Heero spent the better part of the first day of his mission, monitoring a warehouse on the docks of a large city. A drug cartel owned the building and was using it to traffic drugs and weapons in and out of the port. There was a lot of activity, but his observations, combined with the pre-mission data, led him to determine that the best time to act would be in the early morning.
Among the many talents listed on his operatives' resumé, Heero was an expert in explosives and bomb diffusion. He entered the building, undetected at 0300 hours, carrying a backpack full of clay explosives, wires and detonators. He worked fast placing the explosives strategically and synchronizing the detonators at second intervals. The goal was to cripple the operation, giving government authorities a leg-up on bringing the entire cartel to justice. The last device was programmed with a five-minute delay. The clock gave an electronic beep as he started it and the red digital numbers began ticking down, silently warning of the time remaining. Without looking back, Heero retreated to safety.
At 0335, Heero watched from a quarter-mile away as the bombs detonated. Five explosions ripped through the structure in quick succession. The warehouse went up in flames and collapsed. He was out of the area before the emergency responders were on the scene, knowing that police would canvass the area looking for suspects.
He returned to his jet, and contacted mission control. "Mission accomplished."
In flight, he remembered how close he had been to mending things with Duo. He was not naïve enough to believe that he could make Duo happy, but something told him that Duo didn't hate him, that those words were said in anger, and rightly so. He wasn't sure why he needed Duo to like him, but he did, and their reunion could be his chance to turn things around. He imagined taking Duo by the hand and leading him into the bedroom. They would strip off their clothes, and Duo would run his tongue down Heero's chest to his hard cock and suck him in.
If the mission call hadn't interrupted that kiss in the training salle, Heero would've taken things further. He had needed Duo's touch, and knowing that the facility was monitored at all times, there would've been the added bonus of giving Doctor J something to play back when he and Professor G had one of their late night meetings.
The fantasy made Heero hard, and he slipped his hand inside his spandex shorts. He hissed as he grabbed his cock, pulling it from its confinement, and stroking it. Duo took him into his mouth and down his throat, deeper and deeper, moaning as Heero filled him. Oh, god, how he wanted that sassy mouth on him again. And now, in his mind, he stood in his bedroom with Duo kneeling before him, taking him in as Heero fucked that mouth again and again....
"Ungh..." Heero called out as he came. He slumped back into the pilot's chair, still lazily stroking himself.
"Zero One, we didn't copy. Could you repeat?"
Heero's eyes blinked open. Shit, the communications lines were open. "Uh, roger that, ground control. Just stretching my leg."
"Roger, Zero One."
Damn, he was horny and ready for a good, long fuck. He'd take Duo nice and easy this time, and then he'd make up for the lack of sleep.
Hours later, he arrived back at base and prepared himself for the post-mission examination and debriefing. In the debriefing room he was greeted by Dorothy Catalonia, Treize's cousin and mission specialist.
"Welcome back, Heero."
He nodded and took a seat across the table from her.
The room was furnished with a conference table and chairs, and audio-visual equipment needed to prep Heero, and debrief him on his return.
"The warehouse was completely destroyed, crippling the cartel's operation. The authorities appear to have no idea who came to their aid, but the press is speculating that a rival gang may have been involved."
"Yes." Dorothy smiled. "Your precision is remarkable."
"Nothing official, but one of the local news stations reported that the body of a young girl was pulled from the rubble."
Dorothy flipped through her notes. "Yes, they stated that a girl estimated to be ten years of age was killed in the blast. Her body was found under a collapsed wall."
Heero's heart pounded. "No children were mentioned in the pre-mission data."
"That's correct, and it's unclear where she came from. As of twenty minutes ago, there was no more information available."
"I watched that warehouse for twenty-four hours before making a move. It's not possible."
"Maybe she was inside the entire time. I'm sorry, Heero. Our information is only as good as our sources, and no matter how hard we try sometimes there are gaps."
"You call that a gap?!" Heero stood, his fists clenching.
Dorothy set her mission notes down and looked up at him with an unwavering gaze. "When we get more information I will share it with you. For now, your debriefing is complete. Go back to your quarters and relieve some stress."
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"You know what it means. Now, if you don't want me reporting this unprofessional agitation of yours to Treize, I think you'd better leave."
Unfortunately, Heero knew all too well the possible consequences of reporting another incident. He had set out to prove all of them wrong, and was quickly coming up against a wall. Before he said something he'd regret, he left the debriefing.
The walk back to his quarters was filled with tortured thoughts. How could this have happened? An innocent child was killed because of an oversight? Was it his oversight? The possibility sent a shiver down his spine. Could J have been right? That Heero's success rate could not continue alongside Doctor Po's new program. That once "a man starts thinking with his penis he stops using his brain." But Heero had not thought of Duo while on the mission.
"My focus was perfect."
He went over every step of the mission looking for the flaw. But the mission team had called it a success; the child's death a mere casualty. "Go... relieve some stress," Dorothy had said. He knew exactly what she had meant. Go, fuck Duo and you'll feel better in the morning, as if screwing could erase the guilt of taking that girl's life.
~ ~ ~
Duo sat on the living room couch, staring at the door. It had rattled him how suddenly Heero had left on his current mission. Miss Noin had made pleasant chit-chat on the way back to Heero's quarters. Duo appreciated her carrying the conversation, since his mind was elsewhere, wondering where they had sent Heero, and imagining many scenarios. The tour of the training facility had filled in some blanks about the Project and Heero, but created many more. Perhaps they had sent Heero to the Antarctic to fight a Doctor No type nemesis who wanted to destroy the world?
In forty hours, Duo had convinced himself that he had heard Heero wrong. Now he was trying to convince himself that he was anxiously awaiting Heero's return, because there was nothing better to do, and not because he missed him.
Despite his vigilance, Duo was startled when the door finally clicked and opened. He stood up with his heart pounding.
"Hi," he said, in a cheerful voice.
Heero flicked him a glance, and headed for the bedroom. "I need to sleep."
Duo wasn't sure how to interpret that greeting. He supposed there was a first for everything, so he followed Heero into the bedroom.
As Heero began to strip off his shirt he turned and leveled a hard glare at Duo. "I said I need to sleep. Alone."
The tone was hard and cold, and made it clear that Duo was not welcome to join him.
"Okay. I'll be in the living room if you want me."
"Is that all you can think about?"
"You know what I mean. Now get out of here."
Duo moved toward the door, but couldn't bring himself to leave. "Did something happen on your mission?"
Without warning, Heero rushed forward taking the front of Duo's shirt in his fist and yanking Duo toward him until their noses nearly met. "I said, get out of here...." He pushed Duo back, sending him stumbling out of the room. "I'll let you know when I want that fuck."
The door slammed shut. Obviously, something had gone wrong. What else could it be? Heero was not typically moody-impolite and bossy, yes, but not moody.
Duo returned to the couch, hugely disappointed, but not about the fuck. He had truly believed that Heero's return would be different this time. He sensed that a shift had been about to occur in their relationship when Heero had been called away. But it was strange to hope for such a thing when Heero, and the rest of Duo's jailors, had taken so much away from him. Maybe it was only fantasy, but without it Duo thought he might fall into the abyss of despair, an abyss he had stood on the edge of many times during his captivity.
Heero's words echoed in his mind: "Don't hate me, Duo." If only the sentiment behind those words were true.
Several hours later, the sound of the bedroom door opening woke Duo with a start. He peered over the back of the couch to see Heero emerge from the bedroom wearing only snug, gray briefs. Duo watched Heero head into the kitchen, and return moments later with a bottle of spring water in his hand. Duo got up from the couch and came around, wanting to be noticed, but Heero barely hesitated before continuing toward the bedroom.
"Hey," Duo said.
Heero stopped and turned to him. "Yes?" he asked in a heavy, almost sarcastic tone.
"Uh... I just wondered---"
"Yes?" Now the tone was impatient.
Again, Duo sensed that something was wrong, but it didn't seem the right time to try to scale the wall Heero had built around himself. He shrugged, and Heero went into the bedroom closing the door behind him.
With little else to do, Duo re-settled himself on the couch to watch "Sunset Boulevard" starring Gloria Swanson. As the credits rolled at the end of the film, he fell asleep.
The alarm clock next to his bed was ringing, and Duo reached out trying to turn it off. But he couldn't find it. Beep. Beep. He opened his eyes and reality flooded his senses. This was not his tiny, cluttered apartment, but Heero's luxurious home. But what was that sound? He raised himself up on his elbows and looked around the room to pinpoint it. Beep. Beep.
"The door?" He scratched his head and got up, walking over to the door. The call button on the security panel was blinking red, so he pressed the speaker button.
"Yeah?" he asked.
"Duo? This is Doctor Po."
"Okay." He was still sleepy and not feeling particularly friendly toward the woman who had tricked him into this predicament.
"I need to speak with Heero."
"He's sleeping." He looked at the digital read out. It was late afternoon.
"Then wake him. It's important I speak with him."
Duo rolled his eyes. Everything was always important when it came to Heero, but no one bothered to speak politely to Duo.
"Yeah, yeah. Give me a second."
He went to the bedroom, slowly opening the door. The curtains were drawn and the room was fairly dark, but Duo could see Heero lying on the bed.
"Hey," he said, deciding to stand several paces away for his own safety. "Heero, wake up."
Heero rolled onto his back. "What is it?"
"Doctor Po's on the line."
Heero switched on a light next to the bed, and grabbed the portable communications device from the night stand drawer.
"This is Heero," he said, and gave Duo a hard look.
Duo stepped out of the room, closing the door. Fine, let them have their private chat. He would get something to eat in the kitchen.
"Your levels are extremely high. What are you doing?" Doctor Po was saying.
Duo blinked, and looked toward the security panel. The mic was still on. He could hear their conversation! He moved closer to the panel.
"I've been sleeping," Heero said.
"Sleep is not an approved method to lower your anxiety. Why aren't you having sex?"
"I wanted to sleep."
"How long have you been sleeping?"
"Since I returned."
There was a pause, and Duo held his breath. He wanted to know what was going on as much as Doctor Po.
"The desire for sleep can be motivated by physical and emotional need," the doctor said. "But I don't recall you ever needing this much sleep after a mission."
"There's a first for everything," Heero said, sounding defensive.
"Did something happen? I saw Miss Catalonia in the corridor and she made an off-handed remark about your agitation during the debriefing."
Duo's ears perked. Maybe now he would get some answers.
"Unfortunately, she was in a hurry," Sally said. "I was rather hoping you would elaborate."
"Post mission stress."
"If that's the case, Heero, then why haven't you completed your post-mission exercises or had sex to relieve the tension? And don't tell me it's because you wanted to sleep."
"You're right," Heero said, his voice sounding more submissive. "I'll take care of it."
"Good. Oh, and there's one more thing you should know. Treize requested your bio-data readings be sent to him on a live feed. Do you have any idea why he would do that?"
"It could have something to do with our meeting."
"Did he ask to see you?"
"No, I asked to see him. I needed assurances about Duo."
Duo's eyes widened hearing his name. He held his breath, not wanting to miss one syllable of the conversation.
"I told you I wouldn't allow any changes to be made."
"I appreciate that, doctor, but I needed to hear it from Treize."
"And did you?"
"Yes, so long as I make the program work."
"Then your orders are clear. So what are you waiting for?"
There was a pause, and then, "Understood."
The call ended and Duo scrambled for the couch, so as not to look suspicious. Within a few seconds, Heero came out of the bedroom, but instead of coming over to the couch and having his way with Duo, he headed into his clothes room. When he returned he was wearing a short bathrobe and sandals.
Heero's eyes locked on Duo's. "I'm going for a swim."
Duo blinked and watched as Heero left the apartment. He would rather swim than have sex? What guy would make a choice like that?
So, the assurances that Heero had spoken of before the mission were from Treize Khushrenada? Duo remembered Heero's words clearly, "I have assurances that you're not going anywhere." Could that mean that Heero was worried about losing Duo?
"Fuck," Duo said, slumping back onto the couch.
The overheard conversation had heightened Duo's concern over Heero's moodiness. He was avoiding personal contact, because something was bothering him. Maybe it shouldn't matter to Duo, but he felt conflicted about Heero. His attraction to him continued to grow while he simultaneously despised Heero for making him a captive.
When Heero returned over an hour later he retreated into the bedroom. The distant sound of the shower made its way into the living room. Twenty minutes later, Heero emerged, still a little damp, and wearing only faded blue jeans. The shimmer of water on his chest made Duo want to lick Heero's hard plains. But that desire to be with Heero only made Duo more confused. None of this was fair - this attraction, this captivity, and this hopeless, helpless feeling that grew inside him. But if cabin fever didn't drive him crazy, then Heero's silence would.
He followed Heero into the kitchen and sat down at the table, watching as Heero rummaged in the refrigerator. Heero glanced at him over his shoulder, and then continued pulling sandwich fixings out.
"You're not usually this quiet," Duo said, staring at Heero's broad, naked shoulders.
"Maybe I'm trying to teach by example."
With a warning shot like that it was best to back off. Pushing would only lead to another nasty confrontation.
Duo's stomach growled, so he got up and pulled a couple of plates from the cupboard, setting them on the counter. Heero gave him a sidelong glance, but didn't say anything, so Duo went about making his own sandwich. They worked side-by-side in silence, and when the sandwiches were made, Duo sat down at the table while Heero leaned against the counter. The only sound was the crunch of lettuce as Duo bit into his ham salad sandwich. His eyes never left Heero who was quietly focused on his light supper.
Finally, the silence was too much. "I overheard your conversation with Doctor Po."
Heero turned to him. "You were eavesdropping?"
"No... Well, not deliberately. It just happened."
"What did you hear?"
Heero's eyes narrowed. "It's not your concern. Forget about it," he said, and turned back to his meal.
There was a definite tension in the air, not that they had gotten along famously in the past, but this was different. Duo could see that Heero was struggling with something, and although he was allowing this proximity between them, he wasn't ready to talk.
Duo pushed his plate away, having eaten half of his sandwich. He walked over to stand within an arm's length of Heero. "If you won't talk to me, will you at least touch me?"
Heero looked up, scanning him from head to toe. That sweep of his eyes over Duo's body always felt like foreplay, but this time Heero didn't follow it with a pounce.
"Now I know something's wrong," Duo said, putting his hands on his hips.
"Because I won't fuck you?"
"Well, yeah," Duo snickered. "I thought you couldn't resist me." He cocked his head, waiting for Heero to get the joke, but it fell flat.
"Give it a rest," Heero said, wiping the crumbs from his plate into the trash bin. "I've got a lot on my mind."
"And I couldn't possibly have a thought in my head, since I'm sitting around here night and day waiting for your beckon call."
Heero exhaled deeply, and set the plate on the counter. "At least you're alive."
"Oh, we're back to that old threat again, huh? Fuck or die, Duo!" It felt good to blow off steam, so he kept going. "And you won't help me do either one."
Heero's fists clenched. "There's been enough death around me, don't go begging for it."
His voice was so low and calm that it sent a shiver up Duo's spine. It seemed he had hit a nerve. Duo took a step back, not liking that he couldn't see Heero's eyes the way his face was tilted down. Suddenly, Heero reached out, snagging Duo's wrist.
"Hey! I was just messing around. No need to get huffy."
"A little girl died because of me."
"What?" Duo froze.
"A little girl died because of me!" Heero slammed his fist into the side of the stainless steel refrigerator, putting a considerable dent in it.
Duo's eyes went wide and he tried to pull away, but Heero's grip tightened. "Hey, calm down, man."
Heero growled and hit the counter with his fist, sending the plate bouncing and clattering from the force of the impact.
"Really, you gotta calm down!" Duo's heart was racing. He felt trapped by Heero's hold on him, but at the same time it seemed like Heero was hanging on like a lifeline as if to say, don't let go. Duo tentatively reached out, laying a hand on Heero's back. Heero flinched and flashed him a warning glance. "You want to talk about it?"
Heero was breathing hard, holding Duo's wrist with one hand and leaning against the counter with the other. His body was tense, his eyes dark, but he no longer seemed threatening. Duo stepped closer with the realization. Heero was vulnerable and hurting. This was a side he had never seen before, and it touched Duo deeply.
"Please, Heero," he said, moving his hand in a soothing rhythm over Heero's back. "You can tell me."
There was a long moment of silence as Heero seemed to consider Duo's offer. And then he started to talk, rattling off mission protocol, checklists, weather conditions, sight lines... everything and anything that seemed relevant to him. Duo was fixated, but not just in the behind-the-scenes particulars of a secret mission, but in how Heero was opening up about every detail. He was downloading it all for Duo as though no one else had ever listened to him. Then came the point in the story when Heero detonated the explosives.
"I watched the warehouse go up in flames and was satisfied that I had successfully completed the mission."
"And you had."
Heero gave Duo a hard look. "Technically speaking, yes. But I relied too heavily on the preliminary reports. I should've made a more thorough search of the inside of the warehouse."
"Is that what you normally do?"
"No, but maybe I should. It never occurred to me that someone that young would be in a place like that."
Duo leaned into Heero, wrapping his arm around Heero's waist. "It's not your fault."
Heero accepted the touch and slid his arms around Duo, holding him close. They stood in the middle of the kitchen, embracing and not saying a word. It felt right on many levels. Duo's heart was full with the notion that he had comforted Heero, but more so that Heero had let him.
He slid his hands up Heero's back and kissed Heero's cheek. "Thanks."
Heero pulled back slightly, looking into Duo's eyes. "Why are you thanking me?"
Duo shrugged. "For opening up."
"You mean for trusting you."
"I wouldn't go that far..."
"I would." Heero took Duo's face in his hands and looked deep into his eyes. "Thank you."
Duo's face warmed as he leaned in, Heero meeting him halfway. They took each other's lips in a full, gentle kiss. It didn't stay gentle or slow very long as Duo threaded his fingers into Heero's thick, unruly hair, pulling him down into a deeper, harder kiss. The feelings that Duo had been suppressing were bubbling up and over, and he didn't care to stop them. Let his actions betray his heart, let Heero know what it did to him when they touched.