It was a beautiful day. Not a cloud in sight - not unusual, considering the vast desert they were currently holed up in - but the sight of the blue skies, golden sand and the towering majestic trees planted along the fringe of Quatre's Arabian stronghold failed to cheer up the brooding American pilot.
Duo was bored.
It had been nearly two weeks since his near-death in that same golden land that lay there innocently. One week since the bandages had been taken off his arms and face. Five days since Duo had pronounced himself fit and healthy and ready to resume active duty. Four and a half days since Heero told him he wasn't going anywhere for at least another two weeks.
Duo scowled at the cheerfully glowing desert landscape. He was becoming paranoid, sitting in the shadows, refusing to step outside in the light without being covered from head to toe and even then, making his exposure as short as possible.
It was making him antsy.
Heero and Wufei were off on a mission and Duo glanced up at the sky warily, hoping to see some sign of their return in the form of two large Gundams winging their way through the ocean of blue. Nothing.
Being left alone with nothing to do made Duo think, and when Duo thought, bad things tended to happen. Morbid thoughts had a way of making their presence known when Heero or any one of the other pilots weren't there for him to chatter to. In this particular case, Duo rubbed one of his arms absently and then winced as he encountered a half-healed burn.
It had been close. Too close.
Death did not frighten him. It never had. Duo thought of death as something far off in his future. He snorted - maybe never to come for him. He'd often thought of himself as being cursed since death seemed to enjoy taking away his loved ones, but never having room for Duo himself to tag along.
Meeting Heero had been both the best and the worst thing to ever happen in his young life. The Wing Zero pilot had been blown up, shot at, had self destructed - yet through all of it, Heero Yuy kept coming back, slippingthrough Death's fingers like quicksilver. Duo remembered hoping against hopethat Heero was the one, that he would be the first of them all to survivethe Maxwell curse.
So far, so good.
Duo shrugged. It had almost been HIM last time; the one thing that scared him more then Heero dying on him, was him dying on Heero. If Heero died, Duo knew he'd follow straight away - he'd have lost a vital part of himself, leaving behind half a shell, incapable of functioning without its other half.
But if Duo died, there would be hell to pay. For whatever reason took down the god of Death, Duo knew that Heero would be there to mete out revenge, in a shower of rage and bloodshed, far surpassing any of the carnage previously seen on the battlefield. Duo didn't follow any religion - it would be kind of hypocritical of him to do so, seeing as he didn't really believe in any god except the God of Death.
//Do you believe in God?//
//No, but I believe in the Shinigami.//
//You don't believe in God but you believe in Death?//
// Yes, because I've never seen a miracle - but I've seen lots and lots of dead people//
A whisper of a conversation from so long ago...Duo shook his head, banning himself from traversing those painful roads of memories ever again. At least, not without his six-pack support group. Duo didn't particularly care about his death but if there were such an entity as God, Duo didn't want to see his lover condemn his soul to hell for the destruction he'd cause in the wake of Duo's passing.
_I'm saving his immortal soul_.
_What about mine_?
Duo swore and pulled his knees up to his chest, out of range of the sun's reach. He wasn't sure how much time had passed since he'd come out to the porch but if the sun was starting to play a game of tag with him...
" Master Rashid!"
Duo blinked as one of the Maguanacs came out of a side building, wiping his hands on what appeared to be a dirty cloth. Quatre's manservant appeared next to him.
" I think we may have to replace the whole thing. I can't get her to start, no matter what I try."
Duo's ears pricked up at the sound of this. Unfurling his limbs, he stood up, stretched gingerly and then jogged down the stairs, keeping himself to one side so as not to come into contact with the sun's rays.
" Can't get what to start?"
Rashid started. " Ah! Master Duo. Ahmed cannot get one of the cars to start."
Ahmed nodded. " It is an older model and I'm not too familiar with the designs of foreign cars."
Duo's eyes gleamed. Something to pass the time! " Lead the way!"
Heero waved off-handedly to Wufei as he climbed down from Wing Zero's cockpit. The Shenlong pilot returned the gesture in a sign of 'mission accomplished. Good job.' Heero smirked slightly and then headed for the house, anxious to check up on his partner and see how he was doing.
A small grin fought free from the smirk at the thought of the braided American. If anyone a year ago had told Heero that his Gundam Wing Zero would be replaced as the most important thing in his life by a loud-mouthed, hyperactive young man who called himself the God of Death, Heero wouldn't have believed him. How things change...
The smile disappeared. And it was only two weeks ago that Duo had nearly burnt to death in the desert sun. Heero shuddered unconsciously at the thought of losing his lover - it was unthinkable. He didn't even want to know what he'd do with himself. Probably self-destruct. He was good at that.
About to go into the house he overheard a conversation going on by the side of the stairs between a Maguanac and Quatre's manservant Rashid.
" He's been at it all day."
" If Master Heero finds out he hasn't been resting...."
" But he's doing a good job - he got the other one working!"
Heero scowled. Duo. Had to be. So what was the love of his life up too?
He slipped around the chattering Maguanacs and snuck up to the garage, peering in curiously. A flicker of movement caught his eye and he sucked in his breath appreciatively.
Duo stood in front of a candy-apple red sports car, wiping grease from his hands with a dirty oilcloth. Dressed in tight black jeans and a loose black mesh top, Heero's eyes tracked the sweat trailing down the bronzed arms of his lover. His long chestnut hair, normally kept fastidiously neat in its severe braid, was tumbling out at intervals, strands of hair clinging to his face and chest, a stark contrast as golden flesh met chestnut fibers. The fading light made him seem to glow softly, creating golden highlights in his hair and adding a sheen to his sweat-covered skin. Lean muscles flexed as Duo dropped the cloth and then stretched lazily albeit cautiously, watching the still-healing burn marks. He reached inside and turned the ignition on. With a brief cough at the start, the engine kicked in and began purring like a kitten. Shutting the engine off, Duo ran a hand along car's exterior, smiling with satisfaction.
" I am SO good," he murmured.
" I couldn't agree more," came a husky voice from behind him. Duo whirled around and saw Heero devouring him with his eyes. Feeling playful, he leaned back against the sports car eyeing Heero with obvious delight.
" See anything you like?" he asked casually. Heero's eyes narrowed as he took in the vision before him.
" Oh yeah."
Duo meeped as Heero pounced on him, wrapping deceptively strong arms around the American before trailing heated kisses along the sweaty skin of his neck, licking up the salty moisture like a big cat. Duo nearly melted, held up only by the car behind him and the arms of his lover.
Heero broke off the teasing kisses for a minute, burying his face in Duo's hair, inhaling the scent of sweat, musk, exhaust and faint traces of the strawberry scented shampoo Duo used on his coveted locks. The memory of this same person lying crumpled in the hot sand rushed his mind and he automatically tightened his grip, willing the memory to go away.
Duo sensed the change in Heero's demeanor; stroking the Japanese man's back soothingly, he kissed Heero's neck and temple gently, murmuring reassurances in his ear. After a few minutes, Heero pulled back and stared at him with eyes that pierced him to the very core. Duo kept up the gentle strokes on his arms, not breaking eye contact.
" What was all that about?" he asked gently, calmly. Heero closed his eyes for a minute, feeling his heart triphammer in his chest. His fingers gripped Duo's waist.
" I nearly lost you," he grated out in a harsh whisper. Unable to say more, he pulled Duo closer and just hugged him hard. Duo returned the embrace, feeling tears sting his eyes. The mental conversation he had with himself earlier was beginning to make its presence known and he lifted Heero's face up with sure fingers.
" You can't lose me," Duo whispered, searching his partner's eyes urgently. " No matter what. You're stuck with me Yuy."
Heero barked out a short laugh and kissed him hard, reaffirming his presence with physical contact. " I t-think I can....live with that."
For a minute, neither spoke. Words were unnecessary as their very souls were bared to each other, reading the other like a book and deciding on the appropriate course of action. Duo purred as Heero idly stroked his hair and he blinked at his lover.
" Maybe we should take this somewhere more...private?"
Heero's eyes darkened with anticipation and he crushed Duo to him once more before taking him by the hand and leading him out of the garage and into the house. Once in their room, Duo sat on the bed and patted it invitingly. Heero paused and Duo frowned.
" What's wrong?"
" You...you're still injured," Heero murmured softly, reaching out with one hand and tracing the outline of a faint burn mark. Duo growled and gripped the extended hand, pulling the Perfect Soldier to the bed where Duo very adroitly flipped him over and paused, hovering over him like someviolet-eyed angel. Heero caught his breath at the sight.
Duo was having a similar reaction.
_God, he's gorgeous_, he thought faintly, the last coherent thought he had before leaning down and claiming Heero's lips for his own. The dark-haired boy returned the kiss eagerly, tracing his tongue along the outer edgeteasingly before smiling and flipping them over again. Duo chuckled softlyas he looked up at Heero from their reversed position.
" Domineering ain't ya?" he said, eyes glowing. " I like it."
Heero merely smirked at him before reaching over to the bedside table and flicking out the light.