Promises Under the Influence
by Uru-Chan

Scuffed black boots stumbled along the corridor, the lithe body held upright solely by the fierceness of Heero's will. One damp palm scrubbed at cobalt eyes, cleansing them of the crimson haze of dawn. He swayed briefly, hand flattening against the wall with a dull thud.

Kuso. Heero no baka. How long has it been? Even the perfect soldier can't go without sleep indefinitely. Just a few more feet... Just a few more...The Japanese boy bullied his limbs into motion, trudging wearily towards the grimy little window, and Duo's faded, paint-peeled door.

This is the one thing, he whispered cryptically, metal jangling faintly as he neared his destination; the one thing. The only victory that matters in this fucking war. Bakayaro. Is that why you're shaking in your boots?

Sweat-dampened fingers closed on the prickly wood, caressing their way to the small, dented knob. He paused, standing stupidly in the hallway, clutching the flimsy thing in a fit of trembling indecision.

Hai. Because you know that if you lose him, somehow, no matter how brightly you shine in battles to come, you've already lost the war. One hand grasped unconsciously at his breast, palming the warm surface of Duo's crucifix.

The room lay dark and dusty beyond the little door, a thin sheen of light trickling from a western window. Heero's nostrils flared at the sickly sweet odor of vanilla, overpowering in the languid heat. A soft, inexplicable crunch beneath his feet drew the Japanese boy's attention to the floor, and he stooped, examining a pale splash of wax. Candle stumps littered Duo's furniture, thick liquid frozen in mid-trickle along table legs, pooling serenely across the floorboards.

Kuso, what the hell -- Heero plucked a sliver from his palm, realizing with growing unease that his boots were studded with glass. Duo... Shimatta, Quatre promised, he promised me -- The Wing pilot closed on the bed as quickly as he dared, zippers clattering softly with every footfall. He paused abruptly at the foot-board, cobalt eyes glazed, fingers white-knuckled against the bars.

Fuck, fuck, iie, Duo, Quatre promised to look after you, he promised -- oh shit, just look at you, Duo, what the fuck have I done? Thought bubbled incoherently as he gazed at the boy sprawled motionless before him, one hand poised, yet powerless to touch.

White fabric knotted about the boy's legs, revealing flesh, and concealing it in a tantalizing pattern. The breast arched upward, naked, save for the pale shadow of a stolen crucifix. Heero's fingers trembled, overwhelmed with the need to trace that pattern, to clothe it with gold. One hand clenched the chain at his throat, and he stroked it meditatively, gnawing his lower lip in shame.

Chestnut hair tumbled about Duo's face, his shoulders, the lithe contours of his body. Bronzed color splashed about the boy's wrists, flung back above his head, binding him, trussing him like a beautiful offering.

Beautiful, so beautiful; even in death. Blood stained the curve of Duo's wrists, his forearms, matting the locks that framed his heart-shaped face. Crimson streaked the line of the American's cheek, his lips, saturating the sheet in a pool of brilliant russet. A pistol gleamed seductively in the half-light, tangled in the blankets, streaked with Shinigami's omnipresent blood.

Iie... Iie Duo... Death can't die...

Paralysis broken, Heero sank wearily onto the mattress, arching over the torso of the motionless boy. Trembling fingers fumbled with the clasp of his prize, releasing the crucifix so that it dangled, glinting red-gold in the light. He clutched at the boy's shoulders, lifting him free of the sweep of chestnut hair, settling Duo's chin upon his shoulder.

The Japanese boy fastened the cross about the American's throat, eyes burning with a suspicious sheen of moisture. Heero shifted on the bed, lifting the other pilot, drawing him into his lap. Legs crossed, he pressed his face into the fall of Duo's hair, preparing himself to sit, just so, forever.

I will not be moved. That was my greatest mistake, leaving him, lying to him, making him suffer for loving me. Itsumo, zutto. That is how long I will stay with you Duo.

"Unh... too...too tight" Heero's arms relaxed slightly at the faint whimper, limbs frozen, lips parted in disbelief. "You're... hurting..." Cobalt eyes drawn wide, Heero clenched the pointed chin, yanking Duo's face into view. A tiny crease formed between the American's brows, and he struggled unconsciously in the Wing pilot's arms.

"Duo... " Violet eyes slid open, a mere slit of color, struggling to focus in the darkness. I know that voice... I -- holy shit!

"H-- Heero?" Slender fingers worked their way free of the Japanese boy's grasp, settling on the blue tinted mouth, tracing the kohl rimmed eyes. "Oh my God... I'm dead, aren't I?" Heero failed to answer, his gaze harsh and calculating, as he examined the beautiful face in his hands. Duo flushed as the Wing pilot caressed his cheek, his lips, shivering slightly at the incredible tenderness.

"You're dead," Heero supplied coldly, skeptically, even as his palm closed over the boy's heart. "You shot yourself."

"I did?" Duo repeated foolishly, fingers tracing the cool links that snaked about the other boy's arm. "I guess that explains this," he grinned, toying with the mesh shirt, tongue lapping at his own lips.

"Kuso, Heero. You look like something out of a dream. A wet dream. Itai -- " Duo frowned abruptly, wriggling about as fabric skinned his damaged hand. The Japanese boy yanked the fingers free, examining the wound in the waxing light.

"The mirror," Duo explained sheepishly, glancing away in embarrassment. Heero's gaze devoured the boy before him, hesitant, as though frightened the American would vanish before his eyes.

"Stay," he commanded, rising from the bed, an exotic vision blending gradually into darkness. Heero retrieved a bowl and washcloth, settling beside Duo on the bed with an expression of disapproval.

"You've lost a lot of blood," the Japanese boy muttered, wringing the washrag out into the water. Crimson dissipated in thick waves, settling about the base of the bowl. "Why didn't you dress the wound?"

"Ano... " Duo glanced away, ashamed, fingers toying with the fringe of his blue blanket. "I thought... I wanted to... " Heero's eyes followed the boy's gaze, fixing on the weapon, lip curling with self contempt. He grasped the pistol in one hand, depositing it back in it's drawer, slamming it shut with unnecessary force.

"Gomen, Heero, I --"

"Shut up, Duo." One moistened finger pressed against his lips, preventing a stream of self-depreciating words. Violet eyes slid shut, and he relaxed against the pillows, allowing Heero his remarkably tender ministrations. Warm water dribbled onto his stomach, and when the other boy followed with a towel, there was a fleeting desire for his mouth, instead.

Shimatta... I wish I could... You'd better finish up soon, Heero. God, with those clothes, and that face... shit, you have no idea how erotic this is... if only he hadn't... if only I still could...

Heero bandaged the lacerated hand, pausing to replace the various materials and slide the kit beneath the bed. Duo lay back, eyes closed, vaguely aware of the other boy's weight creaking down on the mattress. The Japanese pilot settled beside him. propped up on one arm, cobalt eyes gazing relentlessly down on him. Heero toyed with a thick lock of chestnut, kissing the warm strands, inhaling Duo's scent.

"Duo... " The American flinched, already half asleep, violet eyes twitching open. "I told you I loved you once," Heero whispered. "I told you everything. And you laughed at me."

"Yeah," the other boy rasped thoughtfully, gazing expressionlessly at the floor. " Kind of like when you promised to stay with me forever. And then you hit me. Makes you kinda wonder what promises are good for, ne Heero? Since nobody ever keeps em anyway."

"Duo," the Japanese boy murmured once more, grasping the American's hand. The Wing pilot took Duo's palm, closing it over the golden crucifix, sealing it to its white shadow against his breast.

Violet eyes widened in shock, the sensation of the thing so familiar, he'd felt the cross even in it's absence. I thought I felt it, something different, but God, I was too scared to look for sure... Fingers locked against the shining contour, pressing it to his heart, a tiny, broken smile playing at his lips. Dead, he's dead, I don't belong to -- Oh God, Heero, you fucking killed him...

Heero lay back, entangled in bloodstained sheets, tugging the vibrant boy down against him. One palm pressed Duo's cheek to his breast, the boy's arm snaking about his waist. The Japanese pilot's chin nestled in the crest of chestnut hair, fingers tracing patterns on Duo's back.

"Ai shiteiru, Duo Maxwell," he whispered tremulously; "Kore kara zutto... itsumademo; I'll be keeping my promise to you."

On to part twenty. Back to part eighteen.