Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing

Pairings: 1x2/6x2/1x2 (Heero/Duo) (Zechs/Duo), 3x4 (Trowa/Quatre)
Rating: NC-17
Warnings: yaoi, angst, drama, lemon

Winner "Best Drama" 2003 Oishii Fanfic Contest!

Summary: Duo's post-war struggles in life and love.

Illusions of Love
Part 3
by Artemis

It seemed that Duo had finally rid himself of Zechs Merquise and the ghosts of war the man brought with him. Although one ghost remained--Heero Yuy had once again slipped into Duo's dreams. The boy found himself aching for his former lover all over again and was angry at himself for having such vivid sexual dreams about Heero.

One dream was particularly disconcerting in its similarity to an actual encounter they had shared on a transport shuttle. They were ten minutes from rendezvousing with Quatre, and to Duo's surprise, Heero decided they should make love. Of course, Duo could never refuse Heero, and proceeded to let him fuck him over the ship's control panel. They both climaxed with less than a minute remaining before docking with Quatre's ship.

Moments like that had made Duo love Heero all the more, but dreaming about that day again was a curse. It brought Duo's sexuality back to the surface and masturbation was a poor substitute for the "fuck me" kind of sex he needed.

Days passed and Duo's frustration grew until finally one evening he decided to order a pizza, but not just any pizza, the pizza with the cute blond delivery boy with the long eyelashes. He even asked the girl taking the phone order if Sasha was working that night.

"Yes," the girl had assured him with a giggle.

And so, Duo had put on a pair of blue jeans and a tight blue sleeveless t-shirt in anticipation of the seduction he had planned. He saw it clearly. Sasha would arrive with the pizza, innocently enough, and Duo would ask him inside while he got the money to pay him. Then he would start up a conversation and well, the rest he had fantasized about in the shower just an hour before. It hurt to not have the object of his desire be Heero, but there was no sense in holding on to the false hope that Heero even thought of him anymore.

When the door buzzer sounded at ten o'clock, Duo did not think twice about buzzing in the pretty little delivery boy. Seconds later, there was a knock at the door.

Duo made himself wait a few seconds before opening the door. "Hi there," he said with a bright smile, but the smile quickly faded when he saw that he had not let in Sasha, but the ghost of Christmas past, Zechs Merquise.

"How did you get in here?" Duo asked as his brow tightened.

"You let me in," Zechs said, with a hint of a smile on his lips.

"I mean, how did you find out where I live?"

Zechs frowned at Duo's defensiveness. "I was at the rare bookstore making a purchase and...."

"Well, you can't stay," Duo interrupted. He could not believe this was happening. Sasha would be arriving any moment and Zechs's presence would blow any chance he had of getting laid tonight.

"I realize you didn't invite me here..." Zechs began, but just then the buzzer sounded again.

Duo sighed, and pressed the speaker button. "Yes?"

"It's Sasha from Pizza Plus!"

Duo glanced at Zechs and then said, "Come on up." He held the release button for the security door.

"Sasha, hmm?" Zechs asked, raising an eyebrow. Now Duo's unfriendliness made perfect sense. "You have plans. I'm sorry, I'll leave..."

Duo watched as Zechs turned away, but instead of being relieved, he felt a tightness in his belly. He did not know why, but turning Zechs away didn't seem right.

"What is it you wanted?" he asked, poking his head into the hallway and noticing Zechs's casual attire. For the first time he was not wearing a suit, but was dressed in a white linen shirt and tan cotton pants and loafers.

The man stopped on the landing. "I wanted to talk about the other day," he said, looking back over his shoulder.

"You mean at the coffee shop?" Duo asked, knowing damn well they had parted badly that day, too.

Before Zechs could reply Sasha came bounding up the stairs. The little blond slowed as he reached the landing, looking between the two men. "I've got your pizza," he said to Duo, smiling.

Duo smiled back, but it felt forced. His whole scenario was blown. He could never ask Sasha inside the apartment now.

"Yeah, just a sec," he said, and went back in to retrieve the money from the kitchen counter.

When he returned, Zechs was gone, and Sasha was smiling even brighter.

"I thought maybe that guy was your boyfriend," the delivery boy said.

"Here," Duo said, shoving the money into the boy's hand, and pushing passed to rush down the stairs.

"Krista said you asked for me. Don't you want to see me?" Sasha called after him.

"Just leave the pizza by the door," Duo shouted back.

In seconds, he burst onto the street, bare feet and all. "Zechs! Wait!"

The man was half way down the block already, his long hair fluttering behind him.

"Zechs, please!" Duo called again as he raced to catch up with him.

At last Zechs's stride slowed and then stopped. He turned to Duo, but his expression was hard. "I suppose you want to tell me that I ruined your evening with Sasha."

Beneath the hard facade, Duo caught a glimmer of hurt in Zechs's eyes. Was it jealousy? "I sort of had designs on him, yeah, but I shouldn't have treated you like that. You've never done anything to hurt me."

Zechs raised his brow. "It's true I would never harm you intentionally, Duo, but I shouldn't have shown up here unannounced."

"Forget about it," Duo said, waving his hand. "You said you wanted to talk. How about now? I do my best talking over pepperoni pizza."

Zechs smiled. "I've never had American pizza before."

"No way! Well, then this will be a treat. Pizza Plus has more going for it than a cute delivery boy," Duo said, snickering.

Happy to see Duo's good humor returned, Zechs chuckled, too.

On the short walk back to Duo's apartment building, he caught a glimpse of Sasha driving away. He sighed, now knowing Sasha would have welcomed his advances. So why had he let an opportunity for sex pass him by just to share a pizza and some conversation with Zechs? He cringed as the answer bubbled up into his consciousness. He was beginning to feel something for Zechs, but whether it was simply the comfort of having a connection to someone from his past or something more he could not yet say.

Back in his apartment, Duo placed the pizza on the low table in front of the couch and gestured for Zechs to sit down. "Can I get you a soda? Or water? That's all I've got," he said, as he stood in the doorway to the kitchen.

"Whatever you're having is fine," Zechs grinned as he sat down.

As the braid disappeared into the other room, Zechs let his eyes drift around the tiny apartment. It was clean, but cluttered with piles of laundry and magazines, the furniture looked worn and aged, and the only decoration was a poster of a men's swim team tacked up on the wall across the room.

Zechs guessed that Duo did not have much money. It seemed a waste for him to be living this way when he was such a bright young man, and as a former Gundam pilot had risked his life fighting for freedom. Those thoughts were interrupted when Duo returned with their drinks.

"Hey, you haven't dug in," Duo said as he set the colas on the table.

"Was I supposed to?"

"Yeah, sure. Eating pizza is a casual thing."

The boy settled on the couch one cushion over from Zechs and opened the lid on the pizza box. He took a slice of the pepperoni and cheese covered pie. "Dig in," he encouraged as he took a bite.

"Were you going to eat this all by yourself?" Zechs asked as he took a corner piece.

"Not all at once," Duo chuckled. "I like leftovers, and cold pizza is great for breakfast."

Zechs ate his slice and was surprised that he liked the taste. As Duo took a long swig of his drink and then another bite of pizza, Zechs decided it was time to talk.

"You were unhappy when I visited you at the coffee shop the other day."

Duo's chewing slowed and then he swallowed. "I didn't expect to see you again."

"I think it was more than that. Something was bothering you."

There was a moment's hesitation as Duo wondered how to respond. He had been "bothered" by Zechs's presence, but the root of that feeling was not something he was comfortable exploring.

"You made me nervous," he said at last, and reached for his drink, but Zechs grasped his hand.

"Are you nervous now?" Zechs asked.

Duo gasped at the contact. His first instinct was to pull away, but something held him in place. He did not want to admit it but he liked Zechs touching him. He raised his eyes to find ice blue eyes staring back at him and very nearly penetrating into his soul.

"Yeah, I think I am nervous," he admitted, swallowing hard.

The man smiled and squeezed the smaller hand in his. "We could be a comfort to one another."

"A comfort?" Duo asked, surprised. Why was he suddenly feeling dizzy?

"Yes, a comfort, Duo," Zechs repeated, leaning closer. "I have a feeling your nervousness is the same as mine."

"You're nervous, too?" the boy asked, finding this conversation terribly confusing.

"Of course. I've been anxious to speak with you. I haven't been able to get you out of my mind since the other night."

"W-what happened the other night?" Duo stammered as he leaned back to put some distance between them.

"I got to know you, Duo. Spending time with you is very intoxicating..."

"Whoa, you mean you're attracted to me?"

Zechs's grin turned predatory. "Yes, I'm very attracted to you." He inched closer, backing Duo into the corner of the couch. "You're quite the beauty."

"Hey, wait a minute!" Duo shouted, squirming in his seat. "I-I don't know about this." His heart was pounding hard, and Zechs's proximity was making the temperature in the room rise quickly.

"I understand your reticence. You still have feelings for Heero, but it's been a long time hasn't it, Duo? Is that why you wanted that boy tonight, to relieve the tension? Believe me, he could never please you the way I can."

If this is a seduction, he's doing a damn good job, Duo thought, feeling his face flush.

The man seemed to be closing in on him and not just physically, but with his words. He was very clever, but Duo sensed he was also sincere. Somehow Zechs had become attracted to him and now was circling ever closer like a hawk watching his prey from high above.

"But you're Zechs Merquise!" he blurted out.

Zechs straightened, retreating from his advance momentarily. "Forget about the war," he said harshly. "I am here as a man and not as a soldier."

"But it's not right," Duo insisted as his mind still tried to grasp the notion of Zechs wanting him.

"Not right because you can't forget our roles in the war? Or because your friends wouldn't approve?" Zechs asked, his brow tightening.

Duo shrugged. "You have to admit this is kind of strange. We were enemies..."

"'Were' is the key here. Or do you still consider me your enemy?"

The question was legitimate. Duo examined the man before him. Zechs was beautiful, the kind of beautiful that was dreamt or perhaps created by an artist's brush. He knew this man's past well, had witnessed some of his worst atrocities and yet still could see the beauty. And in those clear, blue eyes, Duo saw once again the loneliness that seemed to plague Zechs. This was a vulnerable man and for all his efforts at control he was struggling to survive. It was this weakness that touched Duo's heart.

"No, Zechs," Duo said, softly. "You're not my enemy anymore."

The relief was visible as Zechs's shoulders relaxed. "Thank you," he said, bowing his head.

Duo grinned. "I learned a lot the other night, too."

"You did?" Zechs asked, looking up again.

"Sure. I kept thinking it was an historic event or something," he said, chuckling. "Even though there was never a truce in the war, I think we made one the other night."

"Yes, a truce," Zechs said, suddenly feeling his desire and his courage swell within him again.

He surged forward, his hands cupping Duo's face, and kissed the boy... hard. It lasted only a moment, but when Zechs drew back he saw he had hit his mark. Duo had been too stunned by the advance to repel him, but he was sure the boy enjoyed it--his breathing was fast and his cheeks were flushed a deep pink.

They stared at one another not saying a word, and then emboldened by his success, Zechs leaned in again, this time brushing his lips over Duo's and then across the soft cheek to his ear.

"Tell me you want me, or tell me to stop," he whispered in velvet tones as his hands moved up Duo's thighs.

Duo held his breath. Was this really happening? His body certainly thought so, the way it was warming and rising to the occasion, but his mind was having a difficult time catching up.

"Duo..." Zechs said softly, kissing the ear and then dipping his tongue inside. "This will only happen if you want it to."

"Yeah," Duo heard himself saying. "I want it."

He wanted it all, to be carried away by desire, to know passion again, to set aside his lonely life for a few hours in another's arms. If this beautiful and enigmatic man could give him that, then he would ride that wave with Zechs.

"Mmm," Zechs moaned as he nibbled around Duo's ear and jawline. He had read the boy correctly, and set to work pleasuring him. His hands rubbed up and down Duo's thighs and then slipped between his legs to find a lovely, willing hardness there. "Oh, yes, you do want this."

Duo leaned back against the couch, his breathing shallow and fast, and his eyes flickering closed as he gave himself over. It had been so long since he had been touched this way that it was a little dreamlike. But Zechs kept him in the moment as he found Duo's lips again and kissed him deeply.

"I knew your kisses would be sweet," Zechs said, pulling back to look into those incredibly large blue eyes.

"Yours aren't half bad either," Duo said, cautiously, secretly fearing the events he had just set in motion.

His stomach fluttered with nervous excitement as Zechs smiled at him devilishly and then dove in for another kiss. Duo tentatively slipped his arms around the man's waist, drawing him closer. He liked these kisses more than he cared to admit, and when Zechs's tongue pressed for entrance, he opened his mouth, accepting the exploration.

While he tasted of Duo deeply, Zechs palmed Duo's hardness, making the boy moan into his mouth. "That's it," he said, pleased with the needy sound. He rubbed the slender hardness, feeling its heat even through the jeans. "Now to free you," he said, and with both hands worked to open Duo's jeans.

Peeling back the front of the jeans, Zechs grinned as he saw red underwear. Though Duo wore mostly black, it seemed his taste in underclothes was more colorful. And Zechs definitely liked red.

He tugged on the jeans to pull them off, but Duo tensed and placed his hands over Zechs's.

"Wait," Duo gasped. His face was flushed, and though his body was giving all the signals that he wanted this, something was holding him back.

"Am I going too fast?" Zechs asked, carefully. He did not want to stop, but he was willing to change the pace.

"Maybe," Duo said, his eyes round, almost innocent.

"I won't hurt you, Duo," Zechs reassured, lifting a hand to Duo's face and caressing his cheek. He looked deep into the boy's eyes and smiled. "It's our first time together. It's all right to be nervous."

Emotionally, Zechs had the upper hand. He did not have the baggage of a recent failed love affair, and he had been honest with himself about his growing attraction to Duo. Duo, on the other hand, had not dealt with his feelings at all. Every time warm feelings of Zechs began to surface he stamped them down, frightened by the implications. But now Zechs had forced his hand and Duo could see that his perception of the former OZ pilot had changed a great deal in the last few days. Even so, it would take time for Duo to completely separate the man he wanted from the soldier he feared.


The boy looked up. "Oh, I was just thinking."

"Obviously," Zechs said with a chuckle. "Is there anything you'd like to share with me?"

"Not really. Everything's pretty much a jumble right now."

Zechs took his hand from Duo's face and sat back. "You want me to stop."

"No," Duo said quickly. "I didn't mean for you to think that... it's just that so much has changed in the last few days, and now things are really about to change."

"Is that good or bad?"

"It's good... I think. It's just gonna take a little getting used to," Duo said, squirming with need.

"I see."

Duo searched Zechs's eyes. The hurt had returned. "No, you don't... you can't see, because I'm just beginning to see," he said and smiled. "I've done a lot of running in my life. I try to fix things, but sometimes I can't, or I get scared and then I go somewhere else, trying to leave my problems behind. If you hadn't come here tonight and told me how you feel, I would've kept running from you, too."

"You were running from me?"

"Yeah, well not literally. I think I knew the other night I was attracted to you, but I couldn't admit it, so I was hoping you'd just go away. Then I wouldn't have to deal with it."

Zechs nodded. "Then it's good that I came here tonight?"

"Yeah," Duo said simply and grinned.

Slowly, Zechs let his hand drift from Duo's knee up his thigh, and then leaned forward to kiss him. Just as their lips were about to meet he asked, "This is what you want?"

Duo answered in deed rather than word. He grasped Zechs by the shoulders and pulled him to him, kissing him hard. Zechs responded by wrapping his arms around the lithe body and kissing the boy thoroughly, their tongues challenging one another.

This time, when Zechs moved his hands down to pull off the jeans, Duo helped him. He wriggled out of the snug jeans and felt a bit breathless as they were tossed aside. Zechs looked down at him, his crystal eyes raking over the slender body and settling on the hardness within the red bikini underwear.

"You are such a tease," Zechs said, seductively, and pulled the elastic back on the underwear and dipped his hand inside.

The moment he touched Duo's erection with his bare hand the boy cried out with need, thrusting into his grasp. Nothing compared to being touched by another. No matter how many times Duo masturbated it never reached this level of pleasure.

Zechs worked the hardened sex, but not for long, he had enough experience to know that this boy was wound tightly. He released the organ and then pushed Duo's t-shirt up and off. The long braid fell onto the boy's chest, drawing attention to his already hardened nipples. This was a little wanton creature, Zechs realized, making his own cock ache with anticipation.

When Zechs pulled away to stand and begin removing his own clothes, Duo watched with fascination. The man was lean and tall, and as he stripped, he slowly unveiled a very fit body. The unbuttoned linen shirt slid from his shoulders and onto the floor, revealing a broad, muscled chest and well-developed arms. Duo swallowed, feeling his mouth grow dry.

The admiration was obvious in Duo's eyes, and Zechs bent over to kiss him on the forehead. With the man so close, Duo put his hands behind Zechs's thighs and pulled him between his legs. He then leaned forward and nuzzled the needy erection.

"Yes," Zechs moaned, and ran his fingers through Duo's bangs. He watched with increasing hunger as Duo rubbed his face over the bulge and then closed his lips around it. Unable to control himself any longer, Zechs growled and gently pushed Duo away. "I have to have you... now," he said, the words laced with a deep need.

Duo recognized his urgency, and jumped from the couch, running into the bathroom. When he returned, Zechs was completely naked and standing before him with a powerful erection. Duo squeezed the tube of lubricant in his hand as he appraised the length and breadth of Zechs's cock nestled in white-blond hair.

"Wow," he said, before he could stop himself.

Zechs grinned ferally. "It's all yours."

"Yeah, but will it all fit?" Duo asked, laughing, and only half-joking.

"I have great faith in your... abilities," Zechs said, holding out his hand to take the lube and then drew Duo into his arms for a long kiss.

He cupped one cheek of that firm little bottom with his free hand and then dipped his hand inside the underwear to slide a finger along the boy's crack. To his delight, Duo wriggled in his embrace. Oh, yes, Duo Maxwell would be a very responsive lover.

They remained entangled and kissing a moment longer and then Duo pulled away and turned around, kneeling on the couch with his backside to Zechs. He definitely knew the routine and for that Zechs was grateful, because his own need was being wound tighter by the minute.

Zechs caressed Duo's ass and then smiled, remembering how he had ached to touch him the other night when this same little bikini clad rump had been on display on his sofa. Though Duo was not aware of it, that voyeuristic moment had been the one to break Zechs's resistance. From that moment on the boy with the braid had dominated the blond man's thoughts. Now, as he admired how Duo looked in the tiny red underwear, he decided to leave them on as long as possible. They accentuated his slender hips and curved bottom so deliciously.

He covered a finger in lubricant and then slipped it along Duo's crack once more. "I'll be careful," he said, and meant it. He was certain the last time Duo had had sex was four months ago with Heero Yuy.

Duo nodded and spread his legs to give the man better access. He could barely contain himself, his need was so strong.

Zechs's finger rubbed at the opening. The first touch, though light, made Duo jump. He wanted this, needed this badly, but as Zechs had said, this was their first time together and with that came a bit of nervousness. The finger rubbed again and then slipped inside easily.

"Oh... yeah," Duo said, looking back over his shoulder.

Zechs petted the boy's back with his other hand as he withdrew a little and then pushed back in. Just fingering Duo was making Zechs's entire body sizzle. He could hardly wait to plunge his cock inside that tight hole.

He did not wait long to add a second finger and then a third. And then they both were breathing so hard and moaning so much that they needed to rush to the real fucking before they spontaneously combusted.

Zechs withdrew his fingers and then slid Duo's underwear off. He wanted a full view now. He slicked his cock with lubricant and bent over and kissed Duo's shoulders, nudging the boy's crack with his hard length as he stood behind him. Duo moaned and pushed back on him.

"In me," Duo said with a demanding need.

No more foreplay, this was it. Zechs pressed the head of his cock to Duo's opening and slid inside... just a couple of inches. His hands were on Duo's hips, stilling the boy, keeping him from rushing this and hurting himself.

"More," Duo demanded, desperate to take that gorgeous length inside him.

Zechs groaned and obliged. He pushed in another few inches and then slowly withdrew, and pushed back in. The boy was taking five inches easily, and even Zechs's considerable girth was not a discomfort.

I knew he could take me, Zechs thought, now even more eager to fill Duo completely.

"How much more?" Duo asked, seeming to hear Zechs's thoughts.

"We're half way," Zechs answered with great satisfaction.

The man started a rhythm of thrusting and with each push, he went in a little further. He looked down, his long hair falling forward as he continued to thrust into that beautiful ass. He was three-quarters home now.

"I wish you could see me fucking you, Duo," he said, still intent on watching his cock disappear inside Duo's bottom.

"Yeah, give me more," Duo said, rocking back into the thrusts. God, how he had missed sex, how he had missed having a cock up his ass, stroking him inside, filling him completely. "Oh, yeah, Heero, give me more... deeper... I need it all!"

Hearing Duo call out to his former lover stunned Zechs momentarily. His thrusting faltered, but did not stop. The error stabbed at him, but he was determined to do everything in his power to make Duo Maxwell forget Heero Yuy. Duo was with *him* now and Zechs was not about to let a former enemy get the credit for this fuck.

As eagerly as Duo rode his cock, sliding back and forth over it, Zechs was still not completely sheathed inside him. They had two inches to go, and Zechs wanted more than ever for Duo to feel the full effect of his cock inside him.

"Come on, just a little more," he encouraged, and placed his hands firmly on the slender hips.

"Give it to me," Duo said, arching his back and giving Zechs even better access.

With that declaration and bodily concession, Zechs shoved himself hard inside, making Duo cry out in a mix of shock and pleasure.

The boy's rhythm slowed to adjust to the new sensation. "So deep," Duo said. "It feels good."

"Yes," Zechs hissed. It did feel good to be fucking deeply, to have his cock sheathed completely in that round little ass, to be slapping his balls against that pale, tight bottom. "Yes, take it all," he said, his arousal peaking.

"Ah," Duo moaned loudly, his head tilting back as his body rocked with the pounding to his ass. "Oh, God, it's good..."

Zechs latched on to the boy's open mouth and kissed him roughly as they fucked. They moaned into each other's mouths, tongues twining, as their orgasms built. With each thrust the moans and the pleasure grew louder and more intense, until Duo came. He pulled away from Zechs's mouth and cried out with complete abandon.

The tensing and clenching of Duo's body sent Zechs immediately into his own orgasm. He bit down on Duo's shoulder as he spurt his seed deep within the compact body. His thrusts continued a minute longer, though languid, as they moaned more quietly from exhaustion and satiation. Then they fell onto the couch, side by side, breathing heavy and sweat slicked.

"That was... fucking... fantastic," Duo said, swallowing between panting breaths.

In fact, it was exactly what the doctor had ordered. Though, had the patient known the cure would be Zechs Merquise, he might not have answered the door tonight.

"Mmm, you were fantastic," Zechs said, kissing the mark he had left on Duo's shoulder.

Just then they heard a loud pounding on the apartment door. "Duo! Are you all right? I heard yelling."

"Oh, no, it's my landlady," Duo said, mortified.

"She heard all that?" Zechs asked, more amused than embarrassed. He liked the idea of witnesses to his conquest.

"Sure sounds like it," Duo said and then louder, "I'm okay, Mrs. Langtry."

"Are you sure? Who was that blond man with you tonight?"

Duo knew the woman would not be satisfied until he opened the door. He slowly separated himself from Zechs, groaning unhappily at the loss of contact so soon after their climax.

"Just a sec," he called out as he searched for his clothes. Quickly, and with more energy than he thought he had, he pulled on his jeans and shirt. He opened the door just a few inches, Zechs was still lying naked on the couch.

"There you are," the prematurely gray haired woman said with some dissatisfaction. "It sounded like that man was hurting you. Are you sure you're all right?"

Duo blushed. "I'm fine, Mrs. Langtry. Sorry about the noise." There was no way he was going to explain any further.

The woman looked him up and down and then narrowed her eyes. "You tell that man if he hurts you I've got friends at the police department."

"He's not going to hurt me, Mrs. Langtry, but I'll be sure to tell him," Duo said, snickering. Gee, I had no idea she cared, Duo thought.

"All right then," she said, happy to have said her piece. "Good night, Duo."

"Good night, Mrs. Langtry."

He closed the door and chuckled. "Damn, if she heard all that and didn't know what we were doing..."

"She must be a very lonely woman," Zechs finished.

Duo turned to his lover and caught his breath. The man was stretched the length of the couch, posed like a pin-up from a dirty magazine. One knee was raised, an arm rested on the back of the couch, and his long blond hair seemed everywhere. For having climaxed just moments before, Duo's groin stirred with considerable interest.

"You got plans tonight?" he asked, gaping openly as Zechs drew his hand lazily across his flat stomach.

"As a matter of fact, I do," Zechs said, shaking his head so that his silken hair fluttered and then re-settled.

"Oh," Duo said, disappointedly.

Zechs grinned mischievously. "I'm going to be fucking you all night."

"Oh!" Duo said, his eyes brightening. "In that case, would you care to take this into the bedroom?"

"I'll give it to you wherever and however you want it."

Duo gulped. Oh, yes, he had definitely set the wheels in motion.


The buzz of the alarm clock jolted Duo from his sleep. He slammed his hand down on the annoying sound and then stretched, re-settling his body around his pillow. The movement made him aware of his considerable erection as it rubbed against the mattress. Duo loved being horny in the morning, especially when he knew it could be satisfied, and so he rolled over to find... he was alone.

Now he remembered. At some point in the early morning hours, Zechs had left, whispering words that Duo could no longer remember. He had briefly opened his eyes to see the man standing half dressed before him and then fell back to sleep.

Frustrated, Duo curled his hand around his cock, lazily stroking it as he drifted between sleep and wakefulness. The other pillow was still indented from where Zechs had laid his head, and that simple reminder of the man was enough to put him in Duo's mind as he pleasured himself. The previous night's activities came back to him. He had let Zechs stay and they had "comforted" one another. Well, Zechs called it comforting, Duo called it fucking, and this morning the delicious soreness in his lower extremities was proof positive that they had gone several rounds.

Duo thrust his hips as he stroked faster, now imagining that the evening had turned out quite differently. Sasha had stayed and had let him have his way. Oh, yes, Sasha would have been sweet and so very uncomplicated, unlike the other men in Duo's life.

His orgasm freed him from the fantasy, and as he came down and quickly began to wipe himself off he felt a dull, queasy regret growing inside him. Sasha had not stayed last night, Zechs had, and Duo had let Zechs take him... repeatedly. He had not been fucked like that in months. Hell, he could not remember ever being fucked like that. Heero could be intensely passionate, but Zechs was possessive, as though he was making a claim.

Duo swallowed hard and looked over at the empty side of the bed again. How had his life gotten tangled up with the life of Zechs Merquise? Had it been inevitable that they would fall into bed together? And was that all it had been? Just one night to sate desires? It certainly seemed so, since Zechs had left.

Duo got up and took a deep, shaky breath as he stared at the crumpled sheets. Had this been a mistake?


Late that afternoon, Duo busied himself with checking inventory in the storeroom at the coffee shop. When he popped his head out the door to holler a question to Rikk he froze, mouth gaping, as he saw Zechs standing at the counter, speaking to the other boy.

Duo held his breath. Zechs looked angelic in a dove gray long coat and a white suit. In his hand he held a small bouquet of yellow and blue spring flowers.

"For me?" Duo whispered in amazement as he retreated back into the storeroom, feeling incapable of speaking to Zechs just now.

His heart thundered. Last night had not been a one-night stand for Zechs after all. Then what had it been? Was the man intent on having a relationship?

Suddenly, the door flew open, startling Duo and sending him stumbling back into the shadows of the room.

"Hey, Duo," Rikk called as he stepped into the storeroom.

Duo took a breath and tried to quickly calm himself. "Yeah," he said softly.

"Your boyfriend's here. He's got something for you."

Duo stepped into the artificial light of the room. "You told him I was here?"

"Of course, you goof. Now get out there. You must be one hell of a lay for a guy to bring you flowers."

Duo rolled his eyes. "Is that all you think about?"

"Yup," Rikk said, unapologetic. "I knew you two had a thing for each other."

"We don't have a 'thing,'" Duo said impatiently. "Could you just tell him I'm in a meeting or something?"

Rikk chuckled. "Yeah, right, like he's gonna buy that. Get your ass out there, Maxwell."

"Really, Rikk. I--I just can't talk to him right now."

The other boy stepped closer, looking carefully at Duo's face. He looked whole, unbruised, but did seem a little frightened. Surely he was not frightened of the Ice Man.

"So good it hurts, right?" Rikk asked, crossing his arms over his chest.

Duo blinked. "What?"

"Yeah, that's it all right. He was so good in bed it scared you. You really like this guy, don't you?"

"I--I..." Duo stammered and then dropped his gaze to the floor.

"Thought so. Look, I'll make an excuse for you... this time. But I don't want to get in the middle of this, whatever this is."

Rikk left the room before Duo could respond. Duo felt rotten for not facing Zechs himself, but he thought it would be safer this way. He could not think straight around Zechs. Did he care for the man or was he just being swept away into something?

A minute ticked by, then two. Was Zechs ever going to leave? At last the chime sounded and Duo peeked into the shop. Zechs was gone, but he had left the bouquet. He walked over to the counter and brushed his fingers over the soft petals. This was only the second time in his life he had been given flowers, the first had been from a girl in the Maguanac hangar during the war.

"Did he say anything?" Duo asked, his eyes fixed on the bouquet.

"Not a word. He just stared a hole in that storeroom door for a minute, set the flowers down and walked on out of here."

Duo swallowed, ashamed of his cowardice. "I should've talked to him."

Rikk poured water into a glass and handed it to his friend and then went back to brewing more coffee as a group of businessmen came into the shop. Duo set the bouquet in the glass and then took it behind the counter with him. As he worked he looked between the flowers and the shop's entrance. This had been such a sweet gesture on Zechs's part, so why was it so damn hard to accept?

When business slowed later that evening, Duo decided to open up to his friend.

"I had a boyfriend before I came here," he said, leaning back against the counter.

Rikk nodded and poured himself a cup of coffee. This sounded like the beginning of a long talk.

"His name was Heero," Duo continued, biting his lower lip to stop it from trembling. Hell, why didn't this get any easier?

"So what happened?" Rikk prompted, pulling up a stool and sitting down.

"He left me."

"Geez, how long ago was that?"

"Four months."

"You were in love with this guy?"

"Yeah," Duo said softly.

"Sounds like it's time to move on. The Ice Man..."


Rikk grinned, "Okay, Zechs. I never knew his name. Anyway, he seems nice enough. And he's sure persistent. This isn't the first time you've blown him off."

Duo cringed. It was true that Zechs had been persistent, but now that they had slept together why was he still hanging around? Wasn't that all the man had wanted?

"As far as I see it, you're damn lucky to have this stud chasing your scrawny little ass. You should enjoy it and forget about that guy who dumped you."

Duo looked over at the flowers again. Their sweet scent and the odor of coffee beans gave Duo ideas for a new drink.

"Heero never gave me flowers," he said, a bit sadly.

"There ya' go. That's your answer."

"I--I don't know..." Duo started to say, knowing that Rikk did not have the whole story, couldn't know all that Heero had meant to him.

Just then Mr. Brentwood came into the shop, interrupting the intimate chat. "Hello, Duo," he called out cheerfully.

"Hi, Mr. Brentwood," Duo said, noticing a large package under his arm. "Making a delivery tonight?"

"Actually, I was hoping you could deliver this." He set the brown paper package on the counter. "I've got to get home to the wife."

Duo tilted his head. The man rarely spoke of his wife.

"Yeah, sure, I'll run it for you."

"Oh, that's great. Now, if you could make me a double Hawaiian latte I'll be set for the evening."

The boy grinned. "Sure."

Brentwood got his drink and then left, and it was then that Duo took a closer look at the package. There was an address handwritten on the top, but no name. He scratched his head. The address was only a few blocks away, in the area where Zechs lived.

Oh, shit, Duo thought. Damn if Rikk was not right about him being frightened, but could he also sense the thrill that Duo felt at the possibility of seeing Zechs again? He was sure the apartment number on the package was the same as Zechs's, but that could've been just a coincidence... or a sign.

"Do you mind if I cut out of here a few minutes early?"

Rikk looked up from mopping the floor. "That's two favors in one day. You owe me big time!" he laughed.

"Okay, okay. I'll close for you any day you want."

"That'll do for starters," Rikk said with a wink.

Duo shook his head and tucked the package under his arm and headed out. He strapped it to the back of his bike and rode down the street. As he turned the last corner his heart beat faster. This delivery had to be for Zechs.

When he arrived at the street address it was the same posh apartment building where Zechs lived. Duo looked up, hoping he could somehow distinguish which light in the windows above was Zechs's.

Inside the building, Duo was stopped by a night doorman. He did not remember seeing one before, but then he had been focused on his companion.

"I've got a delivery," he said, showing the uniformed man the package.

The dark-skinned young man looked down his nose at the package. "I'll ring Mr. Merquise's apartment."

The confirmation of his suspicion that this delivery was for Zechs made Duo's heart rate jump, but he remained outwardly calm. "That's okay, I know the way."

The man's dark brown eyes narrowed on him. "You'll stay right where you are." He picked up the in-house phone and very soon was announcing the delivery from Brentwood's rare bookstore. When he hung up he looked a bit miffed. "Mr. Merquise would like you to take the package up."

Duo lifted his chin in triumph, but the man only frowned more deeply at him. "It's apartment ten..."

"Ten-o-six, I know," Duo said, and turned with a whirl that sent his braid flying behind him.

As he rode in the elevator he wondered why he had been in such a hurry to get here. He did not have the slightest idea of what he would say to Zechs. Obviously Zechs wanted to speak to him again, so that was good. Duo supposed he owed the man an apology, but beyond that who knew?

When the elevator arrived on the tenth floor, he got out and stood in the carpeted corridor, but hesitated going further. He didn't have a lot of experience in relationships, and compared to Zechs, Heero seemed straightforward. Duo had known almost from the start that he had wanted the other boy, and once they had kissed there had been no turning back, and no doubts about what they both wanted. Why couldn't it be that simple with Zechs?

"If I'm attracted to him then I should go for it," Duo encouraged himself.

Easier said than done when guilt was still nudging him in the belly. Okay, so Heero had wanted the guy dead, Duo thought, trying hard to reason this out. But that didn't stop me last night when Zechs made his move. I was willing and it felt good. Hell, Heero doesn't give a flying fuck how I'm doing, so why should I care what he thinks?

That flippant thought was Duo's first true step toward letting go. That part of his life was over. Heero was behind him now. He had to be.

Just then the sound of a soft click drew Duo's attention down the hall. Zechs was standing there. The man's eyes blazed a dangerous mix of sex, need and something Duo could not identify. Zechs was still dressed in his white suit pants, and the pale blue shirt was now unbuttoned nearly to his waist. As Duo's eyes took in all of the man he noticed Zechs was barefoot, a detail he found intriguing and incredibly sexy.

"Duo... come in," Zechs invited in velvet-soft tones that resonated in Duo's ears.

Duo was too nervous to fuss or make a scene in the hall. He followed Zechs inside and closed the door behind them.

"Please sit down," Zechs said, gesturing toward the living area.

Duo nodded and sat down in the middle of the sofa as Zechs settled in a chair. He could not decide if Zechs was angry with him or not, so he decided it best to get this over with. "I'm sorry about today," he said, smoothing the brown paper packaging. "I should've talked to you..."

"Obviously I still make you uncomfortable, and for that I'm the one who is sorry."

"Oh. Well, I..."

"You want what happened between us last night to remain in the past," Zechs said, tapping his finger on the arm of the chair. This was not what he wanted, but he would not force Duo into a relationship. "It would seem that's the way it has to be. I don't blame you. We both were looking for sex. I just didn't plan on my feelings getting away from me."

"Your feelings? For me?" Duo asked, surprised.

"I know, you still love Heero," Zechs said quickly, wanting to prevent Duo from saying the words. "But please take the book," he said, gesturing to the package. "Take it with my compliments and utmost respect."

"This is for me?" Duo asked. He looked down at the package on his lap and then back up at Zechs. "Is this payment for services rendered?"

"Of course not!" Zechs exclaimed, appalled by the assumption. "Last night..."

"Yeah, what the hell was last night?"

Zechs stared at Duo, studying the confusion that was all too clear on the boy's face. "Are you asking me to explain your feelings, Duo? I can't do that. Maybe last night was too intense for you."

Duo's chest tightened as he gripped the package in his hands. "You mean I couldn't handle it?"

"On the contrary," Zechs said, crossing his legs. "I thought you handled it quite well... until today."

"Oh, and I suppose you handle everything in your life absolutely perfectly?" Duo asked in a sarcastic tone.

Zechs narrowed his eyes. This confrontation was not what he had planned. He wanted Duo in his bed, not sitting here battling with words. The boy had done more than just turn his head. The boy had gotten his complete attention and after last night Zechs could easily see himself devoting days, months, even years to discovering all the charms and secrets of Duo Maxwell. It had been a very long time since a night of sex had turned into something much, much more for Zechs Merquise.

"Duo," Zechs said softly, uncrossing his legs and leaning his elbows on his knees. "Something brought you here tonight. You didn't have to deliver this package. Once you knew it was being delivered here, why didn't you turn around and go home?"

The large blue eyes looked down at the floor. Duo was afraid to admit it, but at last he did. "Because I like you," he said, barely above a whisper.

Zechs reached his hand out and lifted Duo's face by the chin. "You like me?"

Duo swallowed as he met the gaze of those crystal eyes. "Yeah, you've grown on me. You're an interesting guy, complicated, but I seem to like that in guys... and you're damn sexy, too."

Zechs smiled. "How about if I'm uncomplicated for a moment and tell you I want to continue what we started last night?"

Warmth raced across Duo's face. He was tired of being alone, so why not? "I'd say that sounds good."

Zechs's hand slipped from Duo's chin to his hand. He took the smaller hand in his and asked, "Are you sure? I don't want you running away from me again."

"Yeah, I'm sure. All the old ghosts are where they should be."

Zechs leaned in and kissed him, tenderly, and then withdrew. "It's time for you to open your present."

"Right, the book!" Duo said happily. With Zechs's ice blue eyes watching him, Duo hastily peeled back the brown paper. "A Pictorial History... of Motorcycles. Wow!" he exclaimed, letting the paper fall to the floor as he paged through the rare book. He became more excited as each page revealed photos of bikes he had only ever heard about. "Zechs, this is perfect. Thank you!"

"You're welcome," Zechs grinned, pleased that he had found the perfect gift for his new lover. "Now," he said, seductively, running his hands over Duo's hands and gently removing the book from the boy's grasp and setting it aside. "I want to show you the difference between fucking and making love."

Duo was pretty sure he knew the difference, but he was not about to skip out on this tutorial. "You've got my undivided attention."

With that, Zechs pulled Duo off the sofa and onto his lap, wrapping his arms around the slender body and finding Duo's lips with a searing kiss. Duo put his arms around Zechs's neck and immediately opened his mouth to the questing tongue. He moaned as Zechs French kissed him and the man's hand rubbed his cock to wakefulness.

This comfortable and arousing interlude did not last long, as Zechs scooped the boy up into his arms. He stood, holding Duo close and kissing him as he carried him down the hall into his bedroom. At last, when he set Duo on the bed and the boy lay panting, looking up at him with a wide, needy gaze, Zechs thought he might lose himself, lose the control he so jealousy guarded.

"This is where I've wanted you all along," he said, pulling his shirt from inside his trousers.

Duo wriggled on the burgundy silk covers. He had never felt anything so cool and soft and wanted desperately for Zechs to undress him so that they could tumble naked on the silk.

Zechs's bedroom was decorated richly in red, burgundy and gold, a striking contrast to the neutral tones used in the rest of the apartment. Such disparity in decor could only mean this was another side of the man, a passionate side that Duo was privileged to see.

The boy scooted to the middle of the large bed, pulling his black t-shirt off and flinging it across the room. Zechs got onto the bed and straddled Duo's thighs, bending down to kiss him languidly. Duo melted into the kisses, as his hands roamed over Zech's smooth, broad chest and then down to his belt. Those lips on his were driving him mad. He wanted so much more, so he quickly unbuckled the belt and unzipped the white trousers to give his hand access to the object of his desire.

"God, you're huge," Duo mumbled through the kisses as he took Zechs into his hand.

Zechs laughed. "That's what you said last night and you did just fine."

Duo stroked the long, hard cock, making the man above him moan. Zechs sat up and thrust into Duo's hand as he arched back. Damn it felt good to Zechs to have a lover again, to have someone he found attractive touch him and pleasure him and fill his lonely nights. He leaned forward again, his lustrous white-blond hair covering them as he kissed Duo deeply while he was stroked.

"Duo," Zechs said, between kisses. "I need to get you out of these clothes."

His words were met with a chuckle. "I was just thinking the same thing."

The man was in action immediately. He retreated to the foot of the bed where he removed Duo's boots and black jeans, leaving the boy clothed only in a pair of emerald green bikini underwear. "How many colors do you have?"

"I bought a six pack," Duo laughed.

"I can't wait..."

This time Zechs's plans did not include the underwear and they were slid off and tossed into the pile. Standing at the foot of the bed, Zechs's eyes raked over his little lover. "You're beautiful," he said, and then lifted one of Duo's legs, kissing along the calf to his heel and then sucking one toe into his mouth.

"Oh!" Duo exclaimed. This was definitely something new for him.

He watched, rapt, as Zechs paid equal attention to each toe and then began kissing a path from his toes all the way to his waiting cock. The man was now kneeling between his legs, licking his cock.

"Zechs..." Duo said, moaning, and twining his fingers in the man's hair.

"This is making love," Zechs said, his heart swelling to hear Duo call *his* name.

He sucked Duo inside his mouth, learning the shape and taste of him. Duo writhed and moaned beneath him, and when Zechs thought the boy could hold back no longer he swallowed Duo's cock deep down his throat, taking him all, making Duo cry out in pleasure as he came.

Licking him clean, Zechs surged up and kissed Duo, letting him taste himself on his lips. Their tongues twined and Duo found himself craving more, wanting more from this man as though Zechs could fill the gnawing void. He did not have to wait long as Zechs grabbed a large pillow and coaxed Duo up so that he could slide it under his back.

"My back's not bothering me," Duo chuckled, not sure what the fuss was about.

"Your innocence is charming," Zechs said as he lay on his stomach and pulled Duo's bottom towards his face.

"Hey," Duo said, sounding a bit worried as he lifted his head to see what the man was doing.

Zechs did not bother answering as he buried his face in the boy's balls. One lick was all it took and Duo practically leapt off the bed, but Zechs's arms were curled under and around Duo's thighs holding him in place.

"Easy," Zechs purred, as he sucked one ball into his mouth.

"OH!" Duo cried out. This was amazing. Zechs was amazing. He had already brought Duo to orgasm once and now was continuing to pleasure him. Duo knew he should protest, tell Zechs it was his turn, but God this was just too good.

Unbelievably, it got even better. Zechs released Duo's scrotum and then licked his anus. The wet tongue swirled around Duo's opening several times and then dipped inside, causing Duo to moan nearly continuously with every cell in his body tingling. Soon Zechs was tongue fucking Duo, in and out until he knew Duo needed more, and then he slid a finger inside.

"Oh, God this is good!" Duo shouted and then began moaning again.

As wonderful as it felt giving Duo this pleasure, Zechs knew his will was crumbling. The scent of Duo in his nostrils and the feel and taste of him on his tongue was stoking Zechs's desire by the second. He removed his finger and licked around the boy's opening once more before releasing him to get the gel beside the bed.

Duo's face was flushed and his chest rose and fell in panting breaths as he watched Zechs slick himself. The man was so beautiful, so powerful looking that Duo shivered with anticipation.

Zechs knelt between his legs and guided his cock to Duo's opening. "I'm going to take this slow," he promised, knowing that Duo was not fully prepared after only receiving one finger and a tongue.

Duo nodded and spread his legs, feeling needy and wanton as he gazed up at his lover. It frightened him a little how willingly he spread his legs for Zechs, but then this was not the Zechs from the war. This Zechs was kindhearted and trying to survive in a world that might never understand him.

After several steady pushes, Zechs was fully sheathed inside Duo. The tight warmth made him a little dizzy with need, but he fought to keep his focus on both Duo's and his own pleasure. They began to rock into each other, slowly, taking their time tonight. The frenzy of last night's sex temporarily set aside as they explored each other in a new way.

With Zechs moving slowly in and out of him, Duo could better feel the man, learn his shape, sense every inch inside him. There was nothing more intimate than intercourse between two people, and Duo was amazed once more that the man who was making love to him had only months before been his and the Earth's worst nightmare.

Zechs is so beautiful like this, Duo thought as his body moved with his lover's.

The man's face shone passionate with their lovemaking. He gazed continuously at Duo, leaning down to kiss him often as he thrust forward again and again. Duo reached one hand up and brushed aside the damp hair around Zechs's face while his other hand kneaded into the man's firm bottom. This slow lovemaking was even more intense than their vigorous activities of the night before. More intense because, in its ease, it afforded the two men time to look on each other, appreciate what they saw and what they felt. It was definitely the difference between fucking and making love.

After long minutes of loving in this way, both needed their release and the pace was increased. Duo's legs were hooked over Zechs's elbows and the man pounded into his lover, sweat trickling down his chest and back as he worked to bring them both to completion. Zechs was first to come, crying out as though in pain as his orgasm forced him deeper and harder inside Duo. The deep thrusts brushed against Duo's prostate, triggering his own orgasm seconds later.

Exhausted, Zechs dropped onto his lover. They both panted hard, gasping for air, feeling as though they had run a marathon. Their hearts beat hard against their chests, seeming to pound into each other as their bodies had moments before.

Duo could take Zechs's full weight on him only so long and then pushed the man aside. Zechs rolled off, pulling out and causing Duo to groan unhappily at the separation.

They lay in a tangled, sweaty heap for a long time, slipping easily into a light slumber. When they woke nearly an hour later, their bodies were sticky and sore from exertion. Zechs got up and went into the bathroom for a towel. He dampened it and returned to clean himself and his lover.

Neither said a word, but the difference between last night and tonight was so profound it begged notice. Last night had satisfied needs of lust and loneliness, but tonight had satisfied that and more. A door had been opened and a new alliance had been formed, bridging a gap many would have thought impossible to cross.

Zechs pulled the covers down and patted the bed, encouraging Duo to join him between the cool, silk sheets. Duo crawled under with him happily, nestling in the larger man's arms.

"Mind if I stay tonight?" Duo asked, as he rested his face on Zechs's chest.

"You may stay every night," Zechs replied, kissing the top of Duo's head.

The invitation warmed Duo. It seemed an eternity since he had been welcome to sleep in another's arms. What a luxury it was to be surrounded by strong arms amid silken sheets.

After a minute of running his fingers in circles over Zechs's stomach, both he and Zechs fell asleep. Each man equally sated and content not to be spending the night alone.

on to part 4

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