Disclaimer – Gundam Wing is not mine. Those of you who thought it was, feel free to come meet me. I've borrowed Dane
Cook's knife and will stab you all in the jaw with it.
Warnings: Language, Sap, Angst, general misfortune. This is my first one-shot, so it may very well suck. That is all... I
think. Also: I do not take any ownership of Dane Cook or his knife. Please no suing.
“You think I what?”
“I know you 'what'!” Heero growled.
Duo could only stare at his lover of three months, his heart tearing through him. “I would never do that,” Duo
murmured. He could see in his lover's eyes that his words meant nothing. He felt bitterness rise within him.
“I saw,” Heero snapped. “You think I can't see? That a year out of war would make me blind?”
“I thought,” Duo snapped, “you trusted me!”
“Trust you?” Heero said disbelievingly. “How the hell can I trust you now?”
“No,” Duo yelled, “not now. Ever. You come into this house and start accusing me without asking for an explanation.
You probably condemned me the moment you saw me talking to him!”
“Talking, my ass,” Heero said sourly. “Your lips were locked together for the better part of a minute.”
“What, you counted?” Duo hissed bitterly. Bitterness. It welled within him. He knew what Heero had seen. He knew
what had happened. Heero didn't. Heero couldn't. Because Heero didn't trust a word he said.
How had they managed even the short time they'd had?
“Stupid,” Duo murmured, then moved away from Heero.
“Where the hell are you going?”
“Don't worry about it.” Duo went to the closet and grabbed his coat. “I'm heading out.”
“Running away?” Heero said, his voice superior. “You still running and hiding, Duo?”
Duo wanted to argue – he wanted to scream in outrage. He wanted to punch Heero. He wanted to break something. He wanted...
but at the same time, he wanted... to live in peace.
He took a deep breath and walked out the door.
“If you leave now, you aren't welcome again!” Heero called.
“I was welcome?” Duo murmured, and shut the door behind him.
It had been in the afternoon. He'd been working, as usual, on the boring-ass paperwork that always followed the missions...
or whatever they were called by politics and judicial systems. He would always think of them as missions.
Anyway, he was working on some boring, stupid paperwork that was always the bane of his existence in Preventors and then...
then Rock Willer came in.
A newbie Preventor, Duo had saved Rock's ass a few times. He vaguely remembered telling the kid that he should come to his
office if there were any other problems. He hadn't actually expected the kid to do it.
Oh, and by kid – he meant a year older than him, but not trained since pre-adolescence to kill.
Rock wasn't the least bit hesitant – in fact, Rock was said to be fairly... full of himself. Duo was one of the few
who gave the kid the time of day, and Duo did it mostly because, dammit, some poor sap was this kid's partner and the kid
had to be able to not get in the way.
But Duo was feeling extremely good that morning despite the paperwork (thanks to Heero's attention the night before), so he
greeted the kid with cheer.
“Hey there, Rock,” Duo had called out heartily. “What's up?”
“Duo,” Rock said, and Duo started. It wasn't odd for a superior to sometimes call their subordinates or lesser
officers by their first names... but it was practically unheard of for the lower ones to speak so informally to their superiors.
Duo felt a small sense of unease skitter through him, starting his adrenaline. He tried to ignore it.
“Preventor Maxwell,” Duo said lightly. “What do you need?”
Rock sighed and closed the door. That humiliating, eh? Duo thought, and put down the papers he'd still been holding.
But Rock hadn't spoken immediately, making Duo's unease rise a bit more. He was starting to listen to those instincts when
the kid slowly came forward, his face saucy and assured. Why did he get the feeling that the kid was a danger to him? What
the hell could this kid do? He'd seen the kid's fighting skills – good, he supposed, but not compared to him.
The kid still had that damn smirk on, and Duo was quickly losing patience. “Well?” Duo asked again, and let some
of his impatience seep through.
“Duo,” Rock repeated, throwing Duo a little further into 'pissed-off'. “The door's closed; no one can hear
Alarm bells. Fucking loud, screaming alarm bells. Duo felt his body tense. “What the fuck are you talking about, Willer?”
That damn fucking smirk only grew... and then the kid moved at him.
Duo could follow it – could see his arm reaching out to hit the kid, to grab his arm and twist it sharply. In shock
at his own response, he managed to stop his movement... had to stop all movement.
The kid's lips pressed into his.
Instincts had him moving again, grabbing the kid's arm. He knew what to do – twist it, twist him, then pull at just
the right angle and pop the shoulder out. Go for his knives-
No! No knives. He didn't have any, anyway. And certainly no shoulder displacement. It was a goddamn kid, for God's sake. Kissing
him. Kissing him.
Repelled by his own instincts, but what he'd almost done, he found himself frozen. He didn't know how long. It didn't matter.
He thought of Heero and felt vaguely sick.
That was when the kid pulled away, his smirk still wide. “See?” Rock murmured. “You didn't fight me.”
Duo waited a moment, then another. When he was certain he had his strength under control, he raised his fist and punched the
arrogant shit right in the face.
He didn't wait to see what damage he'd done – he knew already. A bruise, a sick feeling with his jaw. Maybe a ripped
muscle or two. No fracture. No break. The brat should fucking idolize him for his thoughtfulness.
“I'll be having you disciplined,” Duo said tightly, “if not fired.” The kid looked at him in shock.
“I'm spoken for, fucker. And be happy I didn't fight you – you'd be on a stretcher right now if I had. Now get
the fuck out of my office. I don't want to see your face again.”
Duo managed to look away as the kid wobbled precariously to his feet. There was a hesitation, almost a second too long, before
the shit left.
Duo had to take a moment to breathe before he'd been able to pick up the phone and report the incident to Une herself. His
anger was right underneath the surface, fighting to show itself. And underneath that... were even more emotions. Shame. Fear...
Anguish. Still, he thought. Still, I think as a warrior. Because I work here, training newbies and going on a weekly or bi-weekly
mission? Still seeing battlefields. Or maybe... maybe it was permanent.
And Heero. God. Heero. He would have to tell Heero as soon as he saw him, most likely that evening. Heero sometimes got back
late. But this feeling... he hadn't fought back. Granted, he could have done some serious fucking damage to the kid, but still...
he hadn't fought back. He shivered. Why did that make his feel so... dirty?
“Stupid, stupid, stupid,” Duo repeated, over and over, as he drove. He had no goddamn idea where he was going.
If he even had a destination. He'd just needed to get the hell out. He didn't want to fight... not after what had just happened
that afternoon. Just a few hours ago.
“Hours,” he muttered. His life had been fucked over in a matter of hours. “Dammit,” he said. “Dammit.”
He wanted to scream. It wasn't fair.
Of course it wasn't fair, he thought a mere millisecond after thinking that last line. Life wasn't fair. Hadn't he seen that
a thousand times already? Of course... once things started going well. That always happened. Solo... Sister Helen... Heero.
He felt tears in his eyes and battled them back ruthlessly. Dammit; he wasn't going to be the pathetic lover who fell apart
After his world falls apart.
But, dammit, more than Solo, more than even Sister Helen... he loved Heero. Loved that man with everything in his poor, tattered
soul. And yet...
“Over,” Duo snapped at himself. “It's over. He doesn't trust me. Doesn't even... won't even listen.”
Damn the tears for growing when he was ordering them to go the fuck away.
He had to find a place to crash. He hated going to one of the guys, but he remembered that Trowa was alone in Quatre's mansion
because of some meeting thing Quatre had to attend. With no more thought to it than that, he pulled out his cell.
He felt like his heart was about to tear itself into shreds. Emotions. What the hell was the use of following his goddamn
emotions?! He had followed his emotions, had gotten together with Duo... the one person he thought he could ever love... and
look where he was now. In agony. In despair.
Never again, he vowed. Never again would he open himself to this... to this pain. Dammit.
He didn't see Duo at work the next day, nor the day after. Duo never returned home.
The third day he was about to go up to see Une and demand to know where Duo was when Wufei rushed into his room. “Heero,”
Wufei called breathlessly, making Heero turn. “Heero,” Wufei repeated, and the use of his first name caught Heero's
immediate attention. “What's the meaning of this?”
“What?” Heero asked, disturbed by Wufei's expression, full of confusion and anger.
“What do you mean, 'what'?” Wufei demanded. “Maxwell's resignation – what the hell is going on all
of a sudden?”
Heero stilled in shock. “What?” he asked, his voice soft. “What did you say?”
Wufei gave him a searching look. “You did not know?”
Heero moved quickly, running up to Une's office without thought. He knocked and entered within the same second.
Une looked up in surprise and anger, but she quickly became... amused. Heero felt his anger, short for the past few days,
running close to the surface.
“Hello, boys,” she said, and only then did Heero realize that Wufei had followed him. They both stood as a sort
of united front, ready to fight... whatever they had to fight. They were partners, after all.
“What's going on?” Heero demanded. His thought processes finally started up again, telling him he shouldn't be
talking this way to his superior... nor should he care about the answer. He had been going to break up with Duo, anyway. Now
he wouldn't have to even see Duo. Wouldn't have to look at him or talk to him or...
He had this painful feeling in his chest – he knew, without a doubt, that Duo was going to disappear. Duo was going
to run and hide and... and Heero wouldn't be able to find him.
He had already asked, however, and apparently Une understood what Heero was asking about. “I was wondering when you
two would come up,” Une said, looking at them both with that damned amused smirk. “Maxwell informed me that neither
of you knew of his decision yet.”
“Do you know why...?” Wufei asked, his voice urgent.
“I asked him that,” she said. “He said that working at Preventors meant trusting your co-workers, and that
such was impossible now.” Her eyes found Heero's as he winced. “Do you know what he meant by that? He's right,
of course, but I would love to hear why he thinks we don't trust him.”
Wufei turned to Heero as well. “Yuy... what...?”
Heero's fists shook in his anger. Duo was trying to make him look like the bad guy? Was that the bastard's little parting
gift? Heero wanted to find that braided asshole and tear his hair out by the fucking roots.
And at the same time... he just wanted to see Duo again.
Stupid! he growled to himself. Only his emotions... his heart... wanted that. And he was done listening to it.
“Would it have anything to do with the report Maxwell filed three days ago?”
Heero's head snapped up at the date. “What?” he barked. Report?
Une still had that fucking grin, but it was tempered now by true concern. “I heard the two of you were a couple. That
was why I made certain you were never partners, even with Maxwell's on-again, off-again style of accepting missions.”
Heero's eyes hardened. “Not anymore.”
Une only lifted a brow, but Wufei made a sort of shocked noise.
Une merely shook her head. “Will this be a problem for you?” she asked, and for a moment she was once again his
“No.” He refused to let it.
“Right.” Her tone said clearly that she didn't believe it for a second. “In any case, I might as well have
you two finish off this file Maxwell started, since you were... closest... to him.”
She was speaking as if he were dead. Perhaps she knew, just as he did... that Duo would never be returning. No matter what.
“What... was the file on?” Wufei asked.
Une would normally tell him to read the file, but apparently she was willing to tell them this time. “About a sexual
assault by one Rock Willer.”
Heero froze. “A... what?”
That smirk was back, but now it was more self-satisfied. “Well?” she said finally. “Do I pay you to stare
“No, ma'am,” Wufei said, then bowed and dragged Heero out of the room.
Heero had to read the report three times, then skimmed down it again to find the most important paragraph.
'For fear of doing physical harm, Preventor Maxwell did not attempt self-defense. The assault continued for approximately
one minute, and was concluded at approximately 2:08 on the afternoon of...'
Heero skimmed that part and reread that first sentence for the fifth time. 'For fear of doing physical harm...'
Was it a sick joke? He wondered. Were Une and Duo making a mockery of him? Or... or could it be...
His hand trembled.
“Bastard,” Wufei said finally, reading his own copy of the report. “Where is this Willer?” Wufei sounded
ready to fight for Duo's honor.
Heero said nothing, only able to look at that sentence and one earlier...
'Agent Rock Willer entered Agent Duo Maxwell's office and proceeded to press his lips to Agent Maxwell's and pressed their
Just as Heero remembered seeing that afternoon when his heart shattered.
It didn't take long to find Rock Willer, the man whose face Heero would never forget. He was talking loudly to three people
in the break room, gesticulating and smirking. Heero only decided to read the boy's lips when he saw Duo's name spoken.
“He was all over me,” the boy said, that smirk widening. “He's such a poser. He didn't fight or anything,
but he still threatened to call Commander Une on me. I'm going to go see him on Friday. I'll give him some time to remember,
Heero felt sick... as did the people listening to Rock talk. Heero glanced at his partner in time to see Wufei's fists start
It was obvious, even to Heero's jealous and bitter eye, that the boy was full of himself. And, logically, a part of him noted,
there was no way Duo would be interested in this kid – and if Duo threatened to do something, he'd damn well do it.
“Didn't fight or anything...”
Jesus. Of course Duo hadn't fought – the kid would be in the hospital with serious injuries.
Technically, Heero and Wufei had gotten all the back-up evidence they had needed – word straight from the horse's mouth.
But still... Heero wanted to face that bastard. To face the kid who had humiliated Duo...
Because Duo had done nothing wrong.
Heero would think about that later. Later, when he could realize just what he'd done. What he'd ruined. How he'd hurt the
man he loved by – just as Duo had said – not trusting him.
But right now... right now, there was a man before him that needed to learn exactly what it meant to mess with someone he
The little shit didn't even realize they were behind him, even while those he was speaking to watched them and tried to hide
their grins. The poor, unfortunate listeners straightened and bowed to their superior officers. Wufei took a moment to acknowledge
them, but Heero was too pissed to look away. Rock was rambling about how he couldn't wait to see Duo again, how the braided
guy would pretend anger and would finally let go and-
Heero snarled. “That won't be happening.”
Wufei stepped aside to allow the three listeners their escape as Rock turned to face Heero. “Oh – Agent Yuy,”
Rock said, and his surprised look melted into that fucking arrogant look again. Heero had a feeling he was being seen as the
irritated, rejected lover, coming to try to pick on the new lover. Oh. Heero was going to enjoy pounding this guy's face into
Despite Wufei's own fury, he grabbed Heero's shoulder and squeezed hard. A warning. Heero stepped back a bit and allowed Wufei
to take over. He knew Wufei wouldn't be as violent... but the Chinese agent would certainly not be less ruthless.
“You are Rock Willer, are you not?”
Wufei, by the way, doesn't ask obvious questions unless he's about to ream your sorry ass.
“Of course,” Rock said, completely oblivious as to where this was going.
“I see,” Wufei said easily. “And where did you get that bruise?”
Wufei had to have been talking about the bruise, black and purple and swollen, that covered the left side of his face. A part
of the report explained that, as well.
'Agent Maxwell punched the left side of Agent Willer's face with just enough force to bruise but not to break.'
Another obvious question. Wufei was fucking pissed.
“Oh, this?” Rock chuckled. “Lover's spat.”
“I see,” Wufei repeated. “I suppose I can understand how a man would be pissed about you kissing him when
he already has a lover.”
Rock didn't even catch the danger in Wufei's voice. Heero took a short second to wonder how the kid became a Preventor in
the first damn place. Probably test scores and nothing else – or something.
Heero also caught the slight hesitation before the word 'lover'. Wufei had gotten a nosebleed the first time Heero had told
him about his new relationship with Duo. Wufei was beyond fucking pissed if he was using that word.
“Lover? No, that guy'd been dumped.”
Heero knew it was a lie. The man had lied before. Just a few seconds ago. Heero doubted the man would recognize the truth
if it stabbed him in the eye. Still, the idea that Duo had moved on without him even knowing...
But there it was again – the unwillingness to trust in Duo. Why was he so terrified of trusting Duo? Duo had never lied
to him. Duo had been so kind. Looking back, Heero could see how he'd pushed Duo. Tested him. He'd expected Duo to leave eventually.
Someone so beautiful, so able to laugh, should be with someone who could also laugh.
But Duo had always had the ability to make him laugh... despite everything.
“Well, I don't think you were picked as the replacement,” Wufei replied dryly. He pulled out Duo's report. Finally,
finally, Rock's arrogant smirk disappeared. “You're to come to Commander Une's office immediately. It seems Agent Maxwell
didn't appreciate your harassment as much as you think.”
Both agents watched as Rock's face contorted in fury. “That little bitch actually filed a report? What the hell kind
of game is he trying to play?”
Heero wanted to punch the shit's face in. Duo was not a “little bitch”.
“It's not a game. I suggest you come without a fuss.”
Fear flickered in those self-righteous eyes. Rock tensed as if to run – or maybe fight – but saw the glint in
his superiors' eyes. Even he seemed able to realize that they'd love the excuse to beat the shit out of him. As arrogant as
he was, even he knew that he stood no chance against two ex-Gundam pilots.
“Fine. I'll straighten this out, since you two can't.”
It took all of Heero's considerable control not to break the guy's neck.
It was with a supreme amount of relish that Heero pushed Rock in front of him into Une's office.
Une looked up from speaking on the phone. She quickly excused herself and hung up. “Well?” She looked past Rock
as if he wasn't even there.
“Agent Willer has something to say to you,” Wufei said, quickly glancing at Heero to shut him up. It was easy
to catch on – let the little shit dig his own grave.
She turned to Willer. “Make it quick.”
“Ma'am,” he started. She cocked an eyebrow – her subordinates were never to call her that. Heero smirked.
That was one nail on the coffin. “Duo” - another nail, as Duo was his superior officer - “came on to me.
He always came over to me. He made a point of coming to me before I got in trouble. Another nail. Heero distinctly remembered
Duo complaining about a rookie who still needed his diaper changed. Heero didn't have to stretch his brain to know he'd found
the little, as Duo termed him, “bed-wetter”. “I just went to his room to take the step we both wanted. He's
playing a game with you.”
By now both of Une's eyebrows were up. “So the incident did occur?”
Rock condemned himself. “Well, yeah, but-”
“Do you really think I'm going to take your word over Agent Maxwell's?”
Rock gaped. “What-”
“Consider yourself on the unemployed list, Mr. Miller.” Une stood, glaring her most potent stare at Rock. “Agents
Change and Yuy will escort you to the police station as soon as you hand over your badge.”
Rock stepped forward. “Like hell I'm giving you-” Rock realized that Heero and Wufei had their guns trained on
him and stopped. He switched tactics. “But Commander,” he pleaded, finally referring to her correctly, “you
can't be serious. Just because Duo – I mean, just because Agent Maxwell says-”
“I am proud to say I know that man quite well, Mr. Miller. He does not lie.”
Rock switched back to anger in a heartbeat. “Bullshit. Everyone lies.”
“Not Maxwell,” Wufei said. “Now hand in your badge.” Wufei's eyes narrowed as if daring Rock to resist.
He didn't, but slammed his badge and gun on Une's desk. No one jumped or flinched from his show of temper. Wufei holstered
his weapon and grabbed Rock while Heero kept his gun steady on the bastard's head. He didn't know if he'd ever wanted to kill
a man more.
“Agent Yuy?” Une added.
“Yes?” His eyes didn't stray.
“Remind me to begin psych profiles before hiring.”
Heero smirked. “Yes, Commander.” He'd send a report on it... after he found Duo.
Once Rock was restrained, Heero put away his gun.
“Yes, Commander?” He turned back to her.
“Bring back my superior officer.”
“I'll make it a priority,” he told her, and followed Wufei out the door.
After leaving Miller at the police station to hear his rights, Heero and Wufei began the hunt.
“Maxwell's damn good at stealth,” Wufei muttered. “Three days would have given him plenty of time to disappear.”
Heero refused to hear that. “He had to have gone somewhere after...” After I kicked him out. What
had he done?
Wufei looked at him then as if trying to dissect him. “Are you going to tell me what happened between you and Maxwell?”
Heero tensed. But really? It was his fault Duo was gone. He had to tell Wufei. “He... tried to tell me. I had seen Rock
kiss him, and Duo had just stood there. I didn't listen to him. I didn't trust him... so he left.”
Wufei somehow managed to assemble that into coherency. “You know, Yuy, sometimes you can be a real ass.”
Heero sighed dejectedly. “I know.”
Wufei smiled. “Well, he most likely would have told Quatre something. He wouldn't have left without letting Quatre
know he was okay.”
Heero could only agree. Quatre was the mother-hen of the group, and he and Duo had always been close, even during the war.
Duo wouldn't have left Quatre to worry.
Heero pulled out his cell and pressed in Quatre's home number. Only then did he remember that Quatre had been in a meeting
in the colonies the entire week. He was to return that afternoon.
He was about to hang up when his call was picked up. “Hello.” Trowa's voice. That was right – Trowa had
stayed behind this time. It sounded almost as if he'd expected a call from him.
“Hi, Trowa. Sorry for calling; I-”
“I was beginning to wonder if you'd call at all.”
Heero stopped breathing for a long moment. Then his heart trip-hammered his body into action. “Trowa – where is
he? Is he with you?”
“I promised not to answer the first. No to the second.”
“Dammit, Trowa!” Heero barked.
“Calm down, Heero. You know, you rally did quite a number on Duo, though he didn't give me any specifics. Apparently
you don't trust him. Is that right?”
“I...” Heero wanted to reach through the phone and shake Trowa until he coughed up Duo's location. But that would
never work on Trowa. He hated speaking about his mistakes. But to get Duo back... “I refused to listen to him and acted
selfishly. But I need to talk to him.”
Trowa was silent for a short moment. “You know... I should make you grovel.” Heero opened his mouth to protest,
but Trowa beat him. “The only thing is... I think you'd actually do it.”
Like Heero would ever admit that.
Trowa sighed. “All right, I'll tell you where he is.”
Heero memorized the information Trowa and turned to Wufei, too anxious to thank Trowa. He'd thank him later.
The Chinese man's eyebrow was cocked. “Where?” was all he asked.
Heero smiled grimly. “The old Holiday Inn.”
He was a bit surprised to hear the phone ring, and instantly wary. No one should be calling him.
Then he stopped and thought again. It wasn't impossible that Quatre had returned early...
He picked the phone up mid-ring and placed it to his ear without saying a word.
It was Trowa. “Is something wrong? Did something happen to Quatre?” Duo was a bit surprised at the concern that
filled him. Over the last few days, he'd begun to wonder if he'd ever feel anything again.
“No, Quatre is fine. He'll be arriving this afternoon.” Duo could hear the eagerness in Trowa's voice and suddenly
envied Quatre more than he ever had before. “It's Heero.”
Just the name had Duo sucking in a breath. “Yes?”
There was an ominous silence on the other end of the line before Trowa spoke again. “He's coming to see you.”
Shock froze Duo for a moment. He had never seriously believed that Heero would actually come after him. He'd only made Trowa
promise as a precaution, an old habit that had him covering all the bases.
Then anger resurrected itself. Trowa had promised. Why had he broken his word?
“Trowa,” he breathed, “how could you?”
“Calm down, Duo,” Trowa said with a small chuckle. That little laugh was the only thing that kept Duo from snarling
at him. “Heero called me to ask about you. Duo, he sounded miserable.”
Despite everything, Duo felt his heart hurt for the man he loved. “Guess he found out he was wrong.” The bitterness
inside him rose. It figured that Heero would only come back for him after he found out he'd been wrong.
“I suppose.” Trowa's voice was full of concern. “Duo, do you want me to come over?”
Another carry-on from the war: back-up. “No,” he said on a sigh. Hiding behind Trowa would solve nothing. “That's
all right. Thanks for the offer, though, Trowa.”
“Sure thing.” There was another short pause. “Duo?” Trowa spoke.
“Make him beg.”
Trowa hung up afterward, and Duo couldn't help but smile at an empty vid screen. “Sorry, Trowa,” Duo murmured,
“but I just don't think I can do that to him.”
He hung up the phone and let his head fall forward. “Heero.” The name came out in an anguished whisper. Duo loved
Heero. With everything he was. But after months of trying without getting anywhere, without getting any respect, he'd finally
found the strength to leave. What would happen when he saw Heero again?
No. No, he wouldn't falter. It had taken him a while to gain a true confidence in himself. Heero, actually, had been the one
to teach him.
Duo smirked. It was like one of those old ninja movies. To prove he knew how to respect himself, he had to face off against
He imagined welcoming Heero into the room with the kung-fu crane stance and had to suppress a hysterical laugh.
Despite knowing it was coming, Duo jumped like a shot at the sound of a knock on the door.
“Get a grip,” he snarled at himself. He fisted his shaking hands and walked ramrod straight to the door.
It took him only until he opened the door to regret telling Trowa not to come over.
Not over was Heero there, gloriously handsome in his Preventors uniform and an intense cobalt gaze that melted Duo's insides,
but so was Wufei, regal in his own uniform.
Duo let that part of him called Shinigami take over. “Heero.” He was proud of his voice, proud that he didn't
break down and throw himself at the man in front of him, though it took every ounce of his will.
He shouldn't be angry that Heero was the same unemotional guy he'd been during the war. It was familiar. Normal.
Which was, dammit, the exact reason why he was angry.
Wufei nudged Heero, who jumped a bit... then reddened. Duo could only watch in surprise. “Duo,” Heero started,
his voice hesitant, “may we come in?”
Duo only stepped aside, deciding to not risk breaking his voice in front of Heero and thus lose whatever edge he may have.
Wufei watched as Heero entered, then took Duo's hand. “Maxwell,” Wufei began, then hesitated just like Heero.
Duo couldn't believe the look on Wufei's face – almost akin to frustrated desperation. “Please, do not leave without
notifying us on your destination.”
Duo didn't know how to hide his shaking while Wufei was holding his hand.
Thankfully, Wufei let it go.
Duo dropped his facade instantly and leaned out the door. “Wufei?” he called. His own voice trembled.
Wufei waved without turning. “I do not want to stay in the explosion that is about to occur.”
His words, though spoken calmly, made Duo's face flame. There was a suggestive tone flickering underneath.
If he had any strength of will, Duo thought, he would keep that from happening.
But... did he have any strength of will when it came to Heero?
He took a deep breath and turned back, closing the door. Heero was still looking at him, seeming to drink up his existence
before him. That deep stare was still on his face. The intensity of it made Duo shiver.
“Cold?” Heero asked.
“No.” Duo willed himself to still. “What do you want, Heero?”
He was shocked to recognize the wince that passed over Heero's face, though not by the answering tug of his heart. “You
aren't surprised to see me.” It wasn't a question, so Duo had no idea why he answered.
Heero nodded, having already come to that obvious conclusion. “Duo, we need to talk.”
“You did,” Duo responded bitterly, “quite a bit. Though I'll admit I didn't get much into the conversation.”
Another wince, this time expected. “Duo... Wufei and I investigated the report you filed on Rock. He's been dismissed.”
“Whoopee,” Duo muttered sarcastically. Like he cared at this point.
Heero sighed. “Duo...”
Duo freaked at that hopeless murmur. “Do you want to drink? Oh, shit, that's right, we don't have green tea here. You
could sit. There's chairs or the... uh... bed... to sit on...” Oh, shit, the bed.
It was so strange to hear those words, that phrase, without any irritation in the tone. Instead there was sadness, and Duo
had no defense against that.
Heero came toward him, eating away the space, as if trying to reconcile the space he'd placed between them emotionally. Duo
had to use all of his will not to shiver again.
“Duo, I...” Heero's breath came out in a whoosh, strong enough to brush Duo's face. Too close. The urge to collapse
into Heero's arms was exponentially stronger and thus even more infuriating. “I was so wrong.”
“Yeah. I know.” It was difficult to get even that much out as he fought against his girly desire to cry –
something he'd been fighting for some time.
Heero seemed put off somewhat by Duo's crudeness, and for a heart-stopping moment Duo though Heero would leave. But he didn't.
“Duo, I was so selfish. So afraid that at any moment I would lose you.”
Duo had never heard Heero speak of fear in context with himself before. It made him pause.
“I... I saw things that weren't there. Every time you were late, every time you said you had a late meeting-”
“I did have late meetings, Yuy,” Duo growled. Was that really what all this bullshit had been about? All
this time – all these months?
“I know, but-”
“But you didn't trust me.” And, in the end, Duo thought sadly, that's what all this came down to.
Heero stepped away. “No. I didn't. And there's no excuse.”
Well, it wasn't like Heero to make excuses, anyway.
“Duo, I know I don't deserve another chance. Not after the way I've treated you. But... I feel like if I lose you...
then whatever life I've been searching for outside the war is... meaningless. If you aren't with me... I fear I'll never laugh
“You'll laugh again,” Duo said quietly. He felt himself smile, but there was nothing to smile about. “You
have a great laugh.”
“Duo...” Heero's voice was quiet, too. Trowa was right – he sounded miserable.
But, strangely, Duo found it didn't matter... because Heero had yet to say the few words that would bring Duo back to him.
Heero raked a hand through his hair again and stalked to the window. There was really nothing to see – the building
next door and a small, hopeful patch of skyline. If you leaned to the right, you'd see a bit of the street in the front of
the buildings; to the left, the alley behind the hotel.
Heero turned back around, apparently not interested in twisting his body into pretzels to see so little. “Duo, I...
I understand how you'd be angry with me. I'd be furious. I probably – most definitely – wouldn't be willing to
“Yeah. That's been proven.”
Thinking about it, Duo had no idea where the cruel words were coming from.
Heero's eyes saddened even more. “Duo.” The word this time was nothing more than an anguished plea. Duo felt a
pain rip in his chest. He couldn't bear to see the strong warrior become like this. No wonder Trowa sent him over. “Duo...
I'm so sorry.”
And there they were – words Heero had never spoken to him before. Duo felt a weight crushing his chest that felt suspiciously
Heero again came forward, but this time he stood a good meter away – this time as if acknowledging the distance he'd
created between them. “I've been so cruel to you.” He reached his hand up as if to touch, then dropped it again.
“And because of that you've suffered.”
Duo couldn't meet Heero's gaze now.
“I should have known,” he continued. “I never would have put up with it. But you did. I... should have known
that eventually you'd lose patience with someone like me. It's just... I was so afraid... so afraid to tell you.”
Duo's breath hitched. His mantra that boys don't cry was lost behind the buzzing in his ears.
“I love you.”
Duo's breath caught and stilled. And, to his everlasting horror, the tears fell.
He covered his mouth with his hand and closed his eyes. So long. He'd waited so long to hear those words. After countless
months of wanting, he'd given up on ever... and yet there they were.
“Oh, God, Duo, are you crying?”
“No.” Like the wobble in his voice wouldn't give him away.
“Oh, God, Duo, you are.” Like he couldn't tell on his own.
Heero came and wrapped his arms around Duo. He had no choice but to be enfolded in Heero's arms.
“You bastard,” Duo said scathingly, wishing he didn't have to sniff afterwards, “do you have any idea how
long I've waited to hear that?”
“I'm sorry. I'm so sorry, love.”
And that was new, too. Love? Heero had never once spoken that word to Duo. “Who are you and what-” sniff “-have
you done with Heero?”
Heero's laugh was strained. “I don't know. Fear has put me into a hallucinatory state – I think I'm alone, so
it's easier to say.”
Was that a sense of humor?
“Duo, please, please. Give me one more chance.”
Oh, God. He'd made Heero beg. “Shh,” he murmured. “That's enough. I love you, Heero. How could I say no
to one more chance to have everything I've ever wanted?”
Heero hugged him tight. “I'll give it to you. I swear, this time I'll give it to you.”
The words were sealed with a kiss – and this time, for the first time, Duo could taste the love.
Quatre: Hey! Where the hell was I in all this?!
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