The irritable squeal and grumble of a delivery truck punctured the silence of a midmorning town in decline. Thick bands of sunlight sprang free as the vehicle labored away, penetrating the grimy surface of a bedroom window. Duo wrinkled his nose as a pool of yellow warmth prodded his closed eyelids, demanding entrance.
"Oi, Heero, kill the lights, Man, I'm up already." Duo clenched the furled edge of his sheets, yanking the coarse fabric up over his head. He was promptly attacked by a potent combination of dust, sweat, and a rather suspicious musk, and the resulting sneeze flipped the sheet from his face.
"Ugh, Duo no baka," he groaned, peeling the damp hair from his face, "you did it again, didn't you? Cheap stuff, too, and you were really putting it away last night. Could've sworn I crashed in the living room, though," he rambled absently, growing steadily aware that he was NOT sprawled out on the living room carpet, and more importantly, he was NOT dressed like a priest on holiday. In fact, he noted with growing mortification, he was clothed only in a gold crucifix, and an unbound mass of sleep-mussed chestnut hair.
"Heero... He -- I was with -- Oh my --SHIMATA!" Duo's jaw dropped, violet eyes saucer-sized with the influx of memory. He lurched forward, hair trapped beneath one elbow, and the sheets coiled about his legs, so that he promptly found himself flat on the floor. "K'so!" he wailed, wriggling about on a heap of t-shirts and boxer shorts and spouting curses until he managed to right himself.
Duo paused for a moment, gazing thoughtfully up at the pathetic little iron bed. Empty... His mouth crumbled a bit at the edges as doubt set in, gnawing greedily at a heart skinned raw by frequent abandonment. He left me? Iya, of course not, Baka, he promised you. He's holed up in his room with that damn laptop, or maybe out tinkering with his Gundam. Hell, just 'cause he slept with you doesn't mean he's gonna hang around and listen to you babble all day. What did you expect, breakfast in bed?/ A wide grin plastered itself across the American pilot's face, and he collapsed back onto the pile of laundry, laughing at the thought of Heero trying to boil water, break eggs--and all in Quatre's adorable little apron.
The grin softened as he basked in the midmorning sunlight, gentle heat bathing the heart shaped face. In the private space behind closed violet eyes, Heero executed his sensual mission. Duo flushed crimson at the thought of it. The infiltration of a mystery called Duo, an erotic roster of objectives, which Heero would relentlessly pursue. The taking of the violet-eyed boy's body, the effortless capture of Death's indomitable pride, these tasks he accomplished too easily. Innocence was duly stolen, and pleasure inflicted on the newly acquired territory of Duo's flesh. No margin for error, no tolerance for failure. This was the terrifying ecstasy of Heero's claim upon him, the honor and agony of belonging to the perfect soldier.
Heero, Heero....Ai shiteiru.... The American's hand slid unconsciously to his groin, fingers coiling about the rigid length of his shaft. Hmmm. If you were here now, Koi, I know what we'd be doing. His hand pumped slowly, Heero's image plastered wickedly behind his eyelids, Heero's fingers, Heero's tongue--
"Duo! Duo, are you awake?" The American jumped at Quatre's quiet, apologetic voice, snatching blindly at a pair of striped boxers. The blonde boy frowned as the scuffling sound of limbs and cheap furniture colliding issued through the door.
"Duo, daijoubu desu ka?"
"Yeah, I'm fine!" he shouted irritably, yanking on a pair of faded jeans. "The second I'm decent," he mumbled under his breath, "I swear I'm gonna find me a pair of scissors and--"
"Nani? I just wanted to tell you that I'm making some grilled cheese sandwiches, and I wondered if--" Quatre staggered back as the bedroom door swung open, and Duo, topless and unbuttoned, made a mad dash toward the bathroom with one hand clamped over his mouth. "Matte, Duo! Ah, well. I'll set a place for you anyway." Quatre shook his head affectionately and, hot-pad in hand, headed back to the kitchen.
"Oi, ohayo!" Duo gushed, bounding into the kitchen with his braid snaking behind him. "Saa~aaa, Quatre, I'm starving, Man, can't you cook that any faster?" The blonde pilot fixed him with a weary, bloodshot glare before forcing his lips into the familiar, angelic smile. "Gomen, Duo, but you'll just have to wait. Why don't you go sit down by Wufei?"
"Okay, okay -- Hey! The burner's not even on --" Quatre smacked Duo's hand from the grimy little knob in question and propelled him toward the table.
Wufei grunted irritably in his sleep as the American plopped into the chair beside him, forehead pressed firmly to the center of his waiting plate, his fingers clenching an empty bottle of aspirin. The temptation of that spiky, tousled pigtail thrust skyward from the back of Wufei's head proved too great for Duo. The American pilot glanced briefly at Quatre, wholly occupied with dishwashing, and back at the sleeping Chinese pilot. His hand leapt out, grasped the fine black hair, and yanked.
"ITAI!! " Wufei sputtered awake, lurching back in his chair with a howl of pain, one hand grasping for a non-existent sword. The sudden movement upset the Chinese boy's chair, and he toppled back, feet dangling above the table in place of his head. "MAXWELL!!" Wufei shrieked, struggling to right himself from the kitchen floor. "COME BACK HERE THIS INSTANT! YOU HAVE NO HONOR, YOU COWARD!!" The threats drizzled into a mumbled stream of nonsense as Wufei settled at the table, his mouth pressed against his forearms. Duo peeked cautiously from behind the stove, and, deciding that Shenlong's pilot was far too hung over to be a threat, he bounded merrily over.
"Oi, Wufei, you look like hell, Man! Didn't you get any sleep last night?"
"No, I did not," the Chinese boy returned icily, glaring at the hyperactive American. "After all, Maxwell, my room is adjacent to yours."
"Aaa...ano...eto..."Duo stammered, struggling for an appropriate come-back. Quatre's fair skin flushed pink, blue eyes widening in shock as he deciphered Wufei's complaint.
"So THAT'S what--"
"Oi, Quatre, " Duo interrupted quickly, "you missed it! Wufei's BIG announcement. C'mon, man tell us all about it! I bet Nataku's gonna be soooooo jealous," he squealed happily, envisioning a towering metal shrew whining angrily at a cowering, henpecked pilot. "So when you gonna tell her, Wu? Ha--I'll bet you've been seeing another Gundam behind her back! Man, I hope you're not messing around with my Shinigami!"
Wufei shook the aspirin bottle dramatically as Duo continued his ridiculous spiel, wondering why nothing was falling out. Oh, if only he'd step closer, he thought wickedly, just a bit closer with that disgraceful braid. That's it, Duo....that's it....Shimata!
Duo pounced at the countertop, rummaging through the cabinets for a familiar canister. "Oi, Quatre, you got any coffee?"
"Gomen, Duo," Quatre apologized with a sigh, yanking a mug from the American's grip. "It was Trowa's turn to buy supplies..."
"Where is Trowa anyway?" the braided boy asked, successfully pilfering a slab of bread and cramming it into his mouth.
"He's not here, Duo, he--"
"Ah, he's still in bed, ne? Ne~eeee? You two have a long night?" he grinned wickedly, sending a rush of crimson to the blonde boy's face.
"You better watch out for that one, Quatre," the American counseled soberly, snatching a slice of cheese from the counter behind him. "Trowa's as slippery as Heero. Can't keep a guy like that in one place. Ha! Remember that time I smeared Vaseline on the doorknob of Heero's bedroom? I thought for sure I had him then!" Duo paused to reflect on the outcome of his prank. "Actually, I thought for sure he had ME. Man, he was PISSED!"
"Eh?" the braided boy grunted, shoving an empty cheese wrapper in his pocket and pasting an innocent smile on his face.
"I--Oh no!" Quatre snatched wildly at the skillet, chunking the heavy object onto a cool burner. The scent of charred bread permeated the room, punctuated by a dull sizzle. Duo lifted one sandwich by the crust, observing as it plopped back to the pan with a dull, papery, *smack*.
"Oh, gomen minna-san, I wasn't paying attention, I'm so sorry--"
"Oi, Wu, Man, where ya goin'?" Wufei paused dramatically in the shadow of the doorway, clutching his empty bottle.
"I am going...FAR AWAY from ALL of you."
"Oh, come on, Man, don't go. Look," Duo pleaded, "there's a diner across the street. It'll be fun, Wu--I bet even Heero'd go for that!"
"But Duo," Quatre interrupted desperately, "that's what I've been trying to tell you. A mission came through early this morning. Trowa and Heero are gone."
"Mission?" he repeated foolishly, violet eyes gazing imploringly at Quatre (himself in a state of anxiety).
Hai. They left before dawn. Just some surveillance work, Duo, I'm sure they'll be fine..."
"Heero," Duo whispered, scarcely aware of Quatre's soft fingers clenching his arm, wide blue eyes broadcasting concern. One hand clutched at his braid, fingers smoothing the soft curl of hair at the tip. So many things I never got to say. What if he doesn't come back? K'so, Heero. Ai shiteiru. And you didn't even say goodbye.