Disclaimer: See all the others; status unchanged.

Pairing: 1x2x1
Contents/Warnings: Shounen Ai/Yaoi, some sap, slight angst, bad lime/lemon.

AN: Written for the 'Bad Sex' contest 2003. Ended up fourth of ten entries.

by kebzero

Maxwell's Journal, May 3rd, 198 AC

Yeah, I know you're still waiting for me to break down and write 'dear diary' or give you some fancy, silly name, just because I use you as a makeshift confession stand, a place to vent thoughts and feelings. Keep waiting...

Haven't written in a while 'cause things have been good, mostly. Funny how I usually turn to you when things get really bad. Yeah, yeah, yeah - don't gloat. The other option involves talking to people - and the few I'd trust with my thoughts would probably do what you'll never do - talk back and offer their advice. Not sure I could handle that right now.

Heero, if I ever let you read this - don't be upset that I don't talk to you about all of these things. Some stuff I just have to work out on my own. You've always been dependable and strong for me, kind and cute in your own ways - but this is my problem. And stop frowning because I called you 'cute'. Consider it payback for calling me 'snookums' during movie night two weeks ago.

It started three days ago. Well, actually it started...


Fourteen months. 444 odd days since Heero had walked up to him and asked, stumbling at nearly every word. The same minus several stunned seconds before Duo had stuttered out a 'yes' in reply. Or something to that effect. He couldn't remember just what had rambled out of his mouth back then. The soft smile and the relief that had come over Heero's face at his answer had left the entire memory a hazed one. Duo could barely remember anything from their first date later that week, for that matter - not that he had to; Heero seemed all too happy to tell him about it, whenever the topic came up - which it did, often, and especially so last mid-February, on the first anniversary of the event.

Ever since that first date, which had been barely more than spending time together, they had taken it slow - maybe Heero had sensed how skittish Duo was by the whole situation; suddenly finding himself in an unexpected relationship. It took two months before Heero dared reach out and hold Duo's hand a mild April day after a spring shower - in private, mind you. Another month passed before the first close embrace in the shade of a blossoming cherry tree, awkward as the simple hug was. Another before their first kiss - which had been an incredibly tense affair following a lax day at the beach, but it worked out well, after all.

If there was one thing they had rushed somewhat, it had been renting a flat together. They found it a convenient arrangement, both for financial reasons, and for proximity to each other. The flat had separate bedrooms, of course. Duo didn't even have to mention that bit. At times, it was as if Heero could read him as an open book. It was strangely reassuring. It was scary as hell. It was reciprocated, half the time. Despite all his efforts, Heero didn't have the perfect poker face either. Duo had slowly learned what subtle signs to look for.

It had taken time for both of them to get comfortable living so close, maybe a little more so for Duo. It wasn't that he was afraid. He'd trust Heero with his life, many times over he already had, and now he had all but offered his heart as well. Still, he had doubts, tiny doubts hiding in his subconscious for the most part, thankfully. Whenever they surfaced though, they brought only misery and guilt.

After a delightfully long absence, they returned for an extended visit three days ago. It had started out as another in a long series of movie nights. Film, particularly old films, a few as ancient as a quarter millennia, had become one of Duo's hobbies - and as such, Heero got his dose of it; not that he minded much. The selections Duo brought were very diverse, covering just about all plausible categories, from sappy kiddie flicks to slasher horror to epics to matinee re-run material. Apparently, Duo saw a point in watching even really bad movies - bad as in low quality, be it of acting, script, directing or just in general. At first, Heero failed to understand why such poor work was worth watching, but after a while, he realized whenever there were crappy movies in the selection, it was far easier to lure Duo's attention away from them.

Which was how they ended up as they did three days ago, half-eaten pizza slices and a big bowl of popcorn left at the coffee table, an incredibly predictable, old and cheesy romance flick on the screen showing itself off to no one, Duo lying back on the sofa and Heero over and on top of him, the two engaged in sloppy kisses and the occasional playful fondle. It wasn't the first time movie night had digressed into such a display. Still, it was as far as it ever got - until now.

With some difficulty, Heero had managed to unbutton Duo's shirt one-handed, and as he left Duo's lips to travel down his jaw, his fingers reached under the soft fabric, searching. At the junction of neck and shoulder Heero stopped the light trail of kisses, bit down lightly and got started on a decent hickey, while his fingers toyed with Duo's nipple, slowly circling, occasionally streaking across.

Duo wasn't entirely passive, even if you disregarded the soft moans and whimpers the two exchanged. He had long since untucked Heero's tank top, and under the green fabric on Heero's back, on exposed skin, Duo's fingers toyed with Heero's spine.

In one adventurous moment, he even went further down, snuck four digits down the back pocket of Heero's faded jeans, and groped lightly. Heero tensed for a fraction of a second, but Duo soon felt the smile against his skin, telling him it was a welcome move. Heero abandoned the slightly pink patch he'd made on Duo's neck, shifted a little to place them even, faces barely apart - and then not, as they kissed again.

This was the best part of spoiled movie nights, as far as Duo was concerned - not that he was, until the gentle fingers that had caressed his ear left, danced down his side, stopping at the hip, seeking out a thin crack of space between their bodies, hunting for buttons.

There was little doubt in his mind where they were heading, and he wasn't ready for that. Heero realized that as soon as Duo started to squirm - in the bad way - and pushed back his tongue from its adventurous dip.

They had been at this juncture before, but they had always turned back. This time wasn't any different - not at first.

Duo thought he heard the other sigh, but the sound was so faint he couldn't really tell if it was only something he imagined; Heero's disappointment in his own reluctance to move beyond this. Heero gave him another feathered kiss, and slipped off to his side, wedging in between Duo and the back of the couch, careful not to push Duo out, or even close to the precipice. He had once, but immediately learned not to do so ever again. The caressing fingers returned to Duo's ear. It was Duo's turn to sigh - of relief, though. This 'next step' in their relationship troubled him. There was just so many thoughts around the two of them attempting to make love that disturbed him, if not outright scared him. Some of those thoughts milled about in his brain, and made him miss Heero's question. "Huh?"

There was a warm smile - a sight once so rare, more common now, but still so very treasured. "I said, do you know what day it is tomorrow?"

Duo ran a quick mental check list. No, it wasn't a holiday. Wasn't a birthday of anyone they knew either. He couldn't remember any plans for tomorrow, and none of their private anniversaries fit in - not that he could remember them all; Heero appeared to have the memory of an elephant and a desire to make a celebration of every little thing they had gone through together. Was the last one 'Gundam Memorial Day', 'First Touch Day' or 'Day We First Met' - also known as '"You Shot Me!" Day'? Duo couldn't recall. All he could think of as a possible answer was the date and day of the week, and he answered as much.

Heero chuckled. Just a soft, shortened laughter, but so very precious. "No, you dimwit. Okay, I'll help you a little. What happened a year ago, right here?"

Duo rolled his eyes and leant into the hand cupping his cheek, enjoying the caress of the warm thumb. "I haven't got a clue, Heero. I can't remember every damn detail of our lives, I like to live in the present, not the past, you know that."

The smile endured, and he nodded. "I know you don't like memories, because most of yours have sorrow and pain attached." Sigh. "I'm just trying to make you some good ones, that's all."

Abandoning the caress, Duo grinned, reached for Heero's neck and pulled him close for another fleeting kiss. "I know. Thank you."

Heero leant back against the couch again, shifted his hand from Duo's cheek to his chest and placed a few soft taps there. "Sure you don't remember?" The fingers drifted south, across the sternum, resting to dance at the open expanse of belly.

Duo shuddered - in a good way - and did his best not to laugh. It tickled, damn it - and damn if the smiling bastard beside him didn't know it, too. "Look, I already told you I don't know. And would you stop-"

The fingers went from slow waltz to polka. Duo's tight-lipped smile wavered, and soon lost to laughter. The fingers stopped then, and Heero's lips were on those of his victim once more. "Tomorrow..." Another. "It'll be a year since we moved in here together." Another, but barely returned. "Remember?"

Duo remained a bit stunned. Yeah, he remembered now. Had it really been a whole year already? He had lost track of it among all the other anniversaries Heero kept making - and he had more planned, Duo was sure of that. Slowly working his way out of bafflement, Duo hesitantly nodded.

The former smug smile trembled a little. "I was hoping... I was kind of hoping we could make tomorrow special. Really special."

Duo lifted a brow, but he had a strong suspicion about what Heero meant. The dim beginnings of a blush on his face gave it away. Heero hardly ever blushed - one of the few times was when he got caught with 'dirty thoughts' - something Duo had had a great deal of fun with. He never made it malicious though, and Heero had a nasty tendency to get even. Duo didn't mind; it was fun to corrupt his flatmate - his best friend - his boyfriend.

Who now desired to be a lover also.

Heero swallowed, smile shaken, nerves at end. "Duo?"

Duo's mind was racing, fumbling for a gentle way to let the other down, to get away from this situation. A year, perhaps, but still too soon.

Then he noticed Heero's eyes. So... pleading, and the doubts branched out. What if this was it? What if a refusal now was the end of their entire relationship; if not immediately, then the first step along its path to death? Those eyes, practically begging. Duo closed his eyes, took a deep breath, sighed. As he opened them again, he saw Heero's face fully flushed, smile almost a straight line now, clear, round blues shimmering. It was too much. Too much of a risk. "O-Okay," he stuttered. "Tomorrow."

Heero's expression turned into pure sunshine in an instant. If Duo had planned on saying anything else, it was pre-empted by a rough, extended touch of lips.


Duo couldn't sleep that night. Instead, he lay awake in bed, staring at the ceiling of his room, mind trying not to think - which of course meant it raced along unknown tracks like a hijacked train of thought, boilers set from mere 'vent steam' to nearly 'kaboom', whistle and passengers fighting for the title of 'holder of highest screams'.

Why had he said yes? In his heart, he didn't think Heero would leave just over this - but there had been something in those blotches of blue, a great longing, a desire that he was completely unable to ignore. Duo was scared. Scared of losing Heero, scared of the prospect of sex - he had a fair hunch who'd be doing what during any such act between them, and that thought gave little comfort. He rolled over on his side.

Still, it was okay to be a little frightened, he reasoned to himself. Being nervous over this was normal, wasn't it? And then there was his specific case - or rather, his particular boyfriend. Heero could bend steel rods like they were made of Playdoh. What was he not capable of doing in fits of passion? Yes, he knew Heero would never do anything to hurt him consciously; he had been so very kind and gentle since their relationship began in earnest - but there had been one or two occasions during heated kiss-and-fumbles that strict control had wavered beyond the line of pleasantly rough. Heero had apologized profusely both times, and beaten himself up mentally about them to no end, even now still not entirely over them. That didn't mean it couldn't happen again. Even Heero forgot his own strength at times.

That was what Duo feared; that Heero would forget that during- He shook his head. Sure, he was no weakling himself, and if push came to shove, he could probably put up a decent fight until Heero's reason kicked in again, but he had no aspirations of winning.

Duo rolled over to his other side, punched the pillow. Maybe he should just tell Heero - tell him that he... The image of Heero's shimmering, craving deep blue eyes surfaced in his mind. No, he couldn't. Heero wanted this, wanted him, and wanted him now, maybe as a proof their 'going slow' hadn't turned into a standstill. Low growl. Duo ground his head into the pillow, closed his eyes, and finally managed to guide the runaway train onto a side track up a steep slope, slowing it to a halt.

He didn't dream a thing that night.


Duo woke up alone and late for work; his mostly dull, but decently paid office job at the local Preventer chapter. Heero worked in the same building, but their assigned duties kept them on separate ends of the compound these days. Once he got there, there was one task after another for him, not giving him the slightest pause - other than lunch, which was just as stressful an affair. Company cafeterias; barely calmer than their high school equivalents. In truth, it was a blessing. All in all, the endless stream of odd-jobs kept him so preoccupied he forgot promises for later that day, right up until he stood before the apartment door again. He sighed, fiddled with his keys, briefly considered running away, escape - but he couldn't. He'd risk so much, and-

The door opened abruptly and he was pulled inside, door barely closed behind him before he found himself in Heero's arms, warm lips on his own, in such an intense kiss Duo felt his knees buckle. The keys jingled onto the floor.

Dazed by the kiss, Duo let Heero help him off with shoes and jacket. Strong arms wrapped around him again for a tight hug. "I thought you'd never get back..."

Catching his bearings, Duo smiled, returned the embrace, if a little less enthusiastic. "You can't have been back from work all that long, you get off only-"

Light chuckle, release, quick peck on cheek. "I know, I know. I left early. Had to prepare dinner."

Quizzical look. "Dinner?"

Heero nodded. "I said I wanted today - tonight - to be special, didn't I? Come and see." With that, he grabbed Duo's wrist and pulled him along into the kitchen. Duo's jaw drooped a bit. The kitchen table was set with their finest cutlery - which didn't really say much; silverware was still very much absent from their cupboards. A table for two, plates already set, even two lit candlesticks filling the dusk left by dimmed lights, illuminating the deliciously looking food at the center.

Duo was certain Heero had ordered a gourmet meal from some fancy takeout place. He knew the other's cooking skills were but marginally better than his own, despite their occasional attempts to learn. The absence of dirty pots and pans in the sink and presence of empty boxes on the counter lent more than enough credibility to the conclusion. Tasting the food was not necessary, though it would obviously remove any possible shred of doubt remaining.

Heero went to the table, pulled out a chair for Duo, and waited, smiling. Duo bit his lip to stop from asking how much it had all cost. They were usually very careful with their money, and this... Inwardly, he sighed, and submitted. He couldn't remain angry with Heero, in general - and certainly not for this. Instead, he grinned, walked up to take the offered chair - after giving Heero a brief peck on the cheek in thanks - and sat down to enjoy the elaborate, prefabricated meal as well as present pleasant company.

They didn't talk much during the meal. Mostly it went on exchanges of looks and smiles, subtle and not-so-subtle expressions. Duo nearly caught a piece of steamed carrot in his windpipe when he felt Heero initiate a game of footsie. Choking avoided, Duo grinned, and played along. This he didn't mind. Seven times out of ten, it was he who started these rounds of playful teasings. Neither rushed the meal. The calm and carefree atmosphere was something neither wanted to give up.

As dessert - a big, overly garnished canister or multi-flavored ice cream with two spoons - came to an end, last piece of vanilla going from Duo's spoon to Heero's mouth on a baby's airplane, so did the relatively tranquil mood. For a moment, neither knew what to say or do, all left to glances, grins and wiggly eyebrows. Heero chuckled as he rose, faint blush on his cheeks, offered extended arms to Duo, whom accepted, and pulled him up for another kiss, removing the last traces of vanilla flavor in favor of something sweeter.

Without breaching the kiss, Heero started to work on Duo's shirt buttons, and after some hesitation, Duo responded in kind, tugging at the hem of Heero's shirt as they slowly moved across the living room. By the time they reached the bedroom doors, Duo's shirt was barely hanging off his shoulders, and Heero's was unceremoniously dropped by the door sill.

Soon enough, Duo found himself carefully laid back against a bed, felt his socks being pealed off. Duo barely registered they were in Heero's room - and thus on his bed. He sighed, and tensed again when he noticed Heero's fingers picking on the top button of his pants. Heero paused, met Duo's eyes, without words asking for permission. Before losing his nerve, Duo nodded, pants soon on the floor. Heero took Duo's hands, placed them on his own jeans buttons. Duo understood, returned the favor, removing Heero's socks as well, and pulled the boxer-clad boy back with him onto the bed.

Prolong this moment, some distant voice in his head whispered. He tried. They kissed, caressed, played around. Heero indulged him - for a while. A finger snuck inside the waistband of Duo's underwear. Another, the two just softly sweeping across his buttock. A third, sweep deepening to paw. The other hand joined the first, playing with the waistband, pausing. Heero gazed down on Duo; first face, a quick glance down belly, before fixing on eyes again. Duo fought the double flush coming over him, lost, nodded. It was too late to turn back now, he told himself. Much too late.

Exposed. Heero kissed him again, laid down by his side, drew him close. Sensing what was expected of him, Duo sent roaming fingers to the waistband of Heero's boxers, dared a digit inside the fabric, copying Heero's earlier move. He heard chuckles, felt the bed dip as Heero got up to his knees, hands on hips, again asking with merely quick directed glances. Duo grinned, his cheeks reddening even more, gave a meek nod, and with that, Heero was as naked as himself.

Duo gulped when directly confronted with the sight of Heero's blatant erection. He felt ashamed for it, but he had almost hoped there'd be something to racial stereotyping; that Heero would show his Japanese heritage in this department as well. Not so.

Silly me. Blue eyes, brown hair... he mused, Yep, typically Japanese stereotype.

The bed dipped again, Heero's naked form sprawled out above his own, carefully, deliberately grinding against him, Heero's lips on his neck.

Still, despite his fears, Duo's excitement was clearly visible. And tangible. And getting much appreciated friction as Heero rubbed against him, slow, purposefully, with random kisses to nose, chin, collarbone, back to lips. Duo shivered, closed his eyes, felt a low moan escape his throat. Heero half-smirked down at him, kissed him again, before sliding off, sitting upright, reaching for three items placed at the nightstand earlier that day.

Duo propped himself up on his elbows. Heero wiggled the little tube, working on the lid with his thumb, his other hand putting the towel and condom pack next to Duo's thigh. His face went from that cheeky smile to concern as he saw Duo's uncertain expression. "Are you sure? Is this okay with you, Duo?"

Duo resisted the urge to chew his lip. Hell, no shouted the voice within. Outwards, he nodded, if with some reserve and much nerve.

Worry relieved, slight curve of a smile returning. "Okay..." Cap undone, Heero applied some of the lubricant to his fingers, crawled closer.

In response, Duo turned around, got up on his knees, took one of the pillows and rested his upper chest against it, presenting his rear to Heero. A most definite 'porn position', he knew, but he reasoned that if his face could betray him so easily, it was best not to show it at all.

Heero had been a bit taken aback by the move, but mentally shrugged it away, tracing one chilled finger along Duo's cleft.

Duo shivered a little at the touch - but not of expectation or possibly thrill, as Heero assumed. The fingers dipped inside, and Heero slowly began preparing him. Duo gritted his teeth. It didn't really hurt, only felt weird, at least so far. As two fingers inside flexed apart, he gasped, ready to re-evaluate that opinion.

The invaders left his body, but he knew it was but a short-lived reprieve; scouts preceding the main force, the big thrust. He tried to grin at it, but couldn't quite joke his thoughts away. I'm about to get nailed, he mused. At the tearing sound, he dared a glance back, only to see Heero apply a condom, coat it with lubricant and reach for the towel. Make that jackhammered, he thought with a wry smile. Not that Heero's size was all that impressive, based on his limited set of data for comparison - but the fingers had hurt, and this was greater than two mere digits. Duo resisted the sudden urge to burrow his head in the pillow, maybe to scream.

Heero moved up behind Duo, his dry hands stroking Duo's back, caressing the spine. He kept one hand there for sooth, used the other to position his blunt shape and cajole Duo's buns apart, near-whispering for his lover to relax.

Duo did the exact opposite, despite efforts. Fear of hurt caused hurt, as Heero tried to ease himself inside. Duo suppressed a whimper, clenched his teeth. Heero leant down against him, went deeper, kissed Duo's shoulder blades, neck, made a light bite. In a far corner of his mind, Duo understood why. Distraction. Take the focus from one pain to another. But the effort was in vain. It hurt, but he would be damned if he'd let Heero know that. No, he was going to satisfy his lover, if it ensured them staying together.

The splitting sensation halted. Duo found himself panting. A kiss to the nape of his neck, caressing fingers at his thigh, a whisper in his ear. "Are you okay?"

He nodded. "Yeah... Go-" away. "I want-" to get this over with. "I want- to please you, placate you, at least. Fingers smoothed across his braid before putting it aside, abandoning hair for hip.


Duo couldn't suppress his whimpers or groans any longer, but tried to restrain them, make them sound like they came from pleasure, not discomfort. The immediate pain had begun dulling away, but was by no means gone. Even with mixed sensations from down below, inside and out, there wasn't anything resembling a balance involved. His erection had grown limp by now.

He cursed himself when he felt a tear trail down his cheek, gritted his teeth once more, swearing it would be the last one. Just a little while longer, he thought. Hoped. He heard Heero half-growl his name, digits rubbing his spine; few highlights in a dark abyss of lows - but anything to balance things out was welcome.

The warm palm slid from his back, went by his side to down under, to smooth over his fluttering belly. Too late he thought of it, too late did he react; reach out to stop Heero's wandering hand from seeking out-

The thrusts slowed. "Duo?" Stopped. "Duo, what..."

Duo turned his head, shot Heero a glare. Heero gasped. In a split second, he was out, cradling Duo up in his arms, rocking him. "Great Space, Duo - Why didn't you say- Why didn't you stop- Why?"

Heero embraced him, hugged him close, but not too tight. Duo felt tears, but not his own repressed ones; Heero's, slipping down from cheeks to his shoulders, one after another. "I - I hurt you, didn't I? I swear, I never meant to-"

Duo could hardly believe it. Heero was sobbing, openly so. It was... surreal. Unbearable. He reached around Heero to offer some solace, hands painting sooth-circles on Heero's back. "It's okay, Heero. Relax, it's-"

"It's not okay. I - I hurt you."

Duo didn't answer, not in words. He tightened the hug, tried to give as much comfort as he could. For the longest of moments, they just sat there, naked, in bed, holding each other close. Neither seemed to notice when they slowly fell over on their side, and let sleep take over.


When I woke up again, I was alone. Heero had left two notes, one by the bed, the other in the kitchen, both saying the same: 'I'm so sorry, Duo. Please, let us talk when I get back.' I presume Heero meant from work, but...

I didn't like the sound of it - not then, not now. See, he didn't come right back from work, not by a long shot. I stayed home, not wanting to run into him at work. I cleaned up the kitchen, tried to calm my nerves. I waited, and waited - but he didn't come home. Evening became night. I had already gone to bed by the time he came back. I was awake, but pretended to be asleep. He snuck into my room, brushed my bangs side and kissed my forehead before he muttered another apology and went out. I got up earlier than normal this morning, to talk, but he was already gone, even then. Don't think he even slept. His bed was untouched since the night before, the couch the same. No note this time. So, here I am, writing to you. After another lonely day at home, It's getting late again, and I've got this nagging doubt Heero might never come back. Like my inability to...
please him, made him reconsider our relationship. I'm afraid. I'm pissed off. I don't know what to do. I-

Maxwell's Journal, May 4th 198 AC

Heero came back yesterday. That's why I stopped so suddenly. I didn't even notice him until he purposefully slammed the door shut. Guess that says something about my mental state.

I just stared at him from across the living room, not sure what to expect, especially since he hadn't stayed to talk, like he'd promised on the notes. Heero didn't look at me, but...


Heero shifted from one foot to the other, shoes already put aside, clothes disheveled and loose on his body, faint red lines crossing his eyes, hair as messy as ever. He didn't dare look up to meet Duo's eyes, and instead focused on his feet while trying to think of what to say, where to start. He made a false start or two, jaw working, but no sound. In the end, he was able to say the most basic thing. "I... I'm sorry, Duo."

When in doubt, get angry, that dim voice whispered in Duo's head, and he didn't really have any better idea - but plenty of raging hurt to vent. "Where the hell have you been?! You wrote you were gonna-"

Heero's gaze retreated to the floor between them, and then slightly off to one side. "Yes - I did, and I apologize. I just needed time to think - time to talk to someone."

Bitterness laced Duo's reply. "Like who? A lawyer?"

Too exhausted to think straight, Heero thought it was a joke, half-smirked and blurted out "We never signed any papers, Duo..." He dared a glance up, and saw only anger. The slight smirk vanished, and the patterns in the carpet suddenly became very interesting. He bit his lip, was just about to apologize when Duo cut him off, voice weak.

"...except the lease. Which you signed. Alone." He sighed, shuffled towards his room, not looking once in Heero's direction. "I guess you want me to pack and get out right away. I'll go get started, I've got-" Heero caught his arm, grip tight. Duo shot him a fiery glare and the grip loosened.

Heero was once more struggling to put a sentence together. "You - you're leaving?"

"Yeah. Isn't that what you want? Get rid of the dysfunctional boyfriend so you can get someone who-"

Duo found himself trapped in a fierce, near desperate embrace, briefly felt lips touch his neck. "You damn idiot. You think I don't love you anymore because of that? Great Space, Duo..." Heero relented a little, leant back to look Duo straight in the eye. "I love you, don't ever doubt that." He cupped Duo's cheek, leant in for a kiss, but Duo pushed him back, still fuelled with anger.

"And the other night? You were so damn disappointed you cried!"

Weary, tired smirk. "You can be such a fool sometimes, you know that? I cried because I'd hurt you - and worse, you practically let me." Quick eye roll. "Great Space, if I'd known-"

Tempered rage, but bitter wake. "It was what you wanted, wasn't it? You wanted-"

Heero hugged him close once more, but quickly relented, afraid of causing hurt again. "What I want, is for us to be happy, Duo. Us. Happy. Together. There's a lot more to a relationship than sex, Duo. A hell of a lot more. You taught me most of that, damn it!"

Duo backed down a little. "So... You don't want me to leave?"

Lips touched his. Heero nearly growled out "What did I just tell you, Duo?"

Duo bit his lip, finally hugged Heero back, if with a fair amount of reserve. Heero's embrace weakened, and he sighed. Duo took hold of his shoulders, moved him back enough to look in his eyes, search for verification in the blue. Blue laced with red. Duo's own widened with sudden realization, blindfold of anger gone now. "Heero, you didn't go to work yesterday, did you? Or today? Heck, when's the last time you slept?"

Faint, tired smile. "Told you, love - had to go talk to someone. Walked around all yesterday trying to think. Made up my mind where to go when-" Pause. "Last night. Slept for a few hours on the shuttle." He drearily shook his head, half-grinned. "I think..."

It was all Duo needed to hear, He draped one of Heero's arms across his shoulders, and half-carried Heero towards his room. "No - not yet, Duo," Heero slurred. "We need to finish. I have to tell you - I-"


Heero nodded, and they trotted towards their new destination. With a sigh of relief, Heero slid a little to one side once in the sofa. A dim smile returned to Duo's face. He patted Heero's knee, and stood up, only to get his wrist caught. "Where are you going?"

"Kitchen. Knowing you, you didn't eat much more than you slept - and you sound like you could use something to drink, too."

Meek grin. "Shuttle fare."

"I rest my case."

"If you go, I don't know if I can stay awake..."

"Then nap. I'll be back before you know it." Duo started walking towards the kitchen, but paused. "Just stay put, okay?"

Heero tilted over a little against the lean, and nodded, already dozing.


Duo returned quickly, along with four cans of soda and a plate stacked with hastily made sandwiches. Heero was still awake, but drowsy. Two sandwiches and a can of soda later, that was mostly remedied - at the very least, delayed somewhat. "Thank you, Duo - I-"

"Don't mention it - just tell me where the hell you went, and what happened. After that, you're off to bed, mister." He tousled Heero's bangs a little, got a smile, and paused. "You can take mine. Yours isn't... made." Grin. "Before you get your hopes up - I'm taking the couch."

Acquiescence, strained chuckle. "Okay..." Heero didn't want to argue. He was too tired, and decided to accept the gracious offer. "I - when I left yesterday morning, I started towards work at first, but ended up walking at random, trying to think. Came back to the apartment after nightfall, but I didn't make it further than to the door. I just kind of... collapsed there. Think I sat out there in the hallway for at least an hour. I just - I just didn't know how to deal with this, what to tell you, how to apologize for - for what I did. How to make it better. I didn't think you wanted to see me again, not after I-"

Duo silenced him with a finger across his lips. "That's okay - get on with it."

Nod. "I snuck in to see you, and I-" He looked away for a second. "But I left. I needed to talk to someone, so I wouldn't say anything wrong to you. Before I knew it, I was on a shuttle."

Getting a little impatient, Duo decided to try to speed things up. "Who?"


Duo sighed, and took a swig from his soda. "Which means Quatre knows about this too. Great."

Mild frown. "Duo-"

"So, now the entire world knows Duo Maxwell can't cut it in bed. Just great..."

Deep breath, slow exhale. "Duo... They won't tell a soul of what I told them." Faint smirk. "At least not since they gave me some of the highlights - or lowlights - of their own love life."

Duo's face became a mixture of puzzled and amused. "Like what?"

Low snicker. "I promised not to give you specifics - you'll have to ask about those yourself - but from what they told me... Duo, what happened... It isn't all that uncommon - being afraid, let that fear make everything hurt, not... complete things. Nothing is hardly ever perfect, or as good as you imagine it to be... It just... is..." Duo was about to comment, but Heero pushed on. "Duo, I just want to apologize. I pushed you into doing something you didn't want to do. I just wish... I just wish you'd have told me. I would have listened. There's more ways of being intimate than that, you know." He looked away, cheeks gaining color.

Duo grinned. "So, if I had asked you to lie back and spread your legs, you would have?"

Chuckles. "I didn't say that... But...maybe..." He shrugged, yawned. "Great Space, I'm getting sleepy again."

"Then sleep. I accept your apologies - even though you've got nothing to be sorry for."

Negative headshake. "No, not yet - I didn't show you what I bought."

Grin. "What, did you visit a duty-free shop?

Smirk. "Not quite... See the bags by the door?"

Duo did, now that he looked carefully. Upon being asked, he went over to get them. Two bags. Two paper bags. Two brown paper bags, without any store logo whatsoever. Why do people think unmarked brown paper or black plastic bags make their more risqué purchases anonymous? When you deducted all the stores that do turn their customers into walking billboards, you're left with only the more colorful shops, after all - the sole possible exception being the one where the bottle-shape of the brown paper gave the store of origin away. Duo knew of only one such store in the area that used these bags, given that elimination. He put the bags down at Heero's feet. "Okay... So, you visited Auntie Edith's little Shop of Sin, did you?" Bought quite a bit too, I see..." He reached for the side of one bag, only intending to fold the paper aside for a peek.

Heero gave his hand a light smack, struggling to get his furious blush under control. "Yeah, I did. The Shop of Sin. Also known as the SOS of all relationships. Laugh all you want."

Duo chuckled. "I might have to take advantage of that offer. What did you get - and why?"

Heero looked away for a moment, and shrugged. "Can I answer 'I don't know' to both?" Duo shook his head, grinning from ear to ear. "Okay, then... Well, Trowa and Quatre suggested I talk things out with you first, and then maybe find something to - well, make it easier. More playful, not so serious."

"Sex toys?"

By now, Heero's face was as red as it could ever get. "They didn't come out and say it that bluntly, but I figured..." He shrugged. "On the way back, I felt like getting a head start."

"So, what did you get?"

Brief, nervous laugh. "Honestly, I don't know. This was the last thing I did before coming back here, so I was pretty worn out. I tried to explain to the assistant I needed something to - to-" Soft snort. "Heck, I'm not sure what I told her. She grinned at me and showed me various things from the shelves. I kept nodding to each item she presented, I just wanted to get out of there so badly, regretting I'd ever gone there in the first place. It was damn embarrassing."

Disbelief. "You let old Edith pick out-"

Laugh. "If I'd only been so lucky - no, there was this feisty young girl with black, curly hair and tattoos stretching towards unmentionable places on duty when I got there. She asked all kinds of questions about-" He waved it away. "No, I won't repeat those. Not ever. Didn't answer her either... I think."

Chuckle. "Oh, I'm not so sure, Heero. I'm guessing your cheeks did much of your talking for you."

And they did so again. "Anyway... Maybe I got something we could use, or make fun of, or whatever. I just thought..."

Laugh. "I don't think you thought at all, Heero - but thanks anyway."

On Heero's request, Duo poured the contents of the two bags on the table. Of the more useful items were probably more reserves of condoms and lubricant, variations of both. Some of the more risqué items - once they had actually been identified - brought only laughter, and dismissal right after. The rather skimpy maid uniform at the bottom of the first bag was doomed to face the basement incinerator the second Duo pulled it out and measured it up against Heero's chest. Heero fought back with a plump, white feather, only to make Duo counter with what looked like a toned-down horsewhip, soft leather loop at the end brought to parry with the plume, tangling them up. The bathing salts were judged mostly useless, given they only had a shower, but the mood candles and massage oils were considered to have possibilities.

Despite the horsing around - whip or no - Heero wasn't fit to keep up for long. He groaned, stretched his arms, just as Duo showed the last item of the sordid assortment - a tape containing old German straight porn - which of course meant it was seriously twisted. In honor of movie night, but mostly for curiosity and amusement, Duo put it in the player. It brought something it wasn't made to do - laughter and ridicule - and like most bad movies at movie night, it never caught their interest beyond mockery. Heero lurched ever more over on his side, towards Duo; first resting his head against Duo's shoulder, then lap, his body stretched out on the couch.

In the middle of loud and overly fake pleasure cries from the TV set, he fell asleep, Duo's one hand ruffling his bangs, and the tiny leather noose making slow circles on his cheek. It wasn't until long after the movie ended Duo slipped away from pillow-duty, making sure to get a replacement before turning in himself, opting to sleep in one of the living room chairs rather than his bed. He would not let Heero run away again.

Especially not with enough cash to shop.


...So, I think we're going to be okay. We've already hidden away most of the stuff Heero bought - mainly 'cause neither of us want to get caught throwing any of it in the trash chute or take it to the dumpster outside. Heero braved to go down to the incinerator in the basement with a small box of the most flammable ones, though - nothing should be left of that now. Heero still loves me, and damned if I don't love him back, too. And like Heero said, there are other ways than rear-ending to be really intimate, or have sex, for that matter. Loin handshakes or sixty-nines - things like that. Just like life, love and lust will find a way. Heero doesn't know, but I snuck that maid outfit from the box he took to the incinerator. Heck, I'm sure it'd fit him perfectly - except for the bosom part. Maybe I'll try my fingers at some needlework. Hey, you've got to admit, it'd be good for a laugh, at least - and no, I'm not gonna wear it. Not unless there's a damn good incentive (just in case you're reading this, Heero). I think-

Arms snuck around his waist, and a chin nested against his shoulder. Startled, Duo slammed the journal shut, and made a quick, silent prayer Heero hadn't had time to read anything. The lips touching his cheek suggested not. Embrace at end, Heero straightened up, gently rubbed Duo's shoulders. "Writing in that thing again?"

Sheepish grin. "Yep." He pushed his chair back a little, patted his knee. Heero snorted, flashed a tiny smile, and took the offer, sitting down in Duo's lap, wrapping arms around his neck, assaulting his lips.

Duo returned fire.

Heero sighed. "I don't know what it is you write in that thing - and I won't ask you to share, because I understand it's probably very personal. Still, I'd be very happy if - if you learned to trust me enough to share some of those thoughts of yours with me. You know I love you - don't you trust me?"

Duo looked into the blues, and recognized something - that pleading, the desire he'd seen a few days prior. It wasn't for sex; had never been. It had been a craving for trust. A yearning to be his journal; each others journals. He smiled, and let another soft sigh slip. "I do... I both trust and love you, Heero - but I'm not sure I'm ready to share everything with you, at least not right now. You don't share everything with me, do you? I mean, you had to get to Trowa to have someone to talk to, and-"

"I know, and I'm sorry I did that instead of talking to you right away. I was confused, I-"

Single chuckle. "Quite being so sorry, Heero. I don't like it when you worry so much and get all apologetic. Gives you grey hair and wrinkles, and I don't think I'm not ready to face that just yet."

Laughter. "As you wish, Duo. I'll try. Best I can do."

"Best either of us can do." Duo tightened the embrace.

Heero nodded, and as Duo relaxed the grip, he got off his lap. "I think I'll get started on dinner. Any requests?"

Duo shrugged. "As long as it's edible."

Heero's lecherous smile suggested Duo would live to regret that statement - or not. The maid outfit hadn't been the only piece of unusual clothing in the brown bags. Remembering that, Duo briefly pondered the versatility of sugar, felt his cheeks heat up a little, grinned wide and opened the journal again.

Yeah, I think things will work out just fine, Heero.


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