Disclaimers: Not mine!!

Pairings: 2+1/1X2
Warnings: AU, shounen-ai, romance, dirt, archaeobabble, ANGST, catholocism, adventure.

Author's Notes: Written for the GWYaoi.org Novella Challenge, but not finished in time for the deadline.

Summary: Duo and Heero meet as teenagers on an archaeological dig in Israel. Raised in the field with a trowel in hand, Heero is slow to see the skills Duo can bring to his work.

Part II
Chapter 10
by Granate

Heero woke with the light, on his back in the small bed.  He was sweaty and had his hand down his shorts.

He let go instantly and propped himself up on one elbow, feeling downright disgusted with himself for the dreams he'd been having about his ex-friend-turned-priest.  He remembered it a little too clearly.  At first, the dream had just been snippets of his past, short memories of Duo.  His 500 watt smile, how he threw his head back and laughed, the time he'd taught Heero to do handstands, how he always managed to get paint all over himself, the times they'd played on the beach, the cute concentrating look he got when he was working, how he scrunched up his nose when he was frustrated, the way Duo's eyes glowed just for him when they met secretly at night, his whispered words echoing all through Heero's heart …  

God, they had been so innocent.

Then Heero had dreamed that Duo had entered this room late at night and climbed into the bed with him.  They were both naked in the dark and their palms touched and then their lips touched.  Duo kissed him said 'I love you,' and told him he'd been waiting here for him as Heero stroked his long, silky hair.  They clasped hands and he straddled Heero's hips…  Heero woke up shortly after that.

Well, he certainly had a creative imagination, Heero grumbled to himself and sighed.  His arousal ached for attention, but he opted for a cold shower out of respect for Duo.  Not only was Duo celibate, but he was most certainly not interested in any of that.  Not to mention he was staying here in the hospitality of a church.  Jerking off in a church was just bad manners no matter how you looked at it.  

He got up, plodded to the tiny bathroom and turned the water as cold as he could stand.  He tried not to think of the way Duo's narrow hips felt in his hands.  Damn, it had been so real.  He reminded himself not to think like that, the cold shower was supposed to banish those thoughts.  The chill finally brought his body back to normal, now all he had to deal with was his mind.  He wrapped a towel around his waist and exited the bathroom.  

He was digging in his satchel for a clean pair of underwear when there was a loud knock at the door.

"Who is it?" he asked, not wanting to offend or shock any well-meaning sisters.

"Heero, it's Duo, I'm sorry to wake you, but I really need to talk to you," a shaky voice said through the door.

"No, no, I'm up," Heero said quickly, trying to ignore his play on words.  He meant to tell Duo he'd be right out, but apparently the other man thought he meant to come in.

Duo entered and Heero froze.  Duo looked like he'd been through hell and back.  He obviously hadn't slept, his hair was coming loose, and his eyes were red and puffy.  He did not seem to notice that Heero was wearing nothing but a very small, very thin towel.

"Duo, are you all right?" he asked with genuine concern.

"No," Duo croaked.  They stared at each other for a minute before the words came tumbling out of Duo's mouth.   "The last ten years have been… and then you came here, and those things you said… I couldn't believe it - and then I found this."  

Heero hurried over to him as quickly as his towel would allow.  Duo's speech was erratic and he was practically trembling.  He wordlessly stuck a box out to Heero.  Heero took it and peered in.  His stomach dropped.  Inside were all the letters he had written to Duo.  He had not realized there were so many.

"He hid them," Duo whispered and swallowed hard.  "He lied to me Heero, just like you said," his voice choked but he forced himself to continue, "he lied to me about you and Jay and then hid all your letters from me.  I - I just found them.  Tonight."

Heero did not know what to do, this was a shock to him too.  He didn't know what to say, he was never very good with emotions, his own or anyone else's.  Finding those letters and learning that Heero had told him the truth about Father Maxwell's lies was probably more than enough to shake Duo's world up.  He'd just found the proof, just now.  No wonder he looked so shell-shocked.

Duo sunk to the floor, pulling Heero and the box with him.  Heero struggled with his towel as he found himself pulled to sit on the floor, but Duo did not seem to notice.

"Look," he said hoarsely.  Duo pulled out the first letter and handed it to Heero. "He even opened them."

Heero took the envelope, pulled the letter out, and read it.  It was a little embarrassing, reading what he wrote so many years ago, seeing his own feelings laid bare and remembering what it had taken to write them out so plainly.

"Did you really feel like that," Duo whispered, "about me?"  His indigo eyes burned into Heero's.  Heero felt himself physically move back a little under the intensity.  

"Yes," he answered quietly, his eyes still meeting Duo's apprehensively.  He wasn't sure what that meant to him now.  His young, naive heart had been broken, but he'd eventually gotten over it, he had moved on.  But it clearly meant something to Duo here and now.  All Heero wanted to do was help him, but he hadn't a clue how to do that.

"Duo, are you going to be ok?" Heero asked timidly.

"He hid the magazine too," Duo whispered.

"Magazine?" Heero asked in confusion.

"National Geo.  It's in there," Duo said, closing his eyes.

Heero sorted through the letters to the bottom of the box.  The issue on Ashkelon was in there.  Jesus Christ, Duo hadn't even been allowed to see that.  

"And look under it," Duo whispered.  Heero did and felt his heart lurch when he found the undeveloped disposable camera and remembered giving Duo on their first day off.  Suddenly, he remembered everything so clearly, like a movie reel in his head.  Duo and the sun… the sea, the bells, and the ice cream, all of it.

Duo let the letter drop and leaned heavily on his hands.  His red eyes were hidden to Heero by his messy bangs.

"I have to leave here," Duo said, seemingly to himself, "I need to get out of this place.  Heero?"  His head tilted now so he could look at Heero.  "Heero, can you…" Duo took a shaky breath, "Can you help me?"

He wanted nothing more.  "However I can, Duo," he promised.

"Do you need translating help on site?" Duo asked, his voice unsteady, "I could come with you, I just - I have to…  I have no where to go!"

Heero really could use the translating help, he had other documents like what he'd brought for Duo to see.  "Duo, you can come with me.  I live in London now, do you have a passport?" he asked.

Duo nodded.  "Can we leave now?" he pleaded.

"Yes, uh, I suppose, but you'd better go get some things," Heero agreed hesitantly.  He wondered if it was right to let Duo just run away.  After all, he had responsibilities here, people who depended on him.  He would hate to bring Duo to London, only to have it end up awkward and he'd just come back here in a few days.

Duo, on the other hand was already heading for the door, clutching his box of letters.  "I'll be back in a few minutes," he promised, disappearing quickly.

Heero got up again and quickly put his clothes on.  What the hell was he doing?  Why had agreed to take Duo with him?  Surely, the university could use his skills, and it would be no trouble to let Duo stay with him for a while, but in his current state, how could Duo be so sure about what he wanted?  Heero would have needed a couple of days to think if it were him.  Regardless, he resolved to help Duo how ever he could.

He hung his towel in the bathroom and repacked his things while he waited for Duo.  Heero had not yet booked a returning flight, so he called the airline to reserve himself a seat and buy Duo a ticket.  He put Duo's ticket on his credit card, but would not tell Duo unless he brought it up, he didn't want Duo to worry about that right now.  The next flight to London was in three hours, and he was even able to get their seats together.  It would be a close call, but it was a short trip to the airport.

Duo returned shortly with a two large duffle bags.  Christ, Heero thought, they had to be the same ones he'd been carrying the first time he'd ever laid eyes on the boy.  Duo looked a little better now, his hair had been fixed and his clothes straightened.

"I talked to Sister Helen," he said, "she knows I'm leaving."  

Heero did not question that.  "I got us on a flight in three hours," Heero told him. "Do you have everything?"

Duo nodded and they went downstairs to the curb to hail a cab.  Duo was dead silent the entire ride.  At the airport, Heero took one of Duo's bags, which felt like it had to be full of books, and they checked both with the airline.  They checked in and made it through security with out any problems.

"Duo, are you hungry?" Heero asked as they passed a food court on their way to the correct gate.  Duo just shook his head.  Heero told him to find a seat at one of the small tables while he got in line.  Heero brought back two bagels and two bottles of orange juice.

"Are you sure you don't want yours?" he asked, trying to tempt Duo into eating.

Duo just shook his head again.

"Ok, then, I'll keep yours for you.  Just let me know when you want it.  I'll leave the bagel in the plastic wrap, maybe it'll stay good.  Better then airplane food, right?"  Heero tucked Duo's breakfast into his bag, and realized he was speaking quickly and sort of babbling.  It was a little embarrassing, but he really wished Duo would talk.  He supposed Duo had a lot on his mind.

There was a two-hour wait at the gate, during which Duo curled up and closed his eyes, and then they boarded the plane.  He gave Duo the window seat and asked the flight attendant for a pillow and a blanket.

"Try to get some rest, ok?  I'll be right here if you, uh, need anything," Heero offered lamely, giving Duo the items when they arrived.  He wasn't well practiced at the whole 'caring' thing, but he did mean it.

"'K," Duo nodded.  He arranged his pillow and blanket as the plane took off and then rested against the wall and closed his eyes.  Heero thought he was probably asleep before they even left the continent.

Heero could not help but watch Duo, he looked 14 again with the blanket pulled all the way up to his chin and his hair falling in his face.  He remembered what Duo had said about Father Maxwell being the only person who had ever loved him.  Not true Duo, he thought as he brushed the hair from Duo's eyes, not true.

on to chapter 11

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