Disclaimers: Nope, don't own it.

Pairing: 1x2 eventually,
Warnings: Shounen-ai, Yaoi, eventual lemon -- please don't read if this doesn't appeal to you -- AU, OOCness, murder, bastardization of some characters, death of some characters (but not Heero or Duo :), maybe rape/torture... don't know how squicky I can get til I write it... slight Wufei bastardization (he's not a bad guy... he's just frustrated)
Spoilers: none

Part 9
by Caroline

Duo woke slowly, aware of the pounding pain in his head. He groaned and rolled over, trying to bury himself under the plush, downy comforter. Awareness pierced his hung over mind as he suddenly realized he didn't own a plush, downy comforter. He opened his eyes and blinked as he took in his strange surroundings. For a moment, he couldn't remember where he was. Then memories of the previous night came flooding back. Duo groaned in embarrassment, hiding his face in his hands.

He could not believe his behavior the previous night. He knew better than to drink while depressed. How could he have done something so foolish? And in front of Heero… what the older man must think of him now.

He felt his body grow warm at the thought of the dark-haired detective. He and Heero had come so close to making love last night. He wished Heero hadn't been so noble to have stopped before they could go any further. Even though he'd been drunk off his rocker, he'd known exactly what he was doing and knew he wouldn't have regretted any of it. But another part of him, a small part, was glad Heero had stopped. Heero cared enough about him to want to get to know him better first, to want to wait until they were both clear headed and well aware of what they were doing. And that made Duo feel… special. He hadn't felt special in a long, long time.

Of course, all the good intentions in the world couldn't calm his raging libido. Just thinking of Heero's lips on his made him shiver. The feel of Heero's body on his, Heero's hands on his skin… Duo had to take a deep breath to calm his body before he managed to embarrass himself further.

Rolling over, Duo sat up and looked around. He glanced down at himself and smiled as he saw Heero's t-shirt hugging his body. Rubbing the sleep out of his eyes, he padded out from the little bedroom area, looking for Heero.

The loft was deserted. The only sign Heero had been there was a pillow on the couch with the indented shape of someone's head. Duo felt a little disappointed that Heero was not there. He shuffled over to the kitchen, hoping to find some Tylenol or something similar that would take care of his headache.

A bottle of Aleve on the kitchen counter caught his attention. Duo picked up the little bottle happily, then noticed the note lying underneath.


I had to run to the station for a bit. I wanted to give the details of what you saw to my partner. Maybe something you saw will ring some bells with someone working on the case. Don't worry. I'll keep your name out of it as much as possible.

Take two of these pills… I have a feeling you'll need them. If you want to take a shower, there are extra towels in the closet in the bathroom. I'll be back around 9 with some breakfast.

I'm really glad you're here.


Duo smiled as he read the note. Heero was still looking out for him, even when he wasn't here. He opened the bottle and shook two of the little blue tablets out into his hand. He swallowed them dry, then looked up at the clock.

8:30. Shit.

Looking around, he spotted a phone next to the refrigerator. Picking up the cordless receiver, he quickly dialed the number for the clinic.

The phone rang only once before Quatre picked it up.


"Hmph. And here I thought I was the one with the psychic powers, Quat," Duo teased.

"Where are you? I know you're not at home because I already checked your apartment."

"Remind me to take back the spare key I gave you."

"Duo…" Quatre almost growled with impatience.

"Relax. I'm fine. But, uh… I'm gonna be late for work."

"Where are you?" My, but Quatre was in a foul mood this morning.

"I'm… at Heero's," Duo replied, a little reluctant to reveal where he was because he knew what was coming next.

"DUO! Did you stay there all night?! What happened? Are you okay?"

Duo sighed as he tried to blot out Quatre's voice as the blonde doctor began to lecture him on responsibility, and safe sex, and one night stands, and did Duo have any idea how *worried* he'd been?? He pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration. He loved Quatre like an older brother, but sometimes he wished the doctor wasn't quite as well intended as he was. Of course, if Duo could only stay out of trouble, he might not have to listen to Quatre's lectures.

"Quatre, Quatre!" he interrupted the blonde's tirade."I'm fine. Nothing happened. Well, nothing really, really major. I just fell asleep and Heero let me stay here." It wasn't a lie… he just didn't feel the need to share everything with his friend.

On the other end of the phone, Quatre sighed. "Don't worry about work. Dorothy can fill in for you. Are you sure you're all right?"

"Just a little hung over, but I'll be all right," he said without thinking, then winced. Whoops. That was the wrong thing to say.

"Hung over?! You have no business drinking in the first place! Did Heero buy you alcohol? By Allah, he's a cop! What was he thinking?"

"Quatre, really, I'd love to stay and chat but I have to go," Duo hurriedly interrupted, not in the mood to listen to yet another lecture.

"Duo! Wait, I'm not finished…"

"Tell Iria hi and give Dorothy a kiss for me. I'll be home later and you can rant at me all you want but I really have to go now, okay? Bye!"

Duo placed the phone on the cradle and breathed a sigh of relief. He'd been granted a temporary reprieve as Quatre didn't know Heero's number. Of course, he'd catch hell for this later. But he was inno mood to deal with it at the moment. He was too happy.

Heero wanted to go out with him, wanted to *date* him… he felt as giddy as a schoolgirl. He wrinkled his nose. A schoolgirl? Ugh. He wanted to show Heero that he was all man, baby! He giggled to himself and shook his head. He couldn't help it. Being happy made him slightly insane.

Glancing at the clock again, he cursed silently. Heero would be back in less than twenty minutes. There was only just enough time to grab a quick shower before he returned. He tugged disdainfully at his messy hair. Time to get cleaned up. He wanted to look good for his - boyfriend? - when he came home.

Smiling happily at the thought, he hurried into the bathroom.

Heero pushed open the door to his loft apartment with his shoulder, careful not to spill the two cups of orange juice he'd picked up to go with breakfast. He placed them on the counter along with the brown paper bag containing their breakfast. He hoped Duo liked danishes.

Speaking of the dazzling young man that had so captured his attention, Heero noticed the pill bottle he'd left out for him had been moved. A noise from behind the closed bathroom door indicated that he was still here, blow drying his hair. Heero smiled. He'd been half afraid Duo had left, thinking last night had been nothing but a drunken mistake.

Heero was half-afraid of that himself. They'd both had a little too much to drink last night. He'd woken up with a slight headache, but found he still desired the young man with the long chestnut hair. Of course, he knew that even before he'd started drinking. But last night… last night could have turned into a monumental disaster if he hadn't found the willpower to stop. Even now, in the daylight and sober, he didn't know if he'd be able to continue to havethat sort of willpower. Duo was too beautiful for his own good.

As if on cue, Duo chose that moment to make his entrance. Heero glanced up… and immediately stopped breathing. The boy hadn't noticed him yet - he was too busy brushing out his long, beautiful chestnut hair, humming a tune under his breath… and wearing little more than a towel wrapped around his waist. Heero stood mesmerized by the vision in front of him until his lungs began to protest their lack of oxygen and he inhaled sharply.

Duo jumped, almost losing his towel in the process. He caught it, but not before it slipped down lower over his hips. Heero felt all the blood in his body rush… elsewhere.

"Oi, Heero. I didn't see you there," Duo said, a warm blush spreading over his pale, smooth skin.

Heero opened his mouth to reply but found no words could come out of his mouth. Before he knew what he was doing, he'd crossed the room to stand in front of Duo.

"Heero?" the boy asked again, blushing even more.

The dark-haired detective reached out to cup Duo's cheek. "Duo… I…" Again words failed him as he stared down into Duo's violet eyes, losing himself in them. He could feel himself trembling as they stood there, transfixed by each other. Duo was warm and still slightly damp to the touch. Slowly, Heero let himself be drawn to that heat. He buried his fingers in that silken mass of hair and drew Duo's lips to his own.

The long-haired boy immediately melted into the kiss, still clutching the towel furiously in front of him. Heero ran his tongue along Duo's bottom lip, seeking entrance to the boy's mouth. Duo immediately gave it, trembling as he did. Heero slipped inside, wishing to drown himself in Duo's unique flavor.

Heero's hands were not idle. After spending a few moments running them through that thick, silky hair, he moved them to Duo's skin, clutching the boy tighter. He ran his fingertips over the satiny smooth skin on Duo's back, thinking nothing in the world could feel as soft. Ever so slowly, he moved his hands lower until they were teasing the sensitive skin just above the towel. He hesitated, making sure Duo knew what he was doing and could stop him if he so desired, then slipped his hands under the towel, sliding the terry cloth down just far enough to leave his delectable bottom bare. He clasped the smooth, creamy globes tightly, causing Duo to moan. Heero caught the noise in his mouth as he caressed the boy's backside, marveling in the silky texture.

Déjà vu of the night before assaulted him as he found himself guiding Duo to the bed behind the screens. The rational part of his mind was screaming at him to stop, to let go of the young man in his arms and find the nearest cold shower. But he couldn't get his body to obey his commands. The sweet mouth under his own was too tempting. And the feel of his skin… Heero pushed the Voice of Reason away, suddenly taken with the desire to see all of Duo.

He brought them to a halt at the edge of the rumpled bed. Taking one last taste of Duo's lips, he drew back, stepping away slightly. Duo's skin was flushed, his lips swollen. He was breathing heavily and his eyes were glassed over with desire. He was still clutching the towel modestly in front of his body. Heero reached out and snagged one end of the towel.

"May I?" he asked, amazed that his voice still worked.

Duo looked at him in silence for a moment, then nodded, loosening his death grip on the towel. Heero drew the material away, absently dropping it to the floor as he looked at Duo for the first time in all his glory. He sucked in his breath, unable to breathe. The young man standing before him was a vision… absolutely magnificent. His loose hair cascaded around his body like a chestnut-golden halo. Duo looked like an angel. Perhaps he was - surely nothing on this earth could be so lovely.

Heero reached out to cup Duo's cheek once again. The long-haired boy smiled, them moved backwards to lie on the bed, drawing Heero down with him. The detective braced himself on one elbow, careful not to put his full weight on the delicate looking creature below him. He traced Duo's face with his fingers before moving his hand lower to play along the skin on his chest. An errant drop of water left over from the shower caught his eye, glistening just below one pebble hard nipple. Bending his head, he lapped up the droplet, running his tongue across the nipple. Duo gasped and arched his back, burying his fingers in Heero's hair.

Heero made a thorough exploration of Duo's chest with his tongue, reveling in the erotic sounds the boy below him was making. As he pressed a trail of hot little kisses down to the boy's bellybutton, that damned Voice of Reason once more fought its way through Heero's lust-fogged mind. They shouldn't be doing this. After his little speech to Duo last night about wanting to wait, why was he here with a very naked and aroused Duo writhing beneath him?

Suppressing a groan, he levered himself off Duo's body and looked up to see Duo looking back at him, brow creased in confusion.


"Duo, I'm sorry. We really shouldn't do this."

Duo stuck his bottom lip out and actually pouted. "Why?"

Heero blinked, then narrowed his eyes. "I thought we agreed to wait."

Duo shook his head. "No. *You* agreed to wait. I'm sure if I hadn't had so much to drink last night, I'd have been able to talk you into it," he replied, grinning.

"Duo, you were drunk last night," Heero said. "I didn't want to take advantage of you."

Duo placed a hand on Heero's cheek. "You never would. I know that. And I trust you." He flashed Heero a wicked grin. "Besides, I'm not drunk now. Are you?"

Heero hesitated only for a moment, realizing he was fast losing this battle of wills. "No."

"Good," Duo replied, before bringing Heero's head down to kiss him again.

Heero gave in, knowing as soon as Duo's lips touched his that he would not be able to pull away again. He left Duo's mouth, resuming his trial down the boy's body. He wanted to taste every inch of skin, explore every nook and cranny. He delved his tongue into Duo's navel, shuddering as he heard Duo cry out. Slowly he drifted lower, feeling Duo tense beneath him as he reached the center of his need.

Duo's vision blurred as Heero's mouth crept downward. He couldn't believe this was actually happening. He'd been afraid Heero had wanted to stop like he had last night. While he wasn't the type of person to jump into bed with an almost complete stranger after only having known him for a few days, there was something about Heero that called to him. He wanted the older man… wanted him in a way he hadn't wanted anyone else before. He felt a little ashamed for practically throwing himself at him, but hell, he was a horny teenager. It was almost expected of him!

He gasped loudly as Heero traced his tongue over the crease where his leg met his torso. He squirmed on the bed, wanting, wishing for Heero to move just two inches to the left. So lost was he in the sensation, that he did not feel Heero move his legs apart and slip between them. Not until he felt Heero's cheek nuzzle his arousal did he come down from his euphoric cloud, only to shoot back into the heavens when Heero ran his tongue up the underside of his cock.

"Heero!" he cried out, groping blindly for the older man's hand. Finding it, he twined their fingers together as Heero took him whole into his mouth.

"Nngh… ahhh… Heero," he moaned, twisting his body against the sheets. He'd had this done to him before, but never with this much intensity. Little bursts of light blinded him as Heero worshipped him with his mouth. A coil of blinding white light was building in the pit of his stomach. Heero suckled him expertly, swallowing him to the root. Duo knew he couldn't take much more of the delicious torture.

He almost sat up when Heero did something particularly wicked with his tongue. He was vaguely aware of how loud he was getting, but didn't care. He twisted Heero's bed sheets in his hands as the world dissolved around him until all that remained was himself and Heero. He lifted his head and looked down to see Heero's dark head bobbing up and down between his legs. The mere sight of Heero pleasuring him proved to be the breaking point. Throwing his head back once more, he screamed Heero's name as he shot his release into Heero's mouth. Little sparks of pleasure raced up his spine, causing him to tremble violently. He rode the waves of pleasure to the end, only dimly aware of Heero climbing up his body to lay beside to him. The dark-haired man kissed him deeply and gently smoothed away his hair, stroking his face as he drifted back down from the heights Heero had sent him. They lay in silence for a long moment, holding on to one another and sharing lazy kisses until Duo's body had calmed itself. The long-haired boy reached up and cupped Heero's cheek.

"Heero, I… I…" he started but was silenced with another kiss.

"Shhh, it's all right, koi," the older man whispered.


"It's a… term of endearment in my native language,"Heero explained.

Duo smiled. "Oh. Good. For a second, I thought you were calling me a fish." He stretched languidly against Heero's still-clothed body.

Cobalt eyes gazed lovingly down at him as Heero rubbed Duo's back. "Are you okay?"

"Mmmm, better than okay. That was *amazing* Heero," Duo all but purred, arching into Heero's touch. He then turned his big violet eyes to meet Heero's. "But… what about you?"

Heero kissed the top of Duo's head. "I already took care of that," he whispered, taking Duo's hand and guiding it to the front of his damp, unzipped pants.

Duo turned red. "O…oh." He mewled pitifully and snuggled closer. "But I wanted…"

Heero placed a finger over Duo's mouth to silence him. "I know, but we shouldn't even have done this."

Duo looked hurt and tried to pull away, but Heero held on tight. "Hey, that doesn't mean I didn't *want* to," he said reassuringly. "But I still think we should take things slow."

Duo snickered. "It's a little late now, isn't it?"

Heero sighed, stroking Duo's bare skin. "I'm sorry. I just didn't want… I mean, we shouldn't…"

Duo could see how uncomfortable Heero was getting. He reached out and placed a hand on the older man's chest. "We all do foolish things sometimes," he said softly. "But I don't regret it. And I just want you to know that I'm not the type of person to just hop into bed with someone like this. I guess there's just something about you."

Heero ran his own hand down Duo's loose hair. "There's something about you too," he said softly, though his eyes still looked uncertain.

"Are you still worried about moving too fast?" Duo asked, eyes twinkling in amusement. When Heero nodded, Duo smiled complacently and rolled onto his stomach. "Well then, let's start over." When Heero looked skeptical, Duo stuck out his hand for the detective to take. "Hi. I'm Duo Maxwell. Nice to meet you."

Heero stared at Duo's outstretched hand for a moment before reaching out and clasping it in his own. "Heero Yuy. Pleasure to make your acquaintance."

Duo grinned. "The pleasure's all mine. And since I don't normally wind up naked and in bed with someone I've just met-" Heero suppressed a groan. "-I think it would be best if I put some clothes on."

Cobalt blue eyes twinkled merrily at him. "Only if you must," Heero replied, feigning a sigh.

"Why you…" Duo reached out and gave Heero a mighty shove, forcing him off the bed. Rolling to the opposite side, he reached down and snagged the forgotten towel, wrapping it around himself. He quickly gathered up his clothes from where Heero had placed them the night before and scuttled off towards the bathroom.

"You might want to get changed as well, Heero. You don't want to walk around sticky all day," Duo called out over his shoulder, laughing as he disappeared into the bathroom, and closing the door behind him.

Heero felt his breath catch in his throat as he watched the long-haired vision disappear behind the closed door. Duo was like no one he'd ever gone out with before - so vibrant, energetic… and young. Dear god, he was young. The still bothered him. And yet - there was something in those violet eyes that bespoke of a maturity beyond his age, as if he'd had to grow up too fast. And he had - losing his parents at such a young age had to be rough on any child.

Pushing all thoughts of the violet-eyed minx out of his mind, Heero turned his attention to the task of changing out of his now sticky clothing. Once that was accomplished, he hurried out to the kitchen to get breakfast ready. He was just finishing setting out the danishes on a plate when Duo emerged from the bathroom, dressed and hair braided.

"Danish?" Heero offered, holding out a plate.

Duo's eyes lit up. "Oooh, thanks! I love these but Quatre won't let me eat them."

"Why not?"

"Something about a sugar rush and hyperactivity, but I don't really know what he's talking about," the boy said, taking a large bite.

Heero resisted the urge to yank the pastry from Duo's hands and throw it as far away from the braided boy as possible.

"So when can we have sex?"

Heero choked on his own pastry. "Wh…what?"

Duo giggled. "I know you want to take things slow and get to know each other first. And I really admire that. Shows how much of a gentleman you are. But…" He licked his lips hungrily as he looked at Heero. "But simply watching you take a bite out of that danish has already made me half-hard again."

Heero was really glad he didn't have anything in his mouth that time. "Duo…" he warned, glaring at the young man.

"What? I'm nineteen. I'm *supposed* to be a horny teenager." He gave Heero a look that made the older man squirm. "So how long do we have to wait?"

"Uh, Duo - getting to know each other takes time."

"Well how many dates does it usually take for you to sleep with someone?" Duo asked, smiling innocently at him. "On average, I mean."

Heero blinked and turned red. He couldn't believe he was actually having this conversation. "I don't know. Seven maybe?"

"Seven? Heero, I'm shocked. I would have thought at least twelve."

"Well every situation is different, Duo. With us it may take longer…"

"Oh no! You said seven. Last night counts as one," Duo insisted, holding up one finger. "Six more to go! If we go out to lunch today, that'll leave five."

Heero snorted. "Why not throw in dinner as well and knock it down to four?" he asked sarcastically.

Duo shook his head. "No can do. It's Saturday. I have to help out at the orphanage tonight."

Heero cocked his head in contemplation. "You really enjoy it over there, don't you?"

Duo put down his danish and looked away. "Yes and no. I love the kids, but that place holds some unhappy memories for me. I was sent there after my parents died. Don't get me wrong - Father Maxwell is a wonderful man. He took me in and loved me, but it was still hard. I missed my parents, and yeah, while it was great having a lot of kids around to play with all the time, it was hard to watch them get adopted one by one, leaving me all alone."

"And you never were?" Heero murmured.

Duo shook his head. "Father Maxwell is my uncle and only living relative, not to mention my godfather. He and my father were brothers. He felt he owed it to my parents to look after me and not leave me in the care of strangers." He shrugged. "It's not like I wasn't happy. But seeing one friend after another leave with a new mom and dad… it hurt sometimes."

"I can imagine."

"Anyway, Father and Sister Helen loved me and I didn't always show them the same when I was a kid. So now I'm trying to make up for it now. Besides, I like working with the kids. They're so much fun, not to mention adorable and cute…"

"Like you," Heero interrupted, causing Duo to blush.

"Uh, yeah. Anyway, I've spent every Saturday night and Sunday morning helping out at the orphanage and the church. It's my way of showing Father and Sister Helen my thanks for taking care of and loving a brat like me."

Heero laughed. "I'm sure they don't consider you a brat. And it's a very admirable thing you are doing. But there's just one problem with it."

Duo frowned and stood up straighter. "What?"

"Just how I'm going to be able to handle not seeing you on Saturday nights," he replied, sighing melodramatically.

Duo blinked at him. "You mean… you don't mind?"

"Mind? Why should I mind? It's something you obviously enjoy doing. What right do I have to ask you to stop?"

Duo stared at him for a long moment then launched himself at Heero. "Thank you," he mumbled, burying his face in the older man's chest.

"What for?" Heero asked, wrapping his arms around the younger man.

"For understanding." He looked up to meet Heero's gaze. "No one I've ever gone out with has understood. My last boyfriend broke up with me because of it."

Heero snorted. "His loss then," he said, kissing the top of Duo's head. He continued holding the smaller man for a few moments before gently prying him loose and shoving a styrofoam cup of orange juice into his hand.

"Finish your breakfast, Duo."

Duo grinned. "So can we meet for lunch?"

"Don't you have to go to work today?"

"Nope. I called Quatre and he gave me the day off." He looked up at Heero. "What about you?"

"Looks like you're in luck. Today's my day off." He reached out and took Duo's hand. "And since I won't get to see you tonight, how about we spend the day together and get rid of one of those dates?"

Duo's eyes lit up as he squeezed Heero's hand. "I'd love to."

The following morning dawned gray and cloudy. Duo suppressed a yawn as he straightened up the hymnals and prayer books in the pews, cleaning up after Sunday mass. He hadn't gotten much sleep the night before - he'd been so keyed up after spending the whole day with Heero walking around the city that sleep had eluded him for most of the night. Just thinking about the dark-haired detective made his stomach flutter as though a thousand butterflies were trapped inside. Duo smiled softly to himself and kept working.

"Hiya, Duo!"

The braided boy looked up to see a small child sitting on her knees in the pew in front of him, grinning at him.

"Good morning, Cecily," he replied, smiling at the little girl. Cecily was only six years old and never failed to seek him out every Sunday after mass to say hello. Duo felt the girl had a secret fascination for his braid. "How are you this morning?"

"Fine. I'm just waiting for Momma and Daddy to finish talking to Father Maxwell," Cecily said, leaning over the back of the pew to watch him. "Whatcha doing?"

"Tidying up," Duo said, shoving another hymnal into the correct holder.

"Oh." The child watched him work for a moment before asking, "Hey Duo, what's a sidekick?"

"A sidekick? Well, I guess a sidekick is like a hero but not as strong. You know, like Batman and Robin. Batman is the main hero and Robin is his sidekick."

"Oh," the little girl said again, suddenly looking perplexed. "Well, do you have a hero?"

Duo had to smile at that. "I guess you could say that," he said, thinking of his own `Heero'. He looked up at the girl again. "Why did you want to know?"

"Because Momma said you were a sidekick and I didn't know what she meant."

"She said I was a sidekick?" Duo asked, confused.

"Uh huh." Before Cecily could say anything else, a woman entered the church and called out her daughter's name.

"Cecily! Come here right now!" she said, looking warily at Duo.

"Okay!" Cecily hopped down off the pew and ran down the aisle to meet her mother. Duo stood up as well.

"Good morning, Mrs. Kirkpatrick," he said, waving at the woman.

"Good morning, Duo," she replied stiffly, giving him another hard look before grabbing her daughter by the hand and walking out of the church. Duo frowned. Usually Cecily's mother would stay and chat with him for a few minutes after mass. But today she had seemed almost cold towards him. Come to think of it, a lot of people had been giving him strange looks all morning.


Duo looked up to see Father Maxwell enter the church after saying his good-byes to the last of the congregation.

"Hello, Father. I'm almost done cleaning up," the long-haired young man said, moving to the next pew.

"Wait a minute, Duo. There's something I think you need to see." The aging priest held out a newspaper for him to take. Duo threw his uncle a questioning glance before taking the paper and unfolding it. What he saw on the front page caused him to gasp.

His own face stared at him under a headline that read `POLICE SEEK PSYCHIC'S HELP IN TEARDROP CASE'.

"Psychic… not sidekick," he mumbled to himself as he quickly skimmed the article. He felt his stomach sink as the article mentioned him by name, the details of finding the Peacecraft girl's body, even where he worked at Quatre's clinic. The article also included a few details of his vision of Relena - details he'd told only to Heero. Suddenly he wanted to throw up.

"Duo," Father Maxwell said gently, placing a comforting hand on the boy's shoulder. "I know you don't like talking about your special talent but… *are* you helping the police?"

"I *was*," Duo replied bitterly. "I was helping that detective - you know, the one you spoke to when the police thought I had something to do with that poor girl's death. He promised I'd be involved as little as possible. But now…" He crumbled up the newspaper in his hands angrily. "Geez. No wonder people were looking at me funny this morning."

"But why would he go to the papers with the story?" the priest asked.

"I don't know." He handed the newspaper to the Father. "But I intend to find out."

Heero took the stairs two at a time, smiling to himself as he recalled the day before. He and Duo had walked around the town, enjoying one another's company, having fun, and laughing. Laughing - he couldn't remember the last time he had laughed so much. Duo was bringing out a side of him he didn't know he had. And he was enjoying every minute of it.

He reached the second floor and was surprised to see Trowa waiting for him outside the door to the homicide department with a grave expression on his face.

"Trowa? What's going on?"

"I take it then that you haven't seen this morning's paper," his partner said.

"No, I haven't."

Trowa handed him the newspaper he'd been holding. Heero looked down and saw Duo's picture on the page. "Shit."

Trowa snorted. "That's not the worst of it. Treize is looking for you."

"Double shit." He looked at his partner. "How the hell did this happen? You're the only one I told about the details of Duo's vision." He narrowed his eyes. "You didn't--?"

"Of course not," Trowa scoffed. "You know I would never compromise a case like that. Even though I still don't believe in that kid's hocus-pocus mumbo-jumbo-" Heero rolled his eyes. "-I still wouldn't do that."

"All right, all right. I believe you." He peered over Trowa's shoulder to look through the glass door. "I suppose I'd better go in and face the firing squad. Get it over quick."

Trowa placed a hand on Heero's shoulder. "It was nice knowing you."

"Very funny." Taking a deep breath, he pushed open the door and stepped inside.

Trowa had been right. Captain Khushrenada was waiting for him inside. From across the room, he could feel Wufei's eyes glaring angrily at him. He avoided looking at the Chinese detective and followed Treize into his office.

The ginger-haired captain didn't say a word. He simply sat down in his chair, tossed a the morning paper onto his desk, and looked at Heero expectantly.

"Look, sir, I don't know how…"

"Oh I can guess how the paper's got a hold of this story," Treize said calmly. "It's that damned leak in the department again. What I want to know is when did the department start consulting with psychics to help solve our cases?" He looked back at Duo's picture. "Especially `psychics' that were once considered suspects."

Heero swallowed. Treize was speaking in a calm, rational manner. He hadn't screamed at him once. And quite frankly, that scared Heero to death.

"Sir, if you don't mind me saying so, we haven't had any concrete leads in the case. It's time to start grasping at straws. None of what the kid saw may pan out, but until this case is solved, I'm going to follow up on every lead that comes my way."

Heero could see a vein pulsing on Treize's forehead. "I can understand your dedication, Yuy. But do you have any idea how embarrassing it is for the department for people to know that we've been reduced to consulting with so-called psychics because we can't figure out this case using old fashioned detective work?" He pinched the bridge of his nose, taking deep breaths in order to keep his temper. "Do what you must, follow up on any leads you might have, but for God's sake keep a low profile on this. Now get out of here before I decide that this is a really, *really* bad idea."

Heero didn't have to be told twice. Treize's attitude was scary. Heero could always tell when the man was truly angry - the angrier he was, the quieter he got. He closed the door behind him and heaved a big sigh of relief.

"How'd it go?"

Heero looked up to see Trowa standing in front of him. "I think I have just stared into the face of death."

Trowa snorted. "Well you aren't bleeding, so I'd say you got off light."

"Thanks, Trowa," Heero said dryly.

"No problem. And by the way, you have a visitor."

Heero jerked his head in the direction of his desk to see Duo standing there, looking very upset. Heero swore under his breath and hurried over.

"Duo," he said, reaching out to the obviously distressed boy.

Duo drew away. "You didn't ask me what's wrong. I guessthat means you've already seen the paper."

"Duo, I…"

"How could you? You know how I feel about… about people knowing about my fucking so-called `gift'," Duo said angrily, turningaccusing eyes on him. "You promised me no one would know. You said you'dleave my name out of it."

"I did. I tried. I only told Trowa what you told me." Duo still didn't look convinced. "Duo, there's a leak in thedepartment. The press has been able to report the smallest details of our cases for months now. I don't know how but somehow whoever it was got windof your story." He reached out again only to have Duo avoid histouch once more.

"Please don't."

"Duo, are you mad at me?"

"Yes. No. I don't know." He shifted uncomfortably on his feet. "I guess… I know it's not your fault. But… you should haveseen the looks people were giving me this morning. One of the children's mothers didn't even want me *talking* to her daughter.Everyone's acting like I'm some kind of *freak*."

Heero could see Duo was trembling. He wanted nothing more than to reach out and hold Duo, but knew the hurt young man would only draw away again.

"Duo, I'm so sorry."

"I know," the young psychic said, sniffling. "I'm just too upset right now to be sociable. I'm going to go home." He lookedback up at Heero. "I'm *not* mad at you, but I just need to be alone fora while. I'll call you soon."

Heero sighed as he watched Duo walk away. Things were just going from bad to worse. No, today was definitely not going to be a good day.

Duo hummed to himself as he walked down the street, grateful that there were not many people out in the middle of the surprisingly warm weekday afternoon. The article about him had been in the paper five days ago, but people were still giving him odd looks. He hated it, hated feeling like everyone was watching him, observing him like some specimen under a microscope. Even the patients at Quatre's clinichad been looking at him either like some kind of lab experiment or as something to be feared. At the end of his first day of work after the article had been published, Duo's nerves had been so shot thatQuatre had ordered him to take a week off to relax and let the whole matter settle down a bit. If it ever would settle down. His little secret was out now, and it would be difficult for people to forget. For the millionth time in his life, he wished he'd never been born withthe ability to have these stupid visions. He never wanted them. Allhe'd ever wanted was to be normal.

Then again, had he been normal, he probably would have never met Heero.

Duo hugged himself at the thought of the older man. After he'd calmed himself down after the little confrontation with Heero at the police station, Duo had called and apologized to him. Thankfully, Heero had understood, and they were back in the blissful stage of the fledgling relationship. Sadly, Heero's job didn't leave him with awhole lot of free time, so he and Duo had only seen each other twice since the previous Sunday. But they had plans for tonight. Date number five. Two more to go.

Duo smiled to himself as he walked along, remembering the feel of Heero's mouth on his skin. He knew he was falling hard for the detective, and that scared him greatly. But he also knew he'dneverfelt like this about anyone ever before. Ready or not, he was falling in love with Heero Yuy.

<< FLASH >>


<< FLASH >>

Duo stopped in his tracks and looked around. An uneasy feeling settled in his stomach as warning bells went off inside his head. Something was wrong.

<< FLASH >>


<< FLASH >>

His breathing sped up as he looked up and down the deserted street. Something wasn't right. His instincts were screaming at him torun away, to find some people, to call Heero - anything but remain where he was. Looking over his shoulder one last time, he turned and walked quickly down the street.

The neighborhood was quiet - almost too quiet. And it wasn't oneof the nicer neighborhoods. When a car horn from the next street over shattered the silence, Duo jumped and looked around again. Then he chastised himself as the feeling of panic began to subside. Perhaps he was just jumping at shadows.

He laughed at himself for being silly and turned back around. He'd only taken two steps when he felt someone move behind him. Before he could turn, a pair of strong arms wrapped around him. One hand plastered itself over his mouth to keep him from screaming as he was dragged into a nearby alley. Duo struggled but whoever had a hold of him was too strong. Then he felt the cold sharpness of a knife against his throat. Immediately he froze, eyes open wide in terror.

He felt an unshaven cheek nuzzle the side of his face. Duo shifted his eyes but couldn't see who his captor was. Suddenly he felt a tongue slide up the outer edge of his ear. Duo closed his eyes and whimpered as a rasping voice whispered into his ear.

"Hello, pretty."

on to part 10

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