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A Heart Awakened



The figure clung to the shadows of the hall, creeping his way to the last door on the left, all senses heightened and tingling, wary of waking the others in the house. With his hand on the knob, he held his breath as the tumblers clicked into place, sounding obnoxiously loud in the still of the late hour. He slipped inside and allowed himself a small mental sigh of relief.

Heero shut the door behind him, careful not to make a sound, lest he disturb the room's only occupant. As silent as a shadow he made his way to the bed and hesitated, standing there at the edge, looking down at the sleeping figure. A sudden pang he couldn't identify struck him as he realized the sleeper's back was to him. A smoothly muscled back, but a back nonetheless.

Impossibly long chestnut hair lay over the pillows, the moonlight ghosting across the strands as they flowed to curl over the boy's bare hip. He'd never seen Duo's hair free of its efficient braid. It was magnificent. Slowly his hand came out to hover over the starlit light brown strands. His mind screamed at him to stop but his body overrode that hysterical cry.

Heero gasped quietly as his fingers brushed lightly across Duo's hair. It was exactly as he imagined it would be, caramel-colored silk, soft and cool. It was as though his mind was watching from deep inside as his body rebelled and gave in to his secret desires. Heero watched as his fingers curled into the boy's hair and his thumb rubbed across those trapped strands. A slight smile threatened the edge of his lips as he leaned down to inhale the clean scent of the free mass, gentle fingers stroking rhythmically.

Heero stiffened as the boy curled on the bed sighed in contentment and shifted in his sleep. After a small eternity, he rolled from his left side into the soft touch on his hair as a flower to the sun. Heero breathed an 'oh' as Duo's face turned toward him, one smooth cheek now resting on his splayed hair. That face.

That heart-shaped face that teased him mercilessly with every available opportunity. Those soft curved lips that always smiled so warmly. Those bright blue-violet eyes that held him captive like a thief caught red-handed. That face was peaceful in sleep, those lips were relaxed, and yet a ghost of a smile played across them. Those captivating eyes were closed, dreaming. Heero's eyes traced every contour of that face; the roundness of the cheeks, the soft juncture of the jaw and ear, the gently sloped nose. His eyes moved to travel over every square inch of the slumbering figure.

The boy had kicked the sheets off in the middle of the night and they lay in a tangle at his feet exposing his sleek form and pale skin. Heero shuddered unseen in the darkness. Dark blue eyes narrowed as he studied his friend. That impish face and perfectly proportioned body made Duo irresistible to him. His physical attraction was only deepened by the genuine warmth of spirit that burned brightly from within, not that he would ever mention that to the American pilot, or anyone else for that matter. There was some small part of him, however, that feared that everyone already knew how he felt about his friend.

Everyone but Duo himself. Heero clenched his teeth as his mind wandered. He would never tell Duo how he felt. How could he when he wasn't exactly sure himself. He wasn't sure, was he? While his body was completely enraptured by this rare opportunity to indulge itself his mind churned, a flurry of emotions and questions burning for attention. Was he sure? Yes. When had his feelings of friendship toward Duo changed into something deeper? The moment you met him, fool, and you know it. Don't deny it. No, he couldn't deny it; he would only be lying to himself. He had always felt this way for Duo, but he could never tell him. Why not? Are you afraid of rejection? Yes, dammit! You'll never know until you tell him. If I don't tell him, I'll never get hurt. You're already hurt, by keeping this locked inside, torturing yourself every time you look at him, think of him, *dream* of him. Shut up! Who asked you?! You did, otherwise you wouldn't be in here.

He hated it when his conscience was right.

Heero sighed as he pulled the sheet up over his friend, knowing that if he didn't, he would no longer be able to resist this opportunity. With a gusty sigh and last brush of his fingertips over Duo's spill of hair, he turned and made his way to the door, resigned to fulfilling his deepest desires in his dreams. The boy on the bed mumbled softly.

Halfway across the room Heero froze as he heard a quiet rustle behind him. He fervently hoped that Duo was just shifting in his sleep again. After a few moments, Heero released the breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding and took another step away from the bed. Safe. Not for long.

"Heero?" Duo's tenor was soft and thick with sleep.

Heero bit his lower lip, so much for a clean getaway. Now is your chance, tell him. Shut up, you! The Japanese pilot savagely clamped down on that inner voice that sounded suspiciously like Duo. He answered, but didn't turn. He couldn't, couldn't meet those eyes.

"Aa, Duo?" He was surprised by how calm his voice sounded as his heart pounded madly in his chest.

"Wha's up? S'ere somethin' wrong?"

Heero hid his smile at his friend's slurred words. Duo was still half-asleep, and if he was quick he could make his escape before the boy slipped into full awareness. He would have to come up with some reason for being here otherwise.

"No, nothing's wrong. Go back to sleep." Heero managed to project the calm he didn't feel as he approximated his usually clipped tone. Go back to sleep, Duo, please. He was going to get away, he thought, as he heard another soft rustle from behind.

"Heero?" One word, softly uttered, but heavily laced with worry. His mind raced for something that sounded plausible and he nearly grinned triumphantly as he latched onto an idea.

"I thought I heard something from in here. I thought you might have had another nightmare." That was close to the truth. Duo often had nightmares, bad ones to judge from the way he awoke sweating, trembling, and gasping for breath. This wasn't the first night he'd snuck in here to watch Duo sleep, but it was the first time he'd ever left the dark corner near the door.

"Heero." Duo breathed his name with something akin to shock. Heero cringed. Had he really been that callous to the boy? Yes, you have. He sighed and slumped his shoulders in the dark. He turned to regard the other pilot and froze, his heart leaping into his throat at the sight.

Duo stood before the window, framed by the diffused light, the sheet held loosely around his waist. His silver-gilt hair rippled past his naked shoulders, over his chest, and brushed just past his narrow hips. His lips were pouted with concern and his eyes.... His eyes, Heero could not look away from those eyes: soft, hazy, and heavy-lidded blue-violet eyes, stared at him from beneath the fringe of bangs. Duo was gorgeous.

Heero was rooted in place as Duo began to move toward him. The American pilot stopped within arm's reach of his friend, but did not touch him; there was something in the dark eyes that concerned him. Heero looked... distressed? Duo's head tilted slightly to one side, his bangs sliding rakishly over one eye, but the look deep within them was not that mischievous grin of his, but rather one of deep concern.

Heero's heart pounded wildly as Duo came closer. The desire burning in his chest threatened to suffocate him with each step the American took, until he thought he would explode when Duo stopped barely a foot away. Without thinking he reached out and gently swept the dark honey-colored fringe away from Duo's eyes and was rewarded by those amaryllis depths opening wide, now fully awake.

Heero's fingers remained in the silken strands and gently tucked a star-kissed lock behind the curve of Duo's ear before raising his hand to kiss a fistful of long hair. He almost laughed at the look of utter surprise on Duo's face. The pilot of Shinigami stood there, eyes as wide as saucers, shoulders dropped, cheeks slack, and lips parted in question at the tenderness of his touch. For the first time that night Heero's mind worked in concert with his body.

Heero's free hand snaked out, grabbed the sheet held loosely at the other boy's hips, and pulled him in with a sharp tug. Duo nearly fell into him as one arm slid around the longhaired pilot's slender waist and the other cupped the back of his skull. Duo blinked, too stunned to speak let alone move and so Heero took advantage of his stilled and parted lips and closed the last few inches between them, pressing his mouth over his friend's.

The Japanese pilot's eyes grew heavy as the burning in his chest spread throughout his body, jolted by the electrifying contact of Duo's soft lips. Heero wound himself a little tighter around the boy in his arms and tentatively traced his tongue against Duo's upper lip. He felt Duo stiffen in his arms and saw his eyes grow wide and for a moment his heart stopped, hardening at the proof of his worst fear. But then Duo relaxed completely, eyes growing fuzzy, and he melted into Heero's kiss, parting his lips for the other.



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