by Maldoror



Chapter Five: Inside


My fingers keep clicking on the keyboard for a second, then I pause-

/Analyse threat./

- and pretend to reread what I was writing. Trying to figure out what has triggered my sense of alert.


Ah, slight smell. One I know very well. But its silent unexplained presence here means.

/Analysis: 02, no threat./

I let my fingers click a few more keys. My back and shoulders are completely relaxed, I show no signs of any tension, any awareness.

/How close? Analyse./

I have learned a lot from Duo.

/Cannot analyse./

But he's still a lot better at stalking me than I am at foiling him, now that he knows me and my capabilities even better than before.

Now that I know he's here, should I let him-


No I guess not. I wait a second, then uncoil like a spring, sending the chair flying as I reach behind me, grabbing.

So fast-. He dodges my hand but trips over backwards. I stare down at him; lithe yet muscular, dressed only in black sweatpants, sitting on his rump with a rueful but amused expression on his face.

"Fuck, Yuy, you're gettin' good at this! You didn't need to grab at me like that though. I wasn't going to *hurt* you." His hips flex a bit as he leans back against his hands. Normally if I become aware of him, I let him get... closer.

"Hn." I scrutinize him. He's visibly come out of the shower, his hair is still damp, so where did that smell come from?

The smile curls. "Oh my. Is the perfect soldier in a bit of a snit? What's wrong, can't handle not gettin' any last night? You gonna go all cold and moody on me now?"


"Whoa! Guess not!" He laughs as I kneel down and reach towards him, but it fades as I do nothing more than lift his hands before my face, examining his fingers.

"Er-" And then he blinks as I curl his fingers towards him and point to his nails. There is a very thin line of yellow beneath some of them.

"Thanks, buddy." Instantly, the jester is gone. Pilot 02 realizes I may have just saved his life. The fluid we use in our Gundams' hydraulics has a characteristic and very pervasive smell. He's been working on Deathscythe ever since our training match yesterday, he's probably blocked out the smell by now. But in a few hours, that slight trace of his presence might have gotten him killed. "I better go scrub that before I leave tonight."

I say nothing as I sit back down in the straightened chair and go back to my list of spare parts requirements. He doesn't go back to the bathroom, however.

"Of course, you still didn't have to grab at me like that, babe." His voice is low and back to teasing. "So I still think you're a bit put out."

"No." I can feel him getting nearer. "I couldn't allow you to try to creep up on me, Duo. Not while partially aware of your presence. We cannot risk an injury to you before a mission."

"*Before* a- never mind."

He doesn't finish. I never hid from Duo that the game he chooses to play with me now is dangerous. Stealthing up to me while I'm awake and concentrating on other things is risky, even for a master of the art, one whose presence is now more familiar than any other. He doesn't touch me when he does this, he knows better than that. He gets in very close though, then steps back and waits for me to notice him at a safer distance. I can always tell from his grin how close he got to me and how long he was there before I noticed. It stretches out like a ruler, measuring the risk and his satisfaction at it.

This game excites him. It excites me as well, though I disapprove of it. It's dangerous, but it keeps me on my toes. This is good training. Since he started I have learned a lot about stealth, infiltration, control and Duo.

His nighttimes stalking was also dangerous, yet I had allowed that to continue after I found out about it. It allowed me to observe the master of stealth up close, without the protective jester mask he usually wore, and it had been challenging. I don't know how long Duo had managed to stalk me before I even became aware of it, I guess quite some time from the way he'd mastered it. That one touch against my hair that one night had been his mistake. It had registered, though I'd been too incapacitated by exhaustion to react immediately. Fortunately by the time I'd surfaced he'd stepped back and I was able to conclude the threat level was minimal.

It took me some time before I could analyse what had happened adequately, and figure out what was going on. If I was awake, nothing happened. In the end I had to bug our own quarters for a week to confirm what he was doing when I was truly asleep.

Duo was very put out about that later when I told him. I think he was embarrassed. But I consider it an accomplishment.

It was an interesting challenge, to figure out how to mimic my own sleep patterns and catch Shinigami in the act. I made the effort because it was good practice for both of us.

And maybe I was... curious.

/Unnecessary. Inconsequential./

Well, I guess I was still trying to learn more about him at the time. I knew that I would not get any answers if I asked him flat out, and that the behaviour would immediately stop. Then I wouldn't be able to analyse it. I decided that he was good enough to survive these - in my mind they were training exercises- even on those nights I was truly asleep, I respected his abilities that much.

So I waited, and watched, both at night and in our work together. My patience allowed me to finally analyse the reasons behind his actions. I concluded that he desired, among other things, a closer relation.

I weighed this and decided that this was acceptable. I had been desiring some release and intimacy, but it was not an option till then; I would not have compromised the mission with someone unrelated to it. And besides, it would have been frustrating and dangerous to try to conduct relations with someone who was unable to understand the risks and precautions needed.

...Speaking of which...

/Proximity- 02, no threat./

He's sliding up behind me, but a bit to the side, so that I can see/sense him properly. He leans against the back of my chair and turns his head towards mine, and blows gently to lift my bangs from my eyes. My hands stutter then lie still on the keyboard. He leans a bit more and a finger, calloused from using weapons from a gun to a Gundam, lifts slowly to my face-

/Close proximity - no threat./

- and brings it down the side of my face without touching the skin, letting me get used to his presence through our usual ritual.

I am controlled enough that a casual touch will not result in injury, most time. I *do* have to function in normal societies without decking giddy girls trying to lean on me. And for some reason which I cannot compute, when we are undercover in a school, this seems to happen a lot. Duo has refused to explain this to me. It's hard, it's stressful, but a casual touch, particularly from a fellow pilot, will not get a violent reaction from me.

But Duo doesn't want a casual touch.

I always feared that my body would interpret sexual excitement as a form of danger, and that I could injure a partner if I wasn't controlled. It was a relief to find that with a cautious and slow approach from a source I knew was not a threat, my deeper conditioning could be, well, broken-

/Unacceptable! Unacceptable!/

I tense and Duo's finger quickly withdraws and he leans back slightly. I think he should leave, I think he *will* leave, but then he leans forwards again slowly. His fingers on the back of my chair are half an inch from my t-shirt. He twitches his shoulder, and his braid falls forward into my lap. I tense, but I also flush.

With a cautious and slow approach from a source I knew was not a threat my deeper conditioning could be *altered* to allow closer contact.

The braid drags an inch across my lap as Duo leans forward a bit more, and, sensing the state of tension from me to be acceptable, finally lays lips like feathers against the corner of my jaw.


And he slips past my defences, turning them off in the process.


The senses of danger, tension and excitement turn to desire. He smells slightly of soap and Gundam hydraulics fluid. I breathe him in deeply.

He grins 'like a cat covered in canary feathers' as Winner put it the other day, and slides gently forward, to straddle my lap. His arms curl around my sides -I'm still on the edge, still too tense to allow hands around my neck- and he moves forward in one fluid dragging movement that brushes every inch of my thighs up to my groin.

"Hey babe." His words are a zephyr touch on my lips more than a sound. "You busy?"

"Yes." But I say it with only a breath at the back of my throat and my lips moving against his. "And you should rest before-"

He moves his hips and grinds against me. "Make me."

"If you insist on compromising your welfare and the mission this way," I breathe, "I will have to."

"Oh you make me so horny when you almost tell a joke." I'm having a hard time catching his evanescent words, my blood is humming through my body, rushing in my ears.

I lift one of his hands -strong, very capable of serious damage-


-and kiss the palm before placing it on my shoulder. Violet eyes near mine ignite at the caress and the sign of trust, of nearness, as his fingers drift towards my neck in a caress.

He tips my head slightly to kiss me, a feather blowing in a breeze to start with, gentle touches. My hand drops from his arm to his back, then down to the side of his bare waist in a gentle caress. I feel him ply to that touch. I'm actually dropping my hand to the pocket of his sweatpants to insure he has what we need on him. I feel his lips move against mine in a grin as he realizes what I'm doing.

Duo told me -after one of our matings, in the hushed tones of secrets in darkness- that he was surprised at how sensual I could be.

My gentleness came from a massive effort at control, first. Then, that first night, when he broke through my - when he slipped *momentarily* into my defences-


- the gentleness was... natural. My hands, when mine to control, had no desire to crush or maim. Child's hands.

No, said Duo. Not gentle. I appreciate that mind you, babe, don't get me wrong you bruise me enough when sparring. But sensual?

Sometimes that sensuality is accidental, like now, as I caress his hip lightly and feel the small tube in the pocket of his sweatpants, but can I really be doing something entirely by accident? Probably not. Sensual. I'm not sure where that comes from.

I think it comes from Duo. The word Sensual was not even in my word database until I met him. He embodies it. I don't know if he brings it out of me or inflicts it upon me.

But we both like it.

J inflicted my strength upon me, among other things best forgotten right at this moment. I have no problem standing slowly, Duo still draped around my shoulders and waist. My senses have tightened around me -I trust Duo to be a second set of eyes and ears in case of danger, we should see it coming- but I still know where the chair and table are and I manage to move past both, avoiding a small thump or sound of furniture dragging on thin carpet. I move away in silence, despite the weight in my arms. I told Duo on our second night that I would not let our changing relations affect the group dynamic of the team I'd slowly come to rely on as much as -well, not quite as much as Wing, but almost.

Duo had whispered, Sure babe, whatever. *I* just don't want to share. This is just too fun this way anyway.

I decided not to think about that. As long as he had *some* reason for discretion. I don't need the others worrying about how these physical contacts will affect the efficiency of pilots 01 and 02. I do enough of that for all five of us *and* Dr J as well.

His hand flutters up my arm. So in tune that I can tell a signal from a caress, I follow his lead without thinking, taking two steps in the direction indicated. We fetch up in silence with Duo pinned against the wall near the desk.

He smiles and kisses my forehead where a frown has settled. "Here. Against the wall." He mouths, greedily.

I scowl at him. I happen to *know* that Barton is reading in his room on the other side of that wall.

Duo's grin melts into a pout. I crush my lips against it, like I wanted to do yesterday-


-and rock against him. His breath hisses out between my lips and his muscles flex beneath my arms as he uses the wall's friction to return the favour. I allow him a few moments of pleasure -well I enjoy it too- then I tear us away. His chest heaves in a silent groan, but that is too athletic a position for two pilots who both have missions soon, too prone to injury. The bed is more yielding.

"You're no sport, babe." His complaint a small tickle on my ear as I lean him down on the bed.

"You're a sport, baka." I mutter, and his grin is like fireworks as he realizes I meant the double meaning. I *do* intend to restrict what I learn from Duo.

The real sport is getting out of our clothes without the antique bedsprings squeaking. I almost consider tossing covers on the floor instead, but the old floorboards beneath the carpet are just as bad, and Quatre is on perimeter watch on the monitors in the small room under ours. And he's definitely one to be careful with.

Duo rescues the tube from his pocket before the sweatpants go tumbling from the bed. He tries to push it into my fingers but I close his own on it. "You're leaving soonest." I tell him, as firmly as I can while not lifting my voice louder than the faint hum of my laptop's batteries.

Duo's eyes roll. It's very expressive. But I know he wouldn't have me thinking any other way (even if he likes to complain about it constantly). If he did-


- the little pop of the tube's cap sounds erotically loud, and Duo grins as he squeezes some into his hands, then tickles me with his breath all the way to my erection. I feel his very talented mouth on me - now that I *have* been trying to learn from him- as well as slicked fingers lower down and I stop thinking entirely for the next chunk of blissful eternity.



On to chapter six

Back to chapter four


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