torch, October - November 2000 (January 2001)
flambeau@strangeplaces.net

Disclaimer: Only in my dreams. Beta credits and gratitude to elynross and !Super Cat. Do not archive this story without permission.

Rising

Maybe Heero was right, and dying hurt like hell. He didn't know. But he did know that living hurt, too.

Trowa sat on the steps leading up to the trailer, elbows on his knees, hands hanging uselessly empty. He stared at the ground, at muddy wheelprints and gravel. There was almost no grass at this campsite, and only a few trees. The trailers and wagons were set up the same way, but everything looked different. The entire left side of his face ached. Catherine packed a mean punch.

He felt bruised all over, inside and out. The sounds of the circus camp around him seemed faint and distant. Trowa let his eyes go in and out of focus. It was very late, or very early; he could smell dawn in the air. Last night he'd thought to end it all, and here he was, and nothing was over. The windows of Catherine's trailer were dark. OZ soldiers had rousted her out of bed twice, searching for the Gundam pilot who had disrupted last night's performance.

The trailer door stood ajar behind him, and he knew Heero was in there, knew it until the moment Heero stepped outside and sat down next to him. The steps were a narrow fit for two, and they were shoulder to shoulder and knee to knee. Glancing sideways, Trowa saw that Heero had peeled off most of his bandages. The skin underneath looked as smooth as unbruised flower petals.

They sat there for a while in pre-dawn silence, and nothing happened, and nothing happened; Trowa could feel his heart beat one slow thump at a time. Then Heero shifted, turning towards Trowa, and fixed him with a clear, fierce gaze. "You're still alive," he said. "You're going to have to accept that."

Trowa thought that unlike Heero, he hadn't even come close to dying, or to the perfect willingness to die, and he wondered what had happened to his detachment and then Heero cupped his face, fingers digging into the bruised side, and tugged him forward, and kissed him.

It was a hard kiss, with more than a hint of teeth. Trowa closed his eyes in startlement, and tasted Heero's tongue, drew Heero's breath into his lungs. Heero's fingertips burned against his skin. When Heero drew back, Trowa gasped for air and opened his eyes wide to find that Heero was already on his feet, dragging Trowa up, picking him up with impossible easy strength and carrying him into the trailer and kicking the door shut behind them.

Trowa made a sound in the back of his throat as Heero dumped him on the bed. He didn't know what it was he was trying to say; any words he might have found were swallowed up by another rough kiss. It was just a little too hard, a little too forceful to be entirely comfortable. It demanded equal strength in return, but Trowa had no strength at all right then, certainly none to match Heero's. He pressed his head back into the pillows, arched his neck. Heero's hands were on him, stripping him of his clothes, the touch all efficiency. When the jeans resisted, Trowa shifted to make it easier before Heero could just rip them off his body. They were almost new.

It was still dark inside the trailer. The sheets smelled of Heero. Trowa felt callused hands trace his chest, his hips, the backs of his thighs. Heero's breath was hot against his throat; Heero was a hard uncompromising weight on top of him, with a hard uncompromising erection rubbing through spandex against the crease between Trowa's hip and thigh. Trowa breathed in through clenched teeth. When he closed his eyes, Heero kissed him again, and he tasted a memory of stale coffee.

Heero shifted his weight forward on Trowa's chest and shoulders, one hand tilting Trowa's chin up, the other reaching for something above their heads. Trowa heard a quick scrabble, the sound of something being pulled out from between the mattress and the bedframe, the sound of a plastic lid snapping open. Of course. Heero had spent several nights in this bed conscious, as well as a month unconscious. Apparently he had investigated.

Trowa thought about opening his eyes and telling Heero that people did not go through other people's private belongings, and then a cool slippery finger pressed against him and into him. Heero was unexpectedly gentle, and very, very thorough. Trowa didn't know how much time had passed when Heero finally turned him over to lie on his side. He did know that Heero had never stopped to remove his own clothes. There was a brief pause, and then Heero hooked his arm under Trowa's leg and hitched it up, and pushed inside with three short, powerful thrusts. Trowa could feel spandex against the backs of his thighs and cotton against his shoulderblades.

Everything smelled of Heero now: the sheets, and the air, and his own body. Heero pulled out and thrust back in, at a perfect angle, and Trowa gasped; Heero took a firmer grip on him and began to fuck him in a fast driving rhythm, hitting the same spot every time. The darkness behind Trowa's eyelids began to fill with bright fluorescent stars, red and yellow and green. A long curving shudder slid from the base of his spine up to the back of his neck.

Every thrust set off a new star explosion. He could feel his breathing change, utterly beyond his control, and clenched his hand around the bunched-up, wrinkled sheet. Heero's movements in him were terrifyingly steady, and he felt like a city gate before a battering ram, hit again and again at his weakest point. He would give way. He knew he would give way, as Heero held him still and pounded into him, driving the message home.

Cotton against the side of his face. Spandex against his legs. Pressure, tight and hot, building up everywhere under his skin. Trowa thought that Heero could at least touch him, could put a strong callused hand right where Trowa wanted it, and then a shimmer ran through him and he couldn't think any more. There was no air. He bit his lip, or thought he did, but then he screamed anyway when he came.

The sound of his own heartbeat was like distant thunder.

Cotton. Spandex. Pillow, mattress, cool wall against his foot. Heero pulled out, and let go; the spots where Heero's fingers had dug in would bruise. Trowa flopped over on his back to see Heero wipe himself more-or-less clean on a corner of the sheet and pull his shorts back up, sit up, stand up, in separate, neat movements. He hadn't even taken his shoes off. Trowa looked at the scuffed and dirty yellow sneakers. Then he rolled to his feet in one smooth motion, his arm drawing back as he rose, and punched Heero in the face.

It was a good solid hit, and he felt it reverberate all the way to his shoulder and down his back. Heero actually took a step backwards. Then he moved his mouth, still expressionless, spat out a little blood, and said, "Do you feel alive now?"

Trowa thought about it, rubbing his knuckles with his other hand.

"Yes."

He went past Heero to look out the window. Light fell on his face, and he had to close his eyes against it for a moment, but behind his lids everything was red and orange now. Trowa blinked, suddenly sleepy. The sun was up.

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