Nights of Fire
The sound was so loud he couldn’t hear the voices of those around him. Lights exploded everywhere, assaulting the senses. The heat was almost unbearable, as if at the centre of an inferno. And Duo Maxwell loved every second of it.
A cascade of colours shimmered over his body as the disco lights flashed and the music seemed to flow like a living creature. In the most crowded area of the dance floor the braided boy was moving as if possessed by the fast paced beat. A night out clubbing was exactly what Shinigami needed.
The remaining four pilots were less then in the swing of things, however.
Wufei was standing rigidly against the wall, arms crossed, trying to ignore the petite brunette who was attempting to chat him up.
Quatre was swaying to the music: smile on his cherubic face, alcopop in his hand; trying to convince the tall Heavyarms pilot to dance.
Trowa was sitting on a barstool, arms folded, smiling fondly at the blonde even as he shook his head.
As for Heero… the dark haired young man had promptly dropped into a seat at the bar, flashed his fake ID at the waitress and then proceeded to stare into his pint glass for an hour.
Turning as he danced, Duo paused when he saw his friends. He shrugged apologetically at the two girls he had been dancing with and squeezed his way through the heaving press of bodies towards the bar. He threw himself into a stool, grabbed a plastic cup of water and whirled around so he could lean back with his elbows on the counter.
"Hey!" he shouted over the song booming from the speakers, "How come you aren’t all out there on the floor having a good time?"
"Trowa won’t dance with me!" Quatre called before anyone else could answer. Trowa merely rolled his visible eye at his energetic boyfriend.
"He’s only had two drinks," he complained to a chuckling Duo. This earned a lopsided pout from the blonde.
"Don’t laugh at me." He turned pleading eyes on the braided boy and fluttered his eyelashes. "Come on Duo, help me get Trowa to dance with me."
Another laugh erupted from Duo’s mouth. "Trow-man, if you ever want any peace and quiet you’d better dance with him." He clapped the taller boy on the shoulder and gave him a shove towards the eager Arabian.
"Fine," Trowa grumbled as he allowed himself to be pulled into the crowd, "One dance, but that’s all, Little One, you hear me?" Quatre just giggled as he pulled him closer and they began to dance.
Duo smiled at the couple before turning to the more challenging pilots. He decided to save the most challenging (and the best, his silent voice added) for last, so he turned to the young Chinese man. Taking a swig of water he sauntered over to Wufei.
"Hey Wufei," he said, waggling his eyebrows suggestively. "Who’s your friend?"
The brunette beamed up at him with eyes as dark and almond shaped as the Shenlong pilot’s. "Hi!" she chirped. "I’m Sakura. And you are…?"
"Duo" he replied, extending a hand which was clasped and shaken enthusiastically.
"Duo" she repeated, committing it to memory. "I saw you out on the floor earlier, you sure love to dance!" She turned to Wufei who was watching the sprightly girl with a cross between apprehension and curiosity. "Do you not dance Wufei?"
"No" was the sullen reply. Still undeterred Sakura pressed on.
"That’s a shame. Why are you here if all you’re going to do is watch everyone else?" Duo was grinning at the girl’s courage. No girl had ever put up with Wufei’s obstinate detachment for this long. Duo felt the need to help her break the walls the Chinese man continued to put up around himself. A girl like this might do the pilot some good, if only he let her.
"I dragged him out for the night," Duo confessed with a smile. "I wanted to go out on the town and talked my friends into coming with me. Two of them have finally gone off to dance," he paused to look for Quatre and Trowa and finally spotted them with their arms around each other and their lips locked, ignorant of anyone else in the club, "and they seem to be having a good time. But I can’t seem to get Wufei here to lighten up."
"Watch it Maxwell," came the growled warning. Sakura giggled again before a thoughtful look settled over her delicate features. After a moment she turned a radiant smile on the boys.
"Ok, well if you won’t dance Wufei, but Duo wants you to have a good time, won’t you come and sit with me? I like talking to you, well I’d like it more if you’d reply, and I don’t really feel like dancing that much anyway. What do you say?" She turned a sweetly beseeching look on the young man and after a minute’s hesitation he nodded his consent.
"Fine, but don’t think you’ve got your way again Maxwell!" he called over his shoulder as Sakura found them a couple of chairs and a quiet corner. Duo gave a low whistle at just how easy that had been – Wufei must have liked the girl more then he’d guessed. But then Duo remembered that the biggest challenge was still to come: how was he supposed to get Heero-I-only-have-two-emotions: pissed-off-and-insane -Yuy to relax and have a good time?
Duo felt a tug of sympathy as he looked at the gloomy figure of Heero sat alone at the bar. The Perfect Soldier never seemed to be able to let himself down off of the hair-trigger state his training had induced upon him. And for someone who cared about him as much as Duo, seeing that was particularly painful. The braided pilot had had only one mission since the war had ended: to get Heero Yuy to show a true smile. Then maybe he could begin to get over his crush on the dark-haired boy.
Considering the options open to him, Duo quietly settled himself in a stool next to Heero and ordered a soft drink from the lady behind the bar. Once it arrived he began to stare into it as intensely as the Wing pilot was with his half-finished beer.
"You know," he began after a few minutes, "I guess mine must be broken ‘cause I can’t see anything fascinating in there. Let me try yours." He pulled the pint glass from Heero’s hand and once more took up the pose of staring into the amber liquid.
"Baka," Heero snarled. Duo just grinned at the harsh tone. He was used to that. At least he hadn’t threatened… "Omae o korusu." … to kill him. Pulling a face he pushed the glass back towards the tetchy boy.
"Jeez Heero, I’m only playing. Tonight’s supposed to be our night of fun remember!"
"Aw come on Heero!" he cried, throwing an arm around the hunched shoulders. "Ok, what’s wrong? Come on, tell Auntie Duo all about it." Heero shrugged off the arm and remained silent. "Well, whatever it is, beer is not the answer," Duo said cheerfully, wrinkling his nose as Heero took another mouthful of the drink.
"I do not plan to get drunk, if that is what you are implying. It would take approximately eleven pints of beer to get me in a state of drunkenness and I have neither the desire nor the financial capacity to become totally inebriated tonight."
"O-kay," said Duo, a little confused by the sudden defensive speech, "well I guess that’s a good thing. Quatre’s already a little tipsy and I don’t fancy carrying you both home!" But the small attempt at humour had no effect. Heero just snorted.
Duo was half-inclined to give up on this particular pilot but stubbornness and heart-felt determination overruled the thought. There had to be some way to get Heero to join in the fun, but how…
Duo was shocked out of his thoughts when the pilot in question half turned to him and began to speak.
"I don’t need you to watch over me. You were having fun earlier, don’t let me stop you."
Duo sighed, voice losing it’s joking tone and said in all honesty, "It’s no fun for me if I can see you sitting here, alone and miserable. The idea was for you to have fun as well. With all of us."
"I’m not used to having fun." Heero’s voice was bitter but there was hope there. Duo saw his possibility and seized it.
"Well, let me teach you then!" he said, smile bright and voice joyful. "Come dance with me Trowa and Quatre and we’ll make sure you have a good time."
Finally Heero looked into the braided boy’s eyes and Duo almost flinched at the hopefulness hidden in the cobalt depths. Then the contact was broken and Heero was shaking his head.
"I don’t think so."
"Why not?!" Duo cried, not managing to contain his frustration and disappointment.
"I don’t want to."
"That’s a lie!" Abandoning any sense of caution or tact he turned accusing eyes on the boy. "That’s a lie and you know it! I can see you want to, it’s there in your eyes no matter how hard you try and fool me with your cruel threats and cold attitude. You want to be a regular teenager just like everyone here around us, just as much as I do, except you won’t admit it! I care about you too much to let you just sit here and mope about how miserable your life is when you have this chance to have a regular night out like any other kid our age!"
Heero blinked at him for a moment as Duo sat back down in his stool and an embarrassed flush rose over his cheeks.
"I didn’t want to because I can’t dance," Heero said calmly, looking at Duo with a slight wariness. "That’s what I meant when I said I didn’t want to dance."
An odd flicker at the corner of Heero’s mouth occurred so quickly that Duo thought he imagined it.
"You care about me?" the blue-eyed boy asked quietly. The blush crept higher over Duo’s face.
"Um, well, yeah… Oh hell." He looked at his feet, took a deep breath and then said in a rush and tumble of words: "Don’t get mad at me or hurt me or anything but I like you a lot, and I mean, really like you, like as more then a friend and I wish I didn’t ‘cause, I mean, I don’t even know if you go that way, but I do care about you and I’m sorry." He braced himself, eyes tight shut, waiting for the impact of Heero’s fist against his jaw.
When no such blow came he looked up hesitantly. Heero was just watching him with a similar blush over his own cheeks. He didn’t look angry. But then Heero’s looks could be deceptive.
"I’m sorry," Duo said again, standing up and edging away from the bar, "I didn’t mean to embarrass you man, that just kinda came out. I’ll just stay out of your way, yeah?" He turned to go but felt strong fingers wrap around his wrist.
"Sit down baka. I’m not going to hit you. And I’m not mad."
"No?" Duo gave a small hopeful smile as he perched on the stool.
"No," affirmed Heero, a pensive frown on his brow. "I’m not going to suddenly reveal an undying love for you but I ‘like’ you too." He stopped short, realising the meaning of what he’d just said. "Let me get the facts clear. You are attracted to me, yes?" Duo nodded, an embarrassed smile on his face. "And I like you, though I am not sure as to the full extent of this feeling. I am rather inexperienced when it comes to emotions of any kind, but perhaps…" He hesitated, the barest hint of a smile playing over his lips. "Perhaps you would be able to show me."
Duo felt like both his head and his heart were about to explode: this didn’t feel real. But it was clear that things would be a slow and frustrating process, he couldn’t expect the Perfect Soldier to become the perfect boyfriend overnight. Still, he figured, it was definitely worth it.
"Sure," he said, pleased to see the tension visibly drain from Heero’s body as he agreed to the tentative deal.
"What do we do first?" asked Heero, ever thinking in terms of strategy. Duo grinned, grabbing his hand and pulling Heero up to stand beside him.
"First, I show you how to dance," he chuckled, tugging Heero towards the area he had last seen Trowa and Quatre.
From their corner of the club, Wufei and Sakura watched as the braided boy tried to get the dark-haired boy to mimic his movements to the sound of the music. Wufei watched with a face of pure shock and confusion whilst Sakura smiled happily.
"They look cute together, those friends of yours," she said, nudging his arm when he remained staring open-mouthed at the two pilots.
"I guess," Wufei replied finally looking down at the girl. "They’re the last two I ever expected to fall for each other though." Sakura giggled.
"Opposites attract, Wufei. You haven’t figured that out yet?" she said chidingly.
A low growl began in the Shenlong pilot’s throat but was cut off almost as soon as it started, instead replaced with a muffled sound of shock. Sakura pulled her lips from his before he could deepen the kiss and smiled slyly.
"Figured it out now?"
"Whoo hoo! You move Heero!" Duo ducked the fist that was thrown half-heartedly at him and laughed.
"Shut up baka."
"No I mean it Heero, you’re getting good at this." Duo hesitated only a moment before draping his arms over Heero’s shoulders and pulling the dancing boy towards him.
"Is this ok?" he asked into Heero’s ear, as quietly as the pulsing music would allow. "Dancing together like this?" He grinned widely as Heero nodded and continued to dance, this time pressed up against the braided boy. Encouraged, Duo decided to try a little more.
"Is this?" He leaned in and pressed a kiss against the other boy’s lips. Heero’s eyes were wide when he pulled back but again he nodded.
Duo stole a glance at his other two friends, who were still, sixteen songs later, dancing with their arms snug around one another, Quatre’s head tilted up to claim yet more kisses from Trowa’s eager mouth.
Heero followed his gaze and after a moment bobbed his head in an agreeing nod.
"You don’t know what I was gonna ask yet" teased Duo as he saw the nod. Heero gave a small glare before leaning in to speak into Duo’s ear.
"It is alright for you to kiss me like that if you want to."
"Do you want to?" Another nod.
Heero closed his eyes, a little concerned that he would do something wrong, but trusting Duo to teach him. Duo smiled at the eyelashes that rested on flushed cheeks and the ever-so-slightly parted lips before closing his own eyes and leaning in. Their lips brushed softly together, like a feather’s touch, before Duo kissed Heero more bravely, lips parting to taste the other boy’s lips. He pulled back a tiny way, enjoying the feeling of Heero’s breath fluttering over his mouth. Leaning in again he kissed the boy’s mouth properly, letting his tongue enter the motion, politely requesting permission before being accepted and met by Heero’s own exploring tongue.
By the time they pulled away, breath a little heavy and hearts pounding, they realised they had an audience. Trowa’s eyebrows were raised in question and Quatre had a silly smile on his face as they awaited an explanation.
"What?" called Duo indignantly as he again picked up the rhythm and resumed dancing. Heero just glared, daring the other couple to say something. Trowa shrugged and pulled the grinning blonde back towards him, the unexpected sight of their two friends kissing soon forgotten in the music and movement of the dance.
When Duo turned back to Heero he had to bite back a gasp. The cobalt-eyed boy was smiling at him, really smiling, a smile that reached his eyes and made them glitter.
"Mission complete" he said to himself as he enjoyed the sight of his partner’s smile.
"What?" asked Heero, unable to hear over the music. Duo just grinned and shook his head.
"Just thinking how great you look when you smile." Heero raised an eyebrow but didn’t question any further.
The sound was so loud they couldn’t hear the voices of those around them. Lights exploded everywhere, assaulting the senses. The heat was almost unbearable, as if at the centre of an inferno. And the Gundam boys loved every second of it.