by Uru-Chan

11:45. Violet eyes peered sleepily at the bedside clock. Fifteen minutes till checkout. The crimson digits blurred beneath a fringe of lashes, illegible in his exhaustion. Why do I have to wake up anyway? Ch'. Heero carried me back the other night, didn't he? Kitto if he can make it that far, he can carry my ass to the terminal.

Duo arched against the rough, quilted bedspread, arms flung wide in a luxurious stretch. His toes wriggled within the confines of his shoes, one foot tapping against his pack. The zipper jangled slightly with each beat, faint beneath the roar of the air conditioner.

He could feel the soft pressure of the Japanese boy's bag, sinking abruptly into the mattress. Heero's thigh brushed the edge of the comforter, denim scraping the patterned spread. Duo's hand darted out, grasping the boy's shirttail and tugging gently.

"I thought I told you to finish packing."

"Hee~ro," the American whined sullenly, clutching fiercely at the fold of dark fabric. His expression shifted, narrowing in determination. Duo yanked himself up, settling cross-legged on the bed, still clinging to Heero's shirt. Deftly, the braided boy slipped one hand beneath the faded T, caressing the hard contour of the other boy's chest. The Japanese pilot faltered briefly, sucking in a rather tremulous breath.

"Duo..." Calloused fingers settled hesitantly against the American's cheek. His thumb stroked the boy's slack mouth, eyes narrowing as he leaned imperceptibly forward.

"Ne, Heero...Do you want me?" the braided boy rasped, fisting his partner's collar. A faint growl escaped the Wing pilot's throat. Grinning, Shinigami drew the boy's thumb into his mouth, suckling gently.

"Duo..." Heero's eyes caught the flicker of the bedside clock. "Quit stalling," he commanded harshly, disentangling himself. "Get your things from the bathroom, or I'm gonna leave them here."

Shimatta! Duo collapsed noisily against the mattress, nibbling thoughtfully at the end of his braid. Well...what'd you expect? he questioned wryly, rolling to his feet with an excessive sigh. If you want something from him you've gotta stick a freakin' post it note to his forehead. He glared at the back of the Wing pilot's head, brows knit in a tiny frown.

Heero...Onegai. It's not enough for you to want me. Even if I'm begging for it now. It's just an excuse to touch you, really; to be touched. There's some comfort to be had there, after all. I want to bury my face in the hollow of your shoulder, where nobody else can see it. So what if I lose it again, and I'm sobbing in the sheets as you take me? You'll only blame it on the heat of passion.

Hidoi ne...It's been eight years. I swore I'd never cry again. I blew it anyway, the long walk home, sagging pathetically from Heero's arms. His clothes were soaked already from the rain, and I muffled the sound in his shoulder ... One hand strayed to his lips, absently stroking their contour.

Solo....It burned, the life you gave me. My tongue, my throat, my belly. That last lingering part of you, forced into my body and tearing me apart. But I'm not sorry for that. It's always better when it hurts a little. If nothing else, Solo, the pain proved that you loved me.

"Duo." The braided boy glanced up, flushing slightly at the Wing pilot's expression. Heero studied him openly, head cocked slightly in thought. His lips parted briefly, then closed on whatever he'd meant to say. The American's fingers clenched the bathroom door, rolling uneasily against the knob. "Forget it," he murmured, shaking his dark head. "I'm gonna check us out. Meet me out back when you're finished."

"Ryoukai!" Duo quipped halfheartedly, a stiff smile tugging at his lips. He swung himself into the bathroom, the door snicking quietly shut behind him. He trudged sullenly to the shower stall, parting the curtain with a metallic shriek. He paused, stroking the moist, beaded plastic, eyes clouded with memory.

'I told you; Him and me, we're different that's all. He's just slow, he doesn't show it like the rest of us! What happened between us, whatever the hell you want to call it-it doesn't change how I feel about Heero!'

"But it did," Duo whispered, gathering his conditioner from the cheap plastic shelf. I thought it would be enough, my love for you, your lust for me. And it was sweet, for a time, just to belong to you.

'Mine; mine and nobody else's.'

I let you catch me, Heero. I wonder if you even know why. Duo's eyes lit on a snugly wrapped bar of soap, and a somber little smile tugged at his lips. He balanced it carefully atop his armful of toiletries, one hand groping for the door. Duo paused, exhaling noisily in the vaulted room.

I shouldn't defend what Solo did to me. But maybe, in a child's mind, the ends do justify the means. He didn't ruin all my memories, Duo realized. Pale light searing the backs of my eyelids. His teeth clenching my lower lip. In the end, it was just another painful ecstasy. The sort of thing Solo would've been proud of; the kind he'd been giving me all along.

'Mine; mine and nobody else's'

Onegai, he whispered, shoving at the bathroom door. Whatever he was--I can't help feeling like he died for me. Please, Heero... Just give me something, anything, to prove that it was worth it.

The American's feet padded softly against the frayed carpet, marking his progress toward the bed. He deposited a half dozen bottles of shampoo and cosmetics, snapping the cap shut on a tube of glitter. Duo stuffed the various toiletries in his bag, yanking the zipper noisily shut. He made to sling the pack across his shoulder, when a scrap of paper caught his eye. It curled slightly against the mattress, crinkled and oddly glossy. He snatched it up, unfolding it eagerly, until it lay flat across his palms.

Oh my god...

A pair of thieves grinned rakishly through the spidery creases, eyes shadowed by jagged bangs. The older boy's arm clutched the younger's shoulders, eternally possessive. Duo's hands trembled slightly, caressing the patchwork of tape with his fingertips. A cough of nervous laughter escaped him, one hand darting to his mouth. He could just picture the Japanese boy, hunched over the little table with his roll of tape, painstakingly recreating what he'd so callously destroyed. Gifting him with the image of a rival he refused to forgive.

Arigato Heero, he whispered, tucking the paper ever so carefully into his pack. He spared a final glance for the little room, hovering precariously on the doorstep. It's a new game, Yuy, he murmured coyly. Do you love me? Catch me, then. Catch me if you can. A slight grin tugged as his lips, and he ducked his head, letting the door swing shut behind him.

***Please catch me... Oh, just catch me. Just so that I don't fall. Let me charm the birds out of the sky... so that I can look up, and I can see you. Did I see you? Did I touch you? Come close...to me...***

On to the FAQ. Back to part fourteen.