Heero touched Wing down gently and taxied into the hangar that had been provided for the Gundam pilots at Quatre's latest safe house. The mission he'd just completed had been a long one, but ultimately, not too difficult. He was anxious to greet his lover and disappear for a few hours of sleep.
His lip curled upwards in a small smile.
Well. Maybe not to JUST sleep.
He stretched as he stepped out of Wing Zero, wincing as muscles, aching from hours of sitting in Wing's cramped cockpit caught up to him and jumped lightly to the floor. Deciding a cool drink would be just the thing, he veered off course from his original destination - the door - and headed instead to the small refrigerator at the back of the large hangar. He heard, rather then saw, the entrance of Duo.
" Don't worry 'bout it Quatre," he was saying as he entered the hangar. " That's what I'm here for." He shut the door and Heero watched, unobserved, as his lover underwent an astonishing change before his very eyes.
Hi braided baka seemed to collapse in on himself as soon as the hangar door was shut, sinking to his knees in front of Deathscythe, and touching his forehead to the cool metal. Heero blinked in disbelief at the very image of exhaustion that Duo presented - bags under his eyes, lines of stress evident in his face. He was about to say something when Duo began speaking, not aware of the listener in the room.
" Come on Duo, get it together. They need you to smile and laugh and cheer them up. Now is not the time for self-pity." He yawned suddenly, a bone-cracking jaw-opener and gave a rueful chuckle. " Now's not the time to be tired either." Duo closed his eyes for a minute - and then pushed off Deathscythe with a grunt of weariness.
" Stiff and tired - but that's what the job asked for when we signed on the dotted line," he said. Heero watched with hooded eyes as his lover almost stumbled back out of the room. Pausing at the door, he watched his lover take a deep breath and arrange the features on his face before opening the door and bounding inside. " Hey Unchain!" he called as the door swung shut behind him.
Heero marvelled at the scene for a minute. Duo was so exhausted he didn't even register the presence of Wing Zero! He thought back to all the times he could have sworn something was up with Duo - only to have the American pilot turn the tables on him for an impromptu counseling session, or spinning a joke that would get all of the pilots to laugh and release the tension. He scowled - how much of it had been an act?
He and Duo had been lovers for quite some time, and Heero had prided himself on being able to read between the lines of Duo's act and provide him with the strength to weather the rough times they periodically went through, as Gundam pilots. But apparently, he had missed something. A big something. He scowled again. This would have to be remedied. No one was going to say he didn't know how to take care of his koi! He began making plans for his new 'mission'.
His lips turned upwards. " Mission accepted."
Duo sighed as he headed for the bedroom he shared with Heero. Still early in the afternoon, he'd been somewhat surprised when Quatre and Trowa and decided they wanted to go out for some quiet time. Wufei had disappeared hours ago. Duo couldn't help but be somewhat relieved - with everyone gone, he could drop the charade and sleep, cry, scream - do whatever he wanted until the next time he had to play his part. Tension hummed through every part of him and he wished desperately that Heero was there.
God must have heard him.
As he stepped through the door, a pair of strong arms gently encircled his waist. Duo gasped as he looked into the gentle blue eyes of his lover.
" H-Heero!" he stuttered. " When did you--"
Heero placed a finger on his lip, cutting him off in mid-sentence. Duo blinked. Heero smiled and led him to the bed, sitting him down and facing him.
" It occurs to me, that I owe you a great deal, Duo Maxwell," he said softly. Duo blinked again.
" What do you mean?"
" I've seen you with the other pilots - how you immediately take on all the pressures and fears of all the others and place them on your shoulders," Heero said, watching their intertwined fingers with fascination. Duo was floored. Heero glanced back at him. " It must be hard."
Duo shrugged, an automatic gesture and bit his lip. He didn't want to burden himself on Heero. Heero saw this and sighed.
" Turn around," was all he said. Not sure what to expect, Duo obeyed him. He felt movement behind him, a rustling sound - and then Heero's hands were in his hair, untying the band that kept his braid together, and threading his fingers through the silky mass. Duo almost purred as he felt those strong hands, capable of bending steel with ease, gently stroked his hair from root to tip. Starting at the crown, Heero let his hands glide across Duo's scalp, gently rubbing his head in an effort to ease all the tension. He reached forwards and massaged Duo's temples - small, gentle circles that made Duo close his eyes, feeling the stress literally melt away.
Those magic hands disappeared for a minute and Duo wanted to cry out - and then they returned, carrying a brush with them. The urge to purr returned with force.
Heero knew why he liked brushing Duo's hair - it was an intimate gesture that bound them together. Something soothing and focusing that helped to drown out the chaos of the world, and let him center on the here and now. Rhythmically, he drew the brush through the long strands of brown silk, absently thankful that Duo favored an extra-strength conditioner and detangler - the brush slid through easily, with no obstructions.
Duo was in heaven! There were very few things in life he liked more then having his hair brushed, and he thanked his lucky stars, individually and by name, that his koi had a hair fetish. the pampering continued for nearly half an hour before he felt Heero separate his hair to braid it back up in its familiar style. He wanted to whimper at the loss - when he felt Heero touch his shoulders, removing the plain black t-shirt he was wearing and then pushing him chest down on the bed. Duo looked behind him with surprise as Heero turned the radio on to Duo's favorite station. Slow, soft music began playing in the background, and Duo felt the weight in the bed shift slightly as Heero straddled Duo's back - and began kneading the sore muscles present.
Duo bit back a moan of pleasure as Heero's hands moved slowly across his back, finding and loosening all the knots, stroking his fingers across the broad planes of his shoulders. He then went to work on Duo's traps, working at the muscle with the same grit and determination that he piloted Wing - but with the same love and devotion that he used on his lover. Duo really did purr this time, closing his eyes as he let Heero go to work. It felt so good, and he blinked, trying to keep from falling asleep. A soft chuckle from behind him made him realize he'd been caught.
" Go to sleep, Duo," Heero said. That became his new mission as his motions on Duo's back became more and more gentle, more soothing then before. Duo felt a great lethargy sink over him and he yawned, humming his appreciation as he relaxed into the mattress, slowly becoming a large, braided pile of goo.
Heero saw his lover's eyes shut and he continued with his ministrations, working at putting Duo into a deep sleep. His koi really needed it - with the soft glow of the light shining across his features, Heero could see the guantness in his face, the purple, bruise-like shadows under his eyes. He mentally scolded himself for not noticing sooner.
A soft snore wafted up from the American and Heero eased off the bed, careful not to disturb him. Part one complete. Now part two.
Duo slowly opened his eyes, feeling much better. His lover definitely had a knack for backrubs - and that nap had done him some good. Duo felt more refreshed then he had in a long time. Speaking of Heero, where was he? Duo pushed himself up, relishing the feel of now-loose muscles - and sniffed curiously. His eyes widened - whatever that was, it smelled GOOD!
He debated on whether or not he wanted to put his shirt back on, and decided against. Sticking with his loose black jeans, he padded barefoot out of the bedroom, and downstairs to the kitchen where he saw Heero putting the finishing touches on the dining room table. Duo's eyes widened to the size of saucers and his hand flew to his mouth in shock.
" Oh my--"
Heero walked up to him and grabbed him by the hand, tugging him to the table, sitting him down. Duo's eyes feasted on the mountain of food and he looked back at Heero who wore a contented, if smug, smirk on his face.
" You like?"
Duo nodded his head rapidly. Heero shook his head, smiling as he began serving the American his favourite dishes. Duo inhaled the food - he marvelled at Heero's ability to discover just the things that he liked most. He swallowed, and a suspicious wetness lurked in his eyes as he looked at his lover eating his own dinner. He pushed his chair back and went to Heero's side of the table. Heero watched silently as Duo knelt in front of him, wrapping his long arms around his waist and resting his head against his stomach. Heero didn't say anything, just rubbed one hand comfortingly on Duo's back while the other played with his koi's unruly bangs. Duo sniffed.
" Thank you Heero," he said softly, his voice muffled by Heero's shirt. " You knew just what I needed."
" You're welcome love," Heero said softly. He tilted Duo's face up so he could look into those violet eyes. " I'm sorry I didn't do this sooner - you needed a break."
Duo shrugged - and Heero growled softly. Bending down, he kissed his lover deeply, tenderly. Duo responded eagerly, moaning his appreciation into his lovers mouth.
" Don't hide from me," Heero whispered as he broke the kiss gently. Duo's cheeks colored and he looked down shamefully.
" It's not so much 'hiding', " he said at last, resting his head against Heero again. " Just 'putting to one side'. I LIKE cheering you guys up - and Lord knows you need it. Wufei would get so wrapped up in his quest for justice, he'd go nuts and get himself killed if I didn't take the brunt of some of his anger. And Quatre hates dumping on people - he keeps it all inside until it eats away at him, making him sick and afraid. He doesn't know how to release tension. Trowa's the same way, except it makes him depressed and that's not good for him especially. And then there's you." Duo looked up again. " I'm so scared that one day you're just going to go and self-destruct again - I just want to give you all I can, to show you there's more to life then just fighting." His eyes brimmed with tears again. " I don't want to lose you!"
Heero pushed the lump out of his throat as he quickly leaned down and brushed his lips across Duo's. " You'll never lose me," he said hoarsely, drowning in those violet depths. " I swear it."
Duo's eyes brightened and he leaned forwards, drawn to Heero like a moth to a flame. Heero's fingers snuck back into his koi's hair, winding around the strands, keeping Duo there. He marvelled at his love's perceptions of their teammates - and himself - and asked again, what he had done to deserve this wonderful creature in his life? Suddenly not satisfied with their current position, he reached down and drew Duo up, standing himself. Duo's eyes were bright, but behind them, Heero knew, lurked the exhaustion he'd been fighting all day - the tiredness that Duo's impromptu nap had only prolonged. He kissed Duo once more before pulling him into the living room, where he'd unfolded the plush couch into a bed, and put one of Duo's favourite old movies in. Duo squealed with delight and crawled on to the bed, dragging Heero after him. Heero lay back, half-sitting with Duo wrapped in his arms as they watched Indiana Jones chase after the Ark of theCovenant. Halfway into the movie, Duo's eyes shut and again, he slept, this time caught up in the protective embrace of his lover. Heero let the movie play through in case he woke up again. He didn't.
It was late when Quatre and Trowa returned from their night out. Quatre stopped and peeked into the living room, smiling gently as he saw the tender scene. Heero lifted his head from Duo's and his eyes sparkled - a rare sight from the Perfect Soldier. He mouthed the words 'Thank you' to the two boys. Trowa nodded and pulled Quatre away, glad they had decided to leave the two alone for the day, courtesy of Heero's unexpected present of dinner and theater tickets that afternoon.
Heero watched them leave and turned back to his sleeping lover, placing a tender kiss on the braided head. Duo sighed and murmured in his sleep and Heero chuckled.
" Mission accomplished," he said softly, eyes glowing. " Ai shiteru, Duo."
.......not exactly owari