Red neon, obscuring the stars. Red blood, glowing with its own internal light.
Stained glass window. Pew. Concrete under my cheek.
Fire searing my eyes.
A man in the stiff white collar of a priest. A woman with silver streaks in her hair.
Soft fur against my fingertips, against my cheek, white as alabaster.
The smell of blood so thick that I can't breathe.
More blood, from nose and eyes and ears, from my mouth like obscene words.
And over it all, a man out of the renaissance with hair like a lemon sunrise -
- reciting the Lord's Prayer into infinity.
"Nightmares again." It wasn't a question. We'd been doing this way too often.
I licked the salt of dried-up sweat off my upper lip, scraping my bangs away from my eyes with my right hand. My left was tingling its way back to life; I must've been sleeping on it. "Yeah."
Heero was perched on the end of my bed like some kind of weird bird of prey, hawk beak nose and all. His eyes were big in the darkness, black like the would swallow me. Without wasting more words, he handed over a chilly tumbler of water.
All part of the routine.
The water was cool on my tongue. Cool was good. All of a sudden, I decided that I didn't like being pressed under so many layers of blankets. I kicked them off, revealing my mostly naked self to the frigid air. The important bits were covered with a pair of black silk boxers, complete with bright yellow smiley faces. Gotta love Quatre's birthday present humor. Sweat crystallized on my pale shoulders and chest, giving me an immediate nipple hard-on. The shock felt good.
I leaned back and looked at the grey blur of the ceiling. "Sorry, man."
"It is not an issue. I'm used to it."
Pretty wordy, for Heero. "Yeah, I know. That's what I'm sorry about."
"Yeah." I finished off the water. "So..." Search for a thread of conversation to fill that silence. Search, boy! "Which train are you taking tomorrow?"
"The first Hikari leaves at 6:45. I intend to take that one." That sounded about right. Heero was just that kind of disgusting morning person. He took the tumbler back from my unresisting hand, cool fingers brushing mine. My stomach did an odd little flip around all the cool water.
"Oh." I still wasn't sure how I felt about us getting split up...
Aw, who the fuck was I kidding? I knew exactly how I felt. It was bad enough that Quatre was headed off to Kyoto with Trowa in tow, but with Heero off to Nagoya...the thought of him that far away was enough to get some severe anxiety flowing.
At least our personal Mad Scientists were leaving me Wufei. The guy was just about the brother I never had, crossed with some kung-fu flick mystical monk, and I sure was happy to have him still around, but...
But it just wasn't the same. Not that I could really admit that to myself, since that would've meant admitting a whole bunch of other shit that I kept under my emotional bed, along with several hundred dust bunnies and a dog-eared copy of 'Sense and Sensibility.'
My mouth followed along with the thought, bypassing my brain. "This sucks."
'Quit while you're ahead' didn't exist in my vocabulary. Especially not at three in the morning when I hadn't been sleeping well and just finished another weird-ass nightmare. "Why the hell do they have to split us all up any way?"
"For the good of the mission." Of course.
"Any idea when you'll be back?"
Heero gave me a look that told me on no uncertain terms that I was a moron. "Have they told you?"
He shrugged again. "You understand."
Oh, I did, all right. All too well. They never told us anything...but we weren't supposed to be thinking too much about it anyway. I sat up a little, leaning forward. "I just don't get it. Wu-man and I make a great team, yeah, but you and I have always been the best."
"I am also the one that works best alone."
I snorted. "Biology. Lone wolf doesn't last too long, huh? You have a great track record of getting blown up when you're alone, too."
"They know that." Nonchalant shrug, like it didn't matter.
That kind of pissed me off. Maybe it was fear, because I've had my share of nightmares about Heero getting himself killed like a...well...hero. Maybe it was because I'd already lost him once, and good God above only knew what kind of voodoo I'd pulled off the first time, let alone if I'd ever be able to do it again.
Or maybe it was simpler, just my inner pissant kicking to the surface. After all these years of being exposed to the rest of us, you'd think he could start acting like he actually gave a rat's ass.
I surged forward, until I was almost nose to nose with him. "Now listen here," I hissed, "because I'm only going to say it once. I have had just about enough of that Perfect Soldier bullshit you feed everyone else, 'cause I ain't buying. You're going to stop talking out your ass like that and you will come back in one piece or I'll find you in the afterlife and kick the unholy shit out of you!"
His eyes filled my entire world, until I could almost see myself reflected in their darkness. The world seemed to hold still for one moment, until my heart was loud in my ears.
Oh Jesus, Oh God, fuckinghellholyshitohmyfuckingchristonapieceoftoast - !
I still don't know if it was him or me. It was more like the brain cell we always shared managed to fire off a single command, moving us together at the same time. His lips were stiff and awkward for just a moment, and then they melted against mine in a rush that ran from the roots of my hair to the ends of my toes.
For a long moment, I was in shock. What the hell was I doing? What was I thinking? What was HE thinking, for God's sake?
I was kissing Heero Yuy, the object of my first real wet dream. Suddenly, a full-blown Hallelujah chorus complete with angels scattering rose petals and the saints on brass sprang up in my head.
I WAS KISSING HEERO YUY!
I pulled away from him for just a moment. He had a confused look on his face, his mouth still slightly open, his lips pouty. It was the most beautiful sight I'd ever seen.
I kissed him again, harder this time, and decided to not think any more. I brushed the tip of my tongue across his lips as I tangled my fingers in his hair, pulling him to me. After a moment of hesitation, he opened his mouth to me, the only invitation I needed. I darted inside, feeling the smoothness of teeth, tangling with his tongue for a moment and gently brushing the roof of his mouth.
He moaned softly and almost fell forward on top of me, knocking me over. I was covered, almost engulfed by him, bare skin on skin. I felt like I was about ready to set the bed on fire. My groin was feeling tight and hot like the rest of me; my hard-on was already straining against the boxers. I kissed him again, even more thoroughly as he squirmed against me. My fingers danced their way down his back to his cotton-covered ass, tracing around his cheeks. Heero's muscles stood out like steel. I grabbed, making him growl again, and rolled until he was under me.
I liked it better that way. Less claustrophobic. And I could also make him slow down a little. Keeping his soft lips locked and muffling any objections he could possible have, I gently explored my way around his chest, callused fingertips taking in the lines of scars, the ripples of his abs and pecs, the wiry strength in his triceps and biceps. He wasn't soft, or smooth like you'd expect in some kind of harlequin romance; neither was I, so fair's fair.
Heero moaned when I brushed over his nipples, freezing for one tense instant when I pinched one. He arched his back up, grinding his pelvis against mine.
Well, my my. Heero had a hard-on too. A pretty impressive one. I had to let go of his mouth so I could moan as well, balling up the sheet in my fists.
He took his opportunity to kiss his way down the front my neck in a wet line, running his tongue and the edge of his teeth over my collarbone. I thought I was going to rip the sheet in half. We ground hips again and again. His teeth found my nipple and he bit gently. My toes almost curled.
Heero Yuy, Mr. Virgin. Well hooray for instinct.
My brain started to shut down, and all I could think about was sweet vanilla-smelling skin and sex. Things came faster and faster. I kissed my way around his chest, my fingers working around his lower back, kneading at the hard muscles I found there. Heero was letting out breathy little growls, his hands wandering up and down, not sure where to go but wanting it all. I pinned him with my hips, driving myself crazy with his erection pressing right against mine. However excited I was, it was nothing compared to him, caught for the first time in this particular emotion.
His eyes were filled with so much unguarded need that it almost frightened me. I thought I had it bad. Fingernails ran down my stomach, making me shiver. He only hesitated for a moment at the waistband of my boxers before diving inside, his hand wrapping around my hot erection. At the same instant, his lips and then surprisingly sharp teeth fastened onto the side of my neck, right on top of the two little puncture scars I had there...
I froze, my eyes widening with horror.
Heero realized something was wrong almost immediately. He let go and shoved me away, so forceful that I fell off the bed in a tangle of hair and sheets. Then he was next to me, gun in hand and face blank once more.
I pulled myself up into a sitting position and rested my face in my hands. I was breathing hard. Heero lowered his gun. "What did you hear?"
"I didn't hear anything?"
"Then..." The air seemed to grow colder. "I see."
It was all too much, way too many emotions in one short space, not to mention the worst fucking hard-on of my life. I giggled, ending in an unhealthy little hiccup. "No, I don't think you do. Give me a minute."
Heero started to turn away, back stiff. He'd gone from fully erect to flaccid in less than a minute. Unreal.
"Damnit, Yuy, I said give me a fucking minute!" He stopped, long enough that I could get my breathing under control. I stood, shedding the blankets, and stepped toward him until again we were almost nose to nose. "You have done nothing wrong. So stop beating yourself. I know the look. I just need a minute, okay?"
He still didn't say anything, so I leaned forward and kissed him. It was like kissing a mannequin. Heero had already gone...somewhere else.
The dark little dorm room suddenly felt too small. I guess I was curling back into myself, too. Without a word, I let him go, grabbing my jeans from off the floor where they'd been in a crumpled heap. I pulled them on, jangled the pockets to make sure my keys were in there, and yanked a jacket off the hanger by the door. "I'll see you later, then."
So I walked out into the warm August night, still pulling my jacket on over my bare chest. I walked through the deserted streets, refusing to think and hoping like hell that some punk would try to pick a fight with the skinny high school kid. I ended up in a park by the train station, throwing rocks at the carp in the ornamental pond until the sun rose, setting fire to the Tokyo skyline. I just couldn't appreciate it. I wanted to throw rocks at the fucking sun, too.
At precisely 6:45, a long, white shinkansen pulled out of the station and sped away with barely a hum. It faded quickly into a smooth line before disappearing altogether.
I hadn't seen him off. Hadn't said goodbye.
But that was okay, 'cause I'd told him 'see ya later.'
I was even less fit for human company after the train left, so I decided to take my time heading back. There was no reason for Wufei to suffer for my shitty night. School wasn't starting up again for another couple days anyway.
I found myself a coffee and croissant on a corner in Akihabara, where a little old lady that couldn't have been less than a hundred years old or more than four feet tall had a rickety wooden cart, complete with faded paper umbrella. After scalding my tongue and getting large flakes of pastry down the front of my jacket, I was feeling almost human again. Still fucking depressed, but human at least. Time to head back.
As I scouted around for the nearest train station, a weird sound caught my attention. Akihabara was already busy, full of cars, chattering people, and beeping cel phones...but it wasn't a place where people cried.
I turned a corner into a cold alley in the shadow of one of the skyscrapers. There, on a blue plastic bench under a wire rain shelter, sat a woman in a white dress. She had blonde hair, bright even under the dull shadows.
Questions ran in a herd through my mind, foremost what the hell she was doing at a bus stop. No driver in sight, no nasty pink car. Nothing. For a moment, I teetered, not sure of what to do, not sure if I could handle dealing with her this morning, especially looking that upset.
She made up my mind for me. Those big blue eyes, full of tears, found mine and widened with surprise.
"Duo?" she whispered.
"In the flesh." Maybe she'd broken a nail, or her butler'd finally walked out on her. Pretty unworthy thoughts, but I was in a snarky mood. The universe could bite me.
"Duo..." It hadn't been an intentional whisper. Let's try 'hoarse with grief' next time, with a side of 'shaking hands' and 'bloodshot eyes'.
"No need to wear my name out. What's going on?" I gave her my most charming grin. It didn't even feel too flat. Go me.
She covered here eyes with her hands, taking in a shaky breath. "I just saw one of my friends..."
I resisted the weird, paternal instinct that came out of nowhere, screaming at me to hug her or something mushy like that. "And?"
"She's been murdered."