Definitely the Hands
by Jennifer Beacham


What is it that you love about someone first? Their eyes, their voice? The color of their hair? A few brave souls will even pipe up and admit to digging someone's ass or the way they fill out their spandex. (By the way, remind me to fill you in on my patented 101 ways to get someone out of spandex in under five seconds. You never know when it will come in handy.) Personally, I think it's impossible to say. One day, you just look up and...bam, you're lost. Ninmu kanryou and all that jazz. I want to say it was the eyes, but I have a sneaking suspicion it was the hands.

You'd know them anywhere, those hands. Calloused and scarred, with long, agile fingers and clearly defined muscles. I've seen them do just about everything, seen them bathed in blood and shaking with fatigue. They seem like hands that will never be anything but hard and strong.... Right up until they touch you.

I felt them touch my shoulders with surprising hesitance. Ok, I was surprised later, at the time I was pissed. We'd just had an argument not half an hour before. Ok, fine, I had an argument. I don't think I have to tell you that arguing with Heero Yuy is like beating your head against a brick wall. Which one is going to give first? No brainer. Really, what was I supposed to do? Concentrate on homework when Usagi had just started the final battle with Queen Metallia? As if! But he had other ideas.

"Homework, Duo." Flat voice, dark glare. I was really in for the treatment, I knew it as soon as he spoke.

"Can't it wait?" Narrowed eyes, annoyed tone. It was my idea of a counterattack. Riiiiiiight. His arms crossed, the blue eyes narrowed and I was suddenly put under the mighty sway of the Glare of Doom. I joke, but I've seen Oz soldiers with their knees gone to jelly at that look.

"No. It can't."

Pissiness doesn't do much for my IQ, but you can't fault my instincts. I drew breath for the 'but', when some form of self-preservation flew up the back of my throat and tied my tongue into a square knot. Never argue with Heero unless you have a signed statement from God attesting to the veracity of your argument. Even then, you'll probably lose. Stubborn much? Nah, not my Heero. With a low growl, I dropped the manga and snatched up a pencil, turning back to the math that I'd been studiously avoiding. He watched me for a moment, then retreated, satisfied.

I waited until he'd left the room on an errand before sweetly cursing him, his ancestry and fervently wishing Relena would appear and leave big, gloppy smoochies all over his stony little glare. Ick, nevermind on the last one. Even I know when I've gone too far.

Anyway, we come back to the hands on the shoulders bit. Like I said, I was still mightily pissed. I don't like losing to Heero. The sad thing is, it hasn't deterred me yet. Masochism anyone? It was kind of the last thing I wanted to have happen at that moment. The front-runners all involved him, me, and a whole lot of pain...preferably his. Then again, I've already warned you about my love affair with his hands. I continued fidgeting with my pencil, but I didn't shrug him off.

After a moment, his hands started moving, fingers kneading my shoulders like the paws of a sleepy cat. His thumbs worked lower, untying knots in the muscles over my shoulder blades while his fingertips walked up and down my spine. All of this was done with just the right of amount of pressure, never too gentle nor too rough. It's so hard to stay pissed when you're in the process of becoming a puddle of goo. I tried though, I really tried.

"I thought the homework couldn't wait." It was supposed to be a growl, but it came out as a purr.

"It can wait." I wish I could describe the way his voice sounded. Soft and intense, with an underlying ripple of anticipation and, dare I say, invitation? He leaned down, pressing a kiss to my throat before moving higher to my ear. "I didn't think you'd mind."

Remember that comment about pissiness and my IQ? "I'll have to think about it."

His hand closed around my braid, slowly pulling it through his fingers until he reached the tie. "Do that." The tie was undone, and so was I. Dammit, you just can't argue with the man.

Slowly, with infinite care, he threaded his fingers through my hair, freeing it from its plait inch by inch. When he was done, it spread across my shoulders and fell well past the seat of the chair. It's a strange feeling, really, oddly vulnerable, as though I somehow manage to keep all of my fears and insecurities bound up in that braid. No braid, no safe place to hide. With my hair unbound, it was like laying out all of those insecurities and all of those fears in front of him. For a moment, I was seized with the desire to grab it and start frantically rebraiding. I even lifted a hand with that intent...until I felt it.

Starting at the crown of my head, he combed his fingers through my hair, following each strand to its end before beginning again. Slow, methodical, incredibly gentle, that touch stole away my resistance. It stole my desire to do anything but sit and let him touch me. 'Please God,' I said to myself, 'please don't let this end.' His hands were stained with blood, like mine. His soul was scarred with the memory of those he'd killed, like mine. In so many ways I pity Relena. She may love him, she might even have found a way to hold onto him, but she could never know him the way I do. What hope for Relena Peacecraft with the man who made love to Death?

Eventually, he captured my chin, turning my head to the side. I could see those deep, dark blue eyes now. You realize, the flatness is only their surface. When the surface ripples, you can see beneath, into a pool so deep that I don't think it ever ends. I had to close my eyes then, his face was only a breath away and it just didn't seem polite to stare during a kiss. I wanted the kiss to last forever, I wanted it to end so that I could stare some more. I wanted to know who taught him to kiss so that I could send them a basket of fruit and a thank you card. Oh, that was me, wasn't it? Excuse me while I pat myself on the back.

It was fast becoming apparent that my math homework was going to have a while to wait. My heart is breaking, can you tell? There's an advantage in being slim and wiry. I turned, moving to my knees in the seat of the chair, all without breaking from that kiss. He was the one that ended it, actually, Prussian blue eyes regarding me solemnly through a veil of wild, dark hair. "Nani?" I asked softly, slipping an arm around his neck.

"We don't have to." I wondered, as he said it, if he felt what I did; that there was something between us, something beyond a mere satisfaction of need. Sometimes it was like that, and sometimes, as now, he hesitated. He's never said the words, but I can hear them clearly in moments like these. Heero uses his body and his Gundam as instruments, a means to an end. In giving me a choice, he said without words that I was more. Have you ever heard the term 'fierce joy'? That's what I felt at that moment.

"Aa, we do."

"Why?"

He's never said the words, but that's ok, I can say them for him... "Because..." I rose from the chair, leaning my forehead against his, my arms around his waist. "Ai shiteru, Heero," I breathed, just before I kissed him again.

Later, much later, we lay curled in bed together. My hair lay beneath us, and I wondered if it was soft beneath his cheek, as it was mine, if it made him as aware of my scent as I was of his. It was the musing of the half-aware, as the mind followed the body into the sleep of the well-sated. What can I say? We make good loving, ne? Maybe it was exhaustion... I can never be sure if I had already slipped into dreaming, of if the words were real. But... I think before I slept, my eyes already closed, he leaned close to me and whispered something I hope was more than my overactive imagination.

"....Ai shiteru, Duo."

It was the hands, definitely the hands...

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