It was warm. Heero gradually felt sleep stripped away and realized he was fully clothed, in an unfamiliar room; and not alone.
He was, it returned to him, on Duo's bed.
Which meant he wasn't too surprised when, turning his head to the side a little, he found the other occupant to be Duo, who was lying, resting his chin on his forearms, looking at him.
Duo smiled at him. "Feel better?"
Heero nodded slowly, looking steadily at his companion. "What have you been doing?" He was only slightly nervous.
"Watching you." Duo still smiled broadly... then he was leaning in, and Heero let him. Welcomed the feeling of duo's warm, smooth lips against his. He opened his mouth and touched his tongue to Duo's, feeling a hand move up to stroke at his cheek... Somehow, in a way that hadn't happened before, the kiss was deepening, heating: the feel of Duo's tongue on his was suddenly intensely erotic, and Heero felt his own movements mirror that intensity.
Heero found himself sharply aware of all sensation. Duo's warm hand against his cheek, then tracing a fingertip around the edge of his ear, cupping his face along his jaw line, finally moving around to the back of his neck to keep him close... And the assured feel of Duo's mouth. Hot, now, closer, somehow, and filtering gradually through Heero: he didn't want to lose the feeling... He tried to let even more of himself out through the kiss, trying to persuade Duo into continuing it...
Duo, though, it seemed, needed no such enticement; holding Heero close as the kiss slipped back and forth. Heero felt hands slide down his back to his waist, untucking his shirt... Heero broke the kiss, breathing hard, to smile crookedly at Duo as he shifted, moving off Heero and into a better position for his task: Heero sat up automatically to allow it, seeking Duo's mouth again with his own... but catching a glimpse of the clock on the way back down.
"Shit!" Heero sat up suddenly, breaking Duo's spell and scrambling to tuck his shirt back in where it had been undone.
Duo blinked up at him, not understanding. Heero observed the fuzzy expression, lips still wet and parted, position sprawled from Heero's sudden movement.
"It's after midnight! Relena's going to be wondering where I am."
Duo grinned, understanding now. "I see." He shifted only slightly, making no effort to follow Heero's example and get up. "Another time then."
Heero studied the form on the bed; Duo was clearly aroused from their previous activity, and the sight nearly held Heero in place - but he didn't let it show. He had to get back... this was... He didn't let himself think about it. There would be time later; if he tried now, he knew he wouldn't leave...
`Why do I have to?' He quieted that voice; there would be time to answer that later too. But now...
"Another time," Duo repeated. He smiled and ran his tongue over his bottom lip: Heero tried to keep his face impassive. Finally, Duo got up and followed as Heero walked to the door.
Heero was unprepared for the fire that attacked his mouth, the hard body that pressed his against the door, even as his hand moved to turn the handle; instinct won again and he kissed back flame to flame, explosive.
Eventually he felt Duo pull back, chuckling a little breathlessly. He opened the door and Heero found himself stepping through it.
"See you tomorrow, Heero." Duo smiled, confident.
Heero looked at him for a long moment. "Yeah."
"Heero! You're back I was beginning to worry."
Heero felt, as he gazed at his wife, as though she was an old acquaintance he hadn't seen in years. The feeling was becoming more familiar with every time he saw Duo. "Sorry." He looked at her a little longer, so as not to seem entirely dismissive; she was used to his ways, wouldn't think anything of him leaving immediately and without explanation as he headed upstairs.
He found himself relatively awake after sleeping in Duo's room; so he sat for a while in his study, thinking over the thoughts he had postponed earlier. He closed his eyes. Duo. He couldn't deny his fascination; attraction. `Another time', Duo had said. Another time... would he have... would he have had sex with Duo? He thought it through. Whichever way he looked at it... he knew he had wanted to. He couldn't hear himself saying no.
Looking at it from another angle, it seemed insane: he had known Duo for less than two weeks! The strength of his feelings shook him. Nothing else seemed to matter: Relena's feelings, her reputation or his own... the investigation... He couldn't see any reason not to...
Until the calm little voice in his head interjected again. Blackmail, an ugly word.
Heero reflected on it, and the fact that it was perfectly possible. As were a lot of other things. Duo... knew things about him that no-one else knew. Or, at least, that hardly anyone else knew. It would be entirely possible for Duo to use blackmail to get what he wanted... The thing was, Heero knew, that he wanted it too.
He sighed. Then... even if Duo was blackmailing him... it was proof of his genuine feelings for Heero. The thought was... comforting in a way that Heero thought it probably shouldn't be.
But... how likely was that? What evidence was there that Duo was doing anything other than using him because of who he was? After his conversation with Relena earlier, he couldn't quite tell what was what anymore, even after speaking with Duo. Especially after speaking with Duo. It had been clear before he fell asleep; but now he saw the evening as if through water or glass - he couldn't feel it. Heero didn't feel anything much, beyond the familiar chill of disappointment. He readied himself for worse: because the fact remained. He wanted another man. And more.
Down the corridor he heard the bedroom door open and close; after a safe amount of time, he too headed for it, hoping to avoid Relena. He didn't want to be reminded.
He was lucky; she was in bed, the lights switched off. Quickly he copied, and threw off thought as he tried again to sleep.
"Trowa." Heero nodded to his colleague as he made his way to his office.
"Sir. Do you want to see the full list of names that were left after we checked everyone out?"
"Yeah. Bring it with you."
Trowa followed to Heero's office. "It's pretty short. That's good I suppose. Most of the diplomats are still the established politicians, familiar names from the war and even before; and most of the younger ones have credentials that check out perfectly. On the list are mainly other workers at the summit buildings, plus a few visitors. These are the suspicious names." He placed a single sheet of paper on Heero's desk. Heero was unsurprised to see Duo's name right at the top.
"What about the cameras? Any word on them?"
Trowa shrugged. "Not a lot. Earth-made, quite common security devices. Data stored on disc. We looked at the discs, but they seem set to a timer. They only started to record just after the conference had begun for the day. And Mr. Maxwell says he first noticed them at about 2 o'clock, so that gives us a time frame."
Heero reflected on the way Trowa kept his voice even when talking about Duo, smiling a little wryly inside before he thought of something. "What about the summit complex's own CCTV? It's been looked at."
Trowa looked a little embarrassed, but more as though he was trying to contain anger. "Some of it, yes sir. But... some of it is... missing."
Heero looked at him I disbelief. "Missing. You mean someone actually had the foresight to take the discs? And, presumably, take care of the monitor room at the same time so nothing appeared to be wrong." He could feel his own fury growing. What had he missed?! "Dummy footage? Posing as a member of staff? What the hell happened?!" `How did I let this happen? I checked it all myself. What have I done?' Those words again. Heero felt as though he was losing his grip on reality. "Trowa. Leave now. Do your work. I'll speak to you later."
Heero sank into the chair behind his desk, putting his head in his hands. `How the *fuck* did this happen? It was my responsibility. I checked everything! What did I miss? How can I put this right?' Heero had a growing sense that he had let people down, severely; it held him in a frozen grasp and refused to let go. He was once more left with the ra5her bitter taste of his own dubious adequacy. `Only good for one thing...' Fuming silently, he left his office, not entirely sure what he was doing: his mind supplied no strategy, so instinct propelled him. He realized he was, once more, heading for the summit, and he was out of the building before any of the others realized he had gone.
All this time... proving people wrong, trying to make a difference, do the right thing. He had even thought he was succeeding - he had been confident he was going the way he wanted and doing it well. But then, along comes some small test... `and I managed to fuck it up again. Maybe I should just give in and stop trying. I'm just like all the rest, now even if I didn't used to be. I... tried so hard...'
Dully he found himself at the summit complex, parking the car and striding up to the reception desk, not even thinking before asking to see Duo; waiting only a few moments before the latter emerged from the main conference room.
Heero pulled him over to an empty side room; silence remained between them for several minutes as Heero tried to plan this out.
He gave up the plan. "Why do we bother, Duo?"
Duo looked at him uncertainly.
Heero stood still, staring at the ground of to the side. "Why don't we just give it up. Who am I trying to convince?" He realized he now spoke only for himself; how could he be sure of anything else? "Why am I even trying... I'll never succeed. Just proves it. Proves them right. I might as well..." his voice was soft now "...just stop. It's not worth it, when I'm not getting anywhere. Thinking I could change things.. thinking I could stop... people's foolishness." He shook his head. "It's useless, of course. I can't stop it." He looked up at Duo, leaning against the wall and watching him. "Why are *you* bothering, Duo? What are you doing? Why... why are you trying to help me?" `What is it? Are you really on my side? Just what... just what is going on?'
Duo looked at him fixedly. Heero felt the burn of his gaze but stayed still: he couldn't make out direction to run in. He stared back.
"Heero..." Duo gave an odd half-laugh. "I'm trying to help you because..." he stopped again. "I don't know if the question is right. But I think I know the answer." He looked up at Heero from the corner of his eye, a strange glint there. "You know I'm in love with you, don't you?"