by Dyna Dee
"I'll be watching your work Heero, and if I find your lifestyle is affecting your job performance, I'll force you to seek professional help or you'll lose your job."
I acknowledge Une's statement with a nod and a glare of unhappiness at her seeming lack of trust in me and in butting into my business. Turning once again, I leave the room, my rapid, forceful footsteps clearly indicating my anger to anyone unfortunate enough to be in my path. No doubt the scowl on my face is the reason those workers in the hallways are giving me a wide berth as I storm my way back to the sanctuary of my office. Once I reach it, I throw myself into my chair and turn to my computer screen.
"So what if Duo's gone." I mumble angrily to myself. 'Maybe he was right to leave. We weren't friends anyway, or so he claimed, so I can't be hurt or lonely because the idiot's gone. I always have Alex to hang around with.' Those thoughts ring hollow in my mind. My eyebrows draw in tightly as I remember my last conversation with Duo, which ultimately brings back the plaguing doubts that have come into my head since the day we fought in the car. Duo isn't an idiot; I probably know that more than anyone and, somehow, he knew that other than sex, Alex and I don't have anything in common. To my knowledge, my live-in lover has never played basketball or bowled, and the closest he's come to playing pool was when he was naked and on his back on Quatre's billiard table. Alex dismisses even the hint of a suggestion of any kind of physical activities, other than sex, saying that if he did work out and one of those disability investigators that has been bugging him lately took a picture of him, capturing his more than capable abilities, he would lose his monthly disability check. Alex always finds it amusing that he found a way around having to work for a living. He discovered a young and gullible doctor and carefully seduced him. Once he'd had the man wrapped around his fingers, he coerced him into writing up a false medical report stating he had a slipped disk in his back that prevented him from working. That piece of paper got him the labeled as disabled, and the government pays him enough money in a monthly check to allow him to sit on his ass all day, primping himself for when I come home. The slothful slug of a bedmate cooks only an occasional meal, does only his own laundry and, once in a rare while, washes the sheets and picks up after himself. Those are his only redeeming qualities as a roommate.
Closing my eyes, I sigh deeply. Ever since Christmas ... no, since my argument with Duo, it has become increasing harder to tolerate the man I loosely term as my lover. The word love has never entered my head concerning Alex, and those words will never pass the other man's lips as well. Alex's heart has room for only one person, and that's himself. It's funny, I can't even say that about myself, because for a long time I've hated who and what I am. I hate the nightmares, and the memory of the deaths I've caused and remembering hearing myself laugh in victory when I defeated an enemy, causing his death. How could anyone love me when I loathe myself.
But at least I'm honest with myself, to some extent, in knowing that Alex and I are getting exactly what we want out of our relationship, but it will never be close to anything resembling love. One thing I've learned from all my many liaisons is that sex does not equate to friendship and definitely not love. I've reserved those fleeting feelings for persons deserving those lofty emotions, having had them only for the other four pilots which I'm now ostracized from.
'It won't last,' I tell myself. From the moment that thought pops into my head, I don't know if I'm thinking about my relationship with Alex, or if I was mentally referring to Duo and the other former pilots keeping me out in the cold for an indefinite amount of time. I can count on Quatre and Duo to have soft hearts where I'm concerned, they can't hold out for long, I'm sure of it. Feeling more confident as I come to that conclusion, that this situation will not last for long, I feel a bit better and find I can finally calm myself enough to return to my work.
He nearly scared the shit out of me when he slammed the door open and stormed into the apartment, his eyes dark and forbidding. Who the hell does he think he is glaring at me like that and interrupting me while I'm watching my favorite talk show?
"What's wrong, Heero?" I ask him, trying not to let my irritation show.
With a glare I've come to know as dangerous, he snaps at me. "I'm going to take a shower. I've had a hellish day at work." He throws off his jacket and stomps off towards the bedroom.
Funny, he's had other bad days at work and they almost always centered around his so-called friend, Duo.
Mr. Duo Maxwell, what a prick. He didn't make that much of an impression on me at the ridiculous Christmas get together Heero says he goes to every year. Well, we sure showed them we know how to have a good time. But I'd seen pictures of Duo before that visit, ones that Heero has kept of him in a box under his side of the bed, of all of them, though he'd be mad as hell if he knew I'd snooped into his private things. But damn, his long-haired friend photographs well. My first impression of him was that he's gorgeous. Well, of course, he looks like me enough that we could be mistaken as brothers, and I'm actually jealous of his much longer, thick and vibrant hair, and the color of his eyes, it goes without saying they are an unbelievable shade of blue-violet, making my ordinary brown ones pale in comparison. Wonder what Heero would say if I bought contacts the same shade as his crush/best friend?
I'm not a complete idiot, I know exactly why Heero has kept me around longer than any of his former flings. Only a blind man would be fool enough not to see that Heero lusts after his braided friend. It's odd, now that I think about it, they don't have much of a friendship, but they seem connected in a way that they just can't let go of each other. They've put up with each other's shit and still hang around for more. But Duo Maxwell is an idiot to let Heero enjoy the advantages of his friendship and not require him to give anything back. I should know, I've been living with and giving out to Heero for four months, give or take a few weeks, and though he's sexy as hell to look at and a tornado in bed, his personality is as warm as a brick of ice in an igloo. Out of the bedroom, he's cold and distant and I don't think he's capable of any emotion other than anger and disgust. He always wears this blank expression on his face that only changes in the middle of some sexual act, and that's where I fit in. You see, Heero is used to calling the shots, he has some innate need to have control over whatever situation he's in. Unfortunately for him, that doesn't work well in real life. He can't control all aspects of his work environment nor how people react to him. Duo serves as a good example as so his friend's living in the Winner mansion. I don't think he ever imagined Quatre would kick him out of his home. But as I look up at him in the middle of our usual form of recreation, I can see a trace of liberation in his face, of letting go of all the restraints he puts on himself while we're going at it. It seems to be the only time he can really lower his emotional shields and feel he's in control once again, and I can visibly the change in him as his face softens, the harsh and bitter lines that are usually there disappear. I have to admit that I love that look. That is when Heero becomes incredibly irresistible, approachable and almost vulnerable. It doesn't last long, and it almost makes up for him being an ass the rest of the time. So call Alex selfish and a masochist for sticking around this Jekyll and Hyde character. In return for giving my body to an emotionally dead man, I have a cool place to stay, all the food and t.v. I want, and a bloody sex machine going at me every night. I've got it better than most guys with my limited resources, and I'll do anything I have to in order to keep it this way.
I hear the shower going and am tempted to join him, knowing he usually likes that, but that scowl on his face when he came through the front door was a clear warning not to follow. I'll just be ready to play when he comes out. I look around the room to make sure there is no sign that Kyle has been here this afternoon. There's a reason why I have candles burning each night when Heero comes home from work, and that's to mask the scent of sex in the room. I don't want to risk being kicked out of here, it's one of the better apartments I've stayed in and Heero is more than willing to put up with my laziness as long as I'm ready, willing and able to put out for him, which I always am. I like it here, but I'm not giving up my own pleasures just for Heero, and believe me, I'm too smart to tell him that. Kyle is my secret indulgence, and my assignations with him are all pleasure. He's warm where Heero is cold, thoughtful where my lover is distant and aloof. Regardless of that, I can't afford for Heero to get bored with me or our situation. Maybe, in a couple of weeks, I'll introduce him to another level of debauched pleasure and see where it takes us. Heero usually likes surprises, but only in bed.
The shower goes off and I begin to unbutton my shirt and jeans, sliding them off to leave myself naked for him. No sense beating around the bush with Heero. When he comes home in a foul mood, I know he will want to give it to me hard and fast. That's fine by me, as long as he uses lube.
The door to the bedroom flies open and Heero is standing in the door frame in all his bronze-skin glory, his chest glistening, still slightly damp, and his mop of damp hair, ruffled from a quick swipe of a towel, falling in a sexy way into his eyes, and wearing only a loosely draped towel that covers his lean hips. His eyes lock on me, standing in the living room naked and becoming aroused at the sight of him, and I guess I meet his approval as he gives me a crooked, knowing smile, as if he expected nothing else from me. With the crook of his finger he motions me into the bedroom and a shiver of anticipation courses through me. This is going to be fun.
Two rounds and a very sore ass later, Heero collapses next to me breathing heavily. Our labored breathing is the only sound in the room for several minutes before I venture to speak. "What went wrong at work today?" I ask while lying flat on my back and reaching for the towel, used and discarded earlier and lying next to my head. I carefully begin to clean myself off and turn my head to look at him for an answer.
"Duo quit and left after our fight three weeks ago. Une won't tell me where he went," he answers with a tinge of bitterness in his voice.
"Well, maybe it's for the best," I say, trying to sound consoling, though I've not had much practice at that and it comes out sounding rather awkward.
Heero snorts with disgust and turns away from me, pulling up the blankets up to his shoulders to cover his nakedness.
"After all," I continue, not liking the strained silence, "you two haven't gotten along in quite a while. It's probably best that he moves on."
"Shut up Alex, you don't know what you're talking about," Heero snaps, and that really irritates the hell out of me when I was honestly trying to be nice to him. I hold in my angry retort, not being anybody's fool. I learned quite young when to talk and when to shut up for self preservation's sake, but I'm fuming right now and Heero lies next to me as silent and cold as a stone. That's the thanks I get for putting out, twice. My ass is painfully sore and I know I'll be calling Kyle tomorrow after Heero goes to work to tell him not to come over at his usual time. I'm not going to be in the mood or physical condition to have him plow into me after Heero's rough assault tonight. I sigh deeply, turn over, pull up the covers up and over my bare shoulders and focus on going to sleep. Damn bastard.
Looking up from the report in front of me, I glare at the vid phone, willing it to stop ringing. It's almost been impossible to get any work done today, especially when the phone interrupts my concentration every five minutes. I hit the I.D. display number and see that it is one Heero Yuy calling me. Taking in a deep breath and readying myself, I hit the accept call and the vid screen button. Heero's troubled face flashes up on the screen, he's frowning and looking a bit frustrated.
"Heero," is my simple, somber greeting.
"Trowa," he says back, then continues, straight to business as usual. "Duo's gone, do you know where he is?"
"I might," I reply evasively. "Why do you want to know?"
He glares at me, obviously not wanting to reveal anything. "We had a fight a month ago and then he quit the Preventers. I've checked with his landlord and he left that weekend donating all his furniture to the homeless shelter." He then lowers his voice, speaking more softly. "We parted badly and I want to make sure he's alright."
"We've had contact with him and he's doing better than he was when you last saw him, Heero. He's got a job and a place to stay. He's fine, so you can let your conscience rest on that part."
"He won't answer my e-mails, does he have a new address?" he asks while getting a paper and pencil in hand.
"Yes, but I'm not giving it to you. Duo knows your e-mail address very well, and if he wants to contact you, it will be entirely up to him."
"Trowa," Heero growls out my name. "I have rarely asked you for anything, but I need to talk to Duo."
Now I was getting angry, thinking of all the hurt and pain Heero has given Duo over the last couple of years. Hasn't he hurt him enough? Why does he find it necessary to track him down and hurt him again? "Listen Heero," I begin my reply with a stern voice. "I'm warning you to leave him alone. You've hurt him deeply with your lifestyle and callousness by tossing his heart aside when he told you of his feelings towards you. Then, after you reject him, you confused him further by choosing a lover who looks just like him. Wufei's right, you are the most insensitive prick I've ever met. Leave him alone," I order him firmly. "He has a right to seek out happiness that he never found trying to be your best friend. You have no right to search for him and invade whatever happiness he can find."
Heero looks like he's about to burst a major artery from the anger that is building up in him. I can see he's having trouble dealing with me telling him what to do and that he is in the wrong. Those are two things the perfect soldier has rarely tolerated from anyone, and only during the war when orders or corrections came from Doctor J.
Seeing the veins sticking out of his neck as Heero fights internally for a response, I take momentary pity on him and, calming slightly, I realize he is really a troubled young man whose search for peace and to find himself has taken him down the wrong road. We all know Heero won't find true happiness in his chosen lifestyle, and until he hits rock bottom and wants to change, there isn't much we can do to help. I know he isn't there yet, but he still deserves some compassion, so I soften my attitude and voice as I speak to him again. "Just let him go, Heero. In the long run it might save the both of you from a lot more misery."
Those simple words spoken softly seemed to diffuse the maelstrom of pent up emotions within the Japanese man. He visibly relaxes, just slightly, and his shoulders slump dejectedly. "I don't know if I can, Trowa. I miss him," he says looking away from the screen as if he is embarrassed to make the confession.
"I know," I reply sadly, seeing no way for things to get better for the two feuding friends. "But Duo left because he just couldn't take it anymore. He was watching you self destruct in a different way than when you tried it in Wing. I know you don't want to hear this Heero, but you're on a course leading to endless dissatisfaction and unhappiness. Only you can change the direction of your life." Seeing Heero frown at what he considers criticism, something else the perfect soldier could never tolerate, I realize I need to speak quickly before he hangs up on me. "Duo couldn't stand by any longer and watch you live the way you do. Quatre, Wufei and I also cannot bear to witness you degrading yourself. But know this, my friend, when you're ready to make a change and live sensibly, we'll be here for you to support you in any way we can."
"I never thought someone involved with two lovers at the same time would look down on me and the way I live," Heero retorts angrily.
"I love those that I'm with and am exclusive to them, Heero, that's the difference between you and I. I can count the number of lovers I've had on one hand, and so can those that I'm with. Can you see the difference now?"
I watch as Heero leans forward to push a button and the screen goes blank. I have no doubt that the conversation I'd just had with Heero will be my last for a very long time. He certainly didn't like what I said, but I felt it important to plant a seed of doubt into his mind, that the way he lives is not acceptable nor healthy. I can only hope that after he works through all the anger my words caused him, he might also remember the hand of hope and friendship that I'd also offered. We would take him in if he decided to give up his irresponsible ways and, if he comes to us, he will be welcomed and aided in anyway that's possible.
A knock on my office door is yet another interruption in my long morning. "Come in," I snap, feeling irritated as I look back at the long neglected papers in front of me.
"Trowa, am I bothering you?" Duo's hesitant voice calls out to me from the doorway. I look up at him and wave him in, pushing the piles of papers away from me.
He shuts the door behind him as he enters the room and comes to my desk. "Wufei and Quatre are out for the morning and I was wondering if you would like to go to lunch with me?" he asks as he sits on the edge of my desk. I take a moment to study him and compare the difference in him from his arrival a month ago. He looks rested, and the smile on his face is a true Duo smile, not one of his feigned or forced ones. He's wearing his dark blue suit, minus the jacket at the moment, a cerulean blue dress shirt and a coordinating tie. He looks great, and it appears his job under Quatre in Customer Relations is perfectly fitted to him.
"I can take a short break," I tell him. "Maybe just the cafeteria though, as I've been interrupted all morning by the damn phone and I need to go over these reports." I point to the five folders that sit on the top of my desk.
"That would be alright," he answers with a grin, always agreeable when it comes to food.
I look at him a moment and decide I need to tell him of Heero's call. "Duo, I have something to tell you."
He looks at me, decides by the tone of my voice that it's serious, and frowns. "Something bad?" he asks, looking worried.
"No, not bad," I assure him. "Come here." I scoot my chair back and pat my lap.
He looks nervously at the door and then back to me. "What if someone should come in?" he whispers in reply, as if he is afraid someone might be listening in on our conversation.
I open my desk drawer, take out a remote and aim it at the doorknob. A delicate click sounds, indicating the door has locked. I smirk at him as I put the remote back. "That comes in handy when Quatre comes in here upset or feeling amorous."
"Oh," Duo says and blushes at my explanation. A blush is very becoming on him.
"Come on," I pat my lap again. He hesitates for just a moment before he slips off the corner of the desk and sits himself down on my lap with his legs to the side of my right thigh so we can look into each other's face. He places his right arm over my shoulder and patiently waits for me to tell him what I feel he needs to hear.
"Heero just called looking for you," I tell him and watch as his eyebrows pinch together in worry.
"You didn't tell him I was here, did you?" he asks frowning.
"No," I reply, then I go on to detail the conversation as well as I can remember it. I put my arm around Duo's waist and press him closer to my shoulder, trying to give him some comfort.
"Why would he care where I've gone? He really hasn't cared much about me for the last couple of years," the long haired man mutters sadly.
"I think just knowing you were nearby gave Heero some comfort, just like having Wufei in the same building did for you while you worked for the Preventers. You told me once that you hadn't realize how much you missed Wufei being in your life until he was gone. I think Heero is going through Duo withdrawals. He said he misses you."
"Of course he does," Duo snaps angrily and tries to get up, but my arms hold him fast to me. "I was the only normal social life he had. We played basketball, pool, bowled, and went to dinner or the movies, that is, we did unless he had someone new he was chasing to screw, then he forgot about me completely. More times than not he didn't even return my messages. Funny, isn't it?" he snorts in disgust. "The line between love and hate is so close, just a hair's breadth away from each other. Right now, and for the last few months, I think I've finally come to hate him."
I try to think of what I can say, something to help my friend release the negative feelings that, though they are justified, will lead him to feel pessimistic about life in general. The three of us have worked hard in the last month to give Duo a new life. So far he's accepted the job, his place in our home, and the three of us as his affectionate friends. We know from our past together, and Quatre had sensed it's still there, that Duo has an innate need to be touched, hugged and held. Since his arrival, that's all he's really needed from us, our affection, and we are more than willing to give those simple gifts to him.
"Duo," I begin again, my voice modulating lower to have a calming effect on him. "We have to remember that Heero is searching for the same peace we've all been desperate for at times. He's found a temporary solution in having sex frequently with strangers. I can't say I understand it, but I have sympathy for him. Sex in itself is not as fulfilling as it can be when it's with shared with a person you love. It's the great unifier of souls, Duo. Heero's not looking for love right now, his choices are all about control. He's making decisions for himself and, even though they can be detrimental to him in the long run, he's determined to stick with it. For the moment it's enough for him. But it won't be for long. It's an empty, shallow lifestyle he's fallen into. We've all decided not to watch him on his path of self destruction, but that doesn't mean we should abandon or hate him. Yes, he hurt you," I rush to say in seeing Duo about to voice a complaint. "But he is our teammate. We are distanced from him right now but still connected to him. The day will come when he will hit rock bottom and he will need all the friends he can get to help him back to a more stable lifestyle."
"Do you think that's really possible, Trowa?" Duo asks, sounding somewhat skeptical now that he has calmed down a bit.
"I've come to believe anything is possible, Duo," I reply, then loosen my hold on him in order to look at his face. I put my hand under his chin and turn it until his eyes meet mine. "Having love in your life makes you believe that there can be a happy ending to everything, if you really want it and are willing to work for it."
"A happy ending," he sighs and closes his eyes. "I hope that's possible for Heero, before he kills himself."
Looking so vulnerable and beautiful as always, I can't resist leaning forward and brushing my lips against his. He doesn't pull back, but instead shifts so he can put his arms around me and continue the kiss. He pulls back before our tongues become involved, but I can see by his gentle smile that he has enjoyed the shared contact as much as I have.
"How about lunch?" he asks, and stands up from off my lap. Turning, he offers me a warm smile and his hand.
"Lunch it is," I smile back and take the proffered hand and rise from chair. With our hands firmly clasped together, we walk to the door to unlock it and go in search of lunch.
Heero's getting tired of me. I can see it in the way he looks at me the minute he walks into the door from work every night. I've been aware of his dissatisfaction with me since Christmas when we got kicked out of the Winner mansion. Oh, he was cool as a cucumber as we left, keeping his head high and proud as the door firmly shut behind us, but I was bluntly told, as we hastily packed our bags in the upstairs bedroom, that he was extremely upset at our being careless enough to be discovered and humiliated in front of his friends. Just the memory of the expression on that rich, la-di-da Winner's face of righteous indignation makes me want to slap someone. Who the hell was he to talk about decency and morals, having two lovers living with him? Sure, we never saw any overt signs of affection between them in the presence of his sisters and their children, but still, who are they to condemn us for having a little fun in a room we thought was not going to be disturbed. Heero was cold and distant to me from the moment we entered the cab on our way to the shuttle, not letting me sit too close or to touch him, and that attitude persisted for three long days, the longest either of us had gone without having some form of sex during the time we'd been together. I couldn't decide if he was trying to punish me or himself for getting caught and kicked out on Christmas Day. But he's so predictable, and in some respects, I guess I am, too. Neither of us can go very long before our addiction draws us back together again.
He asked me several weeks after he found out his friend left if I thought we were addicted to sex. I answered him with an emphatic, "Hell yes," freely admitting to the one thing that has placed me where I am today, that being a kept man. I had my first sexual experience at fifteen and hardly a day goes by that I don't indulge in some form of sexual gratification. Some people call it sick, that it's depraved and dangerous, but man, what a way to go! And though I accept my addiction and embrace it, I can tell it bothers my stoic lover that I said he was as affected, addicted to it as I am.
With each passing week I began to see it in his eyes and in his reactions to me that he's become more disenchanted with our relationship and with me in particular. I've been getting comments from him about the way I walk and the limpness of my wrists, how I use my hands too much and that I talk like a sissy. Well excuse me, but I am one. I know my time at his luxurious pad was just about up, but I'll be damned if I'm going to give up without a fight. Which is why I've arranged what I call a wickedly wild weekend for my lover. I'll show him that he hasn't seen all that I am capable of, or what I really like to do on a long weekend.
I turn to my two guests, Linnette and Davy, a strikingly handsome couple I've known for years. They are both tall, slender and dressed to kill. Their slinky satin outfits look like pajamas, Linette's are a champagne color and Davy's a deep blue, and I can tell that neither of them are wearing anything underneath the cool, flowing fabric. Of course they wouldn't, not tonight when they know why I've invited them here for the weekend and the glow on their faces and look in their eyes tell me they are more then ready to begin. I light the last ten candles and turn around to survey my creation. The room is swathed in candle light, the stage is set and all that we are missing is my disillusioned partner. He will bow down and worship my feet after this weekend, and my place here in this apartment will be set.