoulder, startling the other enough to break out of brooding, and make their eyes lock. "Then, pal, how about I give you this incentive - how about I try to give you something to enjoy instead of these tricks for the future? Like you said, you might not live long enough to apply the techniques I've shown you on someone, so... Well, I'm sure I can think of a few ways that'd make you happy."

Heero's frown flashed deeper for a few seconds. He regretted having had a thesaurus on his reading plan during his tutelage; right then, it made his mind form the wrong connotations and links. Yet, the proposition - which was only a minor change of the original bet, really - held some appeal. He had enjoyed the kisses. Though he wasn't sure just what Duo planned to do to him next, there was enough trust - and lust - to keep going - barely.

Of course, he'd never admit he was curious. And yet... Three months of silence...

"Okay, name your game, 'Ro."

The nickname earned Duo a frosty glare, but it went by unnoticed. Heero sighed deeply, and let it pass. Oh, those three months would be bliss - and they were only three games away now. He reached into the pile and pulled out another box, decorated with various buildings.


Heero nodded.

Duo cheered up even more. "Great! I played this one with some of the guys a few days ago - it was an easy win."

Grunt. Heero wasn't convinced. Duo's skills at Monopoly was the reason for this choice; it was but a smaller and faster version of the same game - with a few twists.

Duo hadn't been the only one observing their fellow students play, even if he'd been the only one actively participating.


"One, two, three, four, fi- Damn."

Heero didn't bother hiding the smirk. "Welcome to the Taj Mahal, Duo. How many nights will you be staying?"

Frowning, Duo reached for the die again, closed his palm around it and shook it twice, kissed the fist and let it roll along the wall-to-wall carpet. It crawled along like a centipede, and came to a halt, glaring at him as if it were a spider; three pairs of eyes signalling imminent peril. Duo tore at his hair. Through clenched teeth, he managed to avoid screaming out loud from sheer frustration.

It sounded a lot more like a powerful groan.

"This is - this is- Damn it, did you tamper with the die or something? First, four nights at the Royale, then five at Waikiki, and now this?!"

Tempered chuckle.

Cool, accusing glare.

Heero struggled to return to deadpan. "No, Duo. I didn't do anything with the die. And before you suggest it - I didn't make the rules either. Now, pay the rent for six nights at a fully built up Taj Mahal - that'll be $2400."

"You know I don't have that much."

"Tough. That leaves you with auctioning away properties." Heero glanced at the single deed left in Duo's possession.

Duo followed the predatory eyes, and grabbed the deed as if to protect it. Faced with a smug face, he finally sighed in resignation. "Fine... What's your bid?"

Rubbing his chin, Heero pretended to think it over. Then he reached for his cash pile and picked up a reddish-pink bill, handing it to Duo.

"$50?! You've got to be fucking kidding me! This is the President we're talking about here! It's the fanciest hotel in the whole stinkin' game!"

Heero nodded. "And also your last property. Duo, even if I gave you all my money, what are your odds of winning? If you haven't noticed, the only plot not sold or built on yet, is the Fujiyama - and even if you did survive long enough to buy and build there, what are the odds you'll survive long enough for me to go broke there? Better to end it here. You've lost, Duo - admit it."

Eyes close to narrow slits now, mouth approaching a snarl, Duo practically flung the deed at Heero. "Fine."

Too victorious to be mad at the gesture, Heero started packing the game away, letting Duo sulk for a bit.

"I don't get it - I mean, I bought the President lot and built up the entire hotel - that's the best one in the game!"

Heero shook his head. "It isn't. It's the most expensive, both to build up and stay at, sure - but it isn't the best in terms of cost-effectiveness. I'm betting the games you watched all ended with someone visiting that hotel, right?"

Duo shrugged. "Most did."

Nod. "That doesn't surprise me. It's an easy place to go broke - especially in a two-player game - but like I said, it isn't cost-effective. In this game, a hotel is only as good as how many stairs it has - the President has seven possible. You managed to grab four of them. Having several cheaper hotels spread out is a more sound strategy in this game - if you secure the contested stairs, and hold the lots bordering the rest, you're fairly safe."

"Why did you buy that Australian hotel, then? It only has four possible stairs, and all of those could be contested."

"Because the Boomerang is very cost-effective - it only has one building. It's cheap to build, fast to reach its max rent charges, and those stairs are rarely contested, anyway. Few people bother to buy and build the Fujiyama."

"I would, but I didn't have the cash when I had the chance."

Nod. "I know - it's not a purchase you plan or hope for. Look, Duo - the President is a good hotel, and the three times I landed there, I came close to broke - but every time, didn't I take that money back as you landed on several of my stairs soon after? Instead of a big bite, I took small nibbles, but I still got all the money back, and then some. You focused your efforts on that hotel a little too much. If you had-"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah - enough with the damn lecture."

Heero went tight-lipped, and packed the rest of the game away. As he put the lid back on, Duo broke out of his sulk to glare him right in the eye.

"So... Want your reward now?"

Heero nodded, well aware Duo was more than a little pissed at yet another embarrassing loss. The little financial investment lecture hadn't made things better. It's a bitter thing to admit that the only game you can win, is Snakes and Ladders - if you're lucky.

When they first began playing, Heero wouldn't have been bothered by Duo's ire. Now he was; he no longer wanted to have an angry or frustrated Duo to deal with. While he occasionally enjoyed getting even after some of Duo's more bothersome practical jokes or the more obnoxious puns, this time he didn't want that. Since he'd opted for 'pleasure' instead of 'teachings' now, he reasoned Duo would be better inclined to do him good if he were in a chipper mood, rather than the foul spirit he seemed to be in now.

All the while brooding on this, Heero had looked away, not wanting to face the cold, vengeful eyes. Fingers touched his jaw to change that, and he was faced with a most predatory glare - which was all the warning he got before the hunter pounced on him, knocking him back on the carpet, assaulting lips with lips in a bruising kiss.

Hands tugged at his T-shirt, untucked it entirely from his jeans, digits cool to the touch brushed against his sides and abdomen, before starting to work on his pants buttons. Somewhat shell-shocked, Heero wrestled free and got to his feet, but before he could regret chickening out, Duo followed, and kissed him again. Without thinking, Heero gaped in surprise, which brought the assault on his mouth to a peak, Duo's tongue leading the charge on his tonsils. Not sure where to put his hands, Heero merely kept them out of the way, a little off his sides. With a little more of Duo's nimble handiwork, Heero's pants fell around his ankles, and absentmindedly, he stepped out of them, one foot back, then the other, Duo pursuing.

Duo reached around Heero's neck as if to prevent him from retreating further. The other palm rubbed against Heero's crotch, the thin blue cotton of Heero's boxers all that separated it from a rapidly growing erection. Being American, Duo seemed fond of the 'shock and awe' type of attack.

Indeed, Heero was surprised at Duo's ferociousness - not that he minded it much, insofar as he was able to think straight. The lasting kiss, if rough, was also very satisfying. The other thing was... indescribable. He wanted more, felt his knees weaken, threatening to buckle. Struggling to breathe through his nose, inhaling the mixing scents of Duo's skin, hair and shampoo, he worked up a nerve - which was very hard to do, given the circumstances. Heero wasn't sure when he'd closed his eyes. Tentatively, he opened them, and caught a glimpse of Duo's gaze; eyes of steel stabbing at him. So much for hoping Duo was enjoying this too. The braided boy was evidently anything but happy.

Heero wanted to change that, make the battlefield even, somehow. Gathering up his courage, he reached for Duo's shirt buttons, starting at the collar. Three buttons down, Duo broke the kiss and pulled back, and with him went both hands, to Heero's frustration. Heero gasped for air, frowned, took a step closer, wanting to resume walking on whatever trail Duo had led them down on to the very end. Duo took another step back as well, eyes shining with what could only be hatred. Heero stalled, suddenly ashamed of himself.

"That's all you're gonna get, buster. Come on, next game." The grin was anything but pleasant to behold. "I still have two shots left at your ass."

Up until then, emotions like compassion, and thoughts of apologies surged within Heero - but at Duo's harsh answer, his own resolve hardened, and all turned towards vindictiveness instead. He would not be beaten, not at anything. Better to make Duo's humiliation utterly and irrevocably complete, and deal with the aftermath of that. He had a feeling where all this was heading now, anyway. "We'll see whose ass is on the line here..." he mumbled over a scowl, before glancing at the game pile.

His mind raced, much like his blood. Duo had left Heero with a situation, and he wanted that dealt with quickly, never mind how. He was convinced Duo had already thought of that. He grabbed a deck of cards from the pile, and started shuffling them, and glared at Duo's vengeful eyes. Duo was clearly quite angry - but Heero didn't want to think of that now. He wanted Duo; wanted to get even, wanted to take advantage of him - in Heero's mind, it was all too obvious Duo was toying with him anyway, despite appearances. He hadn't even gotten to touch- He mentally shook his head, clearing his mind.

He walked over to their workdesks, cleared a small corner and sat down. "Poker, five cards draw, no wildcards. Highest hand wins."

Duo's dark grin turned into a sneaky smirk as he followed, dragging his chair over to Heero's desk. Heero frowned in reply to the sly smile, and handed Duo the deck for the final shuffle and deal. He knew Duo was an adept poker player - but he knew a few tricks of card analysis and probability theory himself. Satisfied, Duo stopped the shuffle and dealt the cards, five each. Duo picked up his, and grinned wide. "I'll take two."

Heero tossed the top two cards of the deck at him, and watched as Duo replaced his two rejects. Heero studied his own hand, gave Duo a cool glare as the grin widened at the new cards. "I'll take one," he announced, and did so.

"Ready?" Duo placed his cards to the carpet; four twos and an ace, grinning all the while. "Four of a kind, hot stuff." Watching Heero's expression turn sour, he even dared laugh, and with the best teasing tone of voice he could muster under the circumstances, he softly said "Oh, I'll go easy on you..."

Heero dismissed that idea with a grunt, and showed his own cards, splaying them out in an arch on the desk, from the five of hearts right up to the nine of hearts. "Straight flush," he commented dryly, smirking as Duo's jaw fell, the but-seconds-ago mirthful eyes now staring in shock and horror.

"You- that's- You cheated! You must have cheated!"

Absolute monotone. "You shuffled the deck last, and you dealt."

Duo opened his mouth as if to argue back, but all that came of it was a frustrated growl. In outrage, he went for the cards, swiping them aside to let them fall all over the floor, before getting to his feet, taking two stomps in Heero's direction.

Heero was immediately at his feet too, taking a defensive stance, not sure what to expect. Duo was obviously mad at yet another loss, but-

Then, before he'd had time for a thorough analysis, Duo made a surprise attack. Not so much a surprise in that it came, but in how it came about. Heero had expected a swing at his jaw, maybe a punch to his stomach - but not the near fall Duo went into, going for Heero's hips, hands grasping at the blue cotton boxers - and quickly pulling them down in the faux fall. Heero barely had time to register that his underwear was now around his ankles and that Duo was kneeling before him, before there was a firm grip around the base of his limping erection, and Duo's mouth closed in around him. Within Duo's bobbing head, the limp state did not last long; Heero was finally fully aware what was going on - and he was enjoying it more than he could verbalize beyond soft moans. Duo pawed at Heero's thighs and ass with his unoccupied hand, light sweeps and raking fingers alternating across the smooth skin.

Finally gaining enough time to think rather than process sensations, Heero tentatively put his hands on Duo's head, as if giving his blessing - not that the gesture was needed; the moans he felt pass his throat and out his mouth had to be enough of a signal of his approval. He gripped a bit further in Duo's chestnut locks. Standing much too stiff, knees threatening to buckle as his legs grew weaker, he tried rocking his hips against Duo's face, the crude desire to fuck Duo's mouth overcoming him. The hand at his crotch prevented any such action. Moreover, Heero felt his nuts put in a pinch between thumb and pinky as a discouraging reward for the attempt.

He barely registered that fact, though, coming ever closer...

...and then Duo stopped, still on his knees in such a perfect position - from Heero's point of view - but not showing anything but blind anger in the usually to-drown-in bright eyes. Heero groaned, returned the angry expression, mellowed to pleading, stretching towards pouting, almost willing to beg for Duo to finish - but he knew the odds of that were next to nil.

Duo swiped his mouth with the back of his hand. "Final game."

Frantic for completion, Heero glared at the pile, then at his crotch, and finally at his hand, balling it into a fist. "Fine. Shake."

Still frowning, Duo flagged a brow in question, and struggled to his feet.

Heero seemed unaffected by the fact he was naked short of a torn T-shirt - but he was obviously not in that state, overall, and that had pushed him to this decision, wanting a fast victory. Never mind it being much too random for safety. Sometimes, being reckless was worth it, or at least seemed to be. "Rock, Paper, Scissors. Let's go."

Duo grinned now, wanting to laugh at the unexpected suggestion - but he didn't complain. Instead, he curled up his fist too, and shook it. "On three."

One, two - Both the open palm of paper. "Draw. Again," Heero commented, dragging the game on again.

One, two - Both the closed fist of rock. "Damn, another draw," Duo said, flexing his fingers before going for another shake.

One, two -

Heero stared at their hands, then placed his open palm around Duo's fist, a triumphant smirk coming to his face. "Paper takes rock - I win."

Duo didn't answer beyond a sad, shocked expression at first, then gave a meek nod.

"So, what's next? Going to finish the job?"

Another soft nod, but no verbal answer, not even a protest at the result. Duo reached for his shirt buttons, unbuttoned one at a time, undid his sleeves and finally removed the shirt altogether, sending it to the floor to join Heero's legwear. He then reached for the buttons of his black pants, same slow pattern repeating. There was no rage left in his face, but no smile either; only the sullen face of defeat, soft shivers across the gradually exposed skin.

Heero at last saw through his raw desire to realize what was going on. He'd won. He'd won six games. Six games equalled Duo's utmost silence - and subservience, given the way their bet had changed. He had a fair idea how things would transgress from there on. Granted, he didn't think he'd mind that part of it - but Duo would be silent. Duo would be tranquil in both word and deed. Duo would be what Heero had repeatedly asked him to be.

Duo wouldn't be Duo.

And Duo wouldn't be what Heero wanted him to be just then - namely his normal self. Heero wanted the upbeat Duo - a headstrong Duo, not the pathetic fool stripping before him. He made a decision and went with it before he could have time to regret it. "Best two out of three."

Immediately, Duo froze, brightened up, dared to tug his lips in a slight smile.

"Yeah, I meant that - let's go." Heero balled up his fist, Duo immediately followed his lead. One, two- Heero's scissors to Duo's paper. The smile gave way to a resigned sigh, and Duo's hands headed back to where they left off. Heero groaned. "Best three out of five."

Duo grinned madly this time, and it was quite clear he was suppressing a laugh. He knew Heero wouldn't offer this unless he meant to lose - which he did. One, two- Heero's rock in Duo's paper.

Heero dared smirk back, beyond caring but for defeat. "Again." One, two- Duo's rock crushing Heero's scissors.

A chuckle. "Best five out of seven?" Duo's pants chose that moment to drop to the floor, his underwear doing little to hide the bulge.

"Hell, no!" Heero stated, before launching a direct assault on Duo's lips, nearly desperate for more, firm hands on Duo's shoulders to prevent retreat.

He need not have worried about that; Duo met the attack with equal fervor, slid his arms around Heero's waist and let his fingers dance up along the spine underneath the thin, white cotton T-shirt, pushing it up. Heero let his own hands wander, namely down to Duo's waist, toying with the hem of Duo's underwear. He slid a palm inside to grope at Duo's buttocks. Duo yelped against his kiss, then fell back, grinning. "So, you concede your loss?"

Smirking back, Heero nodded. Duo tugged at the T-shirt again, and Heero relented, letting Duo pull that last article of clothing off of him.

"You know what that means, right? You lost the bet, so-"

Heero broke him off with another eager kiss. "I don't care. I don't- please, do whatever you want - but do it now." He rubbed his groin toward Duo's thigh and hip to further his point. His patience was as drained as his libido was full; he could not - would not wait any longer.

Final quick meeting of lips. "Wait right here," Duo all but whispered, and jogged towards the bathroom.

Heero practically whimpered. Of all the things Duo could say, that was not what he'd wanted to hear. He wasn't sure what he wanted to hear either; and for every second Duo was away, thoughts on what might come - since he'd lost the bet - multiplied in his mind, some he labeled pleasant, some not-so pleasant - but it didn't matter. He was certain he'd do anything Duo told him to, as long as his own release was at the end of it all. Despite everything, he trusted Duo to make it all worthwhile.

Even so, as a whole minute had passed, and Duo still hadn't returned, Heero was about to follow. Five seconds and three steps later, Duo stood in the doorway, a small tube of some sort in his hands. Heero didn't need more than a second or two to understand what it was. All that was left, was to know who'd do-

"You, on the bunk, right now," Duo commanded.

Heero nodded. Yeah, Duo had said as much, hadn't he? He did moons, and he did moons - not the other way around. Not that Heero cared anymore. The braided imp had brought them this far; he'd bring them all the way, no doubt. He sat down at the edge of his bunk, and as soon as Duo came close enough, he grabbed the hem of Duo's underwear and dragged it to his ankles, firm hands sliding their way back up the slender calves and thighs. He hesitated as he reached Duo's hips, attention focusing on the prominent erection but inches away from his face.

Duo ruffled Heero's bangs, and smiled down as the other looked up. He didn't say anything; didn't have to. The way his fingers worked ever more towards the back of Heero's head might have been an indication of what he wanted, though. Regardless, Heero reached for Duo's cock, pumped it a few times, and leaned forward enough to swallow the head, licking the ridge. Duo curled his fingers, tugged at Heero's thick, unruly hair, took half a step forward. Heero started a rhythm, bobbing his head in much the same fashion Duo had done to him earlier, taste of Duo starting to spill into his mouth, sensations relayed to his brain. He relented, let go, merely licked at the tip, teased Duo to the best of his ability and imagination. The way Duo's legs had begun trembling, he assumed he was doing something right - very right.

Duo pushed Heero's head back, and sat down next to him before his knees could give out. Duo's breathing was ragged, and his grin matched Heero's satisfied smirk. "Damn, Heero - never figured you for a co-"

Heero broke him off with a forceful kiss, tilting the boy further in on the bed. Duo kicked off from the bedside, and scooted inward. Their kiss broke, but as Duo reclined ever more, Heero's assault continued, impacting collar bone, chest and nipple, brute butterfly-kisses along Duo's stomach. When Duo finally rested on his back, Heero knelt down to resume the job left undone.

Heero took Duo in his mouth again, found a rhythm broken only by teasing tongue flicks - and momentarily shattered as he felt his butt cheeks be coaxed apart and something cold applied. "Sssh - relax, Heero. I'm going slow, I'm not gonna hurt ya."

Still tasting Duo, Heero scowled at him from the corner of his eye, answered only with a grin. Feeling vindictive, he used his teeth; a scrape, not a bite. Not a hard one, at least. It was enough to earn him a slap on his ass.

"Hey! None of that, 'kay? You lost the bet, so you reap the consequences. Are you going to yield?"

Though it lasted but a second, the tension was unbearable. Heero swiped his tongue around Duo's erection again, and moved a little closer, putting his rear within easier reach for Duo. More of the cold stuff was applied, and Heero felt a finger rub against it, then dip inside, slowly probing deeper and deeper. He struggled to focus on his task at hand - or rather, the task within his lips. For his efforts, he was rewarded by Duo giving him a few quick pumps - and that was enough. He'd object to it later, but the moan was definitely his.

Duo chuckled, let go long enough to pat Heero on the butt. "Good boy."

Not pausing, Heero tilted his head just enough to shoot Duo another glare. It was deflected on bright teeth. Heero kept working on Duo, as Duo kept working on him. While he'd hoped they'd go for the compromise of six and nine they were so close to, Duo obviously had other plans.

Well, so had he.

As Duo's fingers worked within him, Heero sped up his rhythm, bobbed faster and faster, trying to think of new tricks to make Duo lose it; varying the pressure of his lips, letting his tongue flick along the base at every bob, softly scraping his teeth over the flexible surface, even making a failed attempt at deep-throating - each new venture with but one goal; if he could make Duo come before-

Following many a noise of satisfaction, there was another slap to his ass, but much too hard to be playful. Between much panting, Duo stuttered out a "Bad boy!", and shifted his hips away.

Heero pulled back and sat up on his knees. He knew his plan was foiled, and seemed likely to backfire in the worst way possible. Duo pushed up on his elbows, a mild frown on his face. Heero looked away, embarrassed. He'd lost the bet, but evidently couldn't take it as a man. He cringed at the thought, for more than one reason.

Then, Duo broke out a grin, sat up straight and put his palms along Heero's cheeks, pulling him in for another kiss, ravaging Heero's mouth for his own taste. Momentarily baffled, Heero began fighting back, delighted to learn Duo would let him have that much, their sparring tongues shifting their battleground back and forth between them. When it finally ended, Duo touched his lips to Heero's chin, then jaw, neck, sucking down for a second on Heero's shoulder, eliciting what could only be described as a whimper, no matter how much Heero would resent that interpretation. Duo bit down lightly, causing a repetition of the sound, if a notch higher, and a tad more stressed. "Oh, you're a naughty boy, aren't you, Heero."

"I- I-" Heero gulped, trying to remember how to breathe. Fingers brushed up along his cock, paused to rub against his stomach.

Duo touched his lips to the reddish mark, before offering an amused smile. "You almost succeeded too, you bastard."

Heero came close to smirking, but left it at the faint curling of lips. There was no point in provoking Duo - especially not now. His ass wouldn't appreciate it, he was certain of that.

Duo reached for the pillow, and patted the mattress. Heero understood, and lay down on the bed, facing up. Duo crawled in over him, lay down on top of him, kissed him again, rocked his hips to rub against Heero, moved his lips to latch on to the reddish mark again. A soft groan escaped Heero's lips, and he could almost feel Duo smile in satisfaction against his skin. Duo slid south, licked at a nipple, before scooting down, kneeling between Heero's legs. He reached for the misplaced pillow, touched Heero's hip, a smooth rise of fingertips all the signal he needed to give. Heero took the pillow and slid it in under his lower back, knowing he'd appreciate the support it'd give.

Never mind he might never use it again.

Scratch that, he might never use this bunk again.

Well, at least not for sleeping.

He allowed himself a mental smirk. Maybe Duo would share his bed for that purpose.

Duo reached under Heero's knees, pushed them further back and apart, meeting no resistance with Heero. While he still had some reservations about this endeavor, Heero couldn't help but be curious. Would it feel good? It had to, even for him - Duo wouldn't put him through it otherwise, he was fairly certain of that. He ignored how a grim little voice reminded him of Duo's countless pranks and practical jokes. Of course, this was way beyond such trifle things, and-

The head of Duo's cock grazed his ass, and brought him back to the present. His eyes locked with Duo's, and he could almost see his mild fear reflect in Duo's eyes. Two of Duo's fingers probed him again, flexed apart in a final stretch. With the other hand, Duo gave Heero's erection a few quick pumps, and the mixed feelings was voiced in Heero's throaty moan.

Duo's face was still riddled with concerns. Had he pushed Heero too far this time? It had only been a stupid bet, but this - this was more than just Heero living up to his end of the deal, wasn't it? Would Heero respect the bet, but get back at him later, to get even?

Would they respect each other in the morning?

Heero's cock throbbed in his palm, and Duo shook those thoughts away along with his fist - doubly to Heero's enjoyment, slight gasp a sign of that. Duo paused, slipped his fingers out of Heero, let go of Heero's erection and quickly applied more lube to his own, before hooking Heero's legs over his shoulders and positioning himself, cockhead at Heero's entrance. "Sure you're okay with this, Heero?"

Heero formed his best 'are you insane?!' glare. If he wasn't okay with it, he'd never have let it go this far, that was for certain. No, at this point, he didn't care. Duo would show him pleasure, if but in a reversal of their roles of what it might have been - but that hardly mattered. This way, He'd have Duo - the genuine Duo, not the dispirited servant - and he'd let Duo have him - in any way Duo wanted him.

The deal seemed fair enough. With but the slightest of hesitation, he nodded.

Duo returned the nod, and slowly pushed inside, all the while muttering soft words of support, coaxing Heero to relax, not fight it. He caressed Heero's thighs, struggled to keep them from slipping off his shoulders. It was seconds that seemed to last forever, and each inch gained came wrapped in pleasure.

By the time Duo was fully seated within, both struggled to breathe. Heero felt Duo throb inside him, tensed up, only causing another throb. "Go," Heero was at last able to whisper. Duo obeyed, slow out, slow in, slow out, carefully building up a pace, more than one rapturous one-syllable word, if they were even that, escaping his lips. Heero didn't let those sounds stay alone, his own moans and monosyllables joining with Duo's. A very clear "Fuck!" came out as Duo's cock brushed a particularly sensitive spot buried within him. Above, Duo chuckled, and without breaking rhythm, he answered "I'm trying!"

Heero's glare lasted but a second, as Duo's fingers sought out his neglected erection, fast setting up a pace to match the thrusts. Heero hissed through clenched teeth, closed his eyes, letting other senses take over. His nerves felt like they were on fire, and that fire seemed to gravitate towards two places; his head and his groin, setting his very soul ablaze, building up, up- "D-Duo, I'm-"

There was no need to state it; his body acted what he couldn't say, and through a sated moan, he tried to remember how to breathe, legs hanging limp over Duo's shoulders, his whole body feeling heavy, coming down from the high place Duo had sent him.

Duo upped his rhythm to an almost frantic one; Heero's climax was about to bring forth his own, and as he approached the precipice, he tried to speak, but all that left his mouth before coherence was lost in rapture, and voice in short gasps, was a strained, throaty "Hee-"

A few thrusts more, emptied, he fell to the bed at Heero's side, barely avoiding landing on his lover, both panting heavily, both lost to the world beyond the room, the bed, each other, ragged breaths barely heard over the steady harmonies their rushed blood seemed to sing in their ears, fires along every nerve cooling down until only the soft warmth of pleasure remained.

Minutes passed with nothing but breaths and heartbeat. Heero had barely gotten his elated emotions grounded when Duo's hand sought out his, intertwining their fingers. He tilted his head, met Duo's smile with one of his own, clutching the warm hand. "Duo... I- That was..."

Duo chuckled, whispered back "Glad you liked..."

"For a moment, I thought I was weightless..."

Impish grin. "Did you see the moon?"

Heero snorted, shifted to pull the pillow out from under his lower back.

"What, I didn't bring you up beyond the clouds?"

Smirk. "You did well enough... rocketman."

Another brief laugh. "Well, you put me into orbit, at least."

Amused grunt. "Then it's time I pull you mercilessly back to the ground, isn't it?"

Grin. "Nah, I think I'll stay up here for a while, watching..." Duo reached for Heero's cheek, slid his forefinger across it, barely touching. "Maybe we've got some sort of astronomy thing going on here - my moon to your Earth, my 'Titan' to-"

Heero cut Duo off by placing a digit across Duo's lips, softly snickering. "Don't you dare finish that line." Finger brushing aside. "Besides, you're wrong. Titan orbits Saturn. Titania is the one orbiting-"

Duo leaned in to cut him off with a kiss, upon which end he tapped the tip of Heero's nose. "Smartass."

Beyond a smirk, Heero didn't retort. Silence took over once more.

Duo reached for Heero's chest, let soft fingertips make flighty sweeps, no goal, no purpose but to be there. "Uhm... Heero? I know this is a little late to ask, but would you be okay with being my boyfriend?"

"What, and not just a fuckbuddy?" He saw Duo's nose wrinkle at the crude word, and pushed on before he got a snappish answer. "Yeah, I think I'd like that, Duo."

"Okay with me being yours too?"

Soft chuckle. "Sure - though, 'friends with benefits' sounds more like what we just did..."

Grin. "Well, we can have it all, I think... both friend, boyfriend - and benefits."

Curt nod. "Sounds good."

Duo glanced up at the crossplanks above, once more hesitating in asking a question nagging his mind. "So... was it good for you too?" He nearly laughed as Heero rolled his eyes at the cheesy question. "I take that as a 'yes', then." Chuckle. "I guess we'll have to do it again later."

"Oh? And what makes you think I'd let you take the lead of our dance the next time, whenever that might be?"

Duo grinned, tapped Heero's nose again. "Because you're still mine, that's why."

Puzzled frown. "What are you talking about - I fulfilled my side of the bet. I even let you-"

Even more pearly whites. "Our bet didn't specify a time frame, did it?"

Heero's brows pushed further up, an expression of bewilderment and slight fright coming over his face.

Duo laughed softly, gave him a brief kiss, caressed Heero's biceps, snaking down an arm to graze the hip, finally going over the side to paw lightly at Heero's butt. "Don't worry, sweetcheeks, we'll work something out..."

And they did so - repeatedly.


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