Disclaimer: I wanted to use affection in a different way with this. Essentially, they're still only teenagers. They still have their serious sides, their very realistic traumas resulting from all they went through. But the way I see them now is together in a very steady, secure relationship, and enjoying that.
This fic has never been about sex. I find pointless smut disrespectful to these characters, and I was frightened to end this chapter as I planned because of the fear that it could be seen as PWP-esque. However, as this fic maintains the portrayal of an average, steady relationship, I thought it unrealistic that the act would not occur at some point. I have dealt with this as follows; that, in order to keep up the format of diary entries, the sex has not been described. I believe this is fitting to each of them, were they to keep journals. Secondly, I have tried with a great deal of effort to explain why the sexual intimacy is needed. I'm not sorry to disappoint anyone hoping for shagging on a table for absolutely no reason other than uncontrollable desire. That's not what happens here. I'm hoping I've given a clear reason as to why it happens between them. They may be in a steady relationship, one in which sex is likely to occur, but that doesn't mean I wish to have them going at it like rabbits every 10 minutes. Maybe it's unrealistic to have reasons for every sexual act that they engage in, but I'd rather that than have them mindlessly screwing.
Theory I've hinted at here of Duo's rape was thought up and modified by Shido, so thanks to her for letting me use it ^^
27th March, AC200
I opened my mouth wide in loud protest. "I did not!" Was my indignant squeak against his assurances to the contrary.
"You did indeed," He grins. "Twice."
"I'd call you a liar," I sighed. "But, obviously..." Another sigh for dramatic effect. "You're not bending the truth again, are you?"
An innocent look crosses his face. "Nice try, but no, this one's true through and through. There's no escaping it, Hiiro. You thought you could do Latin dancing."
I flick with random switches beside and behind the wheel, more because of my short attention span than because it is necessary. Watching the window wipers quickly jar across the windscreen before me, I blink in shock and decide to stop touching things.
"I have no recollection of this." I state simply, as if this means it cannot possibly be true. The fact that I was drunk at the time of the accused incident is clearly irrelevant.
"You wouldn't." He smirks. "But I bet everyone else there does."
I have not lasted long. Already I am pressing more switches, wanting to see what they do. Obediently, strange liquid squirts all over the glass and is wiped away. This is indeed an odd car.
"Oh?" I say with a dark tone of foreboding to my voice, as I try and work out how to make the windscreen wiper sit still again.
"Mm. Because you could."
After pressing every button within finger reach, I am utterly perplexed by the workings of this vehicle. The infuriating piece of plastic is still at large, making a rhythmic taunting noise with every stroke. I glare at it, eyes watching its snake-like sway with hatred because it cannot be removed. There are times where I wish I still carried my gun with me.
"Could what?" I snap, reaching around the windscreen and trying to catch the wiper and preferably remove it completely from the car.
"Do Latin dancing." He says simply, leaning his head back against the headrest and watching my efforts with a sleepy abandon. I continue to bat the offensive instrument, getting absolutely nowhere, until my blood pressure has risen high enough to pay a visit to a colony. Duo exhales in a despairing sort of fashion, leans over and flicks at a switch on the right side of the wheel. Instantly, the wiper goes to its resting place and bothers me no more. I blink, waiting for it to rear its ugly head once his eyes have moved from it, but it does not, and I admit defeat with a defiant sulk.
"What did you say about Latin dancing?" I eventually mutter darkly, still glaring at the space where the traitorous device lies.
"That you could do it," He replies nonchalantly, snickering a little at my fury. "Calm down, baba, you'll give yourself heart failure."
"I hate driving."
"You're too fidgety. Just sit still and don't play with things." He rests one hand on my thigh and strokes it softly, hoping it will settle me a bit. No such luck.
"I try. They call to me." I pout. "I get bored, alright? Just going in straight lines makes my head go to sleep, and it says that maybe if I press this button or flick that switch, it'll be interesting again."
"You should stop listening to strange voices." Duo comments wryly, stretching one arm over his head and yawning.
I glare at him with feeling. Reading my gaze, he realises that I am no longer finding the situation amusing. He's all too aware that I have a dreadful attention span and that I have a habit of forgetting things, but he also knows well that it drives me as mad as it does him. Only in the battlefield can I seem to concentrate properly, and my trait of losing grip on my life scares me shitless. I am not used to technology being out of my control, and even the smallest failure can ignite a fire of anger inside me. Yes, I'm petty. I don't know where that came from, honestly. It's just something that's developed over time. I don't tend to get upset about the big issues, like Relena, like Dr. J, but I do tend to lose my head about things that shouldn't matter. I sometimes wonder how he puts up with me.
Gently, he puts his hand to the back of my neck and softly caresses the sensitive spot where fine hair meets the base of my skull. "Hey, I'm sorry." He whispers. "I just worry about you getting so wound up. It's not good for you."
"Yeah." I close my eyes briefly. "It doesn't matter, right? I'm just losing my marbles. It's just that I can't do the tiniest little thing anymore! Course, nothing to worry about there, is there? The fact that I used to be able to control machines far beyond my capabilities when I was 15 and now struggle to make a fucking car do what I want, that's nothing to get upset about, is it?" I can feel myself swiftly losing my temper, and for the life of me, I don't know why I'm shouting at him. I don't even know why I'm yelling at all, other than that sometimes I feel so useless beside him. He's sorted me out far too many times as it is and sometimes, he's just too damn settled. I feel so weak in comparison.
"Pull over." He says quietly, eyes darkening as his gaze bores into me. "Pull over, now."
"Why?" My eyes flash wildly. "Afraid I'll do something else stupid? Scared that I can't cope?"
"Hiiro, just pull the fucking car over!" The sudden rage in his voice scares me momentarily, before I regain composure and coolly direct the car off the sand-beaten track and switch off the engine, folding my arms and waiting. Nothing happens, and I try to catch my breath raggedly.
"I'm not saying anything until you stop acting like I'm going to lecture you." He says calmly, only the sharpness of his voice betraying the anger within him.
"No." I hear him sigh gently. "You know I'm not. It implies that I am above you, when I'm not. We're equals, Hiiro, you know that. Underneath all of this shouting, you *know* that. I don't care whether you can fix the window wipers or not, and if you want to give a damn, so be it. What matters to me is that you don't even know your own worth. You get mixed up in this crap about using a telephone or starting a car, and you forget what you have. That's what bothers me."
He looks at me with genuine pain in his eyes and I fight the urge to throw myself at him and beg to start the day over. I haven't slept well, I'm tired and achy and angry at nothing. I shouldn't have shouted at him. And he's right, again. There are plenty of things I can do, even I am useless with unfamiliar technology. I'm far too hotheaded, far too impulsive. When I've thought it through, I see his point as clear as glass. Yet I still react with the same fiery anger, every time.
I let out a muffled groan as I cover my eyes with my hands. "I know." I say in a frustrated tone. "You're right."
"It's not about me being right." He replies. "It's about you knowing your capabilities, and not getting caught up in crap that isn't worth thinking about. I know it's a let-down, going from being one of the best mobile suit pilots on the face of the universe to someone who can't get a windscreen wiper to work, but does that really make you worthless? The problem, Hiiro, is that you rack up the negatives but the positives get swept under the carpet."
"I forget the good things I do and tally up the bad things, right?"
"Mm. I do it, too. But it doesn't get you anywhere. It makes you feel like shit, it makes your head really hurt, and it makes you lash out. I know it's difficult. One of the worst things I ever felt was when I was meant to be a war hero, yet I couldn't read a single street sign. It's a kick in the teeth, but you overcome it. Trust me, Hiiro, I could teach you how to work every switch in this car, but you wouldn't feel any better for it. After I learnt to read and write, I didn't feel any more special. Life was easier, but I didn't feel like a more valuable person."
I look at him incredulously. "How could you not see yourself as valuable?"
"Same to you." He retorts with a soft smile. Just as I am about to reply, 'That's different,' he intervenes,
"No, it's not. Neither of us can see it totally objectively. We both focus on the bad instead of the good. The way I stopped doing that is by listening to you more. You're not deluded about me; you wouldn't sit and kiss my feet and tell me everything I do is wonderful, but you're a damn sight more positive about me than I am. So I feed off of that, and that helps. I think you're incredible, and you love me. You've no idea how much that means to me. Forget about the car, or the phone, or the credit cards. That's not important. What is important is that our business could not run without your organisation, your talent for numerics. What is important is that I couldn't live if I didn't have you with me."
"You'd learn." I protest, but I am smiling nonetheless.
"No, I wouldn't." His voice is deadly serious, but his eyes are slightly warmer than they were before. "I honestly don't think I can work properly without you, Hiiro Yui. You've worked quite a spell over me, sweetheart."
My face moves slightly with the emotional overflow of it all, of which I am struggling to deal with. I rest my head against his shoulder, letting my hands drop from the steering wheel, and whisper softly to him,
"I'm sorry for yelling at you."
"It's okay. I don't mind you getting the bad stuff out, just please, not whilst you're driving. It's not that you're distracted from the road, or that I think you'll crash, but you speed when you're angry. I mean, you really speed. Do you know that?"
"No." I answer honestly. "Okay, no more venting whilst driving. Promise." I take his hand in mine and gently squeeze it, looking for some sort of reassurance on his face. He looks still a little weary from sleeping badly last night, but otherwise his relaxed countenance has reappeared.
"It's alright." He says gently. "I wound you up, half my fault. Now, are we going to get there today, or what? Because I don't know about you, but I'd rather spend a night sleeping naked on a cactus than another in this blasted car."
"Sure." I say with a wide grin and starting the engine, I add, "As long as you fill me in on the Latin dancing..."
That's pretty much how our morning went, much as I dislike admitting it. Much later on from that particularly bad start, we were lying on the bed in our newly-found motel room. If the 2ft wide piece of plank wood with a shiver of duvet could truly be referred to as a bed. It had taken us barely two hours to get back on course, once we'd figured out where we went wrong yesterday, and Duo telephoned the old git of a client to tell him that there'd been a slight delay and that he was very sorry, and of course he'd be happy to refund him if he was completely unsatisfied. By the end of the phone call, of course, the man had no such intentions. Duo has a great way with words, and one of his biggest talents is talking people round to his way of thinking without them having a clue that their minds are being manipulated. He's bloody good at it, as well. Not only the client decide not to accept a partial refund, but he also decided he didn't need the parts quite yet, and not to worry. We could just as easily deliver them the day after tomorrow, if that was better for us. After all, we were doing him a favour bringing them out here, he wouldn't have wanted us working ourselves to an early grave over it. And besides, it's a beautiful day, why don't you boys enjoy it?
I sometimes think that Duo could convince Bill Gates to hand Microsoft over to him, given half a chance.
It's been nice to have that day off, though. I mean, for all that the old guy is crazy, it's hotter than hell out here and I didn't really fancy doing much more driving. It was also nice to get a lie-in of sorts this morning, especially given that we were awake most of last night. Once we'd settled in, and made a vague effort to unpack, it was pretty late. We were both pretty ragged, and I felt like I'd been sleeping in a swamp for two weeks. One thing I do hate about spending the night in a car; there's no shower in the morning. So, the first thing I wanted to do was get under a hot spray and try and make myself nice and clean and un-stressed again. Whilst I was wandering around the tiny room in a towel, looking for Duo's shampoo, because his has a fruity smell and mine smells a lot like hydrochloric acid, its owner was standing by the window, surveying our outside surroundings. He looked up at me as I stumbled about with an amused smile.
"You hungry?" He asked, pointing at the black bag that lay beside the bed for the aforementioned shampoo.
Rummaging about in it, I looked up over the surface of the bed. "Not really. Tired, mostly. You?" That wasn't really surprising; I'd spent most of the journey eating Smarties. Oh, and drinking Cherry Coke, a personal favourite of mine. It was very good for me that I was driving; when I saw a service station, I could quite easily pull up to it, rather than having to beg Duo to stop 25 minutes in advance. Not so good for him, however. He doesn't like stopping every 15 minutes while his boyfriend buys yet more tubes of confectionary and tries to get rid of the 26 gallons of fizzy drink he's put inside himself. I do worry about Duo sometimes, though, seriously. Maybe it's just our eating habits. We both eat when we're hungry, and for me that's almost all the time. I don't eat meals, per se. Just little things, constantly. Perhaps it's an oral fetish. But Duo, he hardly eats at all. Certainly not Smarties, either. He hasn't got a sweet tooth, and the only thing I know he's a weakness for is Mexican food. And even then, I've never seen him go crazy. He just shrugs and says his stomach isn't good with eating lots, it having grown accustomed to small amounts of food. I don't know. It's not like he has an actual problem, but it does worry me. He's fit and healthy, and strong for his age, so I suppose I shouldn't fret so much, but it doesn't seem to be something that I can easily stop doing.
"Nah. But if I know what we're like, we will be in two hours when we're not sleepy anymore. And by then, that rather inviting looking supermarket-place will be shut. So I'm thinking I should go grab something else now, be on the safe side." He closed the curtain again, wandering to the meagre beside table and trying to figure out where he's put the kitty. Joining him, I reached into one of the drawers and handed it to him, placing a soft kiss on the back of his neck.
"You're getting wise in your old age," I joked, resting my cheek against his shoulder and tying my arms around his waist, loosely. He covered my hands with his own, putting a few notes in his pocket and chuckling.
"Enough of that. What you fancy, then?"
I cheekily ran my hands over the front of his jeans. "Ooh, some of this, please."
"To eat in or take-away?" He quipped, and I just knew that he'd rolled his eyes. Slowly detaching himself from me, he reaches for his jacket and then directs his gaze at me, as if his joke required a serious answer.
"Either." I shrugged, and just as he thought I was about to elaborate with all the possible foodstuffs I could think to combine him with, I added,
"Oh, but if you're getting me something proper to eat, can you check if they have any Wagon Wheels?"
He raised an eyebrow, unimpressed at being dismissed for a food product, and tugs at the collar of his jacket with a feigned huff of breath.
"The jammy ones." I said sweetly. "Thank you!"
In his eyes as he leaves, I detect a giveaway sparkle of amusement.
I still don't know when he actually came back. I'd been happily soaking up in the shower, gotten all steamed up and wrinkly, and then rather bored and lonely. Duo can take hours doing the food shopping when he wants to piss me off. So I'd gone back into the bedroom, semi-wrapped up in a towel, and curled up on the bed to wait for him. At some unidentifiable point, I must have fallen asleep, because when I woke, he was snuggled beside me, happily chewing on some sort of sandwich involving chicken and spices. He'd also opened the window to let some fresh air into the muggy room, which had left me feeling rather cold given that my towel was covering approximately 1/8th of my body. I hastily pulled the thin duvet around me and rested down against his warm body once more. What I do know was that it was at the very moment that I realised; there were plastic bags everywhere, but no sign of anything sweet-related whatsoever.
"Wagon wheels?" I said hopefully, prodding him gently in the ribs. It was tempting, I admit, to start chewing on one of his nipples. It was well within tongue distance, and I considered it as a plausible option, were my sweets not produced swiftly.
"Nope." He answered smartly, licking a bit of tikka off of one finger. "Not a single wheel in sight."
"Smarties?" I tried again, desperately. "Jammy Dodgers? Party Rings? Iced Gems?"
"Nup." A shake of the head confirmed this. "None of the above."
I stared at him incredulously. "Nothing with sugar in it, at all?!"
"I got a nice tuna sandwich." He smirked. "With extra salad."
There was a long pause, wherein I gave serious thought to chewing that tempting nipple off. He knows I hate tuna. And salad, even more so. And...no Wagon Wheels...? I was pouting before I knew it.
"Duuuuuuoo..." I whined pathetically, getting out of bed in the search of money, and/or weapons.
"Alright, alright. The sandwich is for me, for tomorrow." He regards me with those intense, wicked eyes. "Chocolate croissants in the bag. Ice cream in the fridge-imitation. And Wagon Wheels in the drawer."
I bounced back onto the bed in a most uncharacteristic gesture of excitement and place myself in his lap, snuggling for all I'm worth. A small pleased smile passes his face before he removes a piece of char-grilled tomato from his sandwich and feeds it to me.
"You need nutrients." He explains, noting my expression of disgust.
"This your way of telling me you got me fruit, as well?"
"Not so bad." I replied, after consideration. "Least they're sort of sweet. I don't have to drink water as well, do I?"
"Do it or I'll confiscate the croissants."
"Ooh, water, what a good idea!" I smirked, rolling my eyes and leaning over the side of the bed to claim my prizes.
And so, we came to be lying side by side, deep in the middle of the night, far too awake to be asleep. The ceiling fan was clicking about us, spinning languidly to a vague rhythm. It was just light enough for me to be able to see the expression on Duo's face, one of calm contemplation, one of contentment. He is happy, relaxed and comfortable. Duo's face is always full of hidden signs, if you know how to read him. And this one, despite our early morning argument, spoke volumes of his happiness. Underneath the covers, he strokes my bare hip with a firm hand. I rest my head on his extended arm and frown a little.
"Was I always so angry?" I spoke up, breaking the gentle silence with a husked whisper.
"Angry? You're talking about this morning." His eyes search my face with a tender expression.
"Yeah. Was I always so ... 'shoot my mouth off'?"
"No." He says simply, stroking becoming more insistent. "You had a lot of shit bottled up, that's all."
"Because I didn't know how to feel before? I could sense emotions, but not express them. I couldn't even acknowledge them, most of the time. Anything that wasn't, 'Hiiro, you must destroy this person because they are a threat to your mission', well, it was nothing important. I can't believe I thought like that."
"Sssh," He whispered, propping himself up on one elbow and guiding me closer to him. "It wasn't your fault."
"And this, my temper? Have I really improved, or have I just replaced one evil with another?"
He stared at me for a few seconds before replying. "I don't think you can help your temper, baba. It's not like you woke up one morning and decided you'd like to release years of repressed pain by screaming at people."
"You don't get angry." I pointed out. "Well, you don't yell, in any event. Y'know, unless we're arguing and you feel you need to, if I've done something stupid. You don't shout at me like I did this morning, at you." I bite my lip.
"No. I get down. We have different ways of dealing with what's happened. And I bet my being lifeless must drive you mad sometimes. Hiiro, just...it's not worth worrying about. I can deal with your temper. I'm not afraid of it. I know your limits probably better than you do, and I know you'd never, never hurt me. It doesn't mean that I like you being angry, but I'm not going to be like them. I'm not going to repress you, force you to stop feeling things, like they did..." His voice cracks slightly. "As far as I'm concerned, express it. Get it out of you. If you feel crap, go ahead and yell."
"I try not to yell at you." I mused. "I really don't want to do that."
"You don't really shout at me, Hiiro. You just...shout. It's you getting what's in your head out. That's a good thing. It just so happens that I'm there, is all. It's not really directed at me, you know that. It doesn't...hurt. I just don't like you doing it while you're driving. You yelling, it really doesn't affect me in the way you think it should."
I knew what he meant. Only one type of roughness really rattles Duo, and it isn't verbal aggression. He can deal with any amount of shouting, screaming, arguing and fighting. Physical aggression doesn't affect him in any way beyond that of making him feel down that we spent so long trying to restore peace, only for humanity to fight amongst itself. My going off on one probably doesn't ruffle any of his feathers. The only kind of force that Duo can't take is sexual. And sure, I can be verbally enraged, but I'm more likely to embrace Trowa as my brother than ever push Duo that way. The reason he doesn't fear my anger was suddenly all the more clear, because he knows he's safe with it. My rage is never physical, except in the instance of protecting those I love. I have only ever once been physically violent since AC196. We're sort of anti-violence, funnily enough. Not pacifists, but...why engage in pointless aggression after all we fought for? My fury can only now ever be verbal. It cannot be physical anymore, and it would certainly never, ever be sexual. Not after what Duo went through.
"Then you don't have to pretend to feel okay when you don't." I replied, my eyelids lowering at him slightly.
"Okay." He agrees, with a tiny nod of his head. "Don't feel shit about this, baba, alright? What happened this morning was no skin off my nose. I love you, you know? A little bit of temper is never going to change that. I won't be like them."
"Same for you. I'm not Hilde, I'm not the others. I know when you're feeling crap, anyway, no matter what face you put on it. You don't have to do that with me."
"I know." He whispered. "We're a right pair, aren't we?"
I snuggled closer to him and felt him silking his fingers across my bellybutton. "Yeah. Just the way I like it."
He captured my face with one hand, tenderly, and brought my face upwards so that I could look deeply into his eyes. Entwining my legs with his, we both felt the mutual conviction that fell like a lightning bolt. No matter how much we discussed this, and how much better I felt from his words, and promises, I couldn't help but feel the continued weight of the morning's events. A rift had appeared between us the minute I lost my temper, and it sat there still, though we lay close together in the dark. I love him so much, and yet I yelled at him. I blamed him for that which is not his fault. I treated him badly. Something intangible had been altered, some barrier of the heart had been put up within me, and I needed to remove it. I couldn't help but feel separate from him. He looked at me, and I knew it was the same for him. Words brought us close, but only the deepest intimacy can set aside what has come up between us. We needed to be as close to each other as we could possibly be, we needed to be washed away on affection, warmth, and our love for one another. There were no words then. Only the slow rhythm of Duo's fingers stroking through my hair as he worked himself underneath me and let me show him how frighteningly vast the love between us was.
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