"His name is Alex Mueller." Heero blinked, not recognizing the name, but accepting the hastily typed copy of the preliminary report from Otto as Wufei continued speaking. "We took prints from the corpse and ran them through the database. Mueller's name came up rather quickly."
"He had a rap sheet, a rather long one," Otto added. "He'd been arrested for lots of different things, from possession to domestic assault and attempted rape. He'd been in and out of jail most of his life, at least up until a couple of years ago."
"We talked to his parole officer," Wufei continued, addressing Treize this time. "He said that Mueller had gotten a steady job as a late night loader on the docks and had managed to stay out of serious trouble for eighteen months. He said Mueller was small time hood, but he would never have imagined him as our serial killer."
Treize snorted softly. "They never do. It's always the person you least suspect."
"Yeah, well… we got Mueller's address and raided his apartment.He's our guy, all right." Wufei picked up some photographs and handed them to Treize, who flipped through them, grimacing, before passing them to the next person in the room. "We had a crime scene investigation team there all night sorting through his belongings. We were looking for any evidence which might tie him to the murders. We found it - in spades."
The photos were passed to Heero. He looked down, shuffling through them, frowning. The pictures were of a makeshift shrine in Mueller's bedroom. An entire wall was covered in newspaper clippings and photographs of the dead young men and women. Candles left burning on a rickety table surrounded a photograph of a young man with long dark hair. On the table in front of the picture, were several indiscriminate items. Heero didn't look at them too closely. Wufei's investigation team could cover that. He just wanted to know if his theories were correct.
"We found several items belonging to each of the victims. It seems this guy liked to take souvenirs of his victims home with him. Some were ordinary objects: a ring, a hair barrette, an article of clothing. But others were more gruesome. We found a finger and a - piece of a man's anatomy in a jar." Wufei turned a little pale when he stated that little piece of information. "We know who the finger belongs to, but do not yet know who the - other - belongs to. We suspect there may be as many as four bodies we have not discovered yet."
"Have you been able to determine why he was killing his victims?" another officer asked as Heero passed the photos on.
"We've got a profiler working on it. The most likely scenario she's given us is that he caught his lover, the young man in the photograph, cheating on him. We haven't been able to identify the guy in the picture yet, and he's not one of the bodies we've uncovered. She says the lover was probably cheating on him with a woman, hence why he went after both sexes. That's also why he attacked victims with long hair - seems to be a turn-on for him."
Heero shuddered at the thought of Duo in that man's hands.
"And the teardrop?" someone else inquired.
Wufei shrugged. "You don't really need to be a criminal psychologist to understand *that*. The lover broke his heart. He was taking out his rage and frustrations on his victims."
Heero shifted impatiently in his seat, wishing for Wufei to get to the point of why *he* was there. He glanced at the clock. He wanted to be out of there and at the hospital in twenty minutes. But that wouldn't happen if Wufei kept yammering.
The conversation about motive and why no one had suspect Mueller continued for the next several minutes. Finally, unable to wait any longer, he interrupted the next question and asked, "What about Relena Peacecraft? Was there evidence of her being one of the victims in the apartment?"
Wufei looked at him steadily in the eye for a moment before replying. "No. There wasn't."
Heero leaned back, eyes closed in frustration, but not surprised. He could feel the others' eyes on him, no doubt looking from him to Wufei in confusion. But let them wonder. He wasn't about to discuss the Peacecraft case in front of them.
This was what he had feared, what he and Trowa and Wufei had suspected and had discussed with Treize. Relena Peacecraft had not been murdered by the serial killer. Whoever killed her wanted to make her look like just another random victim to throw off their investigation. He sighed. Things were becoming more and more complicated by the minute.
The briefing mercifully came to a close a few minutes later when it became obvious the other detectives weren't going to get any more information out of Heero or Wufei. The Japanese detective stood, wanting to get out of there as soon as possible. He'd almost made it to the door when Wufei's voice called him back.
"Yuy, a word, please."
Heero turned to face the other cop. "What?" he snapped, wanting to be gone already.
"How's Trowa?" the dark-haired detective asked, eyes softening in concern.
Heero's shoulder's slumped. "He'll be all right. He might have to go through some physical therapy, but he should have full use of his arm again in time. He has to stay in the hospital a few days, but he should be back at his desk at least by the end of next week."
"Aa. That's good to hear." Wufei shifted uncomfortably for a moment before asking, "And the kid?"
Heero's eyes slid closed at the thought of Duo. "He's… he's a bit shaken up. They kept him at the hospital overnight for observation. I'm heading over there now to pick him up."
Wufei nodded. "He's been through a lot." He looked at Heero. "I…I know you have come to care a great deal about him. Take care of him. Something like this… it'll be hard to get over."
"I will. Thanks, Wufei."
"Tell Trowa I'll stop by later to visit."
Wufei laid a hand on his Heero's shoulder. "Get some rest, Heero. We'll need to start looking into the Peacecraft murder soon."
Heero nodded. "I didn't want to be right, you know."
"I know. But we'll catch whoever did it. Now… go pick up your boyfriend. We've still got a lot to do here and we don't need you around to do it. I'll see you bright and early tomorrow."
Heero hurriedly pushed open the door to Duo's hospital room, half-growling with impatience and frustration. The briefing had run over, traffic had been terrible, and he'd gotten hung up at the nurse's station signing all the paperwork in order to check Duo out. He'd had all the paperwork and bills put in his name the night before when Duo had been brought in as he knew Duo couldn't pay for it all himself. He didn't mind - taking care of Duo had somehow become his number one priority. But he cursed all the bureaucratic red tape he had to wade through before Duo could be released. He was anxious to get his little love home, and had nearly scared the on-duty nurse senseless glaring at her as he slogged through the paperwork.
He was worried about Duo. The boy hadn't said much the night before after being unable to identify his attacker. The paramedics had taken him to the hospital along with Trowa, afraid the braided boy was going to go into shock. Heero hadn't wanted to leave him there overnight, but after seeing the condition Duo was in - not speaking, eyes blank - he'd relented. But he wasn't going to leave him there alone for longer than absolutely necessary. He was going to get Duo home and take care of him. They could worry about everything else, including Relena's murderer, later.
He stopped abruptly upon entering Duo's room as he saw the bed was empty. For a moment his heart stopped as his mind started to overreact. Had something happened? Had he left by himself? Waves of panic began to wash over him as he imagined Duo wandering the streets alone after what had happened. But then a slight movement next to the window caught his attention. His shoulders sagged with relief as he saw Duo standing quietly next to the window, already dressed and looking down at the street, fiddling nervously with his braid. Heero hurried over and laid a comforting hand on Duo's shoulder.
"Duo? Are you all right?"
The braided boy turned silently, wrapping his arms around Heero and placed his head on the older man's chest. "You're late," he murmured, burying his face in the crook of Heero's arm.
"I'm sorry. I got stuck in…"
"I want to go home," Duo interrupted, not looking up.
Heero squeezed Duo a little harder and nodded. "I just want to check on Trowa, then I'll take you to get settled at my place."
"No. I want to go home - *my* home."
Heero closed his eyes. He'd been afraid of this. "Duo, love - you can't go back there. It's a crime scene now. There are bullet holes in your walls and - and the blood hasn't been cleaned up yet."
"I want to go home," the braided youth insisted.
"No! I want to go *home*. I can't - I can't let him *win*. If I leave my apartment… if I run away… he's won." He sniffled againstHeero's shirt. "I can't let him win."
"You *have* won," Heero said, holding him closer. "He's dead. He can't hurt you anymore. But - you need to come stay with me. At least for a little while until we can get your place cleaned up. Okay?"
Duo didn't say anything for a minute. Heero held his breath, afraid Duo would press the issue, but he let out a sigh of relief when Duo nodded. "Okay."
Heero gave him another brief squeeze before releasing him. He took hold of Duo's hand and led him to the door. "I'm going to stop by to check on Trowa, then we'll go."
Duo nodded again and followed along silently behind. Trowa was on a different floor than Duo. The two rode the elevator up to the seventh floor where Trowa had been moved to a private room earlier in the day. Heero put his hand out to open the door, but paused when he felt Duo tugging on his arm.
"I… I think I'll wait out here," he said, dropping Heero's hand.
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah. I know your partner… doesn't like me very much. Waiting out here would probably be for the best."
"All right. I won't be long," Heero promised, dropping a kiss on Duo's cheek. He left Duo standing just outside the door. He entered the room quietly, not wanting to disturb Trowa should he be asleep. He peeked around the corner to see one emerald eye glittering at him.
Heero stepped fully into the room. "Hello, Trowa. I'm not disturbing you am I?"
Trowa shook his head. "Can't sleep. Shoulder hurts too much and those harridans they call nurses won't give me any more pain medication."
Heero smirked and put on a fake Jersey accent. "You want I should go beat some out of 'em, boss?"
Trowa snickered. "No. I'll be fine. I can take the pain. It's Marie's incessant worrying over me that's hard to bear."
"Where is your lovely wife anyway?" Heero asked, glancing around the room. Already he could see Marie Barton's touch by all the flowers and little decorations scattered about the room.
"I sent her to the cafeteria. She hadn't eaten a thing since she got the call last night and rushed over here." Trowa's expression grew serious. "How was the briefing?"
"We got him, Trowa. We got the bastard that's been killing all those kids."
The green-eyed detective closed his eyes. "Thank God. That's one nightmare over." His eyes slid back open. "What about…"
"We were right," Heero replied softly. "Relena was murdered by a copycat."
"Shit," Trowa said vehemently, wincing as he overextended his injured shoulder. "Any leads then?"
"None yet." He gave his partner a small smile. "That's why you need to heal quickly so we can get back to work."
"Ah HA! I knew it! I *am* the brains of our operation," Trowa teased. A moment later his expression turned serious once again. "How's the kid?"
"Duo's fine… I think. He's waiting outside for me at the moment.I want to get him home as soon as possible and get him into bed. To sleep," he added, giving his partner a mock glare. "I don't think he's slept at all since last night."
"I understand. But do me a favor? Send him in here before you go."
"Trowa, I don't think…"
"Please. I'm not going to say anything bad to him. I just want to thank him."
Heero looked at his partner for a moment before nodding. "All right. But be quick. You both need your rest."
Heero walked back to the door and stuck his head outside. Duo looked surprised to hear that Trowa wanted to speak with him. He didn't want to go in, but Heero grabbed his arm and dragged the unwilling boy into Trowa's room, pushing him into an empty chair next to Trowa's bed. The braided boy wouldn't look Heero's partner in the eye. He simply sat in the chair, hands folded nervously in his lap.
"I'll leave you two alone. I'll be back in ten minutes," he said.
"Thank you, Heero," Trowa replied before focusing his attention on Duo.
Duo stared down at his hands, unable to look Heero's partner in the face. The man didn't like him - could barely stomach his presence in fact. Why on earth did he want to speak to him?
"Duo, please look at me," the soft baritone commanded, softly but firmly.
Duo swallowed and looked up, determined to take whatever Trowa had to say to him without breaking down.
"What did you want to speak to me about, Mr. Barton?" he asked, hoping his voice didn't waver too badly.
Trowa held his gaze for a long moment. Duo could feel himself start to shake under the injured man's scrutiny. He was about to look away again when Trowa finally spoke.
"Do you love him?"
Duo blinked. "Wh-what?"
"Heero. Do you love him?"
"A simple yes or no will do."
"Yes!" Duo blurted out, eyes widening in surprise as he slapped his hands over his mouth. He couldn't believe he'd just said that. He hadn't admitted it out loud before. But… he decided he liked the sound of it. He felt Trowa's gaze still on him and winced.
"Good. I don't want to see him hurt."
If Duo had thought his eyes couldn't open any wider, he was wrong. "I could never hurt him," he replied, shuddering at the thought.
"I hope not." Now it was Trowa's turn to look uncomfortable. "Anyway, thanks."
"Thanks? For what?"
Trowa looked at him incredulously. "For what? You saved my life! You got free. You could have used his distraction to run to safety - which is what you should have done! - but instead you put yourself at risk and kept that bastard from putting a bullet through my head."
"O-oh." Duo bit his lip, not quite knowing what to say. "You're welcome."
"I also want to apologize," Trowa continued. "I shouldn't have treated you the way I did. It was unprofessional of me, and you did nothing to deserve it."
"That's okay," Duo said hastily, squirming under Trowa's gaze. "I get it all the time…"
"It's not okay." The injured man sighed and looked away. "Look, I don't believe in psychic powers. My sister… when her husband died she was taken by a con artist claiming to be a psychic who could let her talk to him. She lost everything. I've had an inherent mistrust of so-called 'psychics' since then. And when you came along… I thought you were looking for something too. But I know now that you are not."
Duo blinked rapidly as his eyes began to sting. "I… I just wanted to help."
"I know. And I thank you." He gave Duo a small half-smile. "You'd just better take care of Heero or else I'll come looking for you. And I know of several good places to hide bodies."
Duo let out a little laugh. "I'll be sure to remember that. You really care for him don't you?"
"He's my best friend and the brother I never had. And I'll admit that makes me just a tad overprotective of him. I just want to see him happy," Trowa said. "That's another reason why I was so hard on you. I could tell you were attracted to him. I didn't want another annoying lust-struck fool following him around all the time."
"Yeah, he told me about Relena pursuing him," Duo replied, amazed to find himself warming up to the older cop.
"Pursue? Try full fledged stalking. I know it's wrong to speak ill of the dead, but Relena Peacecraft was one psychotic bitch."
"But… I thought…"
"I don't know what Heero told you, but he probably didn't tell you the whole truth. Relena chased him relentlessly. She'd show up at work with flowers and baskets of muffins, wearing the skankiest outfits you've ever seen. She'd follow him to the pub and hang all over him. When he told her he wasn't interested, I think that made it worse. I don't think anyone had ever told her no before. That just made her even more determined to have him. Her pursuit know no bounds. He even came home one night and found her naked in his bed."
Duo sat stunned as he listened to Trowa's story. He'd had no idea it had been that bad. "What did Heero do?"
"He politely shoved her out the door and told her if she showed up like that again, he'd have a restraining order placed on her." Trowa snorted. "If it had been me, I'd have kicked the crazy bitch out, buck naked, and had her arrested for breaking and entering. But you know Heero - ever the chivalrous type."
"Did she back off?"
"For a while. But then it started up again about two weeks before she disappeared. She started calling Heero at all hours of the night. He didn't get much sleep. I was about ready to kill her myself when she went missing."
The venom in the older man's voice made Duo shudder. He wasn't at all sure Trowa was just joking. He looked up as Trowa's emerald gaze caught his again.
"Just make him happy, kid. Heero deserves someone who can love him unconditionally."
"I'll do my best," Duo promised. He stood up and glanced at the door, wondering where Heero could have gotten to. At that moment the door swung open and Heero strolled in, proceeded by a petite woman with fiery red hair.
"Look who I found outside," Heero said, nodding at the woman who hurried over to Trowa's side.
"Trowa-darling, how are you feeling?" she asked with a slight European accent, momentarily ignoring Heero and Duo.
"No better or worse that the last time you asked, Marie," Trowa replied. He gestured at Duo. "I don't think you've met my wife. Mariemeia, this is Duo Maxwell - Heero's boyfriend."
Duo saw Heero's eyes widen at Trowa's seeming acceptance of their relationship. He smiled warmly at Trowa's wife and took her hand. She used his hand to pull him into a hug.
"You're the one who saved my husband's life," she said, squeezing him tight. "Thank you so very much!"
Duo felt his cheeks redden in embarrassment. "Uh… you're welcome."
"How can I ever repay you for bringing my Trowa back to me?" the diminutive redhead asked.
From behind her, Trowa chuckled. "You could probably start by letting the poor kid go, dear. I think you're cutting off his air supply."
The woman meeped and jumped backwards, abruptly letting the braided teen go. "I didn't hurt you did I?"
"No," Duo replied, turning redder. "I'm fine."
"Good, good." She turned to Heero and winked. "He's cute. You need to hold onto this one."
Both Duo and Heero blushed. Heero glanced at Duo and gave him a little smile. "Aa. I think I will."
Duo felt himself growing warm inside. He clutched at that warmth desperately, no longer feeling quite as cold inside as before.
"You two will have to join us for dinner one night," Marie insisted, taking Trowa's hand in hers. "Once he gets out of hospital of course."
"I… I'd like that," Duo said meekly, glancing at Heero to see what he thought of the idea.
The Japanese detective nodded. "As long as you're buying, Trowa."
The green-eyed cop snorted. "On top of hospital bills and medical leave? You're going to be working overtime to cover for me. *You* can pay."
"How about neither of you pay and I'll cook?" Marie asked good-naturedly.
Trowa and Heero both readily agreed. Duo tried to keep up the rest of the conversation, but his vision was starting to fade around the edges. He blinked sleepily and clutched at the back of the chair, trying to stay on his feet. He hadn't slept at all the night before, and now it was beginning to catch up with him. Fortunately, Heero noticed he was swaying on his feet and moved to help support him.
"I think I'd better get Duo home and into bed before he drops," he said to the Bartons, allowing Duo to lean on him.
"Oh you poor dear," Marie replied, looking worried. "You two go get some rest, and we'll have that dinner at first opportunity."
"It was nice meeting you, Mrs. Barton," Duo said sleepily.
"Please, call me Marie. And thank you again for all that you've done for us."
Heero said his final good-byes, then led Duo out the door and to the elevators. The violet-eyed teen could feel Heero's worried gaze on him.
"Are you all right, Duo?"
"I'm just really tired," Duo said softly. "Does it take long to get to your apartment from here?"
"Not long," Heero replied.
"Good." Duo was too tired to say anything more. All he wanted was to get to Heero's place and go to sleep. The numb, cold feeling was returning. He just wanted to close his eyes and let the events of the day fall away into the oblivion of sleep.
Heero threw his keys down on the bar, kicking the door closed behind him. He glanced worriedly at Duo. The young man had once again lapsed into silence on the drive over. Heero didn't know if it was because he was tired or because of… other things.
"Are you hungry? Can I get you anything?" he asked, ready to move heaven and earth for his little love should he ask.
Duo shook his head. "Would… would you call Quatre for me? Let him know where I am?"
"I think… I think I'd like to use your shower…if you don't mind."
"Of course I don't mind. You know where everything is, don't you?"
Duo nodded again, then shuffled off toward the bathroom. Heero watched after him until he disappeared behind the closed bathroom door. He leaned against the kitchen counter and sighed. Duo's moods were see-sawing up and down. That couldn't be good.
He grabbed the phone and quickly dialed Quatre Winner's number, thankful Duo had given it to him earlier that week. Dr. Winner was both relieved and upset to hear that Duo was at his place. He wanted to come over and pick Duo up, but Heero politely refused. He told Quatre that he'd have Duo call him in the morning, then hung up before the good doctor could protest further. From behind the closed bathroom door, he could hear the shower running. Thinking he had a few minutes before Duo emerged, he busied himself around the loft, tidying things up.
Half an hour later, Heero was staring at the bathroom door in worry. The shower was still running and there had been no peep from the long-haired boy since he had disappeared inside. Anxiety overcame prudence, so he walked over and knocked gently on the door.
"Duo? Are you all right?" No answer. "Duo?"
He turned the knob and stuck his head around the door. A muffled whimper came from the vicinity of the shower. Through the steam, Heero could make out Duo curled up in the corner of the shower.
"Oh God, Duo! Are you all right?" he asked as he rushed over and threw open the door of the walk-in shower. Heedless of the water streaming over his fully clothed body, he knelt down next to the quivering boy. He reached out and lifted Duo's face from where it had been buried against his knees. His skin was red, as though he had been scrubbing too hard.
"I… I… I can't get clean. I can still feel… it hurts…" Duo stammered, eyes shining bright with unshed tears. He rubbed furiously at his face, his body stiffening in resolve. "But… I am *not* going to let him get to me. I can't." He went to push himself off the floor, but Heero pulled him into his arms before he could stand.
"It's okay to cry, you know. You don't have to be strong all the time. I can be strong for us both if you need to cry."
"But…" Duo began as two tears slipped down his face.
"Shhh. Let it out, Duo. Just let it out."
Heero held Duo in his arms, gently rocking him back and forth as the lukewarm water streamed down over both of them. Duo's body was wracked with sobs as he cried his heart out onto Heero's shoulder. Heero rubbed soothing circles along his back until the sobbing quieted down, leaving Duo only with a mild case of hiccups.
"Yeah. Thanks," the long-haired teen replied, sounding somewhat embarrassed.
"Come on. Let's get dry before the water turns icy."
He helped Duo stand, reaching out with one hand to turn off the water. Stepping out of the shower, he grabbed a big, fluffy towel from a nearby rail and wrapped it around Duo's shivering body. Violet eyes looked him up and down as Heero began towel drying his limbs.
"I made you all wet," the younger man said mournfully.
"It's only water. My clothes will dry."
He made Duo sit down on the plush mat in front of the toilet, wrapped snuggly in a warm, dry towel. He stripped his wet shirt from his body before grabbing his hair dryer from under the sink and sitting down on the toilet seat behind Duo. For the next several minutes, he spent his time drying and brushing out Duo's glorious head of hair. He could see the younger teen's shoulders relax under his ministrations until he was all but asleep beneath the warm air coming from the hair dryer. When the task was done, Heero set aside the dryer and swept Duo's sleepy form into his arms.
"I c'n walk, H'ro," the long-haired boy mumbled, struggling to keep his eyes open.
"Hn. Sleepwalk maybe." He hit the light switch on the way out, and headed for the bedroom. The apartment was almost completely dark; the sun in its last stages of setting. Heero swept aside the sheets on his bed and gently laid his burden down against the pillows. He untangled the towel from the young man's body and tossed it to the floor. Idly he thought about trying to get Duo into some clothes to sleep in, but the boy was too far gone to help him. Sleeping in the buff wouldn't do him any harm.
He pulled up the sheets, tucking his little love in tightly, then leaned down to press a kiss onto his forehead. He straightened up, prepared to step away from the bed, when a hand shot out and grabbed his wrist.
Heero hesitated, but gave in. Duo might need him during the night. He stripped down to his damp boxers and climbed into bed next to Duo, wrapping his arms firmly around the long-haired teen.
"I'm here. Sleep well, Duo."
Duo mumbled something against Heero's chest, but whatever it was, Heero couldn't make it out as the events of the day caught up with him and he drifted off into the sweet arms of oblivion.
A low moan woke him out of a light sleep. He hadn't been able to fully let go; his body sensitive to every movement Duo made. He had woken up every time Duo had so much as twitched to make sure the young man was all right. The gray light of false dawn was creeping through the blinds, still too dark to see anything. Heero reached out and flipped his bedside lamp on, then turned to look back down at Duo.
The sleeping teen's brow was creased, skin glistening with sweat. His fingers twitched sporadically as his head tossed back and forth. He looked to be in the grips of a nightmare. Heero sat up and reached down to shake Duo's shoulder firmly.
"Duo. It's just a dream. Wake up, Duo."
Duo sat straight up, panting for air, eyes looking around wildly.
Heero rubbed his hand soothingly across Duo's back. "I'm here. You're safe. It was just a dream."
Duo closed his eyes and leaned back against Heero's chest, turning slightly sidewise so he was nestled comfortably in the older man's arms. "Just a dream? Thank God…"
"Do you want to talk about it?"
Duo shook his head, but then began to speak anyway. "I was dreaming about… about him. He was touching me."
"It's not real," Heero murmured, dropping a kiss on the top of Duo's head.
"I know but… I can still feel his hands on me. I feel… slimy, dirty." He peeked up at Heero through his bangs. "Help me, Heero. Make him stop touching me."
Heero swallowed, suddenly aware of just how very close and how very *nude* Duo was next to him. "Duo, I don't think…"
"Please," the long-haired teen pleaded. "Please… just touch me. I want to feel *your* hands on me. Not his."
Heero tried to protest. He didn't want to give in to the request. He didn't think it was very healthy mental wise to concede to Duo's wishes… but those beautiful violet eyes stared up at him with such longing, and the body pressed against his was so warm - he could do nothing but throw all his worries to the wind and gather Duo closer to him.
Heero placed his fingers under Duo's chin, tipping the boy's face upwards in order to claim his mouth. Duo accepted him readily, shifting his body for better access. He opened his mouth, allowing Heero entrance. The Japanese detective moved one of his hands to the back of Duo's head, burying it in the long silky waves of his hair. The other wandered down the boy's side, coming to rest on Duo's bare hip.
Their tongues moved together, first lazily, then much more urgently. The small whimpers emanating from the back of Duo's throat excited Heero. He stroked Duo's hip, eager to wring more of the sexy sounds from his little lover.
Duo broke off the kiss, gasping for air. He threw his head back, giving Heero complete access to his throat. The older man nipped and sucked at one tender spot as his hand moved from Duo's hip to his stomach.
"Ahh, Heero," the long-haired boy moaned, running his own hand up and down Heero's chest. Their hands wandered, exploring each other's bodies for a moment, before Duo sprang up, changing position to straddle Heero's legs, bringing him face to face with his older lover.
"That position was a little awkward," Duo explained, taking one of Heero's hands in his and pressing it against his chest. His expression grew serious. "Touch me, Heero," he begged, eyes pleading once again.
"Duo, I…" Heero began to protest again, struggling to regain control over his own emotions, not to mention his traitorous body, but Duo silenced him with a kiss.
"Please Heero," he said again against Heero's lips. "I want the memory of *your* hands on me, not his." He placed his hand on top of the one Heero was resting on his chest and guided it over his body, moving it down with inexorable slowness. "Touch me…touch me…"
Heero swallowed. Duo's skin was so smooth beneath his hand. He wanted to feel every inch of it, explore every part of his lover's body. He still wasn't sure that this was the best thing to be doing, but the pleading he heard in his lover's voice - there was no way he could say no.
He surged up, capturing Duo's mouth once more. His hands wandered freely, as did Duo's. He explored the smooth, hardened planes of his lover's stomach and chest before finally bringing them up to bury them in Duo's hair. The younger boy gave one last tug to Heero's bottom lip before sliding his lips down, tasting the flesh of Heero's neck. Heero leaned his head back against the headboard in order to give Duo better access. He closed his eyes, allowing his head to loll about as Duo traveled lower. He hissed as his little lover found a particularly sensitive spot, then jerked when Duo sucked a nipple into his mouth.
"Duo," he murmured, hands still buried deep in that hair. The long-haired boy reached up and removed one, placing it on his shoulder.
"Don't stop touching me, Heero. Please."
Heero nodded, not trusting his voice at the moment. He ran his hand along Duo's back, lightly tracing the soft skin found there as Duo moved even lower. His stomach fluttered as Duo's lips moved across his stomach, pausing briefly to slip his tongue inside his bellybutton. Heero's mind was reeling, unable to think about much beyond what Duo was doing to him. A sharp tug at the material around his waist caused him to lift his hips. He was barely aware of what was happening until he felt a warm puff of air against his most intimate region. He looked down and blinked. When had he lost his boxers?
He looked down to see Duo looking up at him with a hungry expression on his face. Heero placed both hands on his shoulders, breathing heavily as he tried to gain control of his body.
"Duo… you don't have to…"
"I know. I want to." The boy dropped his head, taking Heero full into his mouth.
Heero cried out, dropping his head back once more, eyes closed as Duo worked him with his mouth. His own hands caressed every part of Duo's body he could reach - which wasn't much. He trailed his hands down the boy's back, then underneath to tease and play with the hardened nipples found there. Duo groaned at the touch, the vibrations sending little shocks of pleasure up and down Heero's arousal.
So engrossed was he in Duo's ministrations and the feel of warm, silky skin beneath his fingertips, he barely heard Duo fumbling around on the night stand. The sound of a lid being snapped open didn't register - the world had been reduced to three things: Heero, Duo, and Duo's talented little mouth. Nothing else mattered.
A warm, wet tongue found its way into the little slit at the tip of his arousal, lapping greedily at the moisture found there. Heero moaned loudly, unconsciously bucking his hips into Duo's mouth, wanting to feel more. Both he and the long-haired boy moving over him moved together in a kind of quiet desperation, each possessing nothing more than a desire for the other and a need to make the events of the past few days go away.
Heero's hands returned to Duo's hair. He clutched handfuls of it as if to remind himself of what he'd almost lost. He'd come so close to losing Duo. And he knew now he could never let him go.
Duo's mouth abandoned him, leaving his member slick, wet, and aching with need. The boy climbed back up Heero's body, settling over his lap, as he attacked Heero's mouth with a vengeance. Heero accepted the invasion with a moan, his tongue sparring with Duo's in a kind of ancient, primeval battle. The long-haired teen's hands guided Heero's to his hips, then sliding them around to clutch at the creamy smooth globes behind. Heero felt Duo shift position, raising himself a little higher, then slowly moving back down.
He broke off the kiss with a startled gasp as he felt his arousal press against something warm - something that gave when Duo applied a little more pressure. All rational thought fled his mind as his shaft was gradually sheathed in the warmest, tightest place he'd ever experienced. Duo lowered himself onto his body by degrees until at last Heero was completely buried within his body.
Duo leaned his forehead against Heero's, panting as he tried to catch his breath. Heero, too, seemed to be having trouble breathing.
"Duo," he panted, trying hard not to move, wanting nothing more than to bury himself into that tight heat repeatedly.
Duo's eyes were closed, brow furrowed in concentration. When Heero breathed his name again, Duo silenced him with a kiss. "No more words, Heero. Make love to me."
Heero groaned silently at his little lover's words. His body ached to follow through with Duo's request, but his mind still held doubts.
"Duo, I still don't think…"
"Then don't think!" Duo interrupted vehemently. "I know what I'm doing. I want this. I want *you*." He pulled back a little to look Heero in the eye. "Unless… you don't want me."
"I want you," Heero replied without any hesitation. "Dear God, I want you."
"Then there's no problem," Duo said, squeezing him internally.
Both young men gasped; Heero in pleasure, Duo with a hint of pain. Heero noticed the slight crease to his lover's forehead and froze. He reached up to cup his lover's cheek. "You should have at least… you know… let me prepare you."
Duo shook his head. "I took care of that already," he said, motioning toward the now discarded bottle of hand lotion on the night stand. Heero let out a little moan as he immediately pictured Duo stretching himself. He was sorry he'd missed it.
"Anyway," Duo continued, "it's not bad. It's just… been a while."
Heero gave an experimental roll of his hips, causing Duo to moan appreciatively. "You stop me if I'm hurting you," he said, giving in to temptation and repeating the motion.
"I'm not made of glass. You aren't going to hurt me. Now shut up and touch me," his violet-eyed lover commanded, lifting himself up slightly before impaling himself back onto Heero's shaft.
Their movements were slow and clumsy at first. Duo moved almost frantically; Heero was determined not to hurt his young lover. The Japanese man gripped Duo's hips to get him to slow down a bit. Gradually they established a steady rhythm, moving in tandem to one another. Heero pressed his lips to every inch of skin he could reach as he helped Duo move up and down. After a few moments, Heero allowed his hands to wander again, lightly brushing Duo's arousal trapped between their bodies.
Duo moaned and tossed his head backwards, hair tumbling over his back like a golden waterfall. Heero's breath caught in his throat. Duo was so beautiful - he felt his heart expand as he gazed at his little lover in the dim light of dawn.
Duo increased the pace slightly. Heero gripped his hips to help him move, unable to do much else besides *feel*. The clench of Duo's internal muscles around him, the ends of that wild mane of honey-brown hair tickling the tops of his thighs - his senses threatened to overwhelm him. He'd had sex with a number of different people in the past, and while some of it had been mind blowing, none of it had ever felt quite like *this*. Soul-shattering… that was the only way he could describe it. Of course, he'd never been in love quite like this before either. He wrapped his arms around Duo, pulling him closer as if somehow trying to climb into the boy's skin. He wanted to become one with Duo in every way imaginable. He hugged him tighter, remembering how he'd almost lost Duo. He never wanted to let go.
"Nnnnh, Heero," Duo moaned, grinding his hips against his lover's.
Heero kissed him deeply. Duo whimpered in the back of his throat and whispered Heero's name again imploringly.
"What is it, Duo?" he asked, reaching a hand between their bodies to tease the pulsing shaft found there.
"I… I want… ahhhh," the long-haired boy wailed. His sweat-soaked skin gleamed in the encroaching light, giving him an otherworldly appearance. Heero drank in the sight.
"Tell me what you want, koi," he murmured into Duo's ear, lightly stroking his lover's back with his free hand.
"I - ah - I want…"
"What do you want?" Heero asked again, teasing his fingers along Duo's length.
"M…more," Duo finally managed to get out. "Harder. Please,Heero."
In a flash Heero flipped them effortlessly over onto the bed. Duo bounced on his back a couple of times until he wrapped his long legs around Heero's waist, hands clutching fistfuls of bed sheets in an almost painful grip.
Heero grunted, shifting his angle a bit as he sped up the pace, causing Duo to arch his back and let out a low, keening wail. The boy's eyes were closed, head thrown back against the pillows, lost in complete ecstasy. Heero was now pounding roughly into the lithe body beneath him. Duo writhed and squirmed against the sheets. Heero had to bite his lip - the sight itself was almost enough to push him over the edge.
"Heero, Heero, Heero," Duo chanted over and over like his own personal mantra. "Touch me, Heero."
The Japanese man could do nothing but comply. He grasped Duo's arousal in one hand, pumping in time with his hips. He thrust his tongue into Duo's mouth, establishing a counter rhythm. Duo whimpered, his body trembling. Heero knew his lover was close. He wasn't far off himself. What had begun as a delicious white hot tingle had been steadily building through his lower region until his body was ablaze with its intensity. He reached for one of Duo's hands, twining their fingers together.
"Heero!" Duo cried out, clenching convulsively around him in the first stages of orgasm.
"Yes, Duo. Soar with me," Heero replied, thrusting once, twice more before bellowing Duo's name. The world disappeared as tiny electric shocks coursed through his body, radiating outward from where he and Duo were joined. He felt Duo stiffen beneath him, felt the hot splash of his lover's release against their stomachs as he too spent himself deep within Duo's warm, pliant body. They trembled together for what seemed like an eternity wrapped in the space of a few heartbeats before Heero collapsed on top of Duo, panting heavily.
For a long while, neither said anything as each tried to catch his breath. As the moment of silence stretched, Heero levered himself off his lover to look down at him. Duo was staring back, big purple eyes shining as tears rolled down his face.
"Oh God. Did I hurt you?" Heero asked, body frozen in hear at the thought of harming his little love.
To his immense relief, Duo shook his head. "No! That was… that was… it was amazing." He reached up to cup Heero's cheek tenderly in his hand. "*You're* amazing. You didn't have to do that. I kinda bullied you into it, didn't I? I'm sorry."
Heero placed a loving kiss on Duo's lips before replying, "You didn't force me to do anything I didn't want to do," he said, trying to waylay Duo's fears. "I was just worried about you."
"I know. Thank you."
They kissed again, this time lazily, just enjoying being in such an intimate embrace with each other. But the moment couldn't last. Heero's arms eventually gave out on him, and as he didn't want to crush his lover, he carefully pulled out of Duo's body and on to his side, gathering Duo into his arms. They lay in each other's arms, kissing and lightly touching for several minutes before either one of them spoke. Duo shifted uncomfortably against him. Heero looked at his lover in concern.
"Are you sure I didn't hurt you?" he asked, worried.
"Yes, I'm sure. I'm just trying to find a place to lie on that isn't so… wet," Duo replied, blushing.
Heero laughed softly before drawing Duo on top of him, holding him easily against his chest. "Is that better?"
"Uh. Yeah." Heero could see Duo blushing again.
Once again they settled into a comfortable silence as Heero lightly stroked Duo's hair. He'd never felt this at ease with anyone before. He was comfortable with Duo. Holding him like this felt *right*. He wanted to fall asleep like this with Duo forever.
"Stay," he said compulsively, eyes widening as he realized what he was going to say.
Duo raised his head to look down into his eyes. "I'm not going anywhere, Heero."
"No. I mean - when your apartment is fixed. Don't go back. Stay here… with me."
Duo stared at him for a long moment. "Heero… are you asking me to move in with you?"
"I… yes." Duo didn't say anything. "You don't have to answer right away."
"No, I… are you sure?"
"More than I've ever been in my life."
He heard Duo's breath catch. "I love you, you know."
"Aa. I love you too." He lifted his head to catch Duo's lips with his. "So will you?"
"Hm, I don't know. I have an awful lot of stuff," Duo teased, eyes shining.
"Baka. We can redecorate."
Duo gave Heero a funny look. "Why do I get the feeling 'baka' isn't a compliment?"
"You haven't answered my question."
Duo sighed and rolled his eyes. "Of course I'll move in with you." He laid his head back on Heero's chest. "Quatre's going to have a fit."
"Quatre's just going to have to live with whatever *you* decide."
"I know. Doesn't mean I have to like telling him, though." He snuggled against Heero. "Mmm, I feel safe here. I'm sorry for panicking like that earlier."
"It wasn't your fault," Heero insisted.
"I… I know. I'm just glad it's all over and I'm here with you." He yawned. "You're comfy. I think I'm going to sleep a little more before we have to get up."
Heero smoothed back Duo's hair. "Go ahead. I've got you."
"Love you, Heero," the long-haired teen mumbled as his body relaxed into sleep.
"Aishiteru, koi," Heero murmured back, holding the sleeping teen in his arms, feeling guilty for not telling him it *wasn't* over yet. He didn't think Duo would be very happy to learn about that. He shrugged it off. No use worrying about it now. Telling Duo that Relena's murderer was still out there could wait until after they'd both had a few hours of sleep. Squeezing Duo tightly in his arms, he allowed himself to slip back into an easy sleep, feeling warm and loved for the first time in his life.