A collection of short stories about Heero and Duo getting together. I've posted them all as separate stories because they can all be read as short oneshots but there is connection between the stories so I've numbered them in chronological order.

Seventh in the Ficlet Arc

Pairing: 1x2

Warnings: The combination of the words 'painful' and 'sex' :P

Duo's POV.

7. After the 'I love you'

When someone hands you their heart, you are gentle with it, are you not? You are careful not to step on it, careful nothing breaks. When someone says he loves you, you answer him, do you not? You don't just leave the poor guy hanging in space, with his heart out in the open, vulnerable. That's what Duo had always thought too, but he should have known better.

They had never been careful with each other hearts. Duo and Heero. Since the day they exchanged them, they had been calling each other names and shouting, with every intention of inflicting pain and those hearts would bleed and throb in their palms but they'd yell on with relentless vigil. They had been stepping on each other since day one. Stepping on their hearts, stepping on their toes. They'd fight till they had no breath and no strength left and then they would make love. It wouldn't make everything alright, they took their clothes off with the knowledge that it would only take the egde off. The edge off that biting pain they both felt for loving the other for who he was, but hating the other for who he pretended to be. And their lovemaking would be rough, rougher even than their fights. Sometimes, more painful too.

It were the silent, comfortable moments in the aftermath, when theu were both too tired to reject the other's embrace, that were worth all the fights and painful sex. And they would both bask in it till their anger got hold of them again.

'You're just a stone-faced ass, ya know that?!'

'And you're nothing but a liar! A joker!'

That's what they did. It was almost who they had become. Uncontrolled anger and spite. But when they were yelling at each other and raised the eyebrows of their friends, Duo knew it was just their way of conveying emotions they didn't know how to convey. No one had taught them how to be gentle and soft and learning took longer than they had thought. But that was okay, they were both emotional retards and there was no shame in the inability to say the three words that come so easily to some.

So when, last night, after the painful sex, this odd admission, this meek 'I love you', resounded through the thick air, the surprise was followed by the uncomfortable tension that the silence became. The biting silence stretched between them. Finally, Heero rose out of the bed and fled. And they hadn't spoken since.

Duo knocked on the door. He had a key, it was his apartment too afterall, but he left it at Quatre's place, where he had spent the night. He knew Heero had returned to their apartment by now, after spending the night at WuFei's.

Duo heard the door being unlocked and opened with a creak.

Heero, distrusting as ever, had left the chain on and only poked his head out. His eyes as narrow and as cold as they always were as they landed on Duo, who smiled shyly at him, awkwardly holding a bouquet of flowers.

'I love you too, you stone-faced ass.'

Love,

Crimson.

Part 8: Look! No hands!