Innocence Faded, Part 9
by Kea & Jenn

Beyond the circle's edge
We're driven by her blessing

Wind whipped the rising swells into faint echoes of the clouds above, belling the wings of a gull as it circled over the water, eyes fixed on some unseen goal. The surf flirted coyly with my toes before rushing back down the sand like a shy girl at one of Relena's fancy parties, going back to whisper with its sister waves...perhaps having something insightful to say about the look on my face...or the fact that instead of glaring I watched quietly, trying to puzzle out a world I had always understood as coordinates and neatly couched objectives, instead of...instead...of....

Did you know that the ocean is beautiful at late afternoon? The sun slants in just so and turns the water to silver and gold. It's beautiful...I'd never noticed it before, not really. I felt like someone waking from a long sleep to a world unlike the one he remembers. Everything was new and strange, unfamiliar because I'd never taken the time, or known to look in a way to see it as it was. It was Duo's world, one he embraced with fierce joy, one in which I could never be more than a transient...out of place, never belonging. 

Bowing my head, I wrapped my arms a little more tightly around my knees. Somehow keeping my body secure made me feel more in control of the rest of myself. It was the one thing in my life that remained unchanged.

Sighing, I looked out over the water again, following the path of the gull as it swooped low to capture a surfacing fish. This--this dream--couldn't work. To hope it might had been foolish, it was impossible in too many ways to number. I wasn't quite sure what I would do if something happened to Duo. There were nightmares, ones where I had his blood on my hands, could smell it on my skin...I wouldn't let myself remember the rest. It was better, safer, to keep him at a distance than to risk that. I'm dangerous, death cloaked in false tenderness. 

My body clamored in protest at being kept away from his, but it was simply another need, a response that could be trained into submission like all the others. It was the ache that wasn't purely physical that I was concerned about... The need to hold and be held, to be just be, together.

"Kuso," I swore softly, hiding my face against my knees as I rocked back and forth, trying to fight down the hurt inside. "Ore wa baka desu yo..." [1]


"Iya. Omae wa baka ja nai." [2] He tensed as I knelt down behind him, sliding my arms under his until my hands fisted together atop his hard abs. His bare back felt sun-warm against my cheek, his scent made me so hungry I thought my stomach would growl. I wondered what he would think if he knew exactly how much of my day I had been summoning courage to walk the path before me and reclaim him. Amazing how nothing else but Heero really gives me pause in my 'ready-fire-aim' existence.

Then again, I can say with absolute certainty that I've never been in love before.

But, I do love him, and it makes those moments of abject terror worthwhile.

"I've missed you," I purred against his skin, my tongue tracing a warm, wet brand on his shoulder, marking him as mine while my arms tightened around him. He was taller and stronger than me, but I was still faster, and I intended to use my speed to its full advantage.


Kuso. I'd never let him come upon me unaware like that. A thrill of fear shot through me; was I simply losing my edge? Or had he gotten so deeply under my skin that my internal alarms no longer went off in his presence? Either way it was bad.

Every muscle tensed as he touched me, he'd obviously discarded any respect for the invisible boundaries I'd set a few days ago. It wasn't mere invasion, everything about him spoke to the fact that he was ready to declare war, with me as the prize. Dammit, Duo, don't you know that I can't let you win?

My teeth clenched as his tongue darted out to taste my shoulder, tracing the curve of the muscle beneath as he nuzzled close. I couldn't do this, not now. Even being in his presence was enough to shake the hard-won composure I'd fought for since the night...we...since that night.

"What are you doing out here?" I asked coldly. Damn, he'd completely knocked me off-guard; that sounded far from convincing. Flexing my shoulders, I tested his grip. He had me tightly enough that I'd have to fight to be free. I remained still, muscles taut.

"Let me go, I'm not in the mood for games."


A laugh bubbled up from somewhere deep inside me, midnight and mischief and mystery all at once. My arms tightened possessively around him, the flare of answering heat in his body warming me inside. "I told you, I missed you," was my throaty reply as I nipped him with my teeth, blazing a trail of small bites across to his other shoulder. He was tight, so tight, tension strung through every fiber of his being and a raw hesitation under the ice in his voice. This made him nervous, I could tell, his body answering mine against his will. Maybe my Perfect Soldier wasn't so perfect after all.

Every movement I made had to be deliberate, confident and focused; God, I hoped it was only inside that I was trembling. "No. This isn't a game," I informed him, pressing close enough to crawl inside his skin. By now, I felt almost feverish, no longer needing his body heat to warm me. "This has never been a game to me." It was more than I wanted to reveal now, so much more, but he abruptly tensed, as though the thought of sex mattering to me had yet to visit his mind and welcome him to the neighborhood.

Thoughts I could explore another time. All I could focus on was breaking down the barriers he had thrown between us, breaking them in the only way they had fallen before. "I want you," I breathed hotly against his ear, grasping the lobe between my teeth and teasing that ultra-sensitive spot just behind it.


"Duo..." It was a growl, barely articulate. How dare you push me like this! it said. Let me go now, or I'll hurt you. I would have stood up at that point if I'd been able to figure out how to untangle myself. Already he was pushing the limits of my control. I can't let you win, dammit. Pushing them? The fucking accelerator was to the floor.

It would be so easy to stop thinking entirely. Forget the arguments, forget the fear... But you can't forget the blood when you stink of it.

"I--" my reply got caught in my throat and I realized I was shivering again. God dammit, Yuy, pull yourself together. "I can't," I ground out roughly

Stop, Duo. Please.


"Heero...I promised I wouldn't leave you alone." With satisfaction, I felt him shudder convulsively as my tongue toyed with his earlobe. "I run...I hide...but I never lie."

This was a dangerous game I was playing--violence practically boiled beneath the surface of his skin--but I had to remind him I wouldn't break, that I, too, was strong. Strong enough to lead us if he didn't know where he was going. 

Without letting go of him, I maneuvered under his left arm--I wasn't quite bold or foolish enough to go around his stronger side--until I could snake my leg across his lap, straddling his lap and pushing his legs back towards the sand while my fingers twined together at the nape of his neck. 

Wearing nothing more than a worn, faded pair of cutoff jeans, unbound hair, and a smile, I leaned in until we were breathing the same breath.

He looked pissed. Deadly. And, deep down, scared out of his mind.


His eyes tracked to mine, and dear Lord, they were nearly on fire. My smile widened. "Do you trust me?"


"Forgetting your Japanese already?" I snarled softly, turning my head to meet his eyes as he slowly slid around my body. "'Heero Yuy,'" I continued in the same, forbidding tone. "It means 'one.' I was born to be alone." My eyes didn't actually find his, full on, until the last word left my tongue.

Mistake. Huge mistake. God you're stupid, Yuy, how many times do you have to drown in those eyes before you realize that you can deny them nothing?

Suddenly I was having trouble breathing, mind slamming back hard into my skull as his warm, lithe body joined those incredible eyes and came into full contact with mine. Like him, I wore nothing but a pair of shorts. It had seemed a good idea this morning, to feel the wind and sun against my skin. Now it was just another soldier in the army of marks on the scoreboard...not a single one of which stood in my favor.

He pressed into me until our lips were little more than a breath apart, almost as though we were beginning a kiss in slow motion. The temptation to make that into reality was overwhelming. I closed my eyes. That left me breathing in the scent of him, mingled with the clean smell of surf and the sand. Drowning in that sole sensory input; God, this was almost comical. 

I grit my teeth, leaning away as far as I could shy of overbalancing, which wasn't nearly far enough. "It's not you I don't trust," I said softly. Oh no, it wasn't him at all.

I was the weapon, hammer cocked...finger trembling desperately on the trigger.


I shook my head slightly and shrugged, the movements sending more of my hair trickling over his bare legs. "That's not the name you were born with...any more than mine was Duo Maxwell. If your goal is pushing me away with rationalization, give up now. You won't be alone; I made a promise I will keep." 

My heart thundered in my chest, desire quicksilvering out through my veins. Being this close to him and holding all of the cards in this cutthroat game were oddly exciting in ways I'd never dreamed possible. My body leaped almost painfully in response to his jerky breathing; God, I didn't think it was possible to want, to need this much.

I gripped his shoulders, fingers kneading provocatively at the tight knots of muscle there as I rebalanced my control with a deep breath. "Wakatta. You don't have to trust yourself this time, Heero." From the intensity in my voice, I could only imagine what was in my eyes. "Just trust me with you." Relentlessly, my fingers continued their invasion, marching north to tangle in his windblown hair, firming my grip on both the situation and him.

"Let me make love to you," the words whorled almost tangibly, filling the space between us in echo of that desperate time in a Brussels hotel room. "I want to look in your eyes and hear you calling my name." I leaned back in towards his ear, as though imparting some great secret to him that could carry no further than the distance of my breath.

"I want to be inside you..."


I'm addicted to his touch. By now I was starving for it, trying not to remember what it meant to have his hands on me. It was the answer to what I'd told him only moments ago.

If he's with me... I don't have to be alone anymore.


It's simple, really. I'm not worth it. I'd trust my life to him without hesitation...but not this time. This time, the stakes were too high.

Then again, there was my resolve, flawed and fragile... and then there was Duo's determination. Everything about him was intense, from the shadowed amethyst of his eyes to the restless tracery of his fingertips over my skin. No wasn't going to be good enough, not when my body betrayed me. I was responding to him almost by instinct and he knew it.

"You don't know what you're asking." I grit my teeth, eyes clamped shut. "There are things not even a good fucking can fix." There was no heat in it, because it wasn't entirely true.

Sick, ne? Sometimes Duo and I communicate better in bed than anywhere else.

"I hurt you." If words could bleed, mine were a gaping wound, one robbed of the benefit a week's time should have worked in it. Simple explanation: if you worry at a wound, it won't heal. I'd gnawed at it mercilessly, savoring the pain. At once it reminded me that I lived...and that I was dangerous. Lethal, efficient, deadly...cruel....

Shudder. Dammit, body, when did we part ways like this? I was floundering, lost, certain of some things, desperately uncertain of others. A soldier doesn't need these feelings...that touch. A touch craved and longed for.

A touch my body glared at me in disgust for refusing, then seized control and wantonly accepted... leaning in to his hand like a cat begging to be stroked.

Against my will, muscles loosened, unwinding their knots until they became supple beneath his hand. I drew in several slow, deep breaths, then my lashes parted, revealing eyes that reflected the stormy seas within, tumbled by raw need, desire...and a crippling hesitance.

"Duo, iya....onegai."

Damn. Not even I was convinced.


I couldn't help it; I laughed. It was the first time, however backhanded, he'd complimented my skills in bed. The sexual tension, however, made it a deep-throated, honey-rich sound, transcending amusement into something much weightier. "Nice to know I rate as 'a good fucking', Yuy." His name purred off my lips and I licked them casually, as if to physically draw that single syllable back inside. "But I know exactly what I'm asking for. I distinctly remember using the term 'making love'."

I stroked my thumb over his closed eyes, feeling them jerk responsively beneath the thin lids. "It's's always been making love with you," I added under my breath, but he gave no sign that he'd heard.

My touch followed the lines of tension that striated through his face, the clenched, locked muscles in his cheek. He was in sheer torment, agonizing over what had happened between us. How could I tear down this wall when he kept slapping up bricks and mortar all around him?

Very carefully. One piece at a time.

"Baka," I murmured softly, brushing gentle fingertips across his brow, striving to communicate through touch what he needed to know. "You didn't rape me. I didn't fight you. I never told you 'no'."

I shook my head again, determined to ram truth into that indestructible cranium. "What happened between us wasn't just your doing, it was mine, too. You didn't make me do anything I didn't want to do, and if you're going to blame yourself you have to blame me, too. I was as much a part of it as you."


No! You don't understand...

Fine. I'll make you understand.

"It doesn't matter." I swallowed hard, trying to keep the sick feeling in my gut from climbing up the back of my throat. "You don't know what I'm capable of." I set my jaw, cobbled together the remnants of my resolve, felt my eyes freeze over. "I could kill you." The ice splintered but held.

I let the memory of my nightmares, my worst fears, wash over me and drew from them. I was down to desperation at this point, but being desperate lends you a fervor confidence never does. "In my dreams, you're laying under me just like you did that night... and I can taste your blood on my lips. You're drowning, Duo, drowning in your own blood." A sick smile stolen from my most intimate fever dreams crept across my mouth. "It's all over me. I'm covered in it, Duo," I said softly. "Don't you smell it on my skin when you're this close?" Truth bit me, drawing blood. "The monster's just biding his time to get out... and right now you're the only one around for him to take down."

I laughed softly, my eyes turning bitter and bleak. "You know I'm not worth it... Stop pretending, let me protect you."

I'm your worst enemy, Duo. You knew that instinctively the first time we met, and you should have followed through with the impulse. Somewhere along the line you made the fatal choice to ignore that impulse. 

I'm not sure even now what keeps stopping you; maybe you're just as insane as I am.

Never mind. I know you are. You're still here.


[1] "I'm such a fool/idiot" or "I'm so stupid."

[2] "No, you're not a fool/idiot" or "No, you're not stupid."

Part 10
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