Moments in Time:



Duo's back arched with pleasure at the warm, intimate sweep of Zechs' tongue, his legs sprawled wide in wanton abandon. So lovely… He traced the rim of Duo's entrance with his fingertip, then again with his tongue, savoring his little one's moans, the infinitesimal twitching of muscle and flesh. "Mine," he whispered, feeling suddenly, fiercely possessive of the pale, slender body spread before him like an offering to a fortunate god.

"Oh, yes…yours…" Duo reached toward Zechs, his fingers catching in the cornsilk hair that tickled his thighs. "My prince…" Zechs heard the same covetous note in Duo's voice, even though his lover's words came as a soft sigh, barely audible, even in the quiet of their bedroom. Nothing could have made him happier.

Zechs caught the soft flesh of Duo's inner thigh in his teeth, biting hard enough to leave a mark, then soothing the spot with his lips and tongue before leaving a scattering of bites to mark the ivory skin. "All this is mine…" He nipped lightly at Duo's balls. "…and these are mine…"

"Nnn…" Duo writhed and gripped the sheets, twisting the silk in his hands. "Ahh…Zechs, please…?"

Ignoring his lover's plea, Zechs licked at the drops of clear liquid seeping from Duo's sex. "…and this is mine…" His fingers followed the cleft between Duo's buttocks to his entrance, teased him with the promise of penetration. "And most especially this…"

Duo tried to speak, but his words dissolved into a strangled moan. He wriggled and pushed against Zechs' hand, but to no avail. Zechs denied him more than a steady rubbing that enflamed without satisfying. Duo opened his mouth again, drew a sobbing breath before managing another "Please?"

Zechs took another taste before he lifted his head. "So soon?" He traced a teasing line with his fingertip, connecting the love bites on Duo's thighs. "But I've barely begun."

"Can't help it. Need you now."

Zechs smiled at Duo's demand, combing his fingers through his curls. "Sometimes I think I shouldn't spoil you so." But I take such pleasure in it. Just as he took pleasure in knowing that Duo would never beg for anyone else. Only for me…what have I ever done that I deserve you?

His body urged him to end their game, but Duo's begging intoxicated him, and he couldn't resist wringing one more plea out of him. Even with his own self-control in immediate jeopardy, Zechs stroked Duo's twitching hardness. Duo lifted his hips, rubbing himself against Zechs' hand. Zechs allowed the contact, but only momentarily. Whining in frustration, Duo fell back against the bed.

"C'mon…please? More?"

"Like this?" Again, Zechs' fingers barely grazed Duo's flesh.


With a last taste, Zechs lifted himself, and Duo caught him, wrapped his legs around his waist. Zechs leaned down and kissed his love, his body brushing maddeningly against Duo's hardness. "Afraid I'll get away?"

"Not taking any chances."

"No need to worry, little one--I'll never leave you."

Duo's eyes softened, and he reached up to rub his fingers over the stubble on Zechs' chin. "…love you…"

"Love you." Zechs turned his head slightly to kiss Duo's fingers. His eyes widened in surprise when those fingers caught a substantial hank of his hair and pulled.

"Then fuck me, damnit!"

Laughing, Zechs reached for the oil on his nightstand. "All you had to do was ask…"


Duo pulled him down, trembling from pain and pleasure as Zechs entered him, fingers digging into the backs of Duo's knees. Zechs began to move, slowly at first, then faster and with more force.

"You feel so good, little one…so good…"

Holding himself back until Duo had his satisfaction took all his concentration, but concentrating was so difficult when he was inside that little body and his love was mewling like a newborn kitten and moving with him like they were one and all he wanted to do was let go and then his little one was crying out and pushing and coming and he was so tight and so hot and so tight and…


Zechs shuddered, his vision clearing as the last waves of his climax ebbed, leaving him drained. Slowly, he became aware of the slight body beneath his, and he gathered his strength to roll away. Not that I want to, but I'd hate to crush you… With a sated smile, Zechs ran his hand over the curve of Duo's slim waist. My treasure…my beloved little one…

"Don't. Want you here." Duo wrapped his arms around Zechs when he felt him about to move. He sighed happily, the weight of his prince's body making him feel sheltered and safe. Nuzzling his cheek against Zechs' rougher one, he said, "I can't get over how you do that."

"Hm?" Zechs sounded sleepy and content. "Do what?"

"Love me."

"How can I help it?"

"I don't know, but I stopped questioning my luck a long time ago." Duo played with the ends of Zechs' hair. "Y'know what else?"

"What?" Zechs did roll off him, but only to lean on his side, facing Duo. His eyes were contented and his smile soft and drowsy. This was one of the few places they didn't mesh exactly; after making love, Zechs preferred to cuddle and fall asleep. Duo, on the other hand, wanted to savor the intimacy, and to keep Zechs awake, resorted to chatter.

"Christmas is coming."

"So it is." Zechs trailed his fingers across Duo's chest, apparently fascinated. "A little different from last year, no?"

Duo sighed with pleasure as the tips of Zechs' fingers brushed over his nipples. Mmmm…do that some more… "Yeah, I thought that, too. Funny the difference a year can make…last Christmas, I was still trying to convince myself you might want me."

"And have you finally come to a conclusion?" Zechs smiled, obviously suffering from no doubts about Duo's answer.

"Yeah, and you don't have to be so damn smug about it." Duo grinned, teasing Zechs with his braid. "Hey…what will we do about a tree? Do you think we can get one here? We have to have a tree again."

"Of course we'll have a tree. We'll have ten trees if you want them." Zechs stretched and yawned. "Damn house is big enough."

Duo laughed, excited as a child at the prospect. "And Christmas cookies?" Duo frowned a little, thinking. They'd have to ask Mrs. Gillis, their housekeeper and cook. He still hadn't quite gotten used to the idea of a housekeeper and kept feeling like any request was a burden. Not that she ever seemed to mind at all--on the contrary, she appeared to enjoy doing things for him and Zechs. "D'you think Mrs. Gillis would bake cookies?"

Zechs smiled, his head sinking back against the pillow. "So you have visions of sugar plums dancing in your head, eh? No, I don't think she'd mind--I think she'd be crushed if we didn't ask." He rested his hand on Duo's flat belly. "Not disappointed that you won't have a white Christmas this year?"

Duo shivered at the memory, not just of the snow, but of the aching loneliness of last Christmas Eve. "No! One was enough for me. Snow is pretty, but it's cold."

"I don't mind that so much, since it gives me a chance to keep you warm. And no doubts this year about how much I love you?"

"Not a one." Duo wriggled until he could lay his cheek on Zechs' broad chest. "And the best part of all is that we'll get to be together this year, the whole time. We can really get into it. That'll be so awesome."

"Awesome, indeed." Zechs wrapped an arm around him, holding him close. His blue eyes blinked sleepily and closed, and Duo thought he'd fallen asleep. But after a moment or two, he opened them again. "What can Santa bring you this year?"

"Can't think of a thing I want." Except you, forever and ever… He clung to his prince, still superstitious enough to fear that someone--or something--might try to snatch him away.

"Not a thing?"

"Nope. I've got all I need right here."

Zechs' pleased smile told Duo he'd given the right answer, but he persisted. "Really…isn't there anything you always wished for and never got?"

"Oh, hell, yes. Tons of stuff." His stomach still hurt whenever he remembered his childhood, where Christmas was just one more thing other kids had and he didn't. He scarcely recollected the details, unable to conjure many images of those bleak years, but the pain still haunted him clearly enough. He pressed against his lover's solid warmth until the happiness of the present eased the ache of an empty past. "And you've given it all to me already. But what about you?"


"Yeah…was there ever anything you wanted and you didn't get?" Zechs shrugged and laughed, and Duo pounced on him, sprawling over Zechs' lean body, his old loneliness forgotten. "There was, wasn't there? You're holding out on me!"

"Since I'm being held hostage…yes, as a matter of fact, there was something…" Zechs looked up into Duo's face and smiled sheepishly. "But it was a silly thing. Nothing, really."

"C'mon. Tell me. What was it?"

"As I said, it was a small thing…just a soccer ball. The game fascinated me, but naturally, I wasn't allowed to play. My tutors thought it would distract me…it probably would have, and to play with a team of other children would have taken so much security…"

"That doesn't seem very fair."

"I was very young. I didn't understand then. Of course, they were right."

"Still doesn't seem fair."

Zechs settled his arms around Duo, making no attempt to move the slender body off him. "Little one, it's not as though it scarred me for life."

"But you still remember. So it must have meant something."

"It probably meant that I was a spoiled brat who was used to getting his own way." Zechs blinked a few times, obviously trying-and failing-to keep his eyes open.

"Oh, yeah. I'm sure that's why you remember." NOT. If there's a spoiled brat in this bed, it isn't you. Zechs didn't respond, and Duo thought he'd finally dropped off to sleep after all. He smiled and stroked a lock of blond hair that fell across his prince's chest, then traced the faint lines on Zechs' forehead. You work too hard. I ought to make you take a break, forget about Earth and the Colonies for just a little while. Duo sighed at the limits of his power. Yeah, right…even I can't get you to do that. But that was Zechs--he'd always felt responsible for someone, his country, his planet…for me…Okay, I don't want to change that. I like being taken care of, no doubt about it. But I wish I could do more to take care of you sometimes… Duo slid his arms around Zechs' neck, hugging him, as though he could protect him from the demands of peace.

Zechs lifted his hand from Duo's shoulder to caress his cheek. "Now what are you thinking of, little one?"

Duo nuzzled Zechs, licking lightly at his warm skin, still faintly damp and salty with perspiration from their loving. "Just you."

Zechs petted Duo's head for a little while, and when he spoke, his voice sounded much less tired, but somehow more weary. "I envy you, you know."

"Envy me? What the hell for?"

"You live in the moment so easily. I've learned from you, or tried, but still…it seems like I'm always looking forward, to what could happen, all the things that might go wrong…or backwards…" Zechs sighed. "I wish I knew how you keep the past from dragging you out of the present."

"Well…I don't always." He felt his face warm when he remembered all the anguish he'd caused them over Heero and Relena's wedding. "But you have a lot more past than I do."

"Four years hardly constitutes a lot."

"Don't get so touchy, old man." Duo rubbed his nose against Zechs' shoulder. "No, that's not what I meant…not personal history. Just…history. You've got your own shit, sure. We all do. But you've also got your father's, and his father's, and his father's, all the way back. Christ, Zechs, I saw that family tree thing when we were in Sanc--it goes back, like, a thousand years pre-Colony. That's a hell of a lot of past, you know?"


"No wonder you always feel it pulling you. Me, on the other hand…there's just me, and my life, and what I can remember. Which isn't all that much, when you come down to it. A lot of it just kind of runs together, especially when I was real little. Not much detail there, just mostly 'cold' or 'hungry' or 'scared.' I don't mean I haven't picked up some baggage, I have, and no one knows that better than you. But it's just my baggage, see? It's a hell of a lot easier to chuck twenty years than it is twelve hundred."

"I read once that your past can either be an anchor or a deadweight."

"Makes sense. But either one is damn heavy and drags you down. Once in a while, it's not so bad to cut loose from it altogether."

"Good advice. You're awfully wise for such a young thing."

Duo again felt his face grown warm, but he snorted disdainfully. "Yeah, right."

"You're so pretty when you blush…" Zechs stroked Duo's cheek, and Duo's blush deepened. "Do you miss it, though?"

"The weight? Nope. The anchor…" Duo shrugged. "Maybe. I don't know--how do you miss what you never had? I used to wonder, sure, but…not much point, really." He rested his forehead against his prince's, rubbed noses with him. "And anyway…as far as I'm concerned, my past started the night I picked you up and took you home with me."

"You picked me up? Who bought coffee for whom?" Zechs tugged on Duo's braid. "Who got in whose pants first?"

"All right, all right…you picked me up. But I did take you home with me."

"So you did." Zechs wrapped his arms around Duo's slender body. "And I've been home ever since."

"You're a sap." Duo kissed him. "But I love you."

Zechs skillfully maneuvered Duo off him finally, but he kept him close to his side. He started to speak, but a yawn interrupted him.

"You'd better get to sleep." Duo rolled over on his stomach and smiled up at Zechs guilelessly. "Old guys like you need to conserve their strength."

Zechs swatted Duo's bare ass. "I'm strong enough to keep young whippersnappers in line."

"Owww…hey…" Duo squealed at the sharp smack and covered himself with his hands. He pouted. "I thought you'd be too tired for that."

With one hand, Zechs caught Duo's wrist, and with the other, rubbed the tingling spot on Duo's rump with a playful but tangible threat. "Are you going to behave?"

Duo wriggled and grinned impishly. "I dunno…that was kind of fun."

"You're completely unmanageable. Unfortunately, you're right. I am too tired for that." Zechs released him and pulled the covers over them both, then turned off the light. "Now sleep." He turned Duo's face toward him and gave him a lingering kiss until Duo relaxed. "I love you, little one."

Duo sighed happily and settled into bed at last. Zechs never went to sleep or let him go to sleep without telling him, even if it meant a subspace call. Not like I need for you to say it to know, but it's awfully nice to hear. "Love you right back."

Lulled by his prince's warm body and by the security the little ritual always gave him, Duo drifted into sleep, scarcely conscious of the dark, blank ache of his past.

Their last guests left a little before midnight on Christmas Eve. It had been a small party, with only their closest friends, but Zechs was content to see them depart. After showing them out, he returned to the formal living room where Duo gathered up dishes and glasses for Mrs. Gillis. A fire burned in the fireplace--or at least, appeared to. It was only a holographic fire, since the lack of winter weather on the Colony would have made burning gas or wood uncomfortably hot. But it looked and sounded like the real thing, and Duo had declared that a fire was a necessity for Christmas, claiming as his authority any number of Christmas cards and ancient movies. And since Duo wanted a fire for Christmas, a fire they had.

Zechs smiled when he caught Duo in the act of stealing one last Christmas cookie from an enormous silver tray before stacking a pile of dirty plates. He dimmed the lights until only the fire and the enormous Christmas tree illuminated the room. Duo looked up from his task and smiled. The party had been a "fancy-dress affair"--an insult coming from Duo, although this time without the usual expletives--and he wore his evening suit. He had his hair loose, and it hung down his back in thick, shimmering waves. As always, Zechs's body responded with a fiery jolt and his heart with that peculiar squeeze that was somehow needy and satisfied at once.

Duo put down the tray he'd been about to take to the kitchen. "Thought since I looked like a waiter, I may as well act like one."

"You look enchanting, as you well know. Come have a glass of wine before we go upstairs." Zechs poured two glasses and sat down on the sofa.

"Yes, Your Highness." Duo immediately settled next to Zechs and took a glass from him. He nuzzled against Zechs' shirt. "Damn, you smell good."

Zechs chuckled, then clinked his glass against Duo's. "To us."

"To us." Duo took a sip of his wine, then laid his head on Zechs' shoulder, his hair spilling over both of them. "If life gets any more perfect than this, I don't know how I'll stand it."

"I'm sure we'll find a way."

They drank their wine in silence, listening to the carols playing softly on the stereo. Zechs put his arm around Duo and played with a strand of his hair, holding it up to watch it catch the light. He sighed, but it was a sigh of utter content.

Duo looked up, searching his face. "You okay?"

"Much better than okay. I was just thinking how Christmas Eve never seems to last long enough. I've always liked it better than Christmas Day."

"Really? What was so special about Christmas Eve? What did you do?" Duo set aside his glass and curled up under Zechs' arm. "Tell me a story." He looked up at Zechs through long, thick lashes, as eager as a child asking for a favorite fairy tale.

"When I was a boy…before…" When Zechs paused and cleared his throat, Duo felt for his hand and gave it a squeeze. Zechs twined their fingers together and went on, his voice steady again. "Before the Alliance came, we each opened just one present before going to midnight mass…there was something about that one present that always made it seem the most special, even after we opened all the others on Christmas morning…and then later, during the war…I always thought that Christmas Eve was the one night when peace actually seemed possible…"

Duo sat up and kissed Zechs' cheek. "And look. It's Christmas Eve, and we really do have peace. And it's thanks mostly to you." He smiled and wrapped his arms around his lover's neck, then kissed him again, this time on the mouth and with more than a hint of passion. "We could start a few Christmas traditions of our own, you know."

"Mmm." Zechs caught Duo's lip in his teeth and sucked on it before he asked, "Did you have something particular in mind?"

"Don't I always?" Duo slid onto Zechs' lap and ran his hands through Zechs' quicksilver hair. He straddled Zechs' thighs, loosely crossed his wrists behind the prince's neck. "This is much better than sitting on Santa's lap."

Zechs cupped his hands over Duo's bottom and rubbed his thumb over the seam of his trousers. How well you fit here, like you were made for this…for me. "If Santa had elves that behaved like you, he'd never get any toys built."

"Oh, they'd still make toys…but for grown-ups." Duo nipped at Zechs' chin. "And speaking of toys…"

"Hm?" The shell of Duo's ear distracted Zechs. He pushed aside the heavy curtain of hair so he could trace the curve with his tongue, satisfied when he moaned softly and shivered.

"Toys….ohhhh…" Duo tipped his head back to let Zechs suck at his neck. Zechs opened the first button of Duo's dress shirt and dipped his tongue into the hollow of his throat. Duo mewled like a hungry kitten and tilted his hips to press against the muscles of Zechs' stomach. "Nn…Zechs…wait a minute, before we…there's something…"

Zechs rubbed his thumb over Duo's swollen lips. "What's wrong?"

Duo took a deep, shuddering breath and pulled away a little, but he was smiling. "Nothing. There's just something I wanted to do first, before we get too carried away."


Duo's smile turned mysterious. He kissed Zechs on the tip of his nose, then slid off his lap. "Just wait here. I'll show you."

Zechs watched, curious, as Duo turned and ran from the room, his hair streaming behind him, listened as the heels of his boots clattered on the floors and pounded up the stairs. I still don't know how one little body can make so much noise…

Barely a minute passed, and he again heard the wild staccato that was Duo in a hurry. A few seconds later, Duo reappeared, poking his head around the wide arch of the living room door. "Close your eyes."

Obediently, Zechs shut them. He listened, acutely aware of the smell of Duo's shampoo, the only scent he ever wore, and of the soft rustle of his clothing, his approach as silent and stealthy as it had been boisterous a minute ago.

"Okay. You can open them now."

Zechs opened his eyes as Duo thrust a box into his hands. He'd clearly wrapped it himself with unpracticed but painstaking care. The edges of the paper were sharply creased, but one end of the cube-shaped package had just barely enough paper to cover it, the other wrapped halfway around the bottom of the box. The loops of the bow listed just slightly off-kilter, none of them quite the same size. Zechs thought of other gifts he'd receive in the past, presented more beautifully perhaps, but not with more love. He ran a finger over the ribbon, smiling.

"Open it!" Duo bounced on his toes as he watched Zechs with eager, apprehensive eyes.

Zechs unwrapped his gift, his smile softening from amusement to tenderness as he opened the box. "Ah, little one…you remembered."

"Well, geez. You remember every time I say I like something. I-I just hope it's special enough…for Christmas Eve…"

Zechs heard the question in his lover's voice. "Any gift from you would be special enough…but this is perfect." He lifted the ball out of its box and tossed it a little. A sudden sense of mischief bubbled up inside him, as though he were about to get away with something forbidden. He flashed Duo a roguish smile. "Let's play."


"Why not? Come on." Zechs pulled him out the wide doors onto the terrace. He tossed him the ball. "Throw it to me."

Duo caught it and grinned. He looked down at his formal clothes. "Funny uniforms, these…okay, ready? Here you go."

Duo tossed the ball toward him. Zechs received it, cushioning it with his head as it came down, controlling it so that it bounced from his thigh to his knee. He laughed out loud. "I always wanted to try that."

"Hey, you're not half bad. You're sure you've never played?"

Zechs shook his head. "Never. But I've watched a lot…and…" Embarrassed to admit his nonsense, he ducked his head and picked up the ball.

"And what?"

"Well…I have practiced the moves…just…not with a ball…I used to stand in front of the mirror for hours, copying moves I saw players make on television…"

Duo hugged him, smiling without the faintest hint of mockery. "Now you can practice for real."

"Yes, I can." Zechs' chagrin evaporated in the face of Duo's understanding. "Come on--try again?"

"Sure…but I warn you, I don't have a clue about this."

Zechs put the ball on the ground between them, then pointed to two metal chairs behind Duo. "The goal you're defending is between those two chairs."

"Okay, defending…now that I can understand." Duo waited, expectant but obviously uncertain as to how, exactly, he was supposed to defend the "goal."

Zechs kicked the ball a little, controlling it with his feet, his natural athletic ability compensating somewhat for his lack of experience. As he approached Duo, he kicked the ball again to pass it between Duo's legs, but as he rounded him, Duo tried to kick it back. Their legs tangled, and after a brief, tottering moment, they crashed in a heap to the ground. Laughing, Zechs snared Duo and rolled onto him, pinning him to the ground.

He felt Duo beneath him, his warmth, the quickness of his breath, the beating of his heart. Their faces inches apart, Zechs whispered, "That, my love, was a tackle. An illegal move…"

Duo's answer was equally breathless. "Was it, now?"

"Oh, yes. And so…you must be penalized…" Zechs pressed his lips against Duo's, his kiss hungry and searching.

When he lifted his head at last, Duo blinked, his eyes soft and unfocused. "That was a penalty?" He broke into a smile, the crooked grin that always made Zechs smile in return. "I think I like this game."

Duo's throat ached in spite of his wide grin. I've never seen you like this, like you don't have a care in the world. Even when they were alone together, it seemed to Duo that Zechs never completely lost his awareness of all he had to accomplish, of the pressure on him to maintain a fragile peace. But when we were playing, you just looked like a guy having fun. He felt a burst of pride. And I gave that to you…

Duo reached up to touch Zechs' face. "God, I love you."

Zechs turned his head to kiss Duo's fingertips. "I love you, too…more than anything."

"Even more than soccer?"

"Even more than that."

Duo pulled Zechs down to kiss him again. "Then why don't you take me inside and do something about it?"

"With pleasure." Zechs moved off of Duo and got to his feet in one fluid movement. He reached down and took Duo's hands, pulling him up. "There's one thing, first--"


"It's my turn." Zechs tugged Duo's hand and led him back to the living room. The fire blazed and crackled exactly as it had when they'd left, the holographic logs glowing but never falling to ash. "Now you wait here."

Smiling but puzzled, Duo let Zechs deposit him on the sofa. "What are you up to?"

"Just your Christmas Eve gift. I'll be right back."

"Okay…" Duo settled back into the sofa. What could Zechs possibly give him that would require such a fuss? He'd meant it when he said he couldn't think of anything he'd ever wanted that his prince hadn't already given him.

Zechs returned with a large, overstuffed envelope and a small, flat package, beautifully wrapped. He left the envelope on the coffee table and laid the package on Duo's knees. "Merry Christmas."

Duo took it, turned it over and over, studying it curiously. He shook it, but nothing rattled to give away the contents. He looked up at Zechs, frowning in mock consternation, but his prince only smiled mysteriously. Genuinely stumped, Duo began to untie the ribbons. The paper fell open as he pulled the bows, but he was no less perplexed once the gift was revealed. It was a photograph of a young, blue-eyed woman, her brown hair in a style that had been the fashion fifteen or twenty years ago. "Who--?"

Duo stopped and studied the photo again. He didn't know her, but she looked as though she ought to be familiar. "Zechs?"

"She's your mother, little one."

Zechs' words didn't sink in at first. "My…my mother? But…how? I-I don't--" Duo looked up at his prince, stricken. He whispered, "My mother?"

Zechs knelt next to him, his hand on Duo's knee. "Yes."

Duo felt his chin begin to quiver. "How…how d-did you--"

"I had my agents search the records…and then I ordered some DNA matching once they narrowed the possibilities. It really wasn't that difficult, since I had an idea of where to begin."

Duo traced the woman's face with his finger. My mother… "I don't remember her…at least, I don't think I do…"

"You weren't much more than a baby when she died."

"How do you know?"

"It's all here--everything my agents found. Whenever you want to read it. There's a picture of your father, too, but…somehow, I thought you might want to see her first."

"I…I…Thank you." That sounded lame, and he knew it, but he didn't know what else to say. Duo's fingers clenched on the picture frame, and he looked warily at the heavy envelope. Everything I ever wanted to know is there…and now I think I'm scared to find out.

"Have you-read it?"

Zechs nodded. "There's nothing here to be afraid of or ashamed of. You had a family, a home--until the war…"

Duo lifted Zechs' hand and held it against his face. "I have a family and a home. B-but I…I never thought…I thought it would be impossible…I quit wishing, even, years ago…" He stopped, his voice choked, and rubbed at his burning eyes. "And here I thought life couldn't get any more perfect. I should have known." He managed a tottering smile. "Leave it to you to get me the one thing I thought I could never have. My past."

Zechs sat down and pulled Duo onto his lap. "It's only fair, since you gave me the one thing I never dared hoped for."

"A soccer ball?"

Zechs laughed. "No, little one. I meant a future."

They kissed, slowly at first, and then with more heat. Zechs' hands began to wander over Duo, down his back to his ass, then his thighs, then back up to repeat the whole tantalizing circuit again. Duo felt like he was melting under Zechs' touch. Do you know what you do to me, without even half trying? He rocked his hips against his prince, suddenly needing the pressure and friction of Zechs' body against his.


"Yes, love?"

"Can we get carried away now?"

"With pleasure. Upstairs?"

Duo smiled. Feeling suddenly shy, he played with Zechs' lapel, not quite meeting his eyes. "Don't think I can wait that long."

Zechs took his hand and kissed each of his fingers. "Far be it from me to make you wait. At least, not on Christmas." He released Duo's hand and tugged open his zipper, then pulled Duo's slacks down his hips are far as he could. "Take these off."

Duo slid off Zechs' lap and obeyed, leaving socks, shoes, and trousers in a tumbled heap on the floor. He slipped out of his jacket and started to unbutton his shirt, but Zechs stopped him. "That's enough."

Duo bit his lip, feeling somehow more naked for only being bare from the waist down. Hesitant, he took a step toward Zechs, surprised to feel himself trembling. Christ, I've been with Zechs for more than a year. So why am I shaking like I'm some kind of virgin?

Zechs sat back on the sofa, watching with intense, luminous eyes. Duo looked down, hiding his face under his hair, absurdly uncertain. He felt a sudden urge to cover himself, and even though he quelled the ridiculous impulse, he didn't quite know what to do with his hands. Maybe it's because it's Christmas Eve, or maybe it's knowing for the first time who I am, or…

"Come here."

Duo lifted his head. Zechs held his hand outstretched and repeated his command. He looked so much like the king he should have been that Duo quailed. The light from the fireplace and the Christmas trees gleamed on his hair, turning it to deep, rich gold. His father's signet ring, which he'd only recently begun to wear, glittered on his strong, slender hand, and his mouth set in regal, grave lines. But then Duo looked into his eyes. The blue eyes that could be so cold and deadly glowed with an inner fire. That look…that's mine. You don't look at anyone else that way. And it's a fucking miracle. Duo's hesitation disappeared, and he went to his prince, took his hand, and knelt at his feet. "Your command, my lord?"

A smile softened Zechs' solemn expression. "Only one. Love me."

"Going easy on me because it's Christmas?" Duo flashed him a grin, then inched forward on his knees until he knelt between Zechs' legs. He kissed the fabric of his perfectly tailored trousers, then slowly opened the zipper to free Zechs' erection.

Zechs gasped, then sighed in pleasure at the first touch of Duo's tongue. He caught twin locks of hair like reins, giving them an infinitesimal tug. Duo understood and took all of him, closing one hand around his cock, sucking and stroking in languorous, loving unison. Zechs gripped his hair more tightly, lifting his hips to thrust into Duo's mouth. Duo met him eagerly, losing himself in the taste of his prince's skin. We've come a long way…or I have, and you brought me here…With his free hand, Duo carressed Zechs' thigh, feeling the heavy muscles under the cloth of his trousers. I remember when I couldn't get this far without falling apart. But you… Zechs kept picking up the broken pieces of his soul, patiently fitting them back together until he was whole again. And tonight, what you gave me…I thought I'd lost that piece of myself forever…

Duo cupped both hands around Zechs' cock, leaned down, and touched his lips to the head in an idolatrous kiss. But instead of taking Zechs in his mouth again, Duo lifted twin handfuls of his own hair and rubbed them over his prince's hardness. Zechs shuddered, his eyes wide in surprise, and Duo went on, smoothing the thick locks over his prince's skin. Like a pagan worshipper polishing the image of a beloved god, he drew his hair over Zechs' stomach, his waist. He dropped the skeins for a moment, letting them pool between Zechs' legs. His fingers toyed with the studs of Zechs' shirt, and he turned wide, needy eyes on his prince.

"Please…I want to see you. I want to touch you some more…"

Zechs lifted Duo's hand, traced the lines on the small palm with his tongue before nodding. Duo deftly, reverently unfastened each stud, finally pushing open Zechs' shirt and pressing his lips to his bare flesh.

Then he gathered up his hair again, rubbed it over Zechs' chest, his fingertips massaging his nipples as though through satin. His hands reached higher, to the column of Zechs' throat, over his muscled shoulders, then back down again. He began to follow the same course, but only got as far as Zechs' ribs this time when strong hands closed around his wrists.

"Come up here, little one. I need you." Zechs released Duo's wrists, but captured his hands and lifted him to his feet.

Duo eagerly crawled back onto Zechs' lap. He nuzzled against his prince's bared chest. "Love it when you say that…"

He braced his knees on the couch and lifted his hips. He'd have lowered himself onto Zechs immediately, but Zechs stopped him.

"Wait. Here…let me."

"It's okay, really…"

"Hush. I'm not going to hurt you, not tonight-or let you hurt yourself." Zechs reached for Duo's half-empty wine glass and dipped two fingers into the liquid, then pushed them into Duo, making him gasp, then purr. "There…isn't that better?"

"Ohhh…" The half-formed protest on his lips died as Zechs' wine-slick fingers moved inside him. "Oh…that's so nice…" Duo wrapped his arms around the other man's neck. Once again, Zechs had known what he needed, even better than he'd known himself. "…so good at that…"

Like our first time…I wanted you so bad, but I was so scared you'd leave…Duo's back bowed as Zechs picked up a slow, pulsing rhythm. "Ahh…" Still want you just as bad, but I'm not afraid anymore…

Zechs spoke softly, his voice full of tenderness. "Thinking of the first night we were together?"

"How'd you know?" Duo moaned as his love stretched him even as he smiled at the memory. "Two things that make me loopy, you and wine…better wine now, though…nnnn…."

With his free hand, Zechs caught Duo's face, brought him close for a long, deep kiss. When it ended, he barely moved, so that Duo felt his words as much as heard them. "Everything is better now…because you're here…"

Duo whispered, "Sap…" but he smiled tremulously. He wanted to say so many things…I can't believe I got this lucky…I'd give anything if I could make you this happy all the time…You're the most handsome, wonderful, generous man in the universe, and I love you so much it hurts…But he'd never be as good at putting his feelings into words as Zechs. So all he said was, "I'm ready…"

"I know…" Zechs dipped his fingers into the wine again, this time wetting his own skin before pulling Duo down.

And then Zechs was inside him, and he felt gloriously completed. Of all the gifts his prince had ever given him, this was the greatest, this sense of wholeness, that something he had missed for so long he'd almost stopped noticing had finally, irrevocably been filled.

Duo met Zechs' thrusts, driving himself down, needing to feel his prince as much, as deeply as he could. He pushed against his lover, biting his lip to keep from screaming. His smothered wails faded to frantic pleas as he begged Zechs to make him come, because he was burning inside, he was aching.

"Zechs…Zechs, it's killing me, please let me…"

Warm fingers closed around his cock, effortlessly slipping over his wet skin. A strong arm reached around him, anchoring him close to a solid body. Zechs pulled him closer, until his sex was pressed between his belly and his prince's, and he could feel the ridged muscles of Zechs' abdomen rubbing him with each plunge.

"Nnn…can't…have to…" Duo panted, clinging to Zechs helplessly.

For an endless moment, impossibly blue eyes met his, and he felt as though their souls merged, joined as completely as their bodies. Zechs' mouth pressed against his, hot and firm. He parted his own lips, and Zechs' tongue whisked once over them, then slipped inside his mouth, muffling his cries as his prince thrust once more, harder and deeper than ever.

The last shred of his control was stripped from him. Release swept through him, leaving him weak. He felt Zechs grip his ass, fingers digging into his flesh, felt his lover go rigid and a sudden warmth fill him inside, tasted his prince's fulfilled cry. Dazzled, he clung with the last of his strengh, then slumped bonelessly in Zechs' arms.


He felt Zechs chuckle, but his prince made no attempt to move, either. They nuzzled in quiet content until Zechs finally said, "Time for bed, little one. Come on."

Duo didn't move. "Can't."

Zechs kissed him again and set him on his feet. Duo's knees wobbled, but before they gave out, Zechs scooped him up and carried him upstairs. In their suite, their own Christmas tree gleamed in the dark, the lights reflecting off the pile of gifts below its branches. Duo snuggled closer into Zechs' arms. He looked up hopefully.

"Put me to bed?"

"I'd thought about leaving you out here to see if Santa would take you in trade." Duo humphed and squirmed, and Zechs hugged him close. "But I suppose after tonight, I'll keep you."

"S'just cause you want someone to play soccer with."

"You've found me out." Zechs sat him on the bed and unbuttoned Duo's shirt. When he'd finished undressing him, he pulled back the covers. "Get in."

Duo wriggled his way under the covers, watching with heavy eyes as Zechs stripped off his own clothes. When he joined Duo in bed, Duo scooted close, spooning his body against his prince's, going through his usual routine of fidgeting and shifting until he got comfortable. He felt Zechs relax against him and happily burrowed into his warmth. He had nearly fallen asleep himself when he remembered something and came wide awake again.


"Hmm?" Zechs nuzzled him, clearly clinging to awareness by sheer strength of will.

"I left my clothes downstairs."

"What of it? Not like you don' have 'ny up here…" Despite his efforts, sleep slurred his usually precise speech.

Duo snuggled, fitting his rump against Zechs' thighs. "But Mrs. Gillis will find them." And think she's housekeeper for a couple of sex maniacs…which she is…

"…she's used to it b'now…'sides, I'm sure she heard you."

"I wasn't loud!"

To Duo's acute embarrassment, Zechs smirked. He wrapped one long leg around Duo's shorter ones and snagged him even closer, so that Duo could feel his breath warm on his hair. He draped an arm over Duo's shoulders. "Go t'sleep, Duo." Duo felt Zechs lean forward and his lips brush his cheek. "…love you."

"Love you, too." Duo pressed his cheek against Zechs' arm. Suddenly, he didn't care if their whole staff had been watching. "So much I think I could die from it."

Zechs' arms tightened around him. "Hush, little one." He touched Duo's hair, and Duo felt the strength in his hand even through the gentleness. "Merry Christmas. Tonight and always." Zechs gave him another quick, loving embrace, then relaxed as he surrendered to sleep.

Duo whispered, "Merry Christmas…" He snuggled into his prince's arms, but sleep evaded him. Just like a little kid…can't sleep on Christmas Eve. But it wasn't the thought of the presents under the tree that kept him awake. You were right. It's too wonderful a night to end.

Eyes wide in the darkness, he gazed at the picture on his nightstand. He couldn't see her face, but somewhere at the edge of his consciousness, he felt a warm and comforting presence. No louder than a breath, he whispered words he'd longed his whole life to say.

"G'night, mom…and…and M-merry Christmas…wherever you are…"

He expected no answer, of course, but as he dropped off to sleep at last, it seemed to him that he felt the faintest stirring of air, as if a feather had brushed his cheek, and from far away, as though it came from a distant corner of the grand house, a voice buried deep in his memory whispered a Christmas lullaby.



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