When It Hurts
Part Two: Exposition
by Dev-Aki Basaa
Piloting a Gundam is its own source of pain.
Be it the jarring sensations of crash landings or the
gravitational momentum of plummeting to Earth; the
sharp metal edges of a cockpit console cutting into
your skin, or the way bones crush when your body
strikes the ground - it's all pain. Pain from an
explosion against your chest - a failed
self-destruction; painful, burning heat as you ride
under a truck; stabbing, throbbing agony as you're
struck with two bullets fired by an idiot in a black
cap and priest's collar.
More still from ripping leather straps by hand,
tumbling end over end down a bluff or the torture of
resetting one's bones.
Every incident hung at his tolerance level and
challenged him, revived him, allowed him to focus on
the mission and piloting. The adrenaline rush kept
him alert and on edge; the agony reminding him of his
humanity. He never doubted his ability to complete a
mission to its fullest because he did not fear pain.
He welcomed it, thrived on it and knew he could handle
any situation thrown at him.
That is, until the words 'lay low' came across his
"Lay low, huh?" The idiot in black, Duo, always stood
too close. It made things coil in the pit of Heero's
He had been reading over his shoulder, again. Damn
him. He was continually *right there*, no matter
where Heero turned on this floating mechanics'
"I got the same shit message," Duo said as he sat down
next to him, perched on the edge of Wing. Heero
cringed at the sound Duo's boot heel made against the
Gundamium. Yet, at the same time, he puzzled at the
extreme warmth he felt with Duo's closeness - a rise
in temperature that did not reflect combined body
temperatures and the anticipated increases.
Was it hot in here?
Heero shifted away from Duo, ignoring his attempt at
conversation. Even if Heero had any interest in
talking, he didn't know what to say to Duo. The only
person he'd ever just sat and talked with for no
reason was Odin and that was so long ago. Never mind
that Duo was *nothing* like Odin Lowe - what would
they even discuss? No. It was far better to just
pretend he wasn't there.
Though, with Duo, that was practically impossible.
"So, anyway..." Duo began. Heero could hear the
annoyance in his voice. "I guess I'll just leave you
alone and shit, huh? Seems like that's all you want."
Heero frowned. It wasn't all he wanted. He wanted a
mission. He wanted what he understood. He wanted to
know why he seemed hyper-aware that Duo was no longer
sitting by his side.
Shoving the last thought aside, Heero began working
through his file system, wiping it clean of the
message he'd just received, erasing every trace. The
clicking of his keyboard echoed in the expansive
hanger, ringing after Duo's receding footsteps.
It only took three days of 'laying low' before Heero
could no longer stand it. He needed his pain, that
release. It didn't just focus him during a mission;
he was discovering how it had balanced and even
cleared his mind. As a focal point it had forced out
all these unending thoughts that now seemed to tumble
through his brain, one over the other, unable to be
stopped. There were blank spots in his memory, what
was he missing? Duo spoke of a kindly nun and priest
in his past and it made Heero wonder how had he come
to be with Odin Lowe? Duo had made some rambling,
excuse-filled apology for shooting him in defense of
'that girl' and it reminded him that he'd thought
Relena seemed... familiar to him. Why would that be?
And Duo! Why had he rescued him? Why was he always
so close? How had Duo come to be a Gundam pilot? Why
did he even think of him so much?!
Dammit! He didn't want these thoughts.
So he needed pain to refocus.
The accidental bumps and scrapes from working on Wing
were not enough. Even working closely with Duo didn't
help. Upon initial analysis, Duo had looked to him
like he'd be the clumsy type, but that wasn't the
case. Therefore, there were no huge disasters, no
tools dropped on his foot, no large pieces of
machinery swinging towards his head. He was mildly
disappointed, but also relieved to learn that Duo
wasn't a complete idiot, after all.
However, he also realized that if he wanted pain, he'd
have to actively bring it on himself.
On the forth day of lying low, Heero found himself
assisting Duo with repairs on Deathscythe, Duo's
Gundam. Interestingly, Duo had gone to great lengths
talking him into helping. Not that Heero would have
said no, actually - he'd stalled just so he could
listen to Duo talk. All his bargaining and justifying
fascinated Heero and, frankly, it was nice to be asked
and not told. Most everything Dr. J had ever said to
him came as an instruction. If not that, then he was
speaking of him as an object. It was tedious and
distressing. So Heero sat back and enjoyed Duo's
rambling, letting himself be 'convinced' for a while,
before he'd finally acquiesced.
They'd been busy for a while when he'd moved from
uploading a file security system he'd had on Wing to
rewiring a faulty perimeter sensor. It was then that
Heero had noticed a red cased pocket-knife sitting on
the cockpit console. Without hesitation, he picked it
up and turned towards Duo.
"Can I borrow this?"
Duo looked up from where he was adjusting a seat bolt,
bent over the arm of his seat. His brow quirked for a
moment, but then he shrugged. "Yeah, go for it." And
he turned back to his task; the sound of ratchet
Heero climbed down to the hanger floor, the knife held
tightly in his fist. He considered settling himself
into Wing's cockpit, but Duo was likely to bother him
there if the silence stretched too long. Their
sleeping quarters were communal and there was only one
bathroom. Since he couldn't say how long this would
take him, better not to draw attention by monopolizing
the john. In the end, he located a small closet and
settled himself on the up-turned bottom of a bucket.
Heero knew enough about Duo already to know he
wouldn't let fresh wounds go unnoticed - too damn
curious for his own good - so Heero pushed down his
shorts, exposing the top of his thighs.
The first cut almost made him cry out. He bit his
lip, squeezing his eyes shut and without allowing
himself a reprieve, he sliced again. He let out a
small whimper, but soon the sharpness of the pain was
receding and he felt that familiar relaxation come
over him, his nerves settling and his mind finding
focus. Resting long enough to catch his breath, Heero
ran the blade edge across his skin, scraping, not
breaking through. Then, gulping another lungful of
air, he cut again. He sighed for the relief it
brought him. This was what he needed and now he knew
how he could cope with any break in training or
battle. Maybe even the end of the war - if he
survived that long.
Taking another breath, he sliced his skin again.
Heero had half expected Duo to badger him upon his
return. He had taken a fairly long time between the
cutting, resting, tending to the wounds and cleaning
the blade; he thought Duo would question what he'd
been up to. But it seemed that Duo had been up to
Heero wasn't sure what though, at first. The other
boy had just acted very embarrassed and flustered when
Heero had surprised him, sticking his head into
Deathscythe's cockpit to let him know he was back.
Duo had quickly flipped off a screen on his console,
"Hey Heero, back so soon?" he'd said and Heero raised
a brow at both the statement and the odd quiver in
Duo's voice. Then Duo began rambling on about
absolutely nothing of importance - about stripped
bolts and blown gaskets and then hot meals and lots of
exercise. Nothing that actually made sense together
in one long gush of words. Also, Heero noticed, Duo's
hands were out of control, threading through his
bangs, messing with his shirt, tapping on the cockpit
wall and playing with the end of his braid, all in
quick succession. Heero waited out this little show
with a kind of curiosity. He folded his arms across
his chest, leaning against the cockpit threshold,
letting Duo do whatever the hell he was doing.
Soon, he was excusing himself.
"Gonna go get something from my bed, just some stuff I
left there," Duo had said with a wave of his hand,
toying with the cross around his neck. "You can just
stay here, don't wanna drag you along, wouldn't wanna
be a pest you know, ha ha ha."
Duo couldn't leave fast enough. Heero simply nodded
his response as Duo hurried past him and made his way
down Deathscythe. Then he practically ran across the
hanger into the common sleeping quarters. Heero
waited exactly two minutes before he followed after
At the door to the sleeping area, Heero could hear
some soft sounds, but nothing distinct or telling.
Maybe the sound of someone changing their clothes,
little more. At that thought, Heero scowled, his
annoyance directed inward. What was he doing? Hadn't
he just gone to lengths for his own privacy? No
matter how suspicious Duo seemed, there was no reason
for Heero to be spying on him in this manner. Duo had
proved to be very little threat. This was absurd.
However, just as Heero turned away from the sleeping
quarters door, he heard a sound that stopped him dead
on the spot.
Images flashed in Heero's mind, so fast and furious he
couldn't sort or analyze them. Distant memories,
answering feelings - nothing clear. No, that wasn't
true. There was one thing he did know - the only
certainty. He'd heard a sound just like that before.
So similar, only... deeper.
Another groan floated to Heero's ears from behind that
door and gooseflesh rose on his skin, the hairs of his
nape stood on end. Turning slowly, Heero returned to
the door and pushed it open, just enough to peer in.
He could barely see Duo. He sat on his top bunk, his
back towards the door, but at an angle. Heero could
see his profile, mostly. The light from a room across
the quarters cast an outline of Duo's body, a glow
that shimmered against his arched neck and caught the
frantic movement of his hand, rising and falling
repeatedly at his groin.
Watching Duo, the memory solidified. Heero recalled
moans, grunts and groans. Rutting. A large burly man
and his poor victim. The roughness, the intensity.
That smaller man's pain.
Heero's body reacted to that thought; his body reacted
to the sight of Duo's hips jerking forward and the way
he moaned as orgasm overtook him. Heero found his own
breath shallow, panting in rhythm with Duo's heaving
Heero turned away from the door, willing away the
tenting in his shorts, his mind buzzing. It didn't
have to be non-consensual. It didn't have to have
that emotional pain - not if he didn't want it to.
Heero stopped, hearing the sound of running water -
probably Duo cleaning up in the sleeping quarter's
bathroom. He may be returning to the main hanger
soon. Heero launched forward, making his way up Wing
as quietly as he could manage. He swung himself
inside the cockpit and opened a diagnostic program,
giving the impression he'd been occupied for some
time. However, his mind returned to his musings, even
as he heard the thump of Duo's footsteps across the
hanger floor. New source of pain. Intense,
"Hey, you up in your Gundam?"
As he waved a hand just beyond the cockpit threshold,
Heero tried to focus his mind back towards the
original efforts of fixing and upgrading their
Gundams. Yet even as Duo clamored into Wing, his
litany of pointless talk already begun, there was
still one thing that Heero couldn't shake from his
mind. An image that may well be imprinted on his
The look on Duo's face as he came.