A Warrior's Love

Lyrics from 'The Warrior' by Scandal

Soldier. Warrior.

People think they're the same thing. That someone who is a soldier, is also a warrior, and vice versa.

But they're not.

A soldier follows orders; lives only to do what he's told. He is a tool of war. A warrior, now…a warrior fights for what he believes in and follows only his own heart.

Sometimes those two jobs can coincide. For instance, take Heero Yuy, the 'Perfect Soldier.'

He isn't. Perfect, I mean. No one is. And he isn't really a soldier, for that matter. Because he doesn't always follow orders. Self-destruct himself for the good of the mission? Oh, sure, he does that all the time. But when it comes to putting someone else – someone other than himself – in danger… Even if it is for the good of the mission…

That's when he becomes a warrior. And fights for life.

And love.

I should know, because he's saved my life…and captured my heart.

Who am I, you might wonder? Duo Maxwell, Pilot 02. I run, I hide, but I never lie.

Especially about my lover.

You run, run, run away.
It's your heart that you betray.
Feeding on your hungry eyes;
I bet you're not so civilized.

The first time I saw Heero Yuy, I shot him and he ran away, despite having two bullets in him. The second time I saw him, I saved his life only to have him almost kill himself by not opening his chute in time. He then proceeded to set his broken leg by himself – and then walk on it, all the while not making even one sound of pain. I count our time at Howard's as the actual first time I 'met' him, since it wasn't until then that we got properly introduced.

At least that time he didn't get hurt.

And he pillaged Deathscythe for parts to fix Wing and ran off without even bothering to stick around after his betrayal.

Though…I probably should have guessed that was what he was gonna do. I mean, seriously, the only way he could have repaired Wing was with parts we didn't have – outside of my Gundam. He seemed so sure he could fix his mobile suit – despite the fact that he knew we didn't have the right parts – and I should've known it wasn't just wishful thinking. Wishful thinking was something I could tell Heero didn't do, even after having only 'known' him for five minutes.

So I should have known what he was going to do. I wonder why I didn't? I wonder if I did know, and some part of me wanted to let him. I wonder if my subconscious gave him permission?

Never mind; my mind is a scary place, and not even I understand it all the time.

Not even I understand why I held such a fascination for him. I mean, I didn't have to rescue him. But there was something about him…

I think it was his eyes. Yeah, his eyes. Funny, ne? He's got a killer ass, hard-as-a-rock abs, his hair's got that wind-blown sexy thing going for it, and his face is nothing to sneeze at, either.

Drool over, maybe…

But it was his eyes that drew me in. They were almost feral in their intensity, wild and untamed. Blue, so blue, almost as dark as the depths of space. Blue and so hungry – and no, I don't mean in a carnal sense. Hungry for emotion…

Have you ever heard the saying 'the eyes are the windows to the soul'? I used to think that was a crock – you couldn't always tell what someone was thinking when you looked into their eyes; believe me, I know. Most people don't see anything when they look into mine except an unusual shade of indigo – but when I saw Heero's…

It was like an epiphany. I realized that no, you might not always be able to tell what someone was feeling when you looked into their eyes, but that just meant that they hid their soul. Heero had never learned how – maybe because he didn't think he had a soul, though I've done my best to convince him otherwise, but most likely because Dr. J had taught him that he wasn't supposed to have emotions, so he never learned how to hide them – so, despite the fact that he'd killed countless people, done some pretty unspeakable things (but then, hey, so've I)…he was still innocent in this one way.

Outwardly, all you could see – or, at least all you were supposed to see – was this veneer of composed civility that he'd been bred and trained to show, as a mask over his real feelings. Even on the battlefield, he was calm, cool, collected, and in control.

But I could tell…if – no, when – he let loose… He wouldn't be so civilized anymore. And I, for all that I didn't want to admit it, wanted to be there when he finally lost control.

Little did I know…I'd not only be there…but I'd be the cause.

Well, isn't love primitive;
a wild gift that you wanna give.
Break out of captivity,
and follow me stereo jungle child.
Love is the kill.
Your heart's still wild.

Battle lust. Two words that seem…incongruous when spoken together. Yet anyone who's been on the front lines knows that there are times when they fit together perfectly.

What are those times, you might ask? Battle lust happens after a battle – no duh – when you haven't managed to work off all the energy that fighting sent rushing through your veins. When you're so pumped up you think you might've just gotten a shot of adrenaline directly into your cerebral cortex. Your brain's working overtime, sending back into a more primitive state of mind, where all that exists are the four basic things you need to live: eat, sleep, fight…and fuck. You're sweating, your heart's pounding, tension's crackling through the air and across your skin, you blood's pumping through your veins faster than a Gundam can fly, and you're sporting a hard-on that feels like it's made out of Gundanium.

There are several ways to take care of it. We Gundam pilots each have our own preferred method or methods. Wufei meditates or, if he's particularly wound up, practices with his katana, though his form is never as smooth as it normally is. Quatre does yoga – the fighting really gets to him at times, and calming his body down seems to put him more at peace, at least in his mind – and I think he also meditates occasionally. Trowa does gymnastics, and occasionally spars with Wufei, although if it was a particularly bloody fight, he'll sometimes join Quatre after a battle, a silent support while Quatre tries to forgive himself for all the people he's killed.

Of course, me being me, my methods are a little more…unorthodox. The traditional three ways to work off battle lust are listed as fight, flight or fuck. Basically, you either get into another fight – like 'Fei and Tro's sparring matches – you work out, or run off the energy – like 'Fei's swordwork – or you find someone to fuck.

In case you're wondering, yeah, this is kinda where my motto – I run, I hide, but I never lie – came from. More about that later.

Now, me? I liked the fight method best, and back when I lived on the streets of L2, that was the easiest way to work of extra energy. There was always someone up for a good brawl. The flight method was more than a bit risky – since if you were running, obviously you were running from something, like the cops, or an angry shop owner who you'd stolen from – and back then I didn't have the stamina or endurance to keep running for long, either.

The fuck method… well, I've never done that. Ever.

Remember the whole 'I never lie' thing? Yeah, that's where that comes in. Growing up on the streets you see a lot of things you would rather not have. I know I did. But I always promised myself that no matter what, I'd never purposely do something I was ashamed of, unless there was no other choice – like someone dying or somesuch shit.

Sleeping with someone just because I was wound up was one of those things. And besides, on L2, if you wanted meaningless sex, you had to pay for it – pay some poor girl who should have been attending grade school, who didn't have any other choice if she wanted to feed herself, or maybe whatever kids she'd ended up with as a consequence of her 'job' – to lie there, looking at you with dead eyes as she let you fuck her.

Yeah, like I was really going to do something like that. I kill people's bodies everyday – well, mostly – as a Gundam pilot, but I never could bring myself to kill even just a fraction of their spirits.

Ironic, ne? I'm the God of Death, but I don't want to kill people's hopes. Maybe because hope is stronger than death…

Anyway, back to my preferred methods of expending excess energy. Now, it should come as no surprise to people who know me even slightly well that I liked to dance. No, scratch that – I love to dance. That right there is my preferred method of working off battle lust.

Little did I know that I could work up another kind of lust. Specifically, Heero Yuy's lust.

It was after a particularly interesting battle. All of us were there, but we'd arrived separately. We all thought it was going to last at least an hour – there were so many mobile dolls none of us could get an accurate count – so we were pretty pumped up.

But one of OZ's Leo's made a mistake. About twenty minutes into the fighting, one of them sent out a missile. It went a few inches off-course, and instead of blowing up – well, trying to blow up – Shenlong, he ended up making the nearby ammo depository explode.

Which took out pretty much all of their forces in the resulting explosion. Deathscythe got a little pounded, considering I was closer to ground zero than Shenlong, and Wing got most of the shrapnel that flew up into the air, so neither Heero nor I were in good shape.

Anyway, what with our mission accomplished – by OZ, in fact; we were supposed to blow up that ammo stockpile, but they did it for us – we were free to leave.

Wufei went off alone, as he always does, and Quatre and Trowa left together – Catherine's circus was actually camped pretty near one of Quatre's houses, so I guess they thought it would just better if they bunked together – and Heero and I, as the 'flying wounded' so to speak, were left together.

Both of us needed to make repairs – me more than Heero – but we both just sorta, by mutual silent assent, ending up picking the same clearing – about forty miles from the OZ facility we'd just been at, and at least thirteen miles from civilization – to set down in.

Now, remember I said that my preferred method of working off battle lust is to dance? Well, here's where that comes in. I sorta secretly wired Deathscythe up with speakers so I could play CD's while I worked on her – or when I was doing a stakeout and got bored. Anyway, Heero had set down across the clearing from me – we both needed plenty of room to work, and he's never been a people person – so I thought, even if he could hear my music across the sixty yards between us, it wouldn't be loud enough to bother him.

Wro-ong. I have never been more mistaken in my entire life.

You might have heard that Heero can bend steel in his bare hands, right? Part of all that genetic manipulation and whatnot that Dr. J – the fucker – did to him? Well, I didn't know it at the time, but another of those gene fixes gave Heero heightened senses. Not all of them – I can just imagine the pain if you had a heightened sense of touch when you tried to bend steel with your bare hands and no protective gloves – but sight and hearing.

Yes…hearing. And sight. So not only could he hear my music from all the way across the clearing – and me singing along to some of the more, ahem, naughty lyrics – but he could also see me dancing along to the music with my shirt off.

Yes, my shirt off. No matter that you're protected from flying Leo's and shrapnel by a Gundanium shell two feet thick, it's a metal shell, and you still get damn hot fighting inside the equivalent of an oversized tin can. You also work up quite a sweat trying to fix said tin can, and I've always hated wearing wet clothes.

Anyway, there I was, wearing nothing more than a pair of cut-off shorts – I'd changed out of usual pants into the clothes I wore when I was working on 'Scythe; you have no idea how hard it is to get jet fuel out of clothing – and a smile on my face, singing along to the music, when all of a sudden, Heero 'If my Death Glare doesn't kill you, then my gun will' Yuy, grabbed me by the braid, spun me around and growled in my face.

Yes, growled. His exact words were, "Urusai, baka!"

Or, for those of you who don't know Japanese: 'Shut up, idiot.'

Now, one thing you need to know about Heero, is that aside from his whole, 'ninmu ryoukai,' and, 'ninmu kanryou,' the only Japanese he uses on a regular basis, is 'baka.'

'Urusai' has made it in there quite a bit, but normally if he wants me to shut up, he uses English.

I had no idea why he didn't then, but at that moment, I could have cared less. His actions caused me to drop my wrench, and it almost fell right on my foot – my bare foot. Plus, one of my favorite songs was playing at that moment – though if you ever tell anyone that I actually like those sappy love ballads, then I'm gonna have to introduce you to your maker – and I was really getting into it, and his interruption rocketed me right past minor irritation and straight into anger without pause.

Which explains my next move. I used his grip on me to flip him over, slamming him back-first onto the ground. Unfortunately – or fortunately, as the case turned out to be – I forgot about the fact he had a death-drip on my hair; it's this habit he has of holding into my braid whenever we have a 'conversation' – read: argument – and I ended up on top of him.

On top of him, me wearing those cut-offs that hid nothing, including the fact that I was half-hard and had been for almost an hour, and him wearing those spandex shorts of his that hide less than nothing, including the fact that if he wasn't in a similar state of horniness, then he must have been hung like a Gundam.

There we were, both of us panting hard – no, I have no idea why, though I was a little out of breath because of all my dancing around – I can only conjecture that the wind had been knocked out of him when I slammed him into the ground.

And he was staring up at me with those eyes, eyes which seemed to ask me, 'What is this feeling?' and though I don't always like answering people's questions, I wanted to give him his answer.

So I did. I leaned down – really slowly, because I wasn't sure he'd let me get closer without instinctively trying to hurt me – and stopped only a breath away from his face, all the while holding his gaze steady with my own.

And when I saw that his question had gone away, I almost pulled back – but then I saw what had replaced it. Understanding, sure, but also…

You guessed it. Lust. Heero Yuy, the 'Perfect Soldier,' Pilot 01, and one all-around sexy teenage boy, was hot for my body.

Or maybe just hot, and I was the only person nearest, but I was pretty sure that wasn't it. Considering what happened next, anyway…

At first I thought he was moving away, but all he did was tilt his head back – you know, with pack animals, that is normally a sign of submission, and a lot of people might have mistaken his actions for that. But not me. I knew it for what it was: a sign of surrender. He was letting me take control, because he trusted me to know what the hell I was doing when he didn't have a clue.

And I did know what I was doing – mostly. I mean, I'd never gotten past second base – well, halfway to third, once, I think – but contrary to popular belief, I read a lot.

The Internet is an amazing thing.

Anyway, back to the clearing. So he tilted his head back in that sort of pseudo-invitation, and I kissed him. Or he kissed me, since I think he was moving towards me while I was moving towards him. So maybe we kissed each other.

That kiss was…I can't really describe it. It was so many things: clumsy, both because of our positions, and because he'd never kissed anyone before and had no idea what to do; sweet, because even though we were both hyped up on battle lust, it was pure care and tenderness that came through in our actions; beautiful because of the simple gentleness of our lips pressing together.

I gave Heero Yuy his first kiss. And even though he hadn't given me mine, at that moment, I couldn't remember anything ever feeling that good.

Except, maybe, what followed. And even though Heero had no practical, or even really theoretical knowledge of what we were doing beyond high school biology, he threw himself whole-heartedly into it.

In other words, he lost control.

He was innocent, all right. But only because he was constrained by the bonds of whatever training Dr. J. – that fucker – put him through. He'd held his emotions captive for so long…

And he'd finally broken free.

His heart had never been touched, not really. His body never had been, not in any carnal way – I found out later that he'd never even masturbated; apparently Dr. J's 'training' never included anything on puberty and even less on social skills and interaction with other people outside of killing them – but he was following me – me, the original wild child – because he trusted me to show him the way. The way to find love.

His heart was still wild, still unused to the softer emotions. It took me months to get him to consider me a 'teammate'; it wasn't until that afternoon I realized he also saw me as a friend.

And maybe more. Because whenever Relena would profess her love for him, he'd threaten to kill her. I asked him once what it was that he thought tied love and death together – I know why I used to think they were tied together; up until I met the other pilots, everyone I'd ever loved had died on me – and he said, and I quote, "Emotions make you weak. Weakness gets you killed."

He didn't add this last part, but I knew what he was really saying: 'Love gets you killed.'

Ay caramba. The boy needed serious reprogramming, and no, not by Dr. J. I needed to show him that caring about someone made you stronger; gave you something to fight for.

After all, I fought for Solo, and Sister Helen, and Father Maxwell. All the street kids on L2, and all the orphans that had been blown up with Maxwell Church.

Heero fought because he'd been trained to fight and knew no other way. But what would be left for him after the war was over if he didn't know how to live?

So I showed him. I pulled him into my arms and rolled over until he was on top of me, his hips unconsciously thrusting against mine. I taught him to the ride the waves of passion he was feeling for the first time, even as he taught me how to love someone with my body. The stereo was pounding in the background, some soft rock that I couldn't make out the words to, and the rhythmic beat seemed the perfect counterpoint to our writhing bodies.

After, we just lay there, panting hard – harder than we had been when we'd started, anyway – and hearing his heart beating so wildly against my chest, seeing his hair plastered against his face with my sweat, feeling him inside me…

Well, I knew one thing for certain. I may not have tamed his wild heart, but he'd certainly captured mine.

Shooting at the walls of heartache:
Bang, bang!
I am the warrior.
Well, I am the warrior.
And heart to heart you'll win;
if you survive the warrior, the warrior.

That afternoon's delight, did not, of course, make everything perfect. Neither of us had a clue why we'd done what we'd done. Yeah, we were horny little bastards, but it wasn't like we hadn't had to deal with battle lust before – well, with Heero, maybe not – and nothing like that had happened.

Anyway, our 'relationship' if you can call it that, may have started with a bang, but the middle was a pretty rocky road. I was almost positive that if we could get past the veritable walls of heartache we were sure to come up against in the first few months of our tentative alliance, then we could make it to the happily ever after part.

But I wasn't gonna hold my breath on that, either. Especially since I knew we could only have a happily ever after if we both managed to survive the war, which I knew that at any given moment we only had about a forty-two percent chance of doing. Heero had calculated it out to the nearest decimal point one afternoon when I made a joke about it. Funnily enough, it was an even number.

Well, in any case, there we were, two teenage soldiers – well, warriors, though Heero was having trouble throwing off his 'Perfect Soldier' training in some cases – in the flush our very first sexual relationship…

And fighting in a war that either one or both of us might not survive. Yeah, life can be a real kick in the balls sometimes, can't it?

I didn't want to lose him. I didn't want to lose my heart when I'd only just found it. And yeah, that is kinda sappy, calling him my heart, but the fact of the matter was, when we made love for the first time, I could tell that he was giving me his. Giving me his heart because he had no idea how to make it work and was hoping I'd show him.

And I tried. I tried my damn best, hoping I could win out against almost impossible odds and show Heero Yuy, the not-so-perfect solider, how to feel.

I'm still working on that objective to this day, but I think I've done a pretty damn good job so far. Heero's changed since that day, slowly but surely, and I like to think, for the better. He's still pretty reticent about showing his emotions, but he doesn't hide them anymore; he actually smiles to people other than me. And he talks quite a bit more now, even if it is only a few words.

The fact that he trusts me so much, to follow my lead when it's obvious I'm the blind leading the blind…

Damn, that's…a pretty heady feeling. I mean, even that first time, Heero barely said anything, but then he'd always been more of an action kind of guy. And he was following my lead. While I might talk a lot, I don't always need words to express how I feel; I definitely didn't then. It's not like making love requires all that much vocalization; mostly it just requires the right feelings.

And, man did we have the right feelings.

As an experienced tactician, terrorist and assassin, Heero is the epitome of the 'Perfect Soldier' and can understand any kind of warfare. But he lacks – or should I say lacked – certain knowledge of the tactics of love. I thought he'd hover uncertainly at the edge of the carnal battlefield, as it were, but he didn't. He didn't just let me show him the way, he made his own tentative forays of exploration, his emotions apparent in every move. It was amazing how much a simple touch could convey.

When Heero touched me so gently and looked at me like he couldn't believe I was actually letting him in – not just into my body, but giving him the trust that went along with that ultimate expression of acceptance – and held me in his arms when we were coming down from that almost supernatural high, cradled me close to him like he never wanted to let me go…

Yeah, I could feel what he felt for me.

That first time wasn't perfect. Birds did not sing – well, they might've, considering we were in the middle of a forest, but I know I certainly didn't hear them – the earth did not move beyond the occasional rock or clump of grass that one or the other of us had to shove out of the way, and a choir of angels did not come down from on high to serenade us.

Though when it was over, I though I might have died and actually ended up in heaven, because nothing in hell, no matter how sinfully delicious, could have felt as good as having Heero Yuy inside me. He had become a part of me, a part that I could never have gotten from just being his friend. The act itself transcended just the physical; no matter what happened, I would always be able to feel him with me.

In more ways than one. Pardon me while I snicker at my own overly lewd sense of humor.

But seriously, it was an amazing experience, even if it didn't go off without a hitch – or two, or three, or four or more.

My hair got pulled three different times, hard – though if I'd never let it down in the first place it probably wouldn't have happened; but I saw him staring at my hair, saw his fascination with it, mutely pleading with me to take it down, and how could I refuse him? – I almost chipped one of his teeth while we were kissing because I knocked into them with my own, it took almost two weeks for the marks my fingernails made on his back to disappear, and I still have a scar on my tongue from when he bit it too hard.

And grass isn't exactly a feather bed covered with silk sheets and rose petals, but at least it hadn't rained recently, so there was no mud. Because we were in the middle of a forest, and unless we wanted to try and make love inside Wing or Deathscythe – believe me, they're cramped enough with only one person in there, trying to fit two is almost impossible, let alone the athletics we were attempting… – there was no other place to go but the ground. I was extremely glad that all the emergency Gundam maintenance repair kits – or at least mine – included petroleum jelly, because otherwise I wouldn't have been able to walk the next day.

Yes, I still would have done it. I was a horny teenage boy, about to lose my virginity – and I've wondered why in the hell you call it 'losing' because if it's consensual then it's more like 'giving', isn't it? – to the hottest guy I'd ever met, who also happened to be my best friend, and someone I was pretty sure I loved, even if I wasn't in love with him yet…

Nothing beyond the entire OZ army coming up and demanding our surrender could have gotten me to stop. Maybe not even that, if I was too far gone.

Lost in the pleasure, the pain, the sheer intensity of the experience…

But it was perfect.

Now you might think I'm contradicting myself; first I say it wasn't perfect, then I say it was. But there are two different definitions of the word perfect. The first is 'flawless, without equal.' That's what I mean when I say our first time wasn't perfect. The second definition is 'the right fit.'

That's what I meant when I said it was perfect. Because Heero is perfect. Perfect for me.

You talk, talk, you talk to me.
Your eyes touch me physically.
Stay with me, we'll take the night.
As passion takes another bite.

They say actions speak louder than words. I'm not entirely sure that's true – after all, I am a very talkative person, and if I used enough, or even just the right words, I think I can get my message across no matter what – but I'm not entirely sure it's not true, either.

I talk things out. Heero acts. Sometimes he doesn't even need to move, but he acts. It's in the way he tilts his head to the side, a smirk lingering around his mouth as she watches me make a fool of myself, the way his eyes sparkle, when I tell a joke and he can see that I'm happy…

Speaking of those eyes – you ever heard the phrase 'bedroom eyes'? Supposedly, people with bedroom eyes can undress you with them – Heero can make love to you with his eyes.

Well, not to you, but to me… And damn, it's sexy. Even sexier than his voice, sometimes, though maybe not, since he isn't a talker like me. Heero doesn't talk much, but when he has something to say, he says it. Normally in the least possible amount of words, but still…he talks to me.

Believe me when I tell you how unbelievable that is. That he'd expend any amount of energy to have a conversation – a two-way conversation, one wherein it's not just me talking and him making a few grunts once in a while – with me, when he doesn't have to. Not mission-related, or having anything to do with the war, but just…about things. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of great sex.

All great things, I might add – especially that last. Don't mind my smirk.

That first time…Heero didn't tell me he loved me. Nor the second time. Or the third, fourth, fifth…

In fact, it wasn't until I'd long ago lost track of how many times we'd fucked – well, made love, but no matter what you call it, as long as love is what you mean by it, that's what it is, right? – that he said it.

And Heero Yuy, when he decides to give into his emotions… He goes all out, doesn't hold back. You remember how I described our first time, right? Years of repressed sexual tension…

I still shiver when I think about it. The very thought of that time can make me hard even when I've just cum so many times I think my balls are permanently drained.

But, anyway, back to what I was saying… Heero didn't just tell me he loved me. Oh, no.

It was our first anniversary. I thought it was kind of karmic that we ended up finishing a mission – one that involved just the two of us – on the same day that we'd first fucked. It was only us in the safe house, and would be for three more days when 'Fei and Quatre would show up, and we were enjoying ourselves by making love in every room in the house. Not that there were many; this wasn't one of Q's mansions.

I'm getting off track again. We'd just finished making love for, like, the…third?…time that day, and he looked down into my eyes with this almost inscrutable expression on his face… It looked like he was trying to make a decision that he'd already made, but was doing one last check over all his options to decide if it was the right one.

He wears it a lot, mostly before missions that have a high chance of getting someone killed, but this time… This time was different.

And just when I was about to ask him if something was wrong, his face relaxed – and not just semi-relaxed, like he gets most times when we're together, or that languid relaxation he gets after he cums, but really relaxed – and he said, "Duo…aishiteru."

Now, I'm going to have to pause my narrative here while I tell you something. I do speak Japanese. After I met all the guys, I realized that I was conceivably the only one whose native language was English. Heero's was Japanese – duh – I couldn't figure out what Trowa's was, but I thought it might have been French; Quatre spoke Arabic, though his English was impeccable, if spoken with a British accent, and Wufei spoke the Mandarin dialect of Chinese. English was the only language we all had in common, but if there was one thing I knew, it's that when you can't really think, you revert to your first learned language.

Now, what do I mean by 'can't really think'? That's easy. If you're hurt, delirious, or have been beaten up so badly you should be unconscious and only aren't because you're a Gundam pilot, damnit, and you don't give up while you're still breathing, then you don't always even know what language you're speaking. When you're overcome by emotion – be it good, bad or in between – sometimes your brain isn't working enough for you to realize what you're saying.

Heero struck me as the kind of guy who'd only ever revert that far back if he was halfway through death's door after having rung the bell and knocked, but that's when you need the ability to be bi, tri or however many languages lingual the most. In order to coax someone back from the edge. And considering we were all Gundam pilots, I thought near-death situations were likely to happen quite often. I mean, Heero got shot twice – granted, by me – when I first met him, and barely a day later ended up with a broken leg. If that was typical of what our lives as mobile suit operators were going to be like, learning other languages would definitely come in handy.

Anyway, this all serves to explain why I decide to learn those four languages – in case of an emergency – and why I started with Japanese first.

Well…I also had kind of a crush on Heero, and I wanted to know what the hell he meant when he called me a 'baka.' I was hoping it meant something along the lines of, 'You're annoying, but cute.'

Believe me, I wasn't pleased when I found out it meant 'idiot.' I was even less pleased when I found that 'kisama' – what Wufei decided to call me, and I have no idea why he'd use a Japanese insult either – meant 'bastard.' Yes, I probably am – I don't know who my parents are, so I couldn't tell you if they were married or not – but I don't see why that's suppose to be insulting. Family is family, whether not you've got a piece of paper to prove it, or just believe it in your heart. Quatre and Wufei himself are the only ones who even have family, let alone parents.

Of course, Quatre also has twenty-nine test tube sisters, and his mother is dead, along with Wufei's wife by arranged marriage and almost his entire colony, but they've still got people. Family. All of mine – Solo, Father Maxwell, Sister Helen – are dead. Heero doesn't even know his real name – well, neither do I – so he might have family, but I'm not gonna hold my breath. And Trowa spent the majority of his childhood being Nanashi; all he had was Catherine and the circus, and that was before he found out she was his sister.

Our family lives are really screwed up. Then again, I sort of…consider all of them my family.

Which is even more screwed up.

I've gotten off track again. At any rate, I learned Japanese – slowly followed by Chinese (so I could insult Wufei back, natch) Arabic and Spanish (which turned out was Tro's first language). So I knew what Heero meant when he said 'aishiteru'. I knew all the possible connotations of that one word – or two words, I've never been able to figure it out; I can speak Japanese, and read it in its Romanized form, but I still have problems deciphering kanji even after all this time – including the one that said it was akin to a marriage proposal.

Yes, marriage. Here we were, fighting for our lives – and the lives of everyone in Sanq and the colonies, day in and day out – and Heero up and asks me to marry him.

What could I do but say yes?

Of course, me being me, first I pulled him into a kiss where I basically proceeded to fuck his mouth with my tongue until we were both breathless – then I said, "I love you, too, Heero no baka, but there's no way in hell you're gonna get this Shinigami to wear a wedding dress."

He gave me one of those almost-grins that no one but me ever sees and said, "We'll see."

Which is probably how I ended up dressing as a girl on our next undercover assignment, but at least I had the freedom to make out with him in front of other people – instead of having to pretend to just be friends like we normally do – so I'm not gonna complain too much, even if girl's underwear is exceedingly uncomfortable.

Of course, as a girl, I couldn't share a room with him, so I think Heero sort of shot himself in the foot with that one. Four weeks with no passionate nights spent sharing a bed and once the mission was over it wasn't actually all that difficult to get him to let loose a little.

Picture it: him, me, the motorcycle we'd made our getaway on, in a clearing not unlike that in which we first got together – only it was much smaller – and me still in my schoolgirl's uniform.

Only I'd ditched the icky undies.

It's amazing how easy it was to make him let go of his inhibitions long enough to get him to fuck me in a semi-public place. I shouldn't have been surprised, I guess; Heero has always had this sort of primitive need to 'mark' his territory – there's a reason I started wearing turtlenecks instead of just long-sleeved shirts, and it's because Heero has a biting fetish to rival a vampire's. My neck had at least three hickies on it at all times – and doing it where someone might see us probably appealed to that part of him that got sick of guys hitting on me in the past four weeks.

That, and I think he's a closet exhibitionist, but I'm never going to get him to admit it. In any event, that's not what I want him to talk about. And as long as he keeps showing me by his actions, I don't even really need him to say anything.

'Cause his body does it for him.

Ooohhh, yeah.

Who's the hunter, who's the game?
I feel the beat call your name.
I hold you close in victory.
I don't wanna tame your animal style.
You won't be caged in the call of the wild.

Speaking of his body… Let's talk about the – what was it? Three? – times he self-destructed and tried to blow that beautiful body of his up. Despite the fact that he lived through each of those times – and if he hadn't, I would have gone to Hell and back to retrieve his soul, because he'd promised it to me, if not in word, then in deed – essentially blowing your Gundam up while you're inside it does a lot of damage to a person.

I, of course, have no first hand experience of this. Every time I've tried the self-destruct button on Deathscythe, the damn thing didn't work. I would be suspicious that perhaps Heero cut the wire to it or something, except the first time I used it, he wasn't even there.

Anyway, back to Heero's suicidal impulses. The first time he self-destructed was about five months after we'd gotten together. I hadn't yet told him I loved him – I was pretty sure I did, but I was scared. I mean, I don't call myself Shinigami because I liked killing people; I'm the God of Death because up until I met the other Gundam pilots, everyone I cared about, seriously cared about, has died – but when I saw him blow himself up…

Would you believe I laughed? Yeah, I laughed. That kind of gallows laugh that you give because you're too wound up to start off crying, but know you'll end up that way anyway. I mean, I didn't seriously think we had all the time in the world to fall in love. I wasn't naïve enough to think I was indestructible, whatever I might have acted like on the battlefield. I just thought we had more time…

And then he just goes and throws away his life as if it doesn't matter.

But he mattered to me.

So when I found out that he was, in fact, alive, I didn't think twice. I tracked him down like I was a hunter stalking the elusive prey known as the Heero Yuy Panteras – the guy moves like a damn cat, all sleek, wild muscle, and barely-leashed strength. Even when he's relaxed there's this sort of coiled power and strength inside of him – and when I found him, I threw him up against the side of Wing and proceeded to rip his clothes off and fuck him senseless, all the while telling him he was mine and I loved him with every beat of my heart.

I think I shocked him with my actions – the only coherent word he managed to get out was my name – and I'm pretty sure I shocked myself too. Once the firestorm of passion I'd initiated was over, however, and I was holding him close in my arms, I started to shake. I was trembling like a leaf in the wind that's only holding onto the tree by sheer stubbornness. I mean, he hadn't told me to stop, and he'd seemed like pretty damn enthusiastic participant at the time, but I hadn't exactly asked, you know? And more than that, I'd been extremely forceful.

I needn't have worried. One touch of his hands against my cheek and a softly murmured, "I'm sorry I…that I hurt you. I…don't ever want to leave you," and I knew we were gonna be okay.

Not that that tamed the Heero Yuy Panteras, however. He was still as wild as ever, almost animal in his intensity. The next time one of us tried to self-destruct – note the 'tried' there, because it was me, and yes, Deathscythe remained in one piece – he was the one who tracked me down. Not that I wasn't happy about that, but I was hemmed in on three sides by Ozzies and I'd been counting on the ensuing explosion to cover my tracks while I escaped.

Not that I'm complaining about what happened instead. Heero showed up to save my butt. And once he'd saved my ass, he dragged me only far enough away from the conflagration to be sure no one would disturb up, and then proceeded to fuck my ass, and tell me I was his.

Sound familiar? Yeah, that's pretty much what I did when he self-destructed. (In case you're wondering, yeah, I did do that all three times. I didn't break down in preemptive hysterics afterwards the second two times, though.) A little role reversal there. The Great Dark Hunter Heero Yuy chased and caught the wily Maxwell Kitsune.

Or whatever. Heero's always telling me I'm as cunning as a fox… Though somehow, despite all that cleverness he seems to think I possess – not that I'm disagreeing with him, but I like to at least act humble every once in a while – I can't manage to elude him when he's enraged. Or maybe he's just got a one-track mind when he's horny.

One track consisting of one word: Duo. Though it is flattering that he seems to think I'm the epitome of sexual beings.

So, anyway, he tracked me down, and then he proceeded to fuck me senseless – and I do mean that literally. Apparently battle lust has nothing on the adrenaline surge one gets when you're worried for your lover's life, because I lost track of the number of times Heero fucked me that – I think I even passed out once and woke up with him still inside me.

Not that I'm complaining… Though my ass was sore for the next week.

But a good kind of sore. Just like it's a good kind of ache in my heart whenever I'm worried about Heero. But it's all worth it. Just like he is. No matter how much my ass might've ached that afternoon, or how much my heart might ache when he's in trouble, not having in my life is not an option.

Shooting at the walls of heartache:
Bang, bang!
I am the warrior.
Well, I am the warrior.
And heart to heart you'll win;
if you survive the warrior, the warrior.
I am the warrior.

It's a nerve-wracking thing, falling in love with a fellow fighter in the middle of a war. We could die at any day, and leave behind a grieving lover, who'd have to continue the fight while pretending he wasn't affected. That fact that Heero was another guy made it both perversely worse and better. Worse because even in this day and age of enlightenment, there're still quite a few homophobic people. Idiots. Better because I'm not sure I could put up with anyone who wasn't at least as weird, screwed up and scarred on the heart as I am.

And what with Quatre and Trowa together, 'Fei's the only other Gundam pilot who's free. He and I would kill each other within a week. And not from having too much sex – believe me, Heero and I have tried, and while you can fuck to exhaustion, you can't die from too much sex.

What a way to go, though…

The fact that Heero and I were going through the same problems helped a lot, even if it did make working out the kinks in our relationship a bit difficult at times. Knowing you're not the only one involved in something – even if it is confusion – is a comforting thing. Though there were times when Heero's near-complete inability to comprehend emotional thought processes almost caused me to throw up my hands in resignation and give up.

Heero may be a crack shot, but even I wasn't certain he could shoot down the walls surrounding his own heart enough to let me in. But he did. He let me love him, which is about the scariest thing I think he's ever done.

He says it is, anyway, and I believe him. Because the scariest thing I've ever done was trust him not to die on me. Everyone else has. With Solo he was a victim of some pretty crummy circumstances; with Father Maxwell and Sister Helen they were causalities of a war which had only just started. We were on the front lines of that war; it would have been so easy for either one of us to fall into Shinigami's warm embrace.

There have been so many times when the both of us almost bought it. Gundam battles, infiltrations when the only thing keeping me from dying was him shooting at the opposition, firefights when the only thing I had to focus on other than my objective was getting my injured partner out of there in mostly one piece.

I don't like thinking about how often I came to losing him; I like even less thinking about how many times I came so close to almost leaving him behind. But thinking about how empty my life would be without him does serve to show how important he is to me. I'm not saying I couldn't live without him – well, yes, I am, sort of – I could survive without him, but actually living

No. Not possible.

I don't even have to imagine the heartache I'd feel if he really died. I've felt that three times before; when he self-destructed, and there was a chance he was alive, but no one knew for sure.

Not even me. At least that first time. I was so blinded by rage – How dare he die on me? – and pain – How could he leave me? – that I wouldn't let the tentative hope that nestled in my heart come to the fore. The next two times that part of me managed to break out of the icy shell I'd covered myself in, tell me that I'd know if he were dead. I was so scared that part of me was wrong; but it wasn't.

It never has been. No matter how bad things have gotten, my heart knows his. We're connected on a level that transcends the mortal plane. I sometimes think that our lives are connected as well as our souls – if he dies, I die. But if I live…

He lives.

Sappy, sentimental mush, yes, but I have yet to be proven wrong.

And I am so glad.

Shooting at the walls of heartache:
Bang, bang!
I am the warrior.
And heart to heart you'll win;
if you survive the warrior, the warrior.

So now, here we are, the war is over, we survived…

And we're getting married.

I have no earthly idea how this happened. I mean, yeah, Heero asked – sort of – and I definitely accepted, but I didn't think we were actually gonna go through with it.

Have a ceremony, I mean. Sure, I'd wear a ring – well, on the chain around my neck; does that count as sacrilegious to wear my wedding ring next to my crucifix? – and we could go down to City Hall and make it all official with two minutes and a couple of signatures…

But an actual ceremony, with all our family – well, Howard, Hilde and Relena; Howard's sorta been like my father, only not, so maybe more like an uncle, Hilde's like the little sister I never had, and Relena…is like the little sister Heero never wanted, now that she's abandoned (thankfully) her crush on him – and friends – what few there are besides our fellow Gundam pilots, though, of course, Trowa, Quatre and Wufei were there, too – in attendance?

I mean, Heero hates parties, soirees and gatherings of any kind.So for himto voluntarily suggest one…

Eh. Love makes people do strange things, I guess.

And there is a small – very small, and even if it isn't, I'm not gonna admit it even on pain of death (hey, I am Shinigami for a reason, y'know) – part of me that likes the whole pomp and circumstance, the idea of claiming him for mine in front of a small crowd of the people closest to us.

I mentioned that the other pilots were there, right? Well, they weren't exactly in the audience. Quatre was my best man, and Trowa was Heero's. Quatre's always been someone I could talk to – him and me were the only ones on the team that talked all that much – and Trowa's pretty close to Heero, if only because they both speak the same language of 'silence punctuated by the occasional grunt.'

What about Wufei, you might ask? Well, we gave Wufei a bit of a different job…

I originally wanted to suggest him as combined flower girl/usher, but I didn't want him chasing after me with his sword and cutting off my hair on my wedding day, and anyway, we needed him for something more important…

Officiating the ceremony itself. Now, you might wonder how 'Fei could marry us. Well, turns out that during the war he'd been studying to be a lawyer – all that justice ranting had an actual point – and once that whole thing with Mariemeia was over, he got certified. They had this whole thing where if you could prove you'd completed all the appropriate classes – or their equivalents – then you didn't have to pass the actual bar. It's happened before after several other wars. Anyway, so he became a lawyer – and an honest one, however ironic that might seem – and then, well…

He got elected as a judge. A really low-on-the-totem-pole, some-bailiffs-have-more-authority-than-he-does judge, but a judge.

And judges can marry people…

So we got 'Fei to marry us.

Not that it was a traditional ceremony or anything; basically just the whole, 'Do you take this man?' bit plus the vows (in sickness and in health, in Gundam battles and boring stakeouts – yeah, I made him add that last bit. What? Heero thought it was funny) and then he pronounced us man and husband.

And in order to preempt the whole, 'You may kiss the bride,' line – I just knew Wufei's sarcastic sense of humor would make him say that; either that or, 'You may kiss the baka.'– I decided to take matters into my own hands – or, lips, in this case.

Wufei ended up giving a resigned sigh and saying, "You may…continue kissing the groom." Then he shook his head and stalked off, leaving us making out at the altar, the cheers of our friends ringing in our ears.

The reception was pretty good – short, and to the point. What with so few people there, the toasts – or, in Wufei's case, roasts – didn't take too long, and after I shoved cake in Heero's face and licked it off, we rode off on Heero's motorcycle.

I have got find out who found theinactive hand grenades to attach to the tailpipe. That was priceless.

But seriously, now we're heading off to our honeymoon – two weeks of having sex, having fun and being in love – and then we start our married lives together. Not like it's really gonna be all that different from our lives before – considering we've been living together since after the Eve Wars and working as Preventers – but there is something about wearing a wedding ring, even if mine is on the chain around my neck and Heero's is on his dogtags.

So Heero and I are married now, but even before were people were always asking me what it's like being with the 'Perfect Soldier.' I always laugh and say it's perfect, because it is, but in reality…

Heero isn't perfect. Neither am I. And it isn't just because the war is over that we aren't soldiers anymore.

We're warriors. Warriors of love.