Light My Fire
The alarm came in around midnight, and as soon as Heero heard it he had a strange feeling. Something was going
to happen tonight. Something important.
The fire was in an aging apartment building, long considered by most of the local firefighters as a blaze waiting to
The team swung into action, easy camaraderie easing the adrenaline rush to an efficient bustle. Heero rode in the
back, ready to leap off and do his job as soon as they arrived.
Heero was the youngest firefighter ever to work in the city. He had always known he wanted to be a fireman, ever
since he had saved his entire family at the age of 5 by smelling smoke and waking everyone. He had been heralded
by the press as a hero, and much was made of his name. As soon as he was able, he studied all aspects of
firefighting science. He had pestered the local fire station into accepting him as a sort of volunteer in his early teens,
and as soon as he had graduated from high school a year early, he had enrolled in the firefighters academy. He had
flown through the program, and had done so well on the physical tests that he was always the man assigned to
climb into buildings and rescue people. His strength was incredible, and his small frame made it easier to get in and
out of tight situations. He was able to easily carry people twice his size to safety. Heero lived alone at age 18, not
lonely, but content to quietly save lives. The publicity he got brought many offers from women, but he always
politely declined, and walked away. Everyone thought he was just shy and dedicated. Heero always felt like he was
waiting for something, or someone, and he would know when he found it.
The fire truck screamed up and the firefighters jumped into action. There was a large group of people outside the
building in pajamas; it appeared that most of the occupants had already been evacuated. Heero's job was to
determine if anyone was missing, so he questioned all the people. Everyone seemed to be accounted for, until a girl
suddenly screamed, "Duo!"
Heero made his way over to her. When she saw him she rushed over and cried, "Duo's still in there!"
Heero tried to get her to calm down, and she explained that her neighbors were on vacation and Duo was
housesitting for them, and that she didn't see Duo around anywhere. Heero quickly found out which apartment,
then assured the woman that he would find this person. Then he went to work.
Deciding that there was no other way in, Heero got the ladder positioned and climbed up it to the second floor
window of the designated apartment. Peering in the window, he could only see smoke. He tried calling out, but there
was no answer. He broke the window and climbed inside. There was no one visible. He looked around the
apartment. There was smoke, but no obvious flames; but Heero knew the apartment just down the hall was almost
engulfed, and this one wasn't far behind.
Checking the living room and kitchen, there was only one other alternative: the bedroom. He tried the door, but it
was locked. He called out, and thought he could hear what sounded like sobbing inside. Seeing no other alternative,
he backed up, braced himself, and kicked the door down. It splintered easily, and as he stepped through the ruined
doorframe, he scanned the room quickly. Time was running out.
Heero almost gave up; the room seemed empty. Then, he realized that what he had taken to be a pile of bedding
was actually a person. The person moved, and what seemed like yards of chestnut hair spilled out.
"Hello," Heero called out; the person was obviously scared to death. He almost assumed it was a girl; the hair and
size of the person seemed to confirm it. "Are you hurt?"
The person started, and huge violet eyes peered out. Heero still couldn't be sure of the person's gender. Then the
person tried to bury himself or herself beneath the blanket once again, sobbing.
Heero approached; he needed to get them out of there. Then he remembered what the girl had said the person's
name was. "Duo?" he called out gently.
Duo peeked out again. Heero took another step closer. "Can you get up, Duo?" Heero had seen this type of thing
before; people trapped in fires sometimes became too frightened to even help themselves. Huge luminous eyes
stared back at him. Then the head shook; a negative. "Will you let me carry you, then? We have to get out." Duo
nodded uncertainly, and more of the face appeared, revealing a heart-shaped face and sensuous lips. Heero shook
his head; why were his thoughts straying like that? He stepped forward and bent down. Heero said, "I'm going to
pick you up now, ok, Duo?" Duo nodded again, and Heero bent forward and scooped up Duo as best he could,
hampered by the blankets. He pulled the blankets away; Duo was even smaller than he had thought, clad in a loose
t-shirt and boxers. Heero stood up with Duo in his arms; Duo barely weighed anything. Duo's hair flowed out,
threatening to trip Heero. Heero stopped and tried to gather Duo's hair; it felt like spun silk between his fingers.
Duo realized the problem and helped gather the hair.
Finally, Heero was satisfied that he could carry Duo, and he walked toward the window. Since Duo was so light, it
was no problem for Heero to climb down the ladder. Spotlights hit Heero as he climbed down, lighting his way. A
cheer went up from the crowd as Heero emerged safely with his bundle. Heero could feel Duo snuggle against him
and make a contented sound as they went further away from the fire. Inexplicably, his heart started pounding at
the feeling of Duo against him. Even more concerning was the fact that he felt himself becoming aroused at the
sounds Duo was making. What was wrong with him? No one had ever made him feel like this before. He wasn't even
sure if the person he was carrying was male or female. He had just finished rescuing Duo from a dangerous fire,
and here he was, what? Lusting after a stranger? Heero forcibly suppressed those feelings as he stepped off of the
ladder and carried Duo toward the waiting ambulance. Duo hadn't spoken, and standard procedure in these cases
was to hospitalize the person for observation if nothing else. There could be smoke inhalation or other effects.
Heero further confused himself by feeling reluctant to release Duo to the paramedics. He had an irrational urge to
take care of Duo himself, as if no one else could be trusted. But he knew what was necessary, and he gently laid
Duo down on the waiting stretcher. Duo looked even smaller then; the stretcher was much too big. He hovered
around nervously, watching as they checked Duo over. Heero was asking what hospital they were taking Duo to,
when out of the corner of his eye he saw them cut off Duo's shirt. It was then that he realized that Duo was male.
He found himself staring at the boy's smoothly muscled chest, and he wondered how he could ever have been
unsure of Duo's gender. Duo was beautiful, but in a definitely masculine way. Strangely, it didn't bother him; he
was even more attracted to him now. He almost asked if he could ride in the ambulance with Duo, but he had
mop-up operations to finish. He decided to go by the hospital as soon as he went off duty.
The rest of the operation went fairly smoothly, but the building was a total loss. No one would be living there again.
Heero didn't want to wait to go by his apartment after work; he was anxious to check on Duo. So he cleaned up as
best he could at the fire station, then drove to the hospital.
Duo was in and out of consciousness for most of the ride to the hospital. The only clear thought he had was of an
angel, a handsome angel dressed in a fireman's uniform. He remembered falling asleep in his friend's apartment. He
was staying there because he had no other place to go. He had lost his last job because he had rebuked his boss's
advances, and he hadn't found another one yet. So he had had to give up his apartment, and since his friends were
going to be gone for a month, he had moved in to keep an eye on things. It had given him a chance to rest, take a
break from the rat race he had been running for the past four years, since his foster parents had died and he had
run away from the orphanage. He had held various jobs, just getting by while he studied on his own. He worked
hard and finally got his diploma. He was 18, and still didn't know what he wanted to be when he grew up.
He remembered falling asleep, then the nightmares had begun as usual; nightmares that had plagued him for as
long as he could remember. The dream was always the same: fire. When Duo was five years old, all of his family--
mother, father, sister-were killed in a house fire. Duo was the only one to escape. He had been shuffled around
from relative to relative, until finally being put up for adoption. Of course, by then he was too old to be adopted
easily, and he was placed in a succession of foster homes alternating with the local orphanage.
Duo escaped from the fire nearly unscathed; his only injury was the fact that nearly all his hair was burned off in the
fire. Duo, unlike most little boys, had loved for his mother to brush his hair; it was one of his few clear memories.
They had had to shave off the rest of his singed hair, and Duo hated being bald; he vowed then and there to never
cut his hair again. It was the one thing he held onto over the years. That, and the nightmares. They began about a
year after the fire, and got progressively more detailed over the years. They didn't happen every night, but often
enough so he dreaded going to sleep. Duo was also scared to death of open flames of any kind.
Duo had been awakened from his nightmare by the smell of smoke. At first he thought the dream was just more
realistic than usual; then, he realized the smoke was real. He was panic-stricken; though he couldn't see any flames,
he imagined he could feel them, creeping toward him, searching for him, coming to take back what they had missed
the first time.
Duo knew he should run, escape; but he couldn't move. He just slumped to the floor next to the bed, and gathered
the covers around him as if they would protect him. He hid his head; if he couldn't see the flames, they wouldn't
hurt him. It was getting harder to breathe. The smoke grew thicker, and Duo withdrew; burying himself deep inside
the blankets and deep inside his mind.
Until he heard the crash. And the angel came; the angel who knew his name. Peering out of the blankets, a vision
appeared out of the smoke; a vision with cobalt blue eyes and a beautiful face. Duo's mind, already half gone, knew
this was an angel. No one could be that beautiful, and he was destined to die in the fire. Duo decided that if he was
supposed to die, he might as well go with the pretty angel. The angel spoke in a soothing voice, and carried him
The angel was surprisingly warm and felt real. Duo could feel muscles rippling just beneath the uniform. Oddly, the
angel was wearing a firefighter's uniform. Duo's subconscious accepted this, though. The angel held him tight, and
Duo had never felt safer in his life. Duo snuggled close to the angel, happy that at last it was all over. The angel
would keep him safe. Maybe the angel would stay with him. Duo liked being in the angel's arms. He liked it so much,
he was embarrassed to find he was getting hard. Duo felt he shouldn't be aroused by an angel, but he was so
pretty and strong.
Duo felt the angel carrying him away from the fire, away from the heat, toward safety. Closer he snuggled, and
drifted off to sleep.