Lies - Between Friends and Lovers
by Dyna Dee
Quietly shutting the front door behind him, Duo leaned against it for a moment in order to collect himself. He was trembling inside after the encounter with his two former comrades. No, that wasn't entirely true, he corrected himself. This unsettling reaction was a result from seeing Heero again, from dealing with the past and, more specifically, their ugly breakup. A little warning would have been nice, not just the couple of minutes that had passed after the call from the lobby had come with the announcement that two Preventer Agents were requesting to see him. After hearing Jacobson describe them as two Asian men there had been little doubt in his mind as to their identities. He'd only had time to don his robe and go to his guest room to rouse Shelly before the first knock sounded on his front door. Damn, of all nights for she and her boyfriend to have a fight. He sighed deeply and roughly rubbed his hands over his face. Well, there was nothing to be done about it. Shelly had spent more than one night in his guest room due to boyfriend troubles, and he doubted it would be the last.
A smile crept to his lips as he recalled the heated glare Heero had directed at the beautiful actress as he zipped up her dress. Nice move that. There was absolutely no doubt that his former lover had gotten the wrong impression, and the flash of jealousy Heero displayed gave him more pleasure than he cared to admit. He wasn't quite ready to delve into his own response to Heero: his pounding heart, sweaty palms and churning stomach, or what the combination of those three reactions meant. And even though he was happy to have reconnected with Wufei, the Chinese Preventer wasn't the one who had caused him to feel so stressed. At least he'd given a good performance, hiding the fact that Heero's sudden appearance on his doorstep had really rattled him. Hell, he hadn't posed in front of cameras for four years without learning what facial muscles to use to pull off a certain "look". Yup, he was fairly certain he'd hidden his discomfort and acted cool and calm, just like he'd always envisioned himself doing if he and Heero should cross paths.
Locking his front door, more from habit than a precaution, he walked back into the living room and to the sofa, where he sat in the exact spot Heero had occupied five minutes earlier. The leather was still slightly warm, he realized with a slow growing smile. Yet his grin faltered as he caught the direction his thoughts were going and mentally scolded himself for being foolish. After their ugly break up five years ago, he'd be nothing short of a certifiable idiot to read anything into Heero's sudden appearance or his contrite apology. Looking at their encounter logically, Heero's apology was simply nothing more than an attempt to put the past behind him, to clear his conscience. To believe Heero had remained unattached because he might have harbored some kind of romantic feeling towards him was ridiculous. No, just because he'd never been able to exorcize the memory of that untamable, chocolate-colored hair, the deep blue eyes perfectly set on such a handsome, unforgettable face, or the closeness and passion they'd once shared, he had no reason to believe his former lover thought about him as anything other than his first romantic involvement gone bad.
Bringing his legs up, he stretched his long and lean body out along the sofa. Bringing his hand up to his chest, heslipped it into the opening of his robe and took a deep breath, willing himself to calm down. As his heartbeat gradually slowed, he became more aware of the skin beneath his fingertips, that it was soft and warm. Closing his eyes, his thoughts shifted to the past and he remembered how Heero's hands had once caressed his skin. Shifting his hand, he brushed past a puckering nipple and absently toyed with it for a moment, recalling the nearly forgotten memory of how Heero's mouth had teased him and how exciting it had been between them as they shyly explored each other's bodies and discovered the reactions certain touches brought as they ventured into the unknown realm of sex. Yes, most of the time spent he'd been with Heero had been new and wonderful as they journeyed into that pleasurable, formerly unknown territory, and he couldn't regret one moment of their time together, despite their having met and fallen in love while fighting through two wars. Not even their miserable, painful breakup could make him regret what he'd once shared with the boy from L1.
He was still puzzled by the fact that he and Heero had managed to fall in love, despite the harshest of circumstances of war, only to have it all fall apart as soon as they obtained peace for Earth and the colonies and were no longer needed as gundam pilots. Well, at least he'd thought they were no longer needed. Heero, obviously, had other ideas on that subject.
Shit. He removed his hand away from his body and out of his robe and threw his arm over his forehead, letting the cool, satin sleeve rest softly over his eyes. He couldn't help but recall the last time he'd been with Heero. That day was anything but a good memory and it had taken him a long time to get over it, if he ever really had. All the frustration and anger that had been building between them after that damn meeting with Oz's former Colonel Une came to a head on that last day. Why couldn't Heero understand that just being in the room with their former enemy freaked him out? After all, she'd tried to kill him and Wufei when she'd turned off the oxygen to their cell on the moon base. Before that, she'd also threatened to open fire on the helpless colonies if the gundam pilots didn't surrender. Heero almost died as a result of that demand, pushing the self-destruct button on Wing rather than surrender. He didn't trust Lady Une then, and couldn't find it in himself to trust her now as the Director of the Preventers.
But she wasn't the only reason he hadn't wanted to join Preventers. After the second war had come to an end, he just didn't have it in him anymore to fight the good fight. Deathscythe was gone, having been blown into smithereens along with his alter ego, Shinigami, the mystical entity he'd conjured up in his mind that had allowed him to fight like a vengeful demon. No, he never understood why Heero couldn't accept his decision not to be a Preventer, especially after he'd given him his reasons. He'd even pointed out that he'd never been good at taking orders from authority figures and bristled at being told what to do, believing he could figure out a better way of doing things himself. As much as he'd loved Heero, he knew joining ranks with the Preventers just because his lover wanted him to would only lead to disaster. His heart just wasn't into saving the universe, only a small desperate part of it: namely his life with Heero.
Seeing that his thoughts weren't getting him anywhere other than in a depressed mood, he sat up and left the comfortable sofa, wandering over to the windows that looked over Central Park. Damn but he loved the view. Looking down, he caught a glimpse of a taxi pulling up to the curb in front of the apartment building, and two uniformed men rushed out and through the backseat door only seconds before the yellow car zipped out into traffic and joined the many other cars on the busy street. He shouldn't have been surprised by Heero and Wufei showing up on his doorstep, in fact, he'd discussed the possibility with his other two friends. Unfortunately, he'd done exactly what Quatre had told him he shouldn't; he'd accepted Heero's apology and made an overture of friendship. Damn, but his timing sucked. He couldn't afford to be distracted by Heero at the moment. His time, work and freedom were much too important to be endangered by Preventer Yuy and his suspicions. Too many people counted on him to be able to do his job right. Too many lives were on the line for him to mess up. He'd charted the course he was on, knowing there were risks and consequences, but they were worth it. And, dammit, he couldn't let his heart interfere. He gave his head a rueful shake. No doubt about it, his timing always sucked when it came to matters of the heart.
Taking in a deep breath, he slowly let it out again. By the time he took the next one, he had resolved to put Heero out of his mind. He'd accepted the other man's apology and that was that. He wouldn't contact Heero, and if by some small chance the Preventer agent in charge of Relena's disappearance called or emailed him? Well, he'd just wait and see. He had managed to live five years without Heero Yuy in his life, he could survive it if they didn't cross paths again. Trying to convince himself of that, he turned from the scenic view and walked to his bathroom. It was time to put thoughts of his past away and begin yet another busy day, despite it being Sunday.
Their return to Sanq had been relatively uneventful yet seemed to last just as long as the trip to New York had, with all its delays. It was mid Monday morning before Heero finally unlocked the door to his apartment. The rooms were noticeably stuffy from being closed up for two days, so his first task was to open the windows and let in the cool morning breeze to freshen the stale air. Completing that simple task, he opened his refrigerator and poured himself a tall glass of orange juice. After a couple of swallows he paused, wiping his mouth with the back of his free hand and sighed wearily. He was in need of a good eight hours of sleep, in his own bed. The trip to New York had been unproductive in respect to Relena's disappearance, he reflected. Beginning with his and Wufei's official visit with Duo and ending with a quick visit to the restaurant where the well-known model claimed to have dined the night of Relena's disappearance. Wufei took the official statement from the restaurant's manager who had indeed verified that Duo was there with Alana Stevens, an actress of some renown, though not as wildly popular as her friend Shelly Cheval.
Following that interview the two Preventers then made a hasty return to their hotel. Though they'd checked out before going to the restaurant, the front desk had readily agreed to secure their luggage while they conducted their official business. Once they'd claimed their bags, they took a wild taxi ride to the airport only to wait for three hours before boarding the next flight to London. Inclement weather kept the plane circling Heathrow for more than an hour before landing and then they waited another two hours for the departure of their flight to Sanq. Once the plane had touched down on more familiar soil, he and Wufei drove directly to the office in the wee hours of the morning to file a quick report, after which they had every intention of going home and catching up on some much needed sleep. Having submitted their report they stopped by the cafeteria for breakfast only to find it closed for yet another hour. They reluctantly settled for grabbing a bite to eat from the vending machines before parting ways.
As the agent in charge of Relena's case, he could only conclude that the trip to New York was a washout, but Heero was secretly glad with the outcome. Several workers in the Italian restaurant had unequivocally verified Duo had been dining in that establishment on the night Relena disappeared, immediately removing his name from Preventers' Persons of Interest list. On a personal level, however, his meeting with Duo had been more successful than he could have possibly hoped for. Not only had his former lover listened to his apology, but he'd accepted it as well. Even now, a day later, he could scarcely believe it. For five long years he'd felt the weight of remorse and guilt in both his heart and mind. Wufei had been right, he'd wrapped those feeling like a millstone around his neck. They had effectively crippled any chance he had for being successful in another relationship, of getting over Duo and moving on with his life. And to be truthful, he had tried to move forward.
It was more than a year after Duo had fled the planet with Quatre and Trowa before he'd felt lonely enough to work up the nerve to try dating again. Yet each person he took out failed to spark any strong feelings within him, other than short-term attraction. He quickly lost interest in each and every date after discovering some inexcusable flaw in their character, personality or conduct. He never found anyone as stimulating, amusing or satisfying as Duo had been.
For a long time the American had haunted his thoughts during the day and visions of his former lover followed him into his dreams at night. He'd wake up some mornings with an aching erection that had been fueled by dreams of nights long past, of hands that worked magic on his body, of a mouth that teased and aroused his passion. Their physical coupling had always been amazing and more than satisfying, and he hadn't realized until he'd engaged in sex with several would-be lovers that what he and Duo shared had been something special, far more intimate than just having sex and seeking release of pent up desires. He'd come to the conclusion that it had been their mutual, emotional connection that had made their love making a more intense and satisfying experience. He'd never felt that way with anyone else he'd had sex with. He'd known from the very beginning of their relationship that his feelings for Duo were unique, especially when he experienced a sense and almost overwhelming sense of urgency when it came to the long-haired pilot. His need to touch Duo was, at times, almost unbearable. His fear for the other boy's safety and well being had been incessant, and most of all, his need for the long-haired pilot was like he'd nothing he'd ever experienced before, and sometimes that need even threatened to override his objectives for winning the war against the enemies of the space colonies.
It had taken him a long time, months after Duo had been taken to L4, to realize that what he'd felt for the other boy could mean only one thing, that he had been deeply, irrevocably in love with his teenage lover. Seeing him again in New York, after five long and lonely years, he realized his feelings for the American hadn't changed, despite Duo being more unattainable than ever. He'd blown his chance for happiness a long time ago. Recalling again that his own actions had cost him the one person who fit him perfectly, who made him feel whole and what it was to be loved, dimmed the flicker of hope he'd felt upon leaving Duo's apartment the day before, on better terms with his former lover. Duo would never give him a second chance, he sadly admitted to himself.
Shaking himself out of his dreary thoughts, he found himself standing in the doorway of his kitchen, facing the living room and in danger of spilling the forgotten glass of juice in his slack hand. Foolish, he thought, to be wool gathering when he had other concerns to attend to. He finished drinking the rest of his orange juice, rinsed out the glass and then walked with purposeful strides towards his bedroom and began to undress, tossing his discarded clothing onto a nearby chair. Naked now and with the sudden urge to be clean, he strolled from his room the short distance to the bathroom intending to take a quick shower.
While standing under the stream of hot water, he couldn't help but review his entire conversation with Duo, hoping to find some clue that might hint at his former lover wanting him back as more than just a friend. The popular model had shown compassion by accepting his apology, but he recalled that Duo hadn't tried to touch him, nor did he invite him to stay. If he were interested, he was certain that Duo would have flirted, maybe even venturing to invite him back for a drink or meet somewhere for a coffee, giving them an opportunity to mend the five-year gap in their lives. That Duo hadn't reached out to him in any such way left him feeling like a door had been slammed in his face. He'd asked Duo to email him, but would he? Should he be the one to make the next move? He vaguely recalled the other man telling him to drop him a line.
He left the shower and returned to his room, wiping the excess moisture from his body as he went. With a last vigorous rub of his wet hair, he tossed the damp towel on top of his discarded uniform. He knew he shouldn't leave a wet towel on top of his work clothes, but at the moment he was just too tired and preoccupied with thoughts of Duo to care.
Throwing back the blankets on his bed, he climbed between the sheets and luxuriated in the feel of the cool cotton against his skin. Pulling the covers up to his shoulders, he tucked his arms beneath them, curled onto his side and settled himself for sleep.
Duo's face was the image he visualized behind his closed eyelids. He envisioned the man wearing the short, brown silk robe he's worn the day before, which clung in an enticing manner to his tall, slender frame. His own body began to react to the tantalizing memory, and in the safety of his bedroom he allowed his mind to fuel his body's urges. Rolling onto his back, he reached down to the waking member at the juncture of his legs and began to encourage the ache there, imagining it was Duo's hand on him. And instead of his own fingertips brushing across his chest, it was Duo's seductive lips teasing his stomach and nipples. He arched upward, craving the imagined meeting of their bodies and turned his neck to the side, anticipating the soft yet knowledgeable lips pressing against his pulse. The fantasy continued until he found a gasping rush of release that was almost instantly followed by an emotional letdown. As his heart slowed and the euphoria of his orgasm ebbed, he threw an arm over his forehead and sighed with disappointment, knowing that the fantasy he frequently conjured in his mind could never match up to the real Duo Maxwell.
The sound of his phone ringing woke Heero at approximately two p.m. Sitting up in his bed and willing himself to focus, he answered it, mildly distracted by the dry cum on his belly and hand. "Hello," he said in a gruff voice.
"Yuy?" It was Milliardo Peacecraft.
"I was wondering if you were coming into the office this afternoon."
"Has something new come up?"
There was a lengthy pause before the other man answered. "No, but I was hoping you might look over what we have to see if you can come up with a new direction in Relena's case."
Heero mentally sighed, knowing Peacecraft was rightly fretting over his sister's disappearance. He didn't have any family of his own, but he knew from past experience how much it hurt not to know where Duo had gone after their last fight or even if he'd gotten the medical help he was sure he'd needed. Regardless of Milliardo's anxiousness, there wasn't much to go on. Still, he found himself capitulating to the neediness in the other man's voice. "Sure. I'll look it over. I'll be there in roughly a half hour, but don't get your hopes up. From what I've seen, neither Relena or her kidnapers left a trail to follow. Without a ransom note or a body we don't have anything to go by at the moment."
"I refuse to give up on her, Yuy." From the sound of it, Peacecraft was becoming angry but whether it was with him or the situation he wasn't sure.
"I didn't say you should," he replied. "I'm just telling you not to get your hopes up."
Pause. "So Maxwell didn't pan out?"
"No. He has a solid alibi for that night and time Relena disappeared."
"It's not that I wanted to find out he was involved," the blond man said, "I was just hoping for a lead, some clue, any clue that might help us find her."
Heero could hear the anguish in the other man's voice. Having learned of Milliardo's past, that he'd lost his entire family and even Relena for many years, he could understand his desperation to find his sister. "I know," he answered sympathetically. "We just have to believe she's all right."
Another long pause ensued before the blond ended the call, saying, "I'll see you in a half hour then."
"Right." Heero hung up the phone and resigned himself to spending the rest of the evening going over statements, passenger lists for airline, train and car rental businesses, searching for some clue as to what happened to Relena Peacecraft.
It was nearing 11 p.m. before Heero was able to call it a night. He gave his computer a disgusted look for its failure to yield any results after he'd spent hours viewing the data that had been gathered from hotel registries, logs from the city's taxi service during the night Relena had disappeared. As he predicted earlier that day, the airline passenger lists were thoroughly scanned, but to no avail. The trail, if there had ever really been one, had gone cold. Discouraged by their lack of progress, Noin had left the building four hours earlier, with Milliardo following two hours later. Both had dark circles under their eyes and were haggard in appearance. Relena's disappearance was exacting a toll on her family, and Heero wondered if he should ask that the two be removed from the case. He immediately squelched that idea. With two large, concurrent and important cases, he needed all the help he could get. The one thing he could count on was Milliardo's complete dedication to finding Relena.
Grabbing his keys and wallet, Heero left his office, turning the light off as he went. Tomorrow they'd try again from a different angle. Having found nothing suspicious other than a few petty criminals working scams within the travel industry, he'd spoken to Milliardo about obtaining the logs from companies having made outgoing shipments from Sanq within forty-eight hours from Relena's disappearance. The tall blond agreed to get onto it first thing in the morning.
The Chinese food Noin had delivered for their dinner earlier that evening had not settled well in his stomach, and as he drove out of the nearly empty parking lot, he decided he was going to have to drink some of that pink, chalk-like medicine that sat in his cabinet if he was going to get any sleep.
With the radio off, he drove in the direction of his apartment while his mind wandered back to the day before, and more specifically to Duo Maxwell. Duo had always been attractive, but Heero had to admit he'd never been more appealing than he had been standing in the doorway of his apartment, with his hair slightly mussed and wearing the bronze, silk robe and boxers. Duo had exuded an inordinate amount of confidence and sex appeal, even though he was obviously less than pleased to see who had come knocking at his door that morning. And those eyes of his, they had been the windows to so many emotions: anger, pride, and disdain. They were magnificent. But it was the memory of those blue-violet eyes softening just before they'd parted ways that came back to him throughout the day, and the memory was still there, even now when he was tired and wanting nothing more but to go to bed.
Heero suddenly became aware that he was parked in his assigned space at his apartment. He blinked, wondering how he'd gotten there so quickly. His grip on the steering wheel tightened as he realized he'd fantasized about Duo all the way home, conjuring up in his mind the delectable image the American had presented them the day before. "Idiot!" He mentally chastised himself for his daydreaming. He had two important cases to concentrate on and didn't have time to spare for personal thoughts and fantasies.
Getting out of his car, he locked it then headed for the elevator. As he took the final steps towards his home, he came to the decision that he should banish any thoughts and images of Duo Maxwell from his mind - at least until he solved both mysteries of Relena's disappearance and the identity of the space marauders. And after that? Well, he would just have to wait and see.