Story: IT BURNS
Author: FancyFigures (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, wish I did, just enjoy writing about ‘em for free etc
Category: Heero POV, romance, drama
Warnings: Yaoi, lemon
Notes: When the characteristics of fire are burned into your soul…
Feedback: If you liked it, PLEASE let me know!
We came racing out of the building with the explosion at our heels; the roar of it in our ears; the smoke from it in our noses; the heat of it scorching our backs.
“Clear?” he yelled at me as he ran, his mouth grimacing round the expression of fear and tension. He knew I’d know what he meant.
“Affirmative!” I shouted back: we were the last to leave, our team mates were safe. I felt the bricks from a nearby wall crack and tumble in my wake with a hiss of hot dust.
He nodded briefly, then we both threw ourselves to the side, only seconds before the aftershock burst out of the collapsing doorway and boomed its way between us. The air shuddered with its force, and grit scratched at our bare cheeks and hands.
Gradually, the dust began to settle around us. I lay on the parched grass, panting, savouring the feeling of being alive. I glanced across to check that he was OK and met his wide grin. There was a thick layer of grime on his face and half his shirt was ripped away, but he looked exhilarated. His eyes were shining.
“Too close,” he gasped, still grinning. “Too fucking close by far.”
I frowned. That had been his fault, and he knew it. He’d tarried too long with the fuses; he’d been reckless, thumbing his nose at our adversaries when I’d insisted it was past the time to run for cover. But on the other hand, his playing for time had allowed all our agents to get clear, and had kept our plans hidden from the enemy until it was way too late for them to stop us. We’d played the game – his game – and this time we’d won.
I saw that in his face, too.
“You can write up the report,” is all I said.
Something like disappointment flickered in his eyes, darkening the blue to indigo. He sighed and sat up, brushing the excess dust off his pants and tucking his loosened hair back into its braid. “No problem to me,” he shrugged. When I got to my feet and held out a hand to help him up, he hesitated, but then he took it.
We stood there for a few seconds, staring at each other, listening to our breathing as it steadied. Then he grinned again.
“You look like shit,” he said. “Looks like you got blown out of a building.”
“Really,” I replied dryly. “Could be because I did.” I brushed my tangled hair off my forehead.
“Guess so,” he nodded, his eyes following the gesture. “But you’re still cute.”
I frowned. I hated that phrase and he knew it. Of course, baiting me was just his way of coming back down to earth after the crisis; just his way of defusing the tension. There was nothing more to it than that. He did it with an easy smile and an expectation of getting away with it – like so many other things in his life. But was I always expected to accept it?
He tilted his head, trying to catch my attention again. His expression was suddenly serious. “You OK, Heero? We ought to get going. But it was kinda rough, that last hundred yards…” He stretched his shoulders in an easy, graceful movement, popping a couple of twisted joints. He was trying – and failing – to make it look as if it’d been rough on him, too. Through a rip in his pants I could see the muscles in his legs bunching, preparing him for fight or flight. His blue eyes peered at me, glinting with the anticipation of our next move. There was mischief in them, too.
I smiled back, then. “Yes, I’m OK. Of course I am.” I waved him towards the exit road that led to the nearest town. “After you, Maxwell.”
How could I be mad at him? He was as filthy and tattered as I was, yet every nerve he possessed was alight with the thrill of what we’d just done; he was vibrant with belligerence; he was riding the crest of the carnage we’d just created, like some magnificent, manic surfer. We’d worked together for a couple of years now, and it was always the same. Every mission with him was a trip to the very edge, with no guarantee for the return journey. I’d never known a man like him. I’d never known stimulation like it.
Duo Maxwell was like a fire, burning everything in his path.
And if I weren’t careful, that would include me.
He whistled through his teeth as he drew the flame along the knife blade. The metal glinted; it reflected the flickering tongue of fire in multiple images along its edge. I didn’t recognize the tune he was whistling.
“I don’t need this,” I said, for what was probably the tenth time. “I’m fine. Honestly.” I was annoyed that my voice sounded shaky. The pain in my arm had dulled since the initial shot, but I was getting cramp now from crouching in the surveillance van. It was past midnight but I knew we weren’t safe yet, by any stretch of the imagination. It was probably only a matter of time before they found us hidden in here. The trail would be far too easy: I’d lost too much blood, too messily.
He snickered softly. “This is no time to get chicken,” he said. I could only see his profile, but I knew he was smiling.
I scowled: he knew better than to challenge me like that. “Just get me back to base and the doc can look at it.“
He turned back to me then, the knife held loosely in his hand, though the casualness was deceptive. After all, I already knew his skill with all kinds of blade. He was shaking his head, slowly. “No, Heero. It’s gotta be done now. The bullet has to come out.” There was a line of tension across his brow and a dark hollow in his gaze that his smile didn’t reach. I saw his knuckles whiten as he took a firmer grip on the knife.
We were both on our knees, and as he shuffled forwards towards me, I backed up to the wall. He kept staring at me. Maybe he was trying to keep my eyes off the knife.
“I can do this, Heero. You gotta trust me.”
I swallowed, hard. There was nowhere further to go: my back was flat against the panel and my legs buckled underneath me. I felt the gentle pressure of his free hand, steadying my shoulder. “You’d better be sure about this, Maxwell,” I snapped. “Damned sure.”
In answer, he gripped the remaining fabric of my sleeve and tore it away. The movement jarred my arm and I winced. I knew I was losing too much blood to keep conscious for much longer. I sank down on to the floor of the van and let him stretch my arm out as best as he could. He fixed the torch to a strut, creating a makeshift lamp. I half closed my eyes against the heat of the light. Under my armpit the remains of my shirt were saturated with warm and sticky blood.
He didn’t seem to have his usual supply of witty banter; the jokes had seeped away in the same way as my strength. I watched him bite his lip until it turned white against his teeth. When he twisted the knife again in the flame from his lighter, its surface sparkled, catching the reflection from both torch and fire. The dark cavern of the van was lit by nothing but fractured, metallic fireflies. I kept my eyes on his face. I didn’t think I’d ever seen him concentrate so carefully or so quietly.
When he spoke to me again I realised I must have passed out; time had passed since the knife touched my flesh, though I had no idea how long.
“Yuy? Can you hear me OK? It’s over.”
I stretched my arm gingerly. It was bound tightly and well. It ached, but the pressure from the bullet that had been lodged against the artery had eased. “Of course I can hear. I’m injured, not deaf.”
His face loomed over me and he was smiling again, but this time without the frown of tension. “No-one’s found the van, either. We’ve earned ourselves a couple of hours before dawn for you to rest up.”
“I’m OK,” I growled. “For God’s sake, leave me alone.” His smile faded and he busied himself for a while adjusting my bandage, his hands moving swiftly but with great precision. I'd never realised he could be so gentle. I tried to tell him that I appreciated the good work, but before I could find the right phrasing he told me to just shut the fuck up and get some rest. He didn’t sound angry; just tense and weary. I’d been very brusque towards him. I didn’t really know how else to be.
It had been a long, stressful night and I slept soundly despite my protests. When the morning came and I woke, very thirsty but feeling some strength returning, Duo was fast asleep on the floor of the van beside me, flat on his back. He had the knife balanced on his belly and the lighter clutched in his clenched fist. I had no doubt that if there'd been trouble, he'd have been awake instantly and ready to defend us both.
But in the meantime, he’d slept his watch beside me.
It just wasn’t my kind of event, and he knew it. I found crowded bars oppressive, and I’d never had much of a head for drink. But surely – so he said - we both wanted to shake off the tension of the last few weeks; surely we both wanted to join the others in a celebration for another mission successfully completed? It sounded churlish of me to disagree. I was resigned to going along, though I explained that there were several loose ends to attend to first in the office.
He waited quietly for me, despite my suggestion he went on ahead. I closed out several open files and plotted the cross-references to the database; I circulated a batch of reports ready for the next morning. He watched me casually, but when I finally logged off, he let out a deep breath that he’d obviously been holding. His expression seemed to imply that he thought there were way too many ‘loose ends’ in my life, but he just didn’t have the energy or time to take me to task. His smile looked tired.
We were a couple of hours late in arriving and the party was in full swing, though all the guys were pleased to see us. They greeted me with a smile and a handshake – but they greeted Duo Maxwell with fascinated delight. That was always the way. He brought vibrancy to a room when he entered; he drew all the excitement towards him, like a centrepiece. His laughter was loud and unrestrained; his steps confident; his attention both sought and given most generously. Now that Duo Maxwell had arrived, outrageous stories could finally be told, couldn’t they? The rock music could be turned up; hugs of welcome could be warmer and more tactile.
I accepted the drink that someone pressed into my hand and I watched him make a path towards the bar. He was like quicksilver, sliding through the crowd of friends and colleagues, swiftly yet smoothly. His head dipped from one side to the other, always with a word for someone, hidden behind one group then in the middle of another. I watched him laughing again, his head thrown back, the lights from the bar shining on his face.
My eyes followed him constantly, but maybe that was because I’d been trained so well to observe. He was at the bar by now, laughing with Wufei, and a couple of times they glanced my way. They’d worked together, too, though not as often. Maybe they were talking about the mission.
I finished the first drink and accepted a couple more, far too quickly. Many people thronged the bar and one guy’s hand trailed very obviously against Duo’s waist. Sexual interest followed Duo too, like a moth to the proverbial flame. He never suffered for lack of willing company. Tonight, though, it seemed he had no time for it; I saw the way he twisted gently, causing the invasive hand to slip away. No offence would be taken – but no liberties, either.
I was still watching his movements when he suddenly turned and looked straight at me. He seemed worried, but I didn’t understand why. It wasn’t as if he needed my approval for anything he did; and let’s face it, he so rarely got it.
That realisation tugged at my conscience. I thought that I’d probably drunk too much already, and my judgement was confused, but I had to admit that my opinion of Duo Maxwell wasn’t always fair, was it? I knew his worth even better than I knew his occasional foolhardiness. For that, he deserved both my approval and my admiration.
And my honesty.
I stepped back towards the exit, the crowd parting around me then closing in again, hiding my retreat. There was a strange kind of nausea in my gut, but I still took another drink with me as I slipped out into the lobby. The door swung back shut and I stood alone, the noise and laughter in the bar now nothing but a distant echo.
I was startled when the door to the bar re-opened briefly and Duo came out after me. He closed it behind him, shutting off the noise and the party atmosphere again. There was no-one else in the lobby with us. It seemed unnaturally quiet.
“Not leaving already, Heero?”
I shrugged, sheltering my confusion behind my drink, draining it too quickly.
His eyes glanced over me and he raised an eyebrow. “You’re different when you’re drunk.”
“I’m not,” I protested. “So stupid…” I wasn’t sure if I meant him or his appraisal.
Surprisingly, he nodded agreement, slowly and rather sadly. “You’re right. I am. So why won’t you stay here with me?”
I frowned, not understanding. Duo Maxwell didn’t need my company – he was in everyone’s eyes, on everyone’s lips. He was noise to my quiet; light to my shade; fire to my chill. Wasn’t that the way? The drink made me ridiculously poetic, it seemed. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Duo, maybe –“
He stepped forward suddenly, blocking my path, his body tight with tension. “No. See me now, Heero! How fucking long am I going to have to wait for you to focus on me, just once?”
I tried to step back but my feet didn’t seem to want to move.
“Shit,” he muttered, and his eyes flickered with a rare blaze of fear. “That didn’t come out as I meant it to.” He placed his hand on my arm. His grip was firm but I knew I could shake him off easily if I wanted. “You’re so cute, Heero…”
Ridiculous. All of it was. It was like the floor swayed under my feet. “Don’t say that again,” I warned. I wished they’d turn up the air conditioning in the building, the air was stifling.
“Cute, dammit,” he whispered, almost under his breath. I think he might have said ‘Please,” as well, but my concentration suddenly wasn’t at its best.
“Don’t,” I repeated, sharply, and now my feet were moving, however they were going in completely the opposite direction to the exit. I moved awkwardly, too, stumbling up against him with the alcohol pumping through my body like warm fuel. I didn’t seem to have full control of my motor skills. All I could see was the sparkling reflection of the lobby lights in his pupils, shivering like neon flames. All I could feel were the muscles tensing across his shoulders and the grasp of his palm on my arm. All I could hear was the soft sigh of the words he was just starting to say, and yet I knew…
The incontrovertible, unutterable agony of wanting him. I wanted him in my eyes – on my lips. I wanted him, and I knew I always had.
I lifted my hands to either side of his surprised face and I leant in to kiss him. I was clumsy and I probably smelled of beer and I knew he’d have plenty of other, more attractive offers before the night was out, but just for that moment I was totally and fiercely selfish. I tasted him, and it was just as I imagined and yet so much better than I imagined. His murmur sank into the back of my throat and his hand slid up my arm to my neck. I tensed, ready for protest, but he didn’t try to throw me off. In fact, his head tilted slightly and his body weight shifted to nudge him up even closer to me. His fingers curled firmly into the hair at the nape of my neck and he kissed me back, I was sure of it.
Also for that moment I was honest with myself. I’d never wanted anything more – and I’d never been more horrified at myself, either.
I dragged myself away from him like I was tearing a limb from my body. I couldn’t find any words to apologise – I couldn’t meet the look of disgust I knew would be in his eyes. I stuttered something, assuming he’d blame my drunkenness for such stupidity. I wasn’t proud of myself but I turned and I ran from that building as if it were burning.
Or as if I were.
The briefing had been long and complex, and I was glad to get out of the ops room afterwards. It wasn’t that the forthcoming mission was too difficult – I had no concerns about its potential success. But did they think I wouldn’t notice their curious eyes on me; the things they didn’t dare to ask? My colleagues – my friends - had noticed the tension in the office over the last few weeks, but I hadn’t given them any opportunity to question me about it.
I’d only come into the office for this particular meeting, and I had arranged a weapons refresher course for the rest of the week. I was out of circulation for a while, and that suited me fine. I just had to collect a few books from my cubicle and then I’d set off for the training facility. I made sure I didn’t encourage any conversation that was more than superficial, despite Quatre dogging my footsteps all the way along the corridor and Trowa following ruefully behind him.
But my determination didn’t stop Duo Maxwell striding into my room, pushing past the others and demanding my attention. When Quatre protested, he turned back and glared until the pair of them stepped warily back out into the corridor. When Trowa also tried to speak, Duo pulled the sliding door shut in their faces.
“Open the door,” I said, with a weary sigh. “Quatre needs to go through the surveillance timing with you and Trowa. This mission involves everyone, not just you.”
“Everyone except you,” he snapped. His eyes flashed angrily, suggesting he was struggling for control. “This has gone on long enough. I want to know why you’re not on the team.”
I stared at him, keeping my expression as blank as I could. “Of course I’m on the team. You just saw me in the briefing, didn’t you?”
“You’re office bound,” he growled. “Not out in the field with us all – where you should be. You’re the best fucking agent we’ve got, but somehow you’ve persuaded them to keep you caged up here. Why?”
I shook my head, refusing to be drawn. It hurt to stay silent, which surprised me, but experience had taught me it was the only safe option.
“It’s because of me,” he persisted. “Isn’t it? You don’t want to work with me. Since that evening when you –“
I held up a hand: it was an instinctive gesture – defensive. But he stepped forward, regardless. Someone was knocking on the door outside, then it was cut off abruptly. Neither of us acknowledged it. I couldn’t tear my eyes away: I could feel the anger radiating from him. “Duo, this isn’t the time –“
“No,” he snapped. “This is gonna be the time, Heero. You ran out on me before, and you’ve been avoiding me ever since. I don’t understand why you’re fucking me about like this but my patience is wearing thin.”
I gaped at him. “What the hell do you mean? You arrogant bastard! As if my behaviour is influenced by you…”
“But it is,” he hissed. He was almost toe to toe with me now. It took all my willpower to hold my hands at my sides. “Tell me, Heero. You owe me that. I don’t see you as any kind of coward, but if you didn’t want me, why did you lead me on like that? Shit, I couldn’t believe it when we kissed, it was fantastic – but then you were gone, just as suddenly, leaving me with a dropped jaw and such a hard-on it was hours before I could sit down again easily. Was that all it was to you – a game? A tease?”
I was still gaping, but for different reasons now. “Of course not.” What was he talking about? It was fantastic? He was shaking his head and the vibration in the air brushed against my cheek. My skin was very hot.
“So what’s this all about, then?” He looked distressed. “Every minute I’ve worked with you – every minute I’ve been with you – has been a minute too short for me. But if it’s so abhorrent to you, being in my company, let’s get the Commander to formalize it and I can take some kind of transfer out of here –“
“No.” It was my turn to shake my head, confused. “I don’t want that.” What was he saying? Why would he be interested in me when he could have anyone else? When he burned so brightly, like a fire – when I could only ever be a shadow behind the embers?
He interrupted me, ignoring me. The words spilled out of him in an angry, miserable burst of breath. “I don’t know how to reach you, Heero Yuy, and it’s killing me. I’m fucking tired of hiding it, you know? I’ve watched you; I’ve admired you; I’ve wanted you, knowing I’ll probably never be good enough to meet you on your terms. You don’t need me – you don’t even see me. I don’t register on your radar as anything more than a potential liability that you make it so obvious you can do without –“
And then I took hold of him and kissed him again. I held him too fiercely maybe, because I could feel my fingers digging into his arms. My mouth pressed down on to his and I forced my tongue against him, insisting on admittance. His lips felt cool and dry but they opened to let me thrust in, and I felt the warmth of his saliva inside; the sharp ridge of his teeth; the gasp from his throat. I didn’t just kiss – I plundered.
When we broke apart, we were both panting. His eyes were still dark, but much wider now.
“Fuck. That was… no tease,” he said, slowly.
“No,” I agreed. Suddenly I realised how tired I was of hiding, the same as Duo. I’d wanted to taste him again – I’d wanted to hold him again. I couldn’t be expected to resist that for ever, could I? I reasoned uselessly with myself while the shame and fear swamped me.
He was staring at me, his eyes bright with the reflection of my need. There was no hostility in his expression, just amazement. “You’re afraid of this, aren’t you? Don’t be. Don’t you understand anything about me at all? I want it – and you do, too. That was…” He drew a shallow breath; moistened his lips. “That was so, so good.”
I struggled for words. I was with him, balanced on another edge and I was falling way too easily. “Duo, being with you is…” He looked expectant; wary. “Dangerous,” I concluded.
His eyes narrowed as if he tried to read words into my lack of them. His arm was still around my waist and my hands still held his shoulders. If I leant forward a few inches, I’d be able to kiss him again. My body shuddered with the anticipation.
“Do you feel scared, Heero? Do you think you’re unsafe with me?” He ran a finger tentatively down my cheek and I arched instinctively against his touch. “Shit, I’d never want to put you at risk.”
I smiled then. The situation was shockingly new, but the tone of his voice was as familiar as it has always been. “No. I don’t think that. I don’t think I've ever been anything but safe in your hands, Duo.” I paused then continued, my smile even wider. “But as for being at risk in other ways…”
He laughed softly, with a swiftly growing delight. “Shit, is this real? Is this happening? God, it’s so good…” His lips ghosted at my ear, his tongue flickering out to lick at my skin. “You’re so good.” His breath was hot on my neck and I could feel the desire flaring through his body. Or was that mine? My mouth formed itself around his name, silently; hungrily.
“You’re not going to call me cute again?”
He laughed loudly this time. He sounded a little breathless. “Not if you don’t like it. Not if you’ll kiss me like that again. In fact, you can call me cute if it means you’ll leave this fucking tedious, far-too-public office right now and come with me to my place, where we can talk some more about you being at risk around me.”
“You think I’d welcome that?” My heart was hammering as my fingers traced the shape of his backbone under his shirt.
“Yeah,” he murmured. “Like I said, I don’t see you as any kind of coward. Fierce and determined and never accepting anything less than perfection – that’s you. Maybe I can’t measure up to that, but I’ll try my damnedest…”
“You can. You do,” I murmured back. I didn’t want to talk: I wanted to kiss. I wanted to do far more than that. I wanted to get past Quatre and Trowa in the corridor without any more questions, and I wanted to get back to Duo’s place faster than my next breath. His fingers slipping under the waistband at the back of my pants told me he wanted it, too.
His hands held me in close – perhaps he thought I’d make a break for it, away from him. Perhaps I was just imagining my dreams had come true. Whichever was true, I sank into his returning kiss and let the passion and the energy consume me.
I wanted to burn alongside him.
“Tell me why, Heero,” he murmured, his lips mumbling the words against the bare skin of my thigh. “Why me.”
“Huh?” I was less than articulate, myself. The day was slow to start, the early light dribbling through my half-closed curtains. My limbs had that sleepy sensuality that comes after a night full of passion and laughter and a complete loss of inhibition. Or several such nights. I just wanted to lie on top of the crumpled sheets and savour the contrasting textures of cool cotton and sticky human flesh. I imagined I could feel every individual goose bump raising up along the trail of his tongue. I wanted to fist my hands in his outrageously thick hair and let my legs fall apart quite willingly when he nudged at them. I wanted him to smile then lick his way across my skin, and then I wanted to bury my cock very deeply, very possessively into his mouth when he allowed me – yet again – to do so.
But I knew what he needed to hear. He’d told me enough in his own way in the cool darkness of midnight, when I’d leant over him, our skins slick with sweat and our limbs scrabbling to find a familiar position, our desire making us clumsy and impatient. His eyes had glinted then with shock and his mouth had opened with wild, escalating gasps of pleasure. He’d been naked before me, and not just from his lack of clothing. Duo Maxwell was full of courage and confidence, but he needed me, too. It was a miracle, I thought.
Here in the pale light of another day’s sunshine, I grasped his hand and brought it to my face. I pressed the shape of my mouth into the gentle depression of his palm. “You’re a fire,” I whispered. “You burn away my fears; then your bright, steady flame leads me all the way back into danger and excitement and challenge.”
He laughed softly, making the muscle in my leg twitch reflexively. “You’re with me all the way, though, aren’t you?” He lapped thoughtfully at my flesh, painting a damp, sticky trail up towards my groin. “You’re the only one who can match me – the only one who’d want to. I know nothing scares you, Heero Yuy.” His lips nuzzled at my balls, mischievously. “I’ll try never to do that, I promise.”
I nodded, still sleepy, though my cock stirred greedily between my legs. It swelled up, lifting its morning head, and caught its sensitive tip on his nose. He grunted, but now I recognised that sound as one of pleasure. I felt his breath on me, his mouth sliding down over me, and I stretched out blissfully underneath him.
You warm me, I sighed to myself, surrendering to it, allowing the sensations to burn through me, the ecstasy making me shudder and the pure joy making me vulnerable in a way I never had been before. I was alight with it.
It was a magnificent feeling, one that seared me to the core. I suspected it’d never be extinguished. I thought I might tell Duo about that, to see if it would scare him. Then he murmured around me, his breath tickling my hairs, and my body arched gently up from the bedclothes. It gave him the chance to slip his hand under my ass and stroke a finger mischievously down the crack.
My groan was mixed with laughter from both of us. I decided not to bother with the romantic discussion.
Not just now.