Heero stood in the dry morning air, and
stared at the car.
It was very early, still. He wore
the pants that he'd worn when he first arrived here, and a simple
vest. He carried his travelling bag beside him, and now
he yanked the car door open with a yawning creak, and tossed it inside
on to the back seat. The door slammed back shut, and the tired
old vehicle shuddered on the ground beneath it.
Heero stared some more.
The delivery guy had never come.
The delivery guy was never gonna come, was he? Or
perhaps he'd already been, and yet his visit had been hidden.
Heero felt that many things were becoming more clear to him. And
yet -- many other things were more confused.
He didn't know anything about cars,
he knew that!
His mind tugged at him, demanding that
he remember the man he'd just left in Room 4. The man who'd
taken him away from the courtyard last night, after his sudden outburst.
The man who'd hushed him, and reassured him, and in whose eyes he
thought he'd seen an answering warmth and tentative devotion.
A match to his own, overwhelming passion. A meeting of minds and
-- perhaps -- the beginning of a commitment. Then Duo Maxwell
had wrapped his body around him, and kissed him; surrounding him, yet
again, with the thoughts and physically ecstatic feelings of lovemaking;
and the moment had passed. They had shouted into each other's
bodies, never seemingly sated; they had clung on to each other; Heero
knew he'd sobbed again. Then Duo had laughed with satisfied
joy, and wiped sweat from their bodies with a clean towel, and fallen
into an exhausted sleep beside Heero. All night.
There had been no more talk of Heero's
ideas and wants.
Heero believed that there may never be
the chance again. He had been effectively -- albeit deliciously
-- distracted. He thought that, in his outburst, he'd spoken
the real truth -- that's all there was, here. That's all
there was, for him and Duo. The luscious, sexual chemistry.
The lovemaking -- the anguish.
That's all there'd ever be.
Even now, he wanted him. Heero
thought that he'd probably always want him. There was no-one
in the world like Duo Maxwell. Not for him, anyway.
The time had come for another escape, he thought. A bitter one; already regretted.
He was aware of the other person at the
motel door behind him, before the figure spoke.
Heero let out the breath that he was
holding, and his body relaxed a little. At the same time, a thread
of pain snagged across his expression. But when he turned to reply,
his face was impassive again.
The blond boy was only a metre away from
him -- Heero hadn't heard his footsteps on the dusty ground as he
approached. He wore the same denim shorts that had first greeted
Heero when he and Trowa arrived at the motel, and the same thin shirt
-- unbuttoned, as before. He looked cool and fresh, and yet sinfully
ready for whatever fun may be on offer. His usual attire, of course.
He saw Heero's eyes flicker up and down his body, and he raised an
"Yeah -- sorry. It's me.
Not Duo Maxwell. Big disappointment, eh? You were expecting him."
Heero knew that Quatre was in his mind.
He could feel him -- teasing; provoking. He was trying to seduce
him, as always. Sending the hot, lusty thoughts that rippled through
Heero's veins, and tented his own pants. But there were other
things there, now, that had been hidden before. There was a maturity
that Heero would never have suspected of the frivolous boy.
Perhaps Quatre was something more than
he seemed. Perhaps it was just that Heero could see so much more,
"You left him sleeping, I see," murmured
Quatre. His voice was sultry, but there was an edge of tightness
that jarred. As if his role confused him, temporarily. "He
never heard you get up... never felt your plans..."
"Cut the crap, Heero!" snapped Quatre,
and Heero was startled. The boy's eyes flashed with something
other than careless lust. "I can see you, can't I?
I know why you're here this morning, staring at this heap of mechanical
shit. I know what you want, and what you don't
want! Your scene last night in the courtyard - do you think that
only Duo heard you? That only Duo would care to listen?"
Heero didn't deny it. He asked,
instead, "How do you see me, Quatre? Duo has never explained
Quatre shrugged, but it was a poor pretence
at insouciance. "It's something about this place, Heero.
Though I guess we all have a talent for it, initially -- a sensitivity
towards others. Praps that's why we've been the ones to stay,
rather than the many others... When we're here, we can listen
to others; feel their feelings; hear their thoughts. We can come
and go with a measure of illusion. And that means -- of course
-- we can have total freedom."
Quatre didn't reply, directly.
His eyes clouded over, as if he no longer saw Heero clearly. "It's
because we harbour pain, Heero -- the freedom is a warped kind of compensation
for the lives we have all run from. Lives of frustration; misery;
abuse, in many cases."
"I -- see now..." said Heero, haltingly.
Quatre smiled, but with less than his
usual mischief. He seemed strangely different this morning; he
seemed older, somehow. "You have the same affinity, Heero Yuy.
But to a far greater extent than any of us. You are a rare treasure.
Trowa has the feeling, true -- but you are something else. You
have the power to influence us far more than you think."
"Me? I don't think --"
Quatre's voice was lower than Heero
had ever heard it, even in passion. "You have influence over
Duo Maxwell. You are leading him away."
Heero stared. He felt waves of
pain from the boy that he'd never thought to experience -- waves
of an aggression that almost scared him.
"He was meant to be my true
one, Heero! But you've weakened him. You've distracted
him. And now you're going to leave!"
The air was sharp and bright and very
still. Pregnant with words that were going to be spoken, even
if they mapped out a path that would never allow a turning back.
"Leave?" said Heero, softly.
"But I never said I would stay, Quatre."
The blond grimaced. He slid a hand
against his chest -- touching himself; pinching at a small, brown nipple,
almost aimlessly. Heero wasn't fooled -- he knew the technique.
He felt the soft stirrings in his groin, but he ignored them.
"Maxwell thinks you are staying.
He'll say it, himself, Heero -- you can never leave!"
"I won't accept that," sighed Heero.
He felt the tendrils of Quatre's touch creep away from his limbs.
The faint aftertaste of disappointment. The sun was hot on his
head and shoulders, but he didn't move away from his position beside
the car. It seemed important to stand his ground. He felt
a trickle of moisture down between his shoulder blades -- the atmosphere
was very reminiscent of the day he arrived. But now he was so
very different -- now he had burdens in his heart that were almost
too heavy to carry.
"The car, Quatre --"
"Christ, you know
about the car, don't you?" groaned the boy. His bare toes
almost stamped on the ground -- his body tensed with anger. "So
don't play games with me! It's been OK all along -- well,
driveable, at least. It ain't no Formula One, eh? But
it never needed any serious fixing -- never needed Wufei's skills.
And you know that -- I can feel that you do. It was all just
"Illusion?" whispered Heero, remembering
Quatre's earlier words.
Quatre nodded, reluctantly.
Then Quatre laughed. "No!
So you don't see everything, do you? It wasn't my doing
-- or Duo's. Who do you think wanted it to be so -- wanted
it so much that the illusion was cast? Who wanted Wufei's skills
for himself? Albeit in a very different kind of mechanics..."
"Trowa?" asked Heero, though even
as he spoke, he realised that it was true. Perhaps his lover had
wished it on them subconsciously -- but he had been the one to discover
the state of the car; to discover that they were stranded here for the
time being; who was offered the chance to work around the place, and
become close to the inhabitants here. And accepted that offer.
Trowa had brought them here, and Trowa
had kept them here. Until he found his own place. Ironically,
that had also been here.
"Illusion," sighed Quatre.
He walked up to Heero, and his hand reached out to stroke the dark-haired
man's side. Heero felt the soft fingers on his muscles; he felt
the desire flow into him like slow, sticky treacle. "Like a
lot of things here. I wanted to feel you inside me, Heero Yuy.
I still do. You just need to relax, y'know? Enjoy some
more of us. Have Duo, by all means, but sample the rest of us
as well. You can have days and nights of it -- your skin, sweaty
and sticking to mine; your fingers tangled in my hair, pulling my head
up and down on your cock; my legs wrapped around you, my ass offered
up to you. Your cock, thrusting hard into me, deep and furious,
claiming it all, tight, and hot, and racing towards an ecstasy that
will never be withheld from you --"
Heero was giddy. Heero's body
wanted it all -- he'd be mad not to! And yet --
"I want to go, Quatre. I want a life outside of here. And I want Duo to come with me."
Quatre's breath rasped suddenly --
a harsh, painful catch that sounded like the slice of a blade on the
white heat of the sun. Heero felt his answering silence like a
"You'll -- look after Trowa -?"
Quatre snapped back, impatiently.
"Trowa will be fine with us! He was always going to be.
Wufei cares for him. We all care for each other, that's always
been the way --"
"Thanks," said Heero, simply.
Quatre threw his hands up in some frustration.
"Go, Heero! Go -- go quickly -- but just you!"
"No," Heero struggled with the words,
because his throat felt suddenly tight. "I -- must ask him.
Duo. Give him the chance..."
"But that's only what you
want, Heero, isn't it? You want to go on to something you know
so little about -- a world of too-expensive apartments, and boring
jobs, and crap cars, and the endlessly, mindlessly ringing ‘phones.
Of noise, and pain, and responsibility, and other people's misery
Heero stopped him with a hand on his
arm. "A world of other people's lives, Quatre! Other
ideas -- other opinions. A world of pictures, and books, and
shows, and conversations, and arguments, and things to create, and problems
to solve, and conflicts to challenge --"
"Christ..." moaned Quatre,
but his voice was a little less sure. He shook off Heero's hand.
"So if that's what you want, just get the fuck off out there, OK?"
"Don't tell me it's for him!"
cried Quatre, his voice suddenly raised in passion. "That you
hesitate only because of him!"
Heero stood still -- he could sense
the shadow in the doorway behind them both, more easily than he could
see it. The morning sun threw the whole porch into shade.
"I can't keep him," sighed Quatre.
It was almost a sob. "Not if you want him. Not if he wants
you in return. And no-one can be forced to stay, against their
will." He stared up at Heero, his eyes full of confrontation.
"But it must be his choice, Heero! And you can't offer him
what we have here! The security that he's always had here!"
"I'd offer him something different,"
said Heero, quietly. He didn't need strong words -- his mind
spoke for him. His emotions spoke for him. He just wasn't
sure who was listening.
"He thinks you're his true one,"
said Quatre, sadly. "That's the strongest time -- when the
two true ones meet each other. If that's the case -- this is
his most vulnerable time."
"I don't want to hurt him, Quatre..."
"But you have! He is less
already!" flared back the boy. His pale blue eyes flashed sharply
-- his hair shone white-blond in the early sunlight. "Haven't
you seen it? He's not so close to us -- he doesn't feel us
so deeply anymore. You've weakened him, Heero Yuy. He'd
be a fool to go with you, anywhere! Just go, now --"
Heero persisted -- he tried to reach
the boy's mind, but he didn't have the control of this affinity
he was supposed to have. And he suspected that Quatre was less
of a naïf than anyone had ever been led to believe. "Can
he leave, Quatre?"
The boy pouted at him, and wouldn't
answer. "He needs me, Heero, don't you see? He thinks
I'm just a child who depends on him -- but it's much the opposite.
He needs me -- I feed him the adulation he craves. I love him...
"Do you, too?" he almost wailed.
"Do you love him so much that you'd serve him every day -- with
everything he wants?"
And then Duo himself stepped out from the doorway, and walked towards them across the front yard.
He and Heero stared at each other for
several seconds. Heero thought of his last touch -- the cries
of pleasure and sensuality in the small hours of the morning.
He saw Duo flush.
"I - have to go, Duo."
"So it seems." Duo's voice
was very calm. Frighteningly so.
"Come with me, Duo!" Heero urged.
He felt the man's stillness like a blanket of chilling, inviolable
fog. He believed that Duo was shielding himself from him.
"I -- understand what this place means
to you. And -- like -- perhaps you're not gonna get so much
peace with me!" he joked. His voice trembled a little, and he
cursed it. "But there are other things out there, y'know?
Other ways to go. Other ambitions -- other dreams. I have
lots of ‘em, Duo. I have more than I can use here; more than
I can contain here. You said it... a - decision has gotta be made."
"You can't leave," said Duo, slowly,
as if the words were being dragged out of him.
"You said you were between places,"
argued Heero. He wanted to touch Duo -- he wanted to touch his
body, hidden under the thin vest and pants that he wore. Last
time Heero had seen him, Duo had been stretched out on their bed; a
tumbled, tousled, tasty cocktail of naked limbs, and skin flushed with
sleep and the aftermath of sex. But now -- now, he looked uncomfortable
in the clothes. Heero wanted, above everything else, to make him
comfortable. "Come over to mine! Come and try this way
He saw the shiver of Duo's eyelids
-- the hesitation in his body. There had been words last night,
as well as touch -- there had been times that Heero thought he had
reached him. Tempted him...persuaded him. He wished he could
feel more sure of Duo; he wished he knew him better. He wished
they had more time...
"Duo -- I don't want to stay
any longer. I -- can't explain it well; but I feel that if
I don't go now..." He didn't dare finish the sentence. "Look
-- come with me, and we can find out some more about you, perhaps --
help you remember, if that's what you want. Help you find a
security in yourself, wherever you might be. You can be yourself,
with me -- wherever we go! Wherever we stay...it's what I want."
"You can't leave..."
Heero felt a desperate, miserable anger
growing in him. His voice grew in volume. "You said you
were here of your own choice -- well, so am I! And I choose to
leave. If you can't see your way out to something beyond your
own personal sexual empire, well that's your loss, OK? I want
to travel, and find out stuff, and do all the things that've been
denied me all these years -- because I want to control my own life!
Christ, Duo -- I want you so bad that my whole body aches when you're
around! I want to find out everything about you -- I want to
take the adventures with you. I wanna do it all with you..."
He touched him, then. He couldn't
resist any more. He stepped forward, and grasped at the arm that
hung by Duo's side. An electric shock coursed through him --
a pain and joy of astonishing intensity flared through his mind like
fireworks. He gasped aloud.
"I've never met a man like you, Duo!"
he groaned. "I've never wanted someone as much as I want you.
Never wanted to share it all in this way -- never thought I'd find
someone I wanted to take inside me. And not
just in bed..." His smile didn't reach his eyes -- it was
sadly rueful. He'd seen the sudden flame in Duo's eyes, and
knew that his words were being listened to. But there'd been
no response that might have comforted him.
Duo's voice was low, and carried a
shiver that was so much more than seduction. "Stay with me,
"Sleep with me. Be with me.
You can never leave, Heero..."
"No..." Heero was shaking his head,
his expression twisting towards pure agony. "You just don't
understand, do you? I will be able to leave but you --
you, Duo Maxwell -- it looks like you never can! And that bothers
me -- so very much more." His hand fell back from Duo's arm.
"Heero -?" Duo's voice was
almost puzzled. "Stay with me, Heero."
But Heero was backing away, a look of
increasing desolation and shock on his face. He grabbed out at
the car door handle like a drowning man reaching for driftwood.
He looked like he was just realising he'd lost a thousand lotteries,
all rolled into one.
"I -- I can't, Duo. Holy
It was like a sob from him. He
wrenched open the door, and slung himself in. Duo didn't move
any further towards him.
"Nothing will ever be this good again,
Heero!" he suddenly cried. "In all of your life! Not
without me -- not apart... You know that!"
Like fuck I do! groaned Heero, to himself.
"Like fuck I do!" he shouted out of the window that was stuck permanently
half-open. He turned the key -- the engine shuddered and spat.
He turned it again, furious with the delay, and the ignition caught.
He ground it into gear -- he spun the wheel viciously, intending to
drive it right round and out of the yard at speed.
The cloud of dust that followed his pathetic
gesture wasn't large enough to obscure the two men, watching him go.
He saw them through the windscreen -- he saw them in the rear mirror,
growing steadily smaller. He saw Duo wherever he looked.
He thought he probably always would.
Quatre moved to stand beside Duo.
They stared together at the retreating wheels of the car. They
spoke in a strange half-conversation -- they understood too well each
Quatre shook his head, impatiently.
"Yes. I know. I feel it, too. I feel you."
"For God's sake! I'll be
fine," sighed the blond. "Of course."
"And the others -?"
"They'll still have me. We
are enough, together. And there'll be others to join us, now
and then. Like Trowa Barton has."
"There's nothing to be sorry about,
dammit!" Quatre calmed his voice, and smiled his rueful smile.
He ran one hand through his short blond locks, whilst the other strayed
absent-mindedly to his crotch. Trowa was stirring for the morning
-- he could feel the man's sleepy desire as he woke. He could
feel it very deeply -- deep between his thighs. And so would
The ache needed easing. He stretched
a little, unconsciously preening himself.
"It's fate, Maxwell. A true
one will find another. Yeah? Far be it from me to stand
in its way."
Duo's hand moved slightly, and Quatre
shivered. He'd miss it, sorely. The attention from that
Quatre shrugged. "He'll remember
what you want him to. What you both want him to. His awareness
will diminish, the further he is from here. Though you -- I don't
know about you, Duo. You may remember what you've forgotten
-- you may not. You have always been different...I cannot anticipate
you so well as I do the others. But it will be your choice.
And you can both find your own alibis, OK?"
"The car -?"
"Damn car!" grinned Quatre, shrugging with mock despair. "Heap of junk isn't likely to make it to the next track without needing to be kick-started! He'll be stuck there for an hour or more, I reckon. Anyone walking out from here could be there in twenty minutes. No... it's gonna be a long -- and slow -- journey, before precious Mr Heero Yuy gets back out on the highway..."
The heat was climbing higher than ever,
and inside the car it was almost intolerable. The air conditioning
wheezed and coughed, but provided no air at all; a haze of hot air blew
back from the engine periodically, stifling the driver and passenger.
It shuddered over the track -- it spat venom out of the exhaust.
It threatened every fifteen minutes to stop and leave them wherever
it chose; they could believe it was that malevolent.
"There's nowhere for miles," hissed
the young, dark-haired driver. He slung a crumpled, half-torn
map towards the passenger beside him. "We're gonna have to
stop soon -- I'm exhausted. This track is like driving through
lumpy treacle. My head feels like a lead weight -- I can't
focus properly in this glare --"
"Keep going a little longer," came
the soft reply. "We can make the city by tomorrow if we keep
going. There'll be motels nearer the outskirts of town."
The driver was still fractious.
"Where did you say we had to take that turning? Have we missed
"No," came a laugh beside him.
"No -- it's up ahead. Half a mile, then look for a track
to the right. You know your left from your right, trailer boy?"
The driver looked swiftly across.
And grinned, almost despite himself. As always, the sight of the
man beside him brought a heady mixture of both calm and excitement to
him. He thanked his lucky stars on an hourly basis that he was
travelling with Duo -- that his escape was with the very man that he
wanted to spend every minute with. That he adored beyond reason.
That he couldn't wait to get into a room in the city, and tumble into
bed with! They'd lie in their underwear, sharing a beer, and
watching bright, flickering neon lights through the window; listening
to the noise and calls on the street, and marking possible jobs in the
local paper. Until one or other of them -- or both! -- would
get tired of the delay, and reach a hungry hand into that very underwear,
and they'd cling together on that bed, grabbing and gasping, and fucking
without fear of --
Sometimes he forgot exactly what they
were escaping from. It was an odd feeling. But then he'd
touch Duo, and maybe kiss him, and maybe touch the teasing bulge in
his pants -- and then the feelings would ease.
Sometimes he had flashes in his mind
of another man -- another chestnut head, that brought some strangely
familiar memories to him. But they slipped away like ice through
his fingers -- and the slight discomfort that the memories brought
were always assuaged when he looked at his companion.
Whatever there had been in the past,
it had never been this right.
"You're saying we ain't lost?"
"That's it!" grinned Duo Maxwell, in reply. "We ain't lost! Just take a right, Heero -- and we're just about there!"
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