Disclaimer: The Gundam boys are only mine to play with in my head!

Pairing: 1x2
Rating: NC-17
Genre: AU, hurt/comfort, angst
Warning: Borderline non-con (don't let that scare you away!)
Please note: This is not a WIP, but it will be posted in installments as time permits. I've spent a year writing this and it's now complete. Yay! I will post a couple of chapters each week. Thanks for your patience!

Summary: Heero Yuy is a genetically altered weapon in a top secret project. When his behavior becomes erratic, his handlers propose an unorthodox solution. Is the cure more than they bargained for?

The Variable
Part 12
by Artemis

Was it his imagination or was this kiss sweeter than any they had shared before? Heero's mind reeled with the knowledge that Duo had initiated this kiss, this tender embrace. Duo was touching him the way he had ached for Duo to touch him.

Heero slid his hands around Duo's bottom, pulling their bodies closer, and to his amazement Duo reached up and wrapped his arms and legs around him. It felt like Duo wanted to climb inside him, like Duo wanted him. Heero held his weight easily, kissing Duo harder.

Why hadn't Duo laughed at him when he had the chance? Heero's heart had been laid open, but Duo had not attacked, instead he had been sympathetic and caring. And when Duo's eyes had looked on him, Heero had seen warmth, not pity. In what he thought his darkest moment, Heero had been transformed, and now his heart beat hard against his chest as he carried Duo to his bedroom. He needed to explore this feeling and see just how far it would lead him.

He laid Duo on the bed, and then covered him with his body. He moved on Duo slowly, grinding his erection into Duo's thigh while kissing him open mouthed. Duo's hands never stopped, they caressed his back and played in his hair, sending delicious shivers through his body. Was this a dream?

When Duo pushed at his chest, Heero pulled back and looked into his eyes. They stared at each other, breathing heavy.

"Roll over," Duo said.

The command sent a jolt of desire to Heero's cock. He dove in, taking Duo's lips in another solid kiss and then pulled off, flopping onto his back. A smile tugged at the corner of his mouth, but he held it in check.

Without direction, Duo knelt on the bed and slipped his t-shirt over his head, tossing it aside. He popped open the top button on the fly of his jeans, licking his lips as he did. Heero groaned and grabbed Duo by the hand, pulling him down on top of him. Duo landed with an oompf, but quickly recovered by planting a kiss on Heero's lips.

Duo's slender hands moved over Heero's stomach and ribs, skimming along his warm skin and trembling as they went. The nervous touch excited Heero and he watched-amazed-as Duo licked a path between his nipples. He moaned and arched into the touch. Duo's tongue felt incredible, the way it swirled around one nipple and then drew a wet line across his chest to the other nipple.

Whatever was happening between them he didn't want it to stop. It was electric, live and sensual, and he wanted it to go on and on. Duo's lips found their way back to Heero's, brushing against them and then pressing firmly into a kiss. These touches were unlike anything Heero had ever experienced, and he wanted more, much more. He tugged on Duo's jeans, and wide, cobalt blue eyes looked up at him.

"Undress me?" Heero asked. It was the first time he'd asked rather than ordered. Somehow the equalizing of their roles in bed felt good.

Duo nuzzled Heero's ear. "Sure."

Duo leaned back and settled his hands on the front of Heero's jeans. He took his time unfastening the fly, teasing Heero's bulge by rubbing his thumb over it. It wasn't near enough contact and Heero grabbed Duo's hand pressing it to his erection. Duo met his eyes, hesitating, and then cupping Heero and rubbing him harder. Heero reached to Duo's cock. It was hard and straining to be released. He curled his hand around it, squeezing it and making Duo rock into his touch. Heero gave Duo a little nudge to move things along. He needed Duo naked, the both of them naked and entwined on the bed. Duo scooted off the bed, quickly wriggling out of his jeans and briefs while Heero did the same. Naked and hard, Duo stood next to the bed seeming a little unsure of himself. They had fucked dozens of times, but things were different tonight. He had to be sensing it, too.

Heero pulled the covers back and slipped between the sheets, holding out his hand in an unprecedented invitation to join him. Duo swallowed hard, his Adam's apple bobbing in his throat.

"Come here... please," Heero said, still holding out his hand.

Duo placed his hand in Heero's, and slid in next to him under the covers. Heero wrapped himself around Duo, covering him and wanting to feel every inch of him. Every cell of his body sparked and tingled. He wanted Duo in a way he hadn't before, in a way he hadn't known was possible. He needed to possess him, fill him, make Duo want him... make Duo cry out for him.

He reached blindly for the gel on the night stand, not wanting to take his eyes from Duo's face. With one hand, he popped the cap and squeezed gel onto his fingers. Then he reached between Duo's legs, fondling his balls and finding his mark. He rubbed two fingers against Duo's opening and pressed, slipping them inside. A small gasp escaped Duo's lips. He was no doubt surprised by Heero's eagerness.

The fingers moved steadily and Heero kissed Duo, using his tongue to deepen the kisses and his teeth to nip and tug on Duo's lower lip. In the midst of these attentions and preparations, Duo took Heero's cock in hand and stroked. The long fingers held him tight, pulling on him, adjusting their grip like Duo was playing an instrument. It was good, very good, but Heero didn't want to come this way. He wanted to fill Duo, complete this fantasy by taking full possession.

He pulled away, removing his fingers and grabbing the lubricant. Duo understood and stopped the maddening strokes. Heero knelt between Duo's legs, and slicked himself. Duo was a sight to behold, flushed and mussed. His braid was draped across his chest and belly, long strands having come loose, making him appear all the more ravished. Heero held his cock to Duo's opening and leaned forward, pressing, pushing inside. Duo's hands gripped Heero's thighs, but eased as Heero slid the full length inside. They moaned in unison and Heero bent over him, his lips to Duo's ear, breathing hot moans as he fucked him. Duo's hands slid to Heero's ass, cupping his cheeks and squeezing. He pulled Heero towards him, encouraging the thrusts and meeting them with his own.

It took great concentration to make it last. Duo was tight and warm around him, and he was moving with him. Together they found a rhythm, fucking easily, hungrily, each seeming just as eager to sate his desire.

Heero scooped Duo into his arms, changing the angle, and fucking him harder.

"Oh... yeah," Duo said with a moan.

Burning desire shot through Heero, and he continued his long, deep, hard thrusts. "Yes," he moaned in response.

Their bodies were hot even with the sheets tangled at their feet. Their skin glistened in the lamplight with the sweat of their exertions. Again and again they thrust toward each other. Heero was entirely focused on the feel of his cock as it slid in and out of Duo, and the sound of Duo's low, continuous moans. And then all the sensations pooled in his groin, an incredible, lustful intensity. He thrust hard again, his buttocks tightening as his orgasm rushed through him.

"Yes!" he cried out, thrusting again and again, caught up in the wave.

"Unghh..." Duo moaned, meeting the thrusts as he came. "Oh, God!"

Heero dropped on top of Duo. They each took in great gulps of air, chests rising and falling hard. When their breathing finally calmed, Heero pressed his lips to Duo's ear. "Tell me I didn't just dream that."

Duo turned to look at him. "You're not dreaming."

Warmth washed through Heero. What was this feeling? "Something's changed."

"Yeah," Duo said, putting his arms around Heero. "You wore me out."

Heero grinned. All he needed to make this moment complete was to fall asleep in Duo's arms... and he was well on his way.

~ ~ ~

When Duo woke it was like he had been sleeping for days. He was rested and his mood light. The room was shaded in morning hues, and he turned to the nightstand to see it was nearly eight o'clock. He blinked and rolled over, but the bed was empty beside him. He remembered the amazing things Heero had done to him, touching him with a passion that defied logic.

What had actually happened last night? Duo pushed his hair away from his eyes and stared at the rumpled sheets. Their conversation had been the catalyst. Heero had been vulnerable and exposed a deep hurt. In that moment, Duo had seen the man he had fantasized about across the fountain, and not the one who was holding him captive. All of Duo's inhibitions had faded away. His feelings had guided him down to instincts and revealed his heart through touch. Heero had responded with a degree of surprise, and then tenderness and delight. Duo had been too caught up to over think what was happening, and now he hoped his memory wasn't deluded, because he truly believed last night had been more than just sex.

And where was Mr. Kaplan now? Duo smiled and stretched, liking the nickname almost as much as he liked the sound of the name, Heero Yuy. He sat up, looking towards the bathroom and then to the open bedroom door. The apartment was quiet. He tilted his head as he noticed his clothes lying at the foot of the bed. Obviously, Heero had straightened the place up, because it was too early for Clementine to have breezed through. He frowned, guessing he was alone and wishing that Heero had kissed him before leaving. It was irrational to want such things, but Duo urgently needed validation for the connection he thought they had made.

He grabbed his jeans and hopped into them, feeling a familiar ache in his backside. With as much sex as he was having, he thought he would be used to it by now, but Heero had a way of coming up with new positions. He padded into the bathroom to take a pee, and then wandered out to the kitchen, halting in the doorway.

"You're here."

"Morning," Heero said, looking up. He was seated at the kitchen table eating yogurt and granola and what looked like a strawberry smoothie. He was wearing a short-sleeved bodysuit, jogging pants and black athletic shoes.

Duo stepped into the room. "It was so quiet I thought you'd gone."

"I'll be heading out in a few minutes."

"Oh." The moment was incredibly awkward. What should he say? "That drink sure looks good. What is it?"

"Protein powder and fruit."

Duo cringed. "Protein powder?"

"Helps build and maintain muscle. Would you like me to make you one?"

"Uh... maybe another time." Duo went to the refrigerator to get eggs for an omelet, but when he opened the door it was dark inside. "That's odd, the light's out."

"Fridge is out, too."

Duo turned to Heero. "Out like not working?"

Heero nodded.

Duo decided to pass on the eggs that might possibly be spoiled. He grabbed an apple and closed the refrigerator, leaning around it to glimpse the dent in its side. It was more like a bull's eye the way it had put the appliance out of commission.

"You could order breakfast," Heero said. "I've already requested a new fridge."

Duo took a bite of the apple just as Heero was finishing his meal. This conversation wasn't anywhere near where he wanted it to be. He should say something about last night, but what and how?

"You training today?" he asked as he sat down at the table.

"Yes, for a couple hours this morning. Then some flight simulations this afternoon."

Duo took another bite and watched Heero get up, and rinse and load his dishes into the dishwasher.

Heero leaned back against the counter. "Would you like to come with me?"

"Huh?" It took Duo a second to finish chewing and to swallow. "Come with you to your training?"


"Is that allowed?"

Heero shrugged. "It is now."

The thought of watching Heero all sweaty and muscles flexing sent a delicious shiver through Duo. He wouldn't miss it for the world. "Can I take a quick shower first?"

Heero glanced at his watch. "Very quick."

"Okay!" Duo smiled and darted from the room and into the shower. Minutes later he joined Heero in the living room and got a once over.

"What? You don't like what I'm wearing?"

"I prefer you in less, but it's appropriate."

Duo smirked. He was wearing dark blue jeans, a light blue t-shirt and a long-sleeved brown cotton shirt over that, and brown ankle boots. It was comfortable and casual for a morning of sightseeing.

As they stepped toward the door to leave, Heero hesitated. "About last night..."

Duo's eyes grew wide. Finally! "Yeah?"

"I want you to know..." Heero's eyes shifted down momentarily and then looked up again. "I appreciate you listening to all that."

"Oh, well, it seemed like you needed someone to lend you an ear."

Heero searched his eyes and nodded. "Yeah."

When Heero turned toward the door again, Duo shook his head. Damn, why he'd say that to Heero? It sounded so generic like it had meant nothing.

"It felt good... talking like that," Duo said. That sounded better, but it was still playing it safe.

Heero nodded and opened the door. They stepped into the corridor and Duo found he wasn't as nervous this time. He knew what to expect and where they were headed. In minutes they arrived at the training facility. It hummed with activity. There were upwards of a dozen people present, and all wearing white lab coats.

They were noticed about thirty feet into the room. One set of eyes after another looked up from their tasks and settled on the unusual pair. Heero ignored them and stripped out of his jogging pants. His black, one-piece bodysuit clung to him like a second skin. Duo gulped as he admired Heero's lean and taut muscular body. This was going to make for one very interesting morning.

"Follow me," Heero said, heading toward a woman with a clipboard.

Duo smirked. Following was easy, but keeping his eyes on Heero's back instead of his ass was not.

"Good morning, Heero," the woman said.

"Good morning, Dorothy."

"I see you've brought a friend." She smiled and her eyes drifted slowly over Duo.

"Duo is here to observe. I'd appreciate it if you would keep him out of harms way."

She chuckled. "You mean, don't let the scientists get near him. I'm sure I can manage that."

"Thanks." Heero put his hand on Duo's arm. "You'll be okay?"

The question surprised Duo, but he nodded. "Sure thing."

Heero left, heading toward the swimming pool and a tall, gray-haired man with a pronounced nose.

"I'm Dorothy Catalonia," the woman said, holding out her hand.

"Duo Maxwell," he said, shaking the proffered hand.

"You're cuter than I expected, but then you'd have to be to get Heero's attention."

Duo wasn't sure what to make of that remark, but he didn't comment. He followed Miss Catalonia over to a small set of bleachers. Was this Heero's cheering section?

"You stay here. I have got to find that assistant of mine." She turned with a whirl of skirt and her hair flying behind her.

Duo took a seat in the fifth row. He was high enough to see over all the equipment and personnel. This was a remarkable operation, and still hard to comprehend that it was all for Heero. How many missions did he have to complete in a year to make him worth all this money, technology and effort?

He watched as Heero stepped onto a treadmill and a young man in a lab coat attached electrodes to his skin, no doubt to take readings.

The air was rife with serious intent. Duo felt like a wall flower, pretty enough to get noticed by Heero, but not important enough to matter to his team. Sitting here, watching Heero warm-up on the treadmill, gave Duo plenty of time to think about what he should've said and done differently this morning. He imagined the scene as he wished it had been, walking into the kitchen, being surprised to find Heero, and saying, "What a night! You rocked my world!" Heero would then reply, "You were amazing, Duo! You not only said the right thing to comfort me, you were an incredible lay!" Duo grinned. Yeah, that was the ticket.

Awhile later, Duo spotted Miss Noin walking in his direction. "Here to babysit me?"

"Something like that," she said as she sat down next to him. "Heero's making quite a statement bringing you here."

"Oh, yeah?"

"Yeah. It's about time he spread his wings."

"You make that sound as if not everyone thinks that's a good idea."

"Uh-huh," she said with a nod.

Duo watched her carefully as her eyes focused on Heero across the room. Miss Noin was the caring type. She'd been kind to him and it seemed she tried to watch out for Heero, too. But looking out for Heero's best interests was the job of all these people.

They watched as Heero stood near the swimming pool speaking with several people. A cart was rolled out with a dummy on it. The dummy was lowered into the water and Heero jumped in right after it. The older man at the side of the pool looked up at a glass booth high above at the end of the hall.

"Is someone up there watching?" Duo asked, following the man's gaze.

Noin shrugged. "Probably."

"Is it Khushrenada?"

"It could be, but I doubt it. He's a very busy man."

Heero held the dummy and was swimming the length of the pool with it in tow. To Duo it looked like a rescue scenario. Perhaps they were preparing to send Heero on a rescue mission or simply preparing him for any eventuality. Minutes ticked by, and Heero continued to swim lap after lap, and then to Duo's surprise the water in the pool started to move in unexpected ways. He blinked thinking maybe it was just sloshing from the movement of Heero pulling the dummy, but the water began to swell and roll like waves.

Duo held his breath, glancing at the clock on the wall. Heero had already been in there twenty minutes and now they were adding waves! If the resistance of the water and the weight of the dummy weren't enough, the waves were taking this test to the extreme.

He stood up, anxious although Heero's progress across the pool hardly slowed. "Is this necessary?"

Noin looked up at him. "You care about him, don't you?"

Duo met her eyes, but didn't answer. He looked back to Heero just as a wave crashed over his head. He thought he would jump out of his skin, and the only reason he didn't leap off the bleachers and into the pool to yank Heero out of there was because Miss Noin had taken hold of his hand.

"Sit down, Duo. He'll be fine. He's been through much worse than this."

Reluctantly, Duo listened, sitting down and pulling his hand from hers. "He told me a little about his training, but I never imagined it was like this."

"He's an incredible young man, and I'm glad that he's got you now."

Duo looked at her sharply. "With no apologies to how he 'got' me."

She blinked. "I'm sorry."

"That wasn't so hard now was it?" He got up again, this time not giving her a chance to stop him. He hopped off the bleachers.

"Where are you going?" she asked, standing.

"I'm sure it won't be far."

He wandered towards the pool, glancing over his shoulder to see Miss Noin only twenty paces behind him. Heero's water torture was finally ending. The waves in the pool had calmed and Heero was floating on his back looking up at the ceiling while the dummy sank to the bottom.

"Hey," Duo said, calling to Heero from the side of the pool. He crouched down and watched with a gleam in his eyes as Heero looked his way and then swam over to him.

"Where's Dorothy?" Heero asked.

"Off in the wonderful land of Oz?" Duo laughed.

"Where?" Heero reached the pool's edge and held on as he tread water.

"Never mind... come here," Duo bent low, putting a hand on the floor and the other around Heero's neck for balance. "That was incredible." He looked into Heero's eyes and then kissed him.

Heero rose a half foot out of the water to meet that kiss, his wet hand coming up to touch Duo's face. Heero smelled of chlorine and his lips were wet, but the kiss was warm and delicious.

When they pulled apart Heero grinned, and just as he was about to say something they heard a distinct clearing of a throat, "A-hem." They both looked to the far end of the pool where an old man with glasses and a metal claw for a hand stood staring at them.

"Who's that?" Duo asked, feeling the water drip off Heero and soak into his shirt.

"Doctor J. He's the lead scientist on the Project and one of my mentors."

"I'd say you need better taste in mentors." Duo chuckled.

"Duo," Heero said, looking serious.

"Yeah?" Duo got ready to roll his eyes. Was he about to get another scolding?

"Why did you kiss me just now?"

Duo sucked in a breath, but did not hesitate to tell Heero the truth. "Because I don't hate you."

Heero smiled and pulled Duo to him for another kiss. The contact was cut short when Doctor J called out to Heero to get out of the water. Duo was disappointed, but he understood.

"I'll be done soon and then we can be alone," Heero said.

Duo swallowed hard hearing those words. He smiled and sat back on his heels as he watched Heero swim the length of the pool yet again. Doctor J stared at Duo until Heero got out of the pool and was standing next to him, dripping wet, and then he looked away. Duo held his chin high, excited at the step he had taken with Heero and for not backing down from the Doctor's dismissive glare. He walked away from the pool and saw Miss Noin standing guard over him. He waved, surprising her and making her chuckle, and then proceeded along the bank of monitors, hoping to pass the time until Heero's next test.

on to part 13

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