There is no Absolution, Part 2
by Jennifer Beacham

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"As a child, I thought I could
live without pain, without sorrow.
As a man, I've found it's all
caught up with me.
I'm asleep yet I'm so afraid..."

--Dream Theater, Metropolis--Part 1
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"I have served faithfully, always faithfully. Is this my reward?!" With a roar of fury, he seized the tray of blessed host and slammed it into the wall, sending the small wafers flying. For several long moments after he stood there, shoulders heaving as he ruthlessly fought down the anger that boiled over in his heart. It was an anger born of despair, or perhaps in spite of it. Without the anger, there would be an emptiness to face.

"I have never questioned your will...Lord... But why?" His voice broke, the powerful body crumpling to one knee before the altar. "Why?" He raked his hands through his hair, eyes studying the intricate designs of the precious oriental carpets that covered the chapel's wood floors. "Our love was not...blessed by the church. I know that. I thought, perhaps-- Surely, so much blood on my hands. In your name, always in your name...

"You asked too much," he whispered brokenly. "My life, my soul. Could you not give me one small thing in return? Speak to me, Father. Speak to me..." Wearily, he slumped over the altar, hands clutching at the bronze crucifix that was enthroned upon it.

For hours he lay there, undisturbed. A few dared to look inside the chapel's doors, but none ventured past them. Lord Heero had the look of one wrestling with God, and a battle such as that was one no mere mortal would chance to stumble upon. When the sunlight began to fade, painting the saints in the windows in dark, forbidding tones, he at last arose from the altar.

"If that is your answer," he grated in a harsh whisper, "here is mine." The window nearest the altar depicted the dying Christ, its panes a mingled hue of amber and deep crimson. The last of the sunlight fell through that window, bathing the chiseled stone features of the man standing before God's judgement... it bathed him in crimson, baptized him in blood.

He lifted a hand to the cross that hung at his neck, snapping the chain in one swift stroke. Then he hesitated, looking down at the simple crucifix as it lay in his palm. Plain, unadorned, as unassuming as its original wearer. His cross. Bowing his head, Heero closed his hand around it, the crossbars biting into his flesh. Witnessed only by the distant, forbidding saints, a tear escaped his iron will, one of the last he would ever shed. With a reverence reserved not for the God it symbolized, but for the beloved one at whose throat the cross truly belonged, he laid it on the altar.

"You now have all that I will give to you." Cold, cobalt-blue eyes lifted to those of the Christ on his bronzed throne. "If you wish more from me, you will have to come down from your heavens and take it." He took a slow, deep breath, steeling himself to the course he had chosen. "My business with you is done."

The saints, in their silent witness, watched as he turned on his heel and left the small chapel... never to return. Heero had chosen his path, he went now to war.

*******

"God...Heero." He tossed his head, barely wincing as the movement made his shoulder throb. It was but one small voice in a chorus, his body fairly singing as Heero moved again above him. "Come down here," he whispered fiercely, lifting his uninjured arm and threading his fingers into his lover's hair, forcing his head down until their mouths sealed together in a searing kiss.

The safe house was deserted save for the two of them. Their bags still lay on the floor just inside the doorway, Heero's precious laptop sitting on a chair, abandoned. Everyone came down from the high differently, but something about the rush of adrenaline, the euphoria of coming so very close to death, made every movement sensual, every sensation more intense. With the scent of blood still in the air, the realization of what had nearly been lost foremost on both their minds...the conclusion was foregone.

"Say my name that way again," Heero murmured against Duo's cheek. It almost sounded teasing.

"What way?" Violet eyes looked up at him hazily, then abruptly rolled back as Duo's lithe body arched. He raggedly said Heero's name through clenched teeth. Much as it had been intended, it came out as something between a blessing and a curse.

"That way." Burying his lips in Duo's hair, he managed to hide something that sounded suspiciously like a chuckle.

"Bastard," Duo gasped, dragging Heero's head back up where he'd wanted it to begin with, digging his nails into the hard muscles of his back until that, too, elicited the response he desired. He met his lover thrust for thrust, pillaging Heero's mouth even as he allowed Heero to conquer his body. Or perhaps it was the other way around. Just because you weren't on top didn't mean you weren't holding the reins. He tucked that thought away for later, simply because it was getting harder and harder to think at all.

"Duo..." Cobalt eyes searched his face, every muscle in Heero's body tensed in anticipation of release.

"Finish it," Duo breathed, then cried out as his own body gave out beneath the weight of so much bliss. Heero followed him mere moments after as the world was broken, remade and broken again around them.

It seemed a small eternity until he could breathe again, nuzzling against Heero's neck, laughing softly as he received an irritable grunt by way of reply. His lover's weight still pressed him down, their bodies still joined. He closed his eyes and relished it, threading his fingers into Heero's unruly hair. "Ok, that's enough," he said eventually. "Off. You're heavy." He chose a rib and tickled it.

Heero's back arched and his head snapped up, blue eyes glaring at him blearily. "I'm not ticklish," he declared in his best Perfect Soldier tone.

"Mmm-hmm, if you say so." Batting his eyelashes innocently, Duo attacked his ribs again, grinning like a fool as Heero shied away from his fingers, pulling free and rolling to one side. "Don't go quite that far," he said after a moment, realizing that the dark-haired boy had every intention of keeping a safe distance between them. He moved closer, grazing his fingertips along Heero's taut back before sliding his arms around his waist.

"I thought you'd had enough of me," Heero said archly.

"I could never have enough," Duo breathed against his neck, running his fingers through the downy soft hairs that grew at Heero's nape. That touch elicited a low, soft sound and Heero turned towards him. The lips that never quite seemed to smile were incredibly soft against his, delivering a kiss that gave more than it asked. It was the kind of thing that made Duo's heart race, along with the knowledge that that tenderness was reserved for him alone.

"You need to rest," Heero told him firmly, pulling back just far enough for their eyes to meet.

"Someone hasn't been letting me rest," he replied acerbically, eyeing the someone in question. Heero merely cocked an eyebrow at that, his wordless insinuation being that Duo hadn't exactly objected.

"Rest," Heero said more gently, pressing his lips to Duo's forehead. He gently ran his hand over the bandaged shoulder, cradling his braided lover against him in such a way that it was protected and secure.

Duo lay his head against Heero's chest, listening as the other's breathing deepened into the patterns that heralded sleep. It reminded him just how tired he was, how much being injured, (and being Heero's lover, he added with a smirk) took out of him. It was a pleasant thing to slide into his dreams lying in the safety of the Perfect Soldier's arms.... And dream he did.

**

When the dawnlight found them, it discovered Heero alone in the bed. That was a rare thing, given Duo's penchant for sleeping late. Frowning, the Wing pilot rose, raking the bedroom with a searching cobalt gaze...only to find Duo at the window.

"Duo?" He reached for his jeans, pulling them on as he crossed the floor. It took touching his partner's shoulder before it seemed he noticed his presence at all.

"Heero..." Haunted violet eyes turned his way, drinking in his face like a man dying of thirst.

"What is it?" Heero's eyes narrowed and he tensed as though anticipating an attack from an unseen assailant. "Duo--"

"A dream," Duo shook his head. "Just a dream." He swallowed hard, reached out to brush his fingertips across the window panes. "Do you believe in God, Heero?"

"No." There was something in the way he said it. A hardening of his voice, that meant it was more than a simple Yuy negative. There was more to it, but perhaps he didn't realize the 'more' was there at all.

"Maybe you should."

"Why?" Again, that hardness.

"It's just...a feeling I have." He swallowed hard. "I think Fate is finally calling in what She's owed."

(to be continued...)

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