Title: Suede 5/5
Author: Seraphim Grace
Archive: if you want it, just ask.
Feedback: Always appreciated and replied to.
Warnings: Angst, shows an attempted suicide -NOT A DEATHFIC
Notes: the lyric is from Tori Amos' Suede which gave me the idea (and
happens to be uber sexy for those interested)
"You always felt like suede
There are days I am your twin
Peek a boo, hiding
underneath your skin"
The night train to Vienna from Paris was slow and as inexorable as time. It had long since become a luxury tour for those rich enough that they could take the time to not fly. Duo had grabbed the top bunk of their private cabin and almost immediately stripped down to his boxers and climbed in, but now he was sleepless, listening to the repeated kich-ch-shush of the train on the tracks as it sped across Europe.
"Heero," he said into the dark, "you awake."
"Hmm," Heero answered. "Can't sleep?"
"Nah," Duo told him, "this train's damn noisy."
There was a dark chuckle from the lower bunk. "It always relaxes me," Heero answered, "I could lie here all night making rhythms to that noise." He was silent for a moment, "it's always really good to make you sleep to do that."
"Tell me a story." Duo said, hanging over the edge of the bed. "Tell me a fairy tale where everything ends happily." When he flopped back unto his pillow the edge of his braid was still hanging down.
"Once," Heero began, "there was a merchant who loved his wife more than anything else," unconsciously he began to metre out the rhythm of his words to the sound of the train on the tracks, "but his wife was spoiled, first by her parents and then by the husband who loved her. She began to demand things of him, things he was always happy to supply." He took a deep breath before he continued, "the one day he discovered his wife was pregnant and made it his first priority to give his wife everything she wanted. Her demands got more and more obscure and more and more expensive until he lost his business and wealth supplying them. Then one day she asked for a tincture made of the herb Rapunzel so she would not lose her beauty." He fell silent for a moment. "Duo, surely you know this story."
"I do, Ro," he answered, "but tell it to me anyway."
"Okay, so the merchant did all he could to find the magical herb. A thief in the town told him of a witch that lived just beyond the borders of the country, if any have the herb, the thief told him, it will be the witch. So leaving behind his wife, the merchant travelled to the witch's house, and crept into her garden and took a cutting of the magical herb. The witch found him there, 'What are you doing, stealing from my garden?' she asked him, and the merchant fell to his knees and told her of the wife that he adored and how she wanted the herb more than anything." He took another deep breath, listening to the sound of the train and Duo's even breathing. "The witch agreed to a trade, she would let him have the herb but on this day, a month hence she would take something precious in exchange and he would bring it to her. The merchant thinking of the things that he had bought his wife, agreed."
"Ro," Duo said, flopping his head over the edge of the bed. "Can I get in with you?" Heero didn't speak to answer him, he just opened his covers as an invitation, scooting over in the bunk so he was up against the wall as Duo squeezed in beside him. "Not really enough room, eh?" Duo said, his breath washing over Heero's face. "You're so comfortable, now go on with the story."
"After a while the merchant forgot his promise with the witch, soon a month had gone by, and then a second, at the end of the third month his wife was born of a daughter. As she was screaming with the labour pains the witch knocked on his door. 'We had an agreement,' she told him, 'I will take something precious in exchange for the herb,' looking around the house she took the most precious thing therein, she took the baby daughter. 'and I shall call her Rapunzel."
Duo's fingers were playing across his pectoral muscles, as if learning his responses, but Heero continued on with his story. "She took the baby to a tower on her lands and stowed her in the highest room, then with her magic she removed the door and the stairs, and alone in the tower Rapunzel grew up."
"One day a handsome prince rode by and heard the sweet song from the tower and as he stood there he saw a beautiful maiden in the tower and resolved to learn everything he could about her, but she moved away from the window where she had stood, brushing her hair." He reached out and brushed one of Duo's bangs away from his face. "He watched the tower for days and days, waiting for some sign that he was welcomed, but there was none."
In the dark Duo smiled at him. "Eventually the witch came by with food and dresses for her charge and standing beneath the window called out 'Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair' and to the prince's astonishment she did. It was a braid of purest honey gold and it unfurled like a rope down all the way to the base of the tower. When it was done the witch climbed up the braid and into the window. After maybe an hour Rapunzel let down her hair again and the witch climbed away. The prince decided there and then that the next day he would call out the words and see the maiden in the tower with no door."
The moonlight that crept through the blinds had made a line of brilliance over Duo's cheekbone where he lay and in the dark Heero could see his eyes shining, his breath smelt sweet and hot against him.
"So he went to the base of the tower and called out the words 'Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair,' and she did." Heero was cut off by a finger pressed against his lips.
"No more," Duo said, "I never liked how that story ends." He nestled in tighter against Heero, "it's enough to end it there, with Rapunzel looking upon her prince, before the witch betrays them and cuts away her hair and the prince falls to his death."
"In the version I know although the prince falls he is only blinded and Rapunzel is cast from the tower and finds him," Heero corrected, "and she takes him back to his kingdom and his made his queen."
"I never thought that Professor J was the sort to tell you fairy tales." Duo said glibly. "Especially ones with happy endings."
"He wasn't," Heero answered, "Odin used to tell me them, before he died, when I couldn't sleep. He told me wonderful Russian fairy tales and I would have to ask him the next morning how they ended because I always fell asleep." He sounded a little sad so Duo wrapped his arms about him.
"I read them," he said, "when I was on the sweeper ship, one of the sweepers had it, it was the only book aboard ship and they taught me to read from it. In the orphanage they used to tell us bible stories, but I think I liked the fairy tales more." He sighed to himself, "Why Rapunzel?" He asked suddenly, "why not Snow White, or Cinderella, or Sleeping Beauty?"
"Your braid was hanging over the side of the bunk." Heero said, "and I suddenly thought, 'Duo Maxwell, Duo Maxwell, let down your hair.'"
Duo looked at him incredulous for a moment and then burst out laughing. "I never thought you for the type to think that." He said, he ran the tips of his fingers over Heero's chest, brushing briefly over a nipple and down to the ridges of his abdomen. There was nothing overtly sexual about it, it was about exploration. "Do you know what, Heero, your skin feels like suede."
Heero's fingers tentatively reached out and touched Duo's cheek, "you're more like velvet, soft and tactile."
"Are you saying you want to touch me?" Duo asked.
"I never want to stop." Heero admitted suddenly. It shocked them both to silence.
"You said you tell me why if I told you." Duo said, "I didn't want to be alone any more, I didn't want to lose anyone else. I thought if I died then no one else would die because of me and I wouldn't be left behind."
Heero pressed his forehead against Duo's. "I didn't want to be alone any more either, I could have told Une what to do with the mission, I could have asked anyone else to take it from me, but when I saw you in that hospital bed I realised that I was lonely, and I remembered the only time I wasn't, was when I was with you." His fingers tremulously traced the ridge of Duo's jaw, down to his petal soft pink lips. "I didn't want to be alone any more. I've been alone all my life."
It looked for a moment like Duo might cry but he closed himself up like a fan. "Heero, promise me," he started, "promise me that we'll be alone together from now on, okay."
"I promise." Heero answered solemnly. "Baka." He added. "Only you would make me promise what I intended to do all along."
"This doesn't change anything." Duo said loftily, "you know. We've still got to go back to Une and start work and then we'll never see each other because I work days and you work nights and we'll be strangers that pass in the night, and then we'll go back to our own apartments and random phone calls will become rarer and eventually…"
Heero's kiss was sudden and cut him off. "I quit the Preventers." He said quietly against Duo's agape mouth. "I told Une either I get put on the same shift you were on or I quit, she said that my job was there if I ever wanted it." He reached out and ran his fingertips over Duo's hair where it was pulled back into it's braid. "She said the same offer was there for you if you wanted it."
"Why did you kiss me?" Duo asked, pressing his fingertips to his lips.
"Because I wanted to. Do you know," Heero pressed his cheek against Duo's to press his lips against his ear, "you feel like velvet."
Duo's laugh was almost silent, "and you feel like suede."