Part Thirteen: Two Pine Trees
Trowa took a deep breath.
His hands were shaking, and behind him, Heero's body was stiff and tense. Exhaling through his nose, Trowa patted gently on Heero's wrist, and smiled faintly as the dark-haired man released his tight grip. Coming up on his knees, Trowa began unbuckling the collar from Jade's neck, crouching slightly to reach around and unbuckle the wrist restraints. He paused, centering himself before he undid the ankle and thigh restraints, and finally removed the blindfold.
Trowa swallowed hard, and studied Jade's wan face and downcast eyes. The silent man hadn't moved, but his entire body was angled forward, trying to communicate wordlessly the overwhelming existence of his desire. Trowa sat back on his heels and placed his hands on Jade's knees, feeling the muscles shiver under his touch.
"Jade," he said softly, finding it a struggle to keep his voice even. "Go take a hot bath. Wash your hair," he added, tucking a strand of chestnut behind the silent man's ear. "And... get ready for bed. We'll be waiting upstairs." Jade didn't move, and Trowa bit his lip to keep control. "Go on, Jade," he ordered quietly.
The longhaired man dipped his head quickly, getting to his feet with a chime of bells. Only once he had left the study did Trowa begin to collect the restraints and chains, dumping them unceremoniously back onto the tray and shutting the lid firmly. He could feel Heero behind him, unmoving, and knew the man was watching him closely.
"You're going to do it." Heero's voice was flat.
Trowa choked back a bitter laugh. "Don't see I have much choice." He sat back on his heels, staring at the character carved on the wooden lid. "I did the research. I knew what he'd answer to each question. That wasn't the point. I just wanted him to talk."
"Yeah," Trowa replied. He looked down at his hands, blinking back tears. "And now.shit, Heero."
An arm wound its way around Trowa's waist, as Heero pressed up against him from behind. The dark-haired man rested his chin on Trowa's shoulder, brushing away Trowa's hair with his free hand before resting it around Trowa 's shoulders, pulling them close together.
"If you back out, we risk losing his trust," Heero said, his voice still carefully neutral. "The rules are simple. If you promise a reward, you don't withdraw it except for a damn good reason."
"And my complete unwillingness isn't a good reason?" Trowa knew his voice was sharp, but he kept it low. The water started up in the bathroom, and he distantly realized it had stopped raining. "I feel like I should be the one in there, taking a shower. I feel."
"Trowa," Heero warned, and released the taller man long enough to turn him around. Heero cupped Trowa's face in his hands. "Look at me. Quatre was right. This is not Maxwell, and we can't treat him like he is. This is what Jade needs."
"Jade, Jade," Trowa muttered, raising his eyes to meet Heero's blue eyes squarely. "How the hell is it going to help Maxwell come back, if all we're doing is teaching Jade how to be like he was? We're not really bringing him back. We're just teaching how to *act* like it."
Heero was silent, his eyes searching Trowa's face.
Trowa grimaced and pulled his head away, turning slightly to face the chest again. "You heard what I said to him, to get him to talk. I told him to do what I wanted, to do what I said because it would please me. And that was his sole reason for talking. Whatever they did to him.the only thing strong enough to fight it is his wish to please his *Master*." Trowa's lips twisted into a sneer with the final word. "I can't do this, Heero. I can't."
"You can, and you will," Heero told him. "Jade lives to please his Master. That's true. But we can't break everything at once. Did you learn to pilot Heavyarms with no prior experience? You started with Tauruses, and moved up. Training is a series of steps, building on each one that went before. Undoing that training works the same way. One step at a time."
"This is not a step I want to do," Trowa replied sadly. "I don't.He's going to---"
"Yes," Heero said, cutting him off. "But Maxwell is strong enough to get by without needing everyone to be in love with him. Maxwell is cocky, and self-confident, and brash." Heero's hand came up, stroking at Trowa's face as the Japanese man continued to whisper. "Jade... isn't. He desperately needs whatever love we can give."
"You sound like you've figured this all out," Trowa replied, but his tone was wry.
Heero gave a little shrug, and dropped his eyes. "I figured out that I' m not going to hate you, if you love him."
"And I believe you won't hate me for the same," Heero continued implacably. "But this... you're right. I would rather not contemplate the idea that someone who looks identical to my former best friend is about to sexually pleasure you." His lips curled, momentarily, before the expression faded back into sorrow. "I would rather be anywhere but here, to be perfectly frank."
"Can I join you?"
Heero leaned forward, tilting his head to give Trowa a chaste, quick kiss. "Join me upstairs, and we'll deal with this together."
The taller man nodded, picking up the hurricane lamp and letting Heero lead him to the bedroom.
Trowa settled himself on the edge of the bed, his head down. The mattress sank down as Heero sat down next to him. Downstairs they could hear splashing, and Trowa turned to see Ifrit stretched out across the pillow, the kitten's purring audible in the silent loft. Absentmindedly Trowa stroked the cat's belly, smiling as Ifrit twitched and rolled over onto his side.
"How do you want to do this?" Heero's head was turned away, towards the living room.
"Don't leave me," Trowa whispered.
"I wasn't planning on it." Heero's hand moved over a few inches to cover Trowa's, and both men understood the double meaning.
"I had an idea," the auburn-haired man said. "I'm not sure if I should, but... " He shrugged, dropping his hand from the cat's fur to clench the blankets tightly. "I think the hardest part is that Jade won't look us in the eyes." Trowa lay back across the bed, and draped his arm over his face. "I guess a blowjob." He could feel movement, and then Heero squeezed his hand for a second.
"Where do you want me to be?"
Trowa removed his arm from his face, letting it fall across his stomach. He could hear the water draining from the tub, as the water began running again. It stopped after a second, and he catalogued the fact that Jade had just brushed his teeth. "Hold me," he said, simply. "Like you were before."
Trowa struggled up, and Heero moved behind him. Trowa's hands sat limply in his lap as the dark-haired man moved around him, legs spread out on either side. Heero set his chin on Trowa's shoulder, and brushed his knuckles along the back of Trowa's hand. Trowa smiled crookedly, and twisted in place to kiss Heero, a soft kiss that he held for several seconds before pulling away with a sigh.
Heero nodded, understanding, his chin digging into Trowa's shoulder with the movement. The bathroom door opened downstairs, and a beam of light filtered out, then moved, accompanied by the sound of Jade's anklets as the longhaired man climbed the stairs. The pleased and excited look on Jade's face was clearly visible from the lamp's light, and Trowa watched as Jade approached the bed with light footsteps. Setting the lamp down on the bedside table, Jade gracefully sank into a kneeling position by Trowa's feet.
"Jade," Trowa said, and took another deep breath, letting it out through his nose. "You spoke, and you have no idea how happy it made me to hear your voice... how happy it made both of us," he amended. "You asked for a reward, and I'm going to give you a choice. You can use your hands to give me a massage---"
Trowa could feel Heero's arms tighten around him, and the hiss of a sudden inhalation as Heero tensed. Trowa shook his head minutely, relieved to feel Heero relax slightly.
"---or you can use your mouth, and bring me to orgasm."
Trowa nearly tripped over the final word, but caught himself in time. Calm, he told himself. Stay calm, and centered. He studied Jade's naked body, noticing the silent man nearly quivering in delight at the second option. Jade came up on his knees, just a little, before sinking back down, his shoulders leaning towards Trowa even as his hands remained behind his back.
"If you want the second, you have to say so. Just one word."
Heero's lips graced Trowa's neck, and Trowa relaxed into the touch as he waited. Jade shivered and ducked his head, his wet hair falling across his face as he shifted his weight from one knee to the other, wanting the reward but still reluctant.
"One word, Jade," Trowa whispered, leaning over until his lips were brushing Jade's forehead. "Both will give me pleasure, but it's up to you to decide how much. Any word, just one... One word."
Jade raised his head, but his eyes were closed, and he took a deep shuddering breath. "Plea... se... "
Trowa swallowed hard, and kissed Jade gently on the forehead. "Yes, Jade." Leaning back, he could feel Heero shift, moving his hands to clasp Trowa above his waist. Trowa took a deep breath and pulled his shirt up, tucking it under Heero's arms to keep it out of the way. He could feel his stomach churning, and he began to breathe evenly through his teeth, watching as Jade rose up on his knees and crawled closer to the bed. Heero moved behind Trowa, and out of the corner of his eye, the auburn-haired man saw Heero lift one of the pillows.
"His knees," Heero whispered, and Trowa nodded.
"Jade, kneel on this," Trowa said, handing the pillow to Jade. The silent man started, and then took the pillow, placing it on the bedside rug before situating himself between Trowa's legs. Trowa watched, leaning back slightly, his hands splayed on his thighs as Jade lowered his head to the taller man's crotch.
Just imagine it's Heero, Trowa suddenly thought, and winced. No, don't, he corrected himself immediately, knowing the last thing he wanted was to inadvertently compare the two.
Jade's cool fingers slipped between Trowa's skin and the top of his jeans, and Trowa's breath caught in his throat as the button was undone. He sucked his stomach in, shying away from the touch but at the same time knowing it would help Jade get the jeans undone. He closed his eyes, leaning his head back on Heero's shoulder, and gasped as something wet touched his stomach. Startled, he looked down to see Jade's head in his lap, and the sound of the zipper slowly coming down. The silent man's hands were on Trowa 's knees, massaging gently.
I told him he could use his mouth, Trowa thought, distantly amused and somehow surprised he could find anything remotely funny in the situation. Trowa shivered as Jade's lips were then pressed against his belly button, moving downwards in open-mouth kisses to his groin. Trowa bit his lip as his body began to respond to the gentle touches. Half of him wanted to remain soft and unresponsive, fearing that an erection would somehow be a betrayal to Heero. The other half of him wanted it done, and over with, knowing a lack of response would leave Jade bereft of his reward.
"Just do it," he muttered beneath his breath.
Heero squeezed Trowa tightly for a second, a silent warning, before shifting one hand to caress Trowa's side. He continued to massage far more gently than Trowa would've expected possible from someone with Heero's strength, until Trowa nodded abruptly, gritting his teeth as he tried to force his body to relax. It was then he felt Jade's tongue running up his half-erect length, and Trowa immediately tensed again.
I can't, his mind screamed, even as his body began to react to Jade's ministrations. The longhaired man was making a strange humming sound, deep in his throat, his fingers scratching and clawing lightly at the inside of Trowa's thighs. Jade wriggled in place, lifting himself up a little as he took Trowa's erection in his mouth, and Trowa's back automatically arched at the wet warmth.
Gasping, Trowa's eyes flew open, and he tried to focus on the ceiling. Heero gripped him tighter, as Trowa's hips instinctively bucked against Jade 's movements.
My pleasure is his pleasure, Trowa thought suddenly, and he frowned, focusing on that simple truth. Jade exists to give pleasure, and the only way he'll experience any himself is through me. Trowa's body felt heavy, suddenly, as his arousal pooled in his groin, his nerve endings tingling with the feedback loop between his body and Jade's mouth and fingertips. He spoke, Trowa told himself, Jade spoke... despite every ounce of his training telling him not to, Trowa's mental voice whispered to him, as his back arched from Jade's touch. Give him pleasure. Let him know that speaking will bring him one step closer to the pleasure he seeks, even if that's only my pleasure for now.
With a gasp, Trowa relaxed, accepting the decision. He sank back towards Heero, as his hands instinctively moved to Jade's head, stroking the long strands of wet hair. Jade responded fervently, the humming increasing in volume as the longhaired man pushed Trowa's arousal to the next level. Trowa felt his eyes closing and groaned softly as Jade's tongue and teeth and lips continued to move against him.
The intensity built, and Trowa moaned softly, trying to push himself to the edge. He bit his lower lip, grunting with the effort as his hips moved helplessly. Colors swarmed behind his tightly closed eyelids, and he could feel Heero's heartbeat against his cheek as he rested his head on Heero's shoulder. The heartbeat was steady, and even, and Heero's grip never loosened.
Let Jade have his pleasure, Trowa told himself. And please, don't let him hate me when he becomes himself again.
With that thought, Trowa cried out as he came.
Trowa lay shuddering Heero's arms, his mind swirling with confusion, and a sudden queasy feeling in his stomach. For a moment he was afraid he was going to be sick, and he gritted his teeth, struggling to keep his dinner where it belonged. Fingers wiped across his cheeks, and he realized his face was wet. Shaking his head to throw off the discomfort and awkwardness, Trowa raised his hand, wiping at his eyes with the heel of his hand even as he realized Heero was tucking him back into his jeans and zipping them up. Swallowing hard, Trowa managed to sit up straighter, and looked down at Jade.
The longhaired man was sitting back on his heels, his knees apart, his hands behind the small of his back. His eyes were closed, his chin tilted up. In the lamplight Trowa could see Jade's erection, ignored but weeping, and Trowa sighed. Leaning forward, he set his hands on Jade's shoulders, and pressed his lips to Jade's forehead for several long seconds. Bending down, he pressed his forehead against Jade's, his eyes closed as he tried to force his thoughts into order.
"Get out your bed," he finally managed to choke out. "It's time to sleep." Pulling away, he could see a momentary flash of disappointment on Jade's face, and he averted his head as Jade slowly nodded.
"Tro," Heero's voice came from behind him. It carried a warning note, yet a comforting tone at the same time. Heero pulled backwards, pulling his leg around from behind Trowa. The dark-haired man came to the edge of the bed, watching as Jade struggled to pull the mattress out and position it at the foot of the bed. Heero took Trowa's hand in his, and tugged gently.
"No," Trowa moaned, unwilling to move. His hand was tugged more firmly, and he gritted his teeth as he got to his feet.
Heero led him to the bed, where Jade was laying out the blankets and pillow. The dark-haired man pulled at Trowa's hand until they were kneeling by the single bed. Jade caught the movement, and spun in place as his anklets rang, coming to kneel, facing Trowa with his head down.
"We are in this together," Heero whispered. "Give him permission."
Trowa's eyebrows went up, and he looked at Heero, but the other man was studying Jade. Trowa frowned, his gaze dropping to Jade, watching the minute signs in the loft's half-dark. The shoulders were hitched slightly, indicating tension, and the chin was down, which meant Jade was worried. But the angle of his body was leaning towards Trowa, which meant he was pleased in some way.
I didn't thank him, Trowa thought. Did I really show him my pleasure? Or was I keeping it for myself, too ashamed to demonstrate it? And did my shame and discomfort just make Jade feel like he was used and cast off? Trowa could feel Heero's eyes on him, and he nodded slowly.
"Jade," he whispered, then paused to take a deep breath, reaching out with one hand to cradle Jade's face. The longhaired man smiled a little, tilting his head against the touch. "You're... amazing, and beautiful." Trowa swallowed hard, the fingers of his free hand searching out Heero's hand and squeezing it tightly. "Beautiful," Trowa repeated, leaning forward to kiss Jade on the forehead again.
When he pulled away, Trowa opened his eyes to see a beatific smile across Jade's face. The longhaired man was quivering against his touch, and making that strange purring sound deep in his throat. Glancing at Heero's firm nod, Trowa gave Jade a crooked smile.
"I want to... share my... pleasure with you," he whispered. "Come for me. Anytime you're ready... come for me."
Trowa settled back on his heels, his right hand never leaving Heero's hold. The dark-haired man seemed to shiver for a moment, then grew very still as he reached his right hand forward, stroking gently along Jade's erection. Jade arched his back, his hips tilting forward as he bucked into the touch, his mouth open as he panted. His hands came undone from their clasp behind his back, and flailed momentarily, seeking something to hold onto. Trowa instinctively reached out, catching one of Jade's hands in his. The strong fingers interlocked with his, gripping tightly, and Trowa realized he was holding his breath.
"Come, Jade," he urged, the words out of his mouth before he knew what he was saying. "Let us see you, the real you."
Heero sped the rhythm up slightly, and Jade cried out, his head thrown back and his eyes wide open. His orgasm was quick, and violent, wracking his body as he swayed in place. Trowa slowly let his breathe out through his nose, feeling Heero shift next to him, and a moment later Heero was wiping Jade's chest and hips with a discarded shirt. Heero tossed the shirt to the side, and reached for Jade's hand.
They stayed like that for several heartbeats, as Jade's breathing steadied, and his chin came back down to rest on his chest. Through the thick fall of chestnut hair covering Jade's face, Trowa could see a sleepy, sated expression, and he smiled despite himself. Leaning forward, he kissed Jade tenderly on the forehead. When he pulled back, he was surprised to see Heero do the same. Almost reluctantly, Trowa released the hands clasped in his, and patted the pillow.
"Bed, Jade," he whispered.
The silent man nodded enthusiastically, crawling up to the head of the bed and pulling the covers out from under him. Wriggling down until he was under the covers, he thumped his pillow once or twice and curled up. Heero gave Trowa a crooked smile and leaned over to tuck the blankets around Jade' s chin, his fingers brushing Jade's cheek gently before the dark-haired man stood up. Heero placed his hand on Trowa's shoulder, squeezing once before he walked over to the bed and picked up the hurricane lamp from the table.
Trowa understood immediately, and stood, following Heero downstairs and out to the back porch.
Heero set the lamp on the porch, pushing at Trowa's shoulder until the taller man settled down on the top step. Trowa remained there, drawing his legs up until his chin was on his knees, staring out into the darkness. Heero returned to the kitchen, puttering around. Trowa tilted his head, recognizing the sounds of the teakettle being filled, and the gas stove clicking on. Sighing, he turned his head to rest his cheek against his knees, his hands gripping the edge of the porch as he waited.
Several minutes later, Heero had returned with a mug of hot chocolate for each of them. Trowa nodded his gratitude, accepting the mug and blowing across the hot surface as Heero sat down beside him, their bodies in warm contact from hip to shoulder.
"Maybe we're going about this all wrong," Trowa said. "I don't... " He stared off into the darkness under the trees, and tilted his head to see the stars littering the night sky. "I'm not sure it's a good idea to let Jade think that sex is the top reward. It feels like we're leading him on."
Heero shrugged. "Right now, affection is the only reward. He likes the root beer floats, and the hot chocolate, but given a choice between those and a hug, he always goes for the hug. It's the closest we've allowed him, most of the time."
"I feel like we fucked up. Like I fucked up."
"Don't." Heero sipped his hot chocolate, and licked his upper lip. "Which is more important? Winning our battles, or teaching him to want something different?"
"Both." Trowa turned to see Heero's calm gaze.
"No," Heero replied, shaking his head. "Chose one."
"Tackling his behavior, first," Trowa finally said. "We can't fully deal with his motivations until there's a better level of communication."
"Which means we have to use his current motivation as the carrot," Heero pointed out. "Whether we like it or not." He was silent for a moment, watching Trowa intently. "Why are you having such trouble with Quatre's advice?"
"I'm not wired that way. I just can't look at Jade and not see the person I used to know. I keep trying... "
"Does he feel the same?"
"Feel... " Trowa frowned, rolling the concept around in his head. He stared up at the sky. "Maxwell felt like the earth, rich and full of life. Jade makes me feel like I'm floating in space again, adrift, resigned to waiting."
Heero didn't say anything, but waited. Trowa shook himself slightly, and turned to Heero with an expectant look.
"Jade makes me think of Wing Zero."
Trowa blinked, and managed to steady his mug before he spilled it.
"After Wufei shot me down," Heero whispered. "I hit the water... and I don't remember much else... until I woke up at the bottom of the ocean. It's dark down there." He stirred, his gaze moving back up to stare at the sky. "Sometimes you hear people say the ocean is barren, in the deep, but they're wrong. It's got life, it's just nothing like what we know... and it's hidden, from light, from sound. Deep and cold, but it has a presence that can't be denied, enveloping you."
Trowa raised an eyebrow, his lips twitching at the reminder that his lover could be a poet, once he got going.
"Wing Zero woke me," Heero said, simply. "It wasn't *me* that woke up. It wasn't me that chose to keep going. It was something else, something I have never understood. That's what Jade is like, now. He's Wing Zero, and when he chooses to wake me from this nightmare, I'll go where he leads. I don't feel like I have a choice."
"So for the time being," Heero said, his voice shifting back to its normal cool tones, "we deal with his behavior, and deal with his expectations later."
"The only thing strong enough in Jade to break past the training is his wish to please you." Heero shrugged. "I suspect telling him you can only please him so far would undermine that borrowed strength."
"It sounds like rationalizing."
"Maybe." The dark-haired man was silent for several minutes, staring up at the sky. "There's L2," he said softly.
Trowa didn't look. "They should burn that place to the core, along with the bastards that did this," he growled.
"Quatre and Wufei will," Heero assured him. "I just hope they leave at least one alive."
"So Du... Maxwell can have a chance to flay one of those assholes, himself." Heero chuckled quietly. "Maxwell would kill me... kill us... if he thought we'd left him with no way to exact his own revenge."
Trowa pretended to shudder. "He was the God of Death. I'm not sure I'd want his idea of revenge... " Trowa paused, then grinned tightly. "No, I retract that. I'm *quite* sure I'd definitely want Maxwell perpetrating his own justice on those slave-training bastards."
"Fuck, yeah," Heero agreed.
The two men sipped their hot chocolate for several more minutes, the silence slowly becoming companionable.
Trowa shifted in place, and set the mug down on the step next to him. "I think I want to take a shower," he finally said. "But first, I want... " He shook his head, negating what he'd been about to say. "No. I need to tell you... that I'm not going to reassure you that your touch does more for my body."
Heero frowned slightly, but it was his look of concentration, not displeasure. One eyebrow twitched, almost imperceptibly.
"Sometimes, the body responds, regardless of our wishes," Trowa continued, his voice low. "Tonight was proof. I thought, at the start, that it would be easier if I pretended it was you."
The dark-haired man nodded once. Not agreeing, but simply acknowledging.
"It wouldn't be." Trowa turned away, studying the darkness of the forest beyond the lamp's circle of light. "Comparisons will destroy what I have, and right now, I won't lose either of you, if for different reasons." He mused for several seconds, his tone lightening as the words resolved themselves in his head. "So if you have any insecurities about it, tell me now, so we can deal with it. But I won't tell you that your touch is better or worse. I'll only tell you that I could never mistake one for the other."
"I... " Heero fell silent, his head down, the frown back as he contemplated Trowa's words. "I don't feel jealous." His lips curled up, just a bit, at the edges. "I keep thinking I should. Perhaps I'm repressing it, and it will appear later."
He shrugged slightly, and Trowa could feel the movement of Heero's shoulder against his own. Trowa let out a long breath, and picked up the empty mug. "I need a shower. I want to... be clean, when I come to bed." He stood, meeting Heero's eyes as the dark-haired man leaned back to look up at him. "When is our next private time? Tomorrow afternoon?"
"Morning," Heero said.
"Remind me... " Trowa's voice trailed off, unable to find the words.
Heero nodded, understanding without words. "I plan to."
End Part 13
On to Chapter Fourteen
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