Heero lay face-up on the couch, the silence of the apartment buzzing loudly in his ears. It was simply too quiet. There were no girlish giggles or lusty singing - sounds to which he'd grown so accustomed - to relieve the hush. At one time, he'd relished the peace of his solitary existence, content in his loneliness. But those days were long gone and, now, the stillness threatened to drive him mad.
It had been over twelve hours since he'd lost both his husband and his child in one tragic moment. Laura was gone, his only comfort resting in the knowledge that Quatre would look after her. But, Duo, he had no idea where the other man was and his mind refused to process the multitude of horrific scenarios that plagued his imagination.
So, he just lay there, trying to remain as immobile as possible, knowing that if he moved even the tiniest amount, he might shatter.
Heero glanced at the commphone. Some relief could be had there. A quick phone call would ease his mind as to his daughter, at least. Quatre would surely tell him how she was faring. He shuttered to contemplate her state of mind. Did she think they had deserted her? That all of their protestations of forever had been a lie? No, the social worker would make sure she understood the truth. Her fathers loved her more than anything and would fight to get her back. Or at least he would fight. Would Duo be there at his side where he belonged? He certainly wasn't there now. Heero gritted his teeth against the anger that rose slowly within him. He didn't want to feel it; he wasn't angry at his husband. The other man held no blame for what had happened. It was inevitable that the truth should out. But he couldn't forgive the betrayal, the abandonment. It came down to a matter of trust and Duo hadn't trusted in them, in him, enough to stay and try to keep their family together. The anger grew, pressing on his chest like a millstone, stealing away air and leaving only heavy despair.
At first, Heero thought the sound of the door opening was solely in his mind, one of his fruitless fantasies. He'd envisioned Duo coming home so many times that when the tall man actually stepped through the door, Heero thought he was still dreaming.
The braided man leaned heavily against the door, his entire attitude one of defeat. He stood there as time ticked away, not turning to face the room. Heero just watched him for a long moment, letting his mind accept the reality of his husband's presence. Then, when he was sure his legs would support him, he gathered himself and rose from the couch.
Duo let the coolness of the wood penetrate the skin of his face and hands, grateful that the sensation didn't pierce the protective fog around his mind. Everything seemed unreal and he preferred the sense of indistinctness. He knew he was home, but this place held the pain of memories he wished to avoid. The warming sight of a shy smile, the loving gaze of light-brown eyes... They were gone because of him. No, better to remain where he was, the portal to continued denial close at hand.
But, he needed to be here, to punish himself for his foolishness, for thinking that the fairy tale he'd been living could last. And only one person could truly provide the castigation he so deserved.
Turning at the sound of his name, he stared wide-eyed at the man approaching him with the slow grace of a stalking panther.
How could he have forgotten him? How could he have forgotten those blue eyes that had always been able to see into his very soul? This beautiful man, this was the home he had lost, the love he had destroyed. He longed to beg for forgiveness, even if it could never be his.
Heero looked at the pale creature standing against the door, letting his eyes rake over the suggestive clothing, the revealed flesh, the deepening bruise marring a flushed cheek. The sight increased the pressure in his chest and his clenched jaw ached from the strain. His stomach churned queasily as the logical explanation whispered in his mind. He shook his head sharply, rejecting the supposition, his heart screaming against the manifest truth.
"Where have you been?"
The question lack any qualities of human speech, sounding, instead, like the warning growl of an injured beast. Duo flinched, the feral utterance rousing within him both heat and fear in equal parts. His entire appearance shouted the answer he couldn't bring himself to admit. So he responded to the words, if not their meaning, hiding within his cowardice.
Duo took a deep breath as the other man stepped nearer, glaring at him with a burgeoning fury that did nothing to disguise the underlying hurt.
"I ran, trying to escape the noise in my head. I could hear Laura screaming, crying out in pain and fear because I wasn't there to protect her." He placed his hands over his ears, still able to hear the heart-wrenching sounds. "And I could see your tears, tears for our lost little girl."
Heero wrenched Duo's hands away from his head, forcing himself to remain unmoved by the anguish on his husband's face.
The question roared in his mind.
"Where have you been?"
"And so I ran until my legs gave way but I couldn't break free." Duo continued as though he hadn't understood, staring deeply into the other man's dark eyes. The bones in his wrist protested the steel grip crushing them together. "I just wanted it to stop. I prayed for it to stop."
Heero growled, unaware of the damage he was inflicting in his rage. "Damn it, Duo! Where have you been?!"
The taller man paled at the uncharacteristic outburst, but the story kept tumbling from his lips, like an unavoidable avalanche.
He hoped they would both survive it.
"And then, just when I thought I might go insane, everything went quiet. I sat there for I don't know how long, relieved that the screams had finally stopped. But, then, I saw my reflection in a nearby window and I didn't know myself. I looked normal, respectable, and I knew it wasn't me. "I couldn't work in those clothes; they were far too tame. What man would want me dressed in a pair of jeans and a boring t-shirt. So I went and found something I could work in. I bought these," he fingered the loose, buttonless top, "and when I looked in the mirror, it was as if the last four years had never happened. I was myself, again." Duo had closed his eyes on his memories, but now he opened them to feel the full lash of stormy-blue.
"I was a whore."
Heero had known what the garments implied but his mind had railed against the admission. Maddening images assailed him, driven by Duo's confession: images of his lover in the arms of other men, being touched by other men, being taken by other men...
He slammed Duo against the door, insensible to the plant that fell from the window ledge, dumping vegetation and dirt on the carpet.
Sound resembling words tore from his throat. "What did you do? What the fuck did you do?!"
The braided man's laughter bordered on hysteria. He found the question hilarious even as it made his eyes sting with the threat of tears.
"Just that, Heero. I went out to find someone to fuck. I went to a gay bar, picked up some guy, some ugly, middle-aged bastard, and let him take me to the back room." Duo closed his eyes, this time against the queasiness he felt at the thought of the john in the club.
"He pressed me against the wall and licked my nipples..."
He gasped as rough hands were suddenly applied to the sensitive nubs, rubbing them as though to remove any hint of another's touch. But he kept his eyes shut, unwilling to be relieved of his self-imposed persecution.
"And he put his lips to my neck..."
He raised an indicative hand to his throat and clawed fingers raked over the offending spot.
"Then, he sucked my cock."
Heero kissed Duo hard, as much to hurt him as to stop the agonizing litany. He fumbled frantically at the fastening of the taller man's short, ripping the zipper apart in his haste. Reaching inside, he grabbed his lovers violated cock, chafing it roughly to eliminate the taint.
The braided man gasped as his head fell back, breaking the bruising contact. The furious stroking slowly began to penetrate his numbness. "And then," he breathed, "he turned me around and shoved me against the wall..."
The action was perfectly imitated and Duo found his face and chest flush against the door, his shorts being forced from his hips. His feet were roughly kicked apart, leaving him vulnerable and exposed. As before, a firm body was pressing into him, but this time, the feeling made his stomach clenched in passion rather than revulsion.
Duo's breath was coming so fast that he was nearly panting. He was hard, achingly so, and he was afraid. He was afraid to continue but he wanted to feel Heero's wrath. He need to feel something. Anything.
"And he started to stick his cock into my ass," he whispered, feeling the heat of his husband breath against his neck. He moaned as the warm air was replaced by teeth that marked him with sharp intent. A large, hard pressure imposed itself between his spread cheeks.
"What did you do?" Heero grated harshly in the other man's ear, unable to find any other words to express the enormity of his jealousy and ire.
The braided man exhaled on a whisper.
"I pushed him away."
The response was so soft that the Asian man almost missed it. But it stabbed through his fury, leaving him with a mass of angry confusion, and the smallest glimmering of hope.
"Why?" he rasped.
Duo felt the tears coursing down his cheeks. At last, here was his chance for redemption, for absolution. The tension in his chest slowly dissipated and until he could, once again, draw an effortless breath.
"Because I didn't want him to touch me. I didn't want him to have me."
"Why?" A whisper forced from a constricted throat.
Duo felt the hard cock rubbing against his cleft, teasing and threatening.
"Because I belong to you."
Relief and lingering rage came together and in an explosive motion, Heero drove his member deep inside his lover's unprepared opening. Duo cried out, consumed by the tearing agony. But it was so good. The other man's emotions battered at him and he loved it. At last, he could feel.
Heero grabbed the taller man around the waist, abandoning himself to the violence of this thrusts.
"Say it again!" he demanded.
"I belong to you!"
The green-tinged visions of countless other men touching his lover continued to flash in his mind and his hips reinforced his command.
"Say it again!"
"Only you can touch me!"
"Only you can have me!"
"Only you can fuck me! Oh, please, fuck me! Fuck me!"
The strident pleas were punctuated by the merciless pounding which rattled the door on its hinges. But when his hips were pulled roughly backward and a hand reached around to grab his dripping arousal, Duo's coherence vanished. He braced his hands against the door, surrendering himself to the punishing force of his lover's fury as the hand moved frantically over his hard flesh.
Heero's cock burned him, branding him with the possession he'd so zealously confirmed. Each thrust seared him, ripping him apart even as they put him back together, piece by piece, until he was whole, once more. He screamed until his throat was raw, craving the cleansing pain, the loving torture.
And then, he was there, his body clenching and releasing with pulsating violence. He spilled his passion over his lover's hand, drinking in the scalding heat of the life-giving fluid that soon filled him.
Heero followed on the heels on his lover, his own climax drawn out of him by the fierceness of Duo's culmination. The last vestiges of his rage flooded away on the wave of his essence, leaving him drained and restored. No longer able to stand, he sunk to his knees, the braided man joining him without protest. Together, they lay on the carpet, remaining intimately joined.
The Asian man caught his breath, and with sanity restored, realized what he'd just done. He froze, unable to process the horror of his actions. There was no pretty face he could put on it, no mitigating factor, nothing that trifling jealousy could excuse. He'd raped his husband pure and simple. His heart pounded an accusing rhythm against his ribcage and he buried his face in his lover's silky, chestnut hair.
"I'm sorry," he whispered. "God, I'm so sorry..."
Duo mildly resented the intrusion into the first moments of serenity he'd experience since receiving Dorothy's call that morning. Had it truly been only been that morning? It seemed a lifetime ago.
The rambling apology seeped into his consciousness, perplexing him at first. But, then, he understood. He pushed back into the other man's body, pulling Heero's arm tightly around him. The diffusing pain left him with a warm, comforting glow.
"No, Heero, it's alright. It's alright. I love you."
He repeated his reassurances until his lover truly heard them. A damp face came to rest against the back of his neck. They lay quietly for a time until a harsh sob suddenly wracked Duo slender frame.
The blue-eyed man just held his lover, knowing that, after everything, these tears were needed. He pulled the other man closer against him, flexing his hips until they were as close as two humans could be.
Duo's cries gradually took on meaning. "I miss her, Heero. I miss her so much! It hurts!"
"I know," Heero whispered. "I know." Though he longed to, he couldn't offer the other man any empty promises. He honestly didn't know if Laura would ever return to them, though the mere thought her absence made his heart bleed. But, they still had each other and they wouldn't have to be alone.