From Far Away Part 14
"So you dare to come back here without bringing the boy to me. You're a shame, Otto!" Tsubarov bellowed from his throne.
"I...I'm sorry, my Lord. But the warrior who is with him is very strong." Otto knelt and bowed his head.
Tsubarov gritted his teeth. "At least you have found their hideout. Go with the others and this time you better not disappoint me!"
"Wait, Mr. Tsubarov." A female voice spoke up from the door.
Tsubarov turned and saw a hooded woman enter the room. "Lady Une..."
"Don't need to be in hurry. My vision told me we have to wait for the right moment and the fate will be on our side. Duo Maxwell will soon be yours."
A week later
"Maxwell, stop cheating and play fair." Wufei growled.
"Hey, I'm still new in this game. So it's fair for me to cheat." Duo grinned and avoided Trowa who tried to snatch the ball. They were playing a ball game, which was similar to basketball in Duo's world. Its difference in this world was a team consisted of two peoples only and the game could be played by more than two teams at once. There were only one basket and the winner was the team who put the most balls into the basket.
"Injustice!" Wufei bellowed as Duo managed to dodge his block.
"Calm down, Wu-chan. It's only a game." Relena giggled at her fuming teammate.
"Trowa, you guard his left and I'll guard the right." Quatre shouted and blocked Duo. "You won't score this time, Duo."
"Ah, Quatre, I maybe not, but I'm not alone." Duo grinned and passed the ball to his short-haired teammate, who was standing near the basket. "We win!!" Duo laughed as his mate managed to throw the ball into the basket.
Noin and Sally, who didn't join the game, watched from inside their current safe house through the window. Wufei was stomping his foot, ranting about how unjust the game was while Relena, Quatre, and Trowa smiled at his antic. Duo ignored the raven-haired boy and chose to hug his mate to celebrate their victory.
"Look at them all, so happy and lovely. They really suit each other. " Sally smiled. "I never saw Relena so happy before. Wufei must really love her, ne?"
Noin nodded. "Yes, he does. Trowa and Quatre, Wufei and Relena.......despite the war, they have found happiness in each other, I only hope Hilde finds hers also."
"We can only hope, Noin." Sally smiled, still looking at the six players. "Duo can be a good one for her."
They were lost in watching and talking that they forgot there was still another person in the house, who also watched the game from the other window not far from them. That person fixed his Prussian blue eyes on the braided boy who was still hugging the short-haired girl and laughing with her happily.
//They really suit each other, huh?// Heero felt pangs of pain and jealousy in his heart when he saw how relax and happy Duo was. Today, Heero was wearing a pair of black loose pants and a green tank top, his usual clothes when he wasn't wandering. It had been a week since their encounter with Otto. Since then, Hilde had been all over Duo almost constantly, asking for his help and using any other reasons that would make Duo stay with her. He was grateful Duo still spent some time hugging and kissing him, making him still felt cared for.
Being a stranger from another world, Duo liked to hear many tales and stories about this world and Hilde was so good at telling stories. That was one thing Heero could not give Duo. He only could state a fact he knew, telling it to Duo in his cold monotone voice. Hilde said her father liked to tell her tales for her bedtime story and Heero, since he was never told a bedtime story, didn't know how to tell them. Tales and stories were given to him as a lesson he had to remember not a dream he could fantasize.It was also Hilde who pointed out that he couldn't join the game since his strength and agility were far above them, making him win the game easily. Duo had protested and he was grateful for that, for it showed Duo still thinks of him as a normal human being. But Heero knew his place, having become used to his role as a spectator only, and stepped back, letting Hilde replace him as Duo's teammate.
So like in the past, he only watched the others play from a distance. He watched them run, laugh, and have fun. When he was a very little child, he had longed to be a part of the game, hoping someday the parents will let their children play with him. But those feelings had died as the years passed and as he became aware of what he was. Of course no one in his village would ever want to play with him since they knew what he really was...... A monster....
Heero watched Duo longingly. It was a lie to tell himself that his hope of playing with the others had completely died. He wanted to play with Duo, to laugh with him and to be hugged by him like Hilde was right now. Was it so selfish of him to want Duo all to himself? Duo was the only friend he ever had. Duo was the one who first cared for him and wanted to stay with him even after the braided boy had found out about his true form.
His mind flew back to the time he first met Duo, the time when he had Duo all to himself only. He longed for those days to come back, the days when there were only the two of them, traveling together beneath the stars. The days when he could cuddle into Duo's warmth and sleep together, not like now where they had to share the room with the other boys.
Duo finally controlled himself and released Hilde. He turned to the house to see his beloved koi brooding at the window, not aware of being watched. Heero looked so beautiful with the sunshine lightning his face. Duo smiled and felt warm feelings flooding in his chest. He loved Heero so much that he could never think to be able to live without the stoic boy.
Suddenly Duo realized he didn't know how to say 'I love you' in Heero's language. He only thought about love in his mind, using his own language, which he had rarely used in this world. Duo's mind went through some of the vocabularies Heero had taught him but he couldn't find the word he wanted. In fact, Heero never taught him any intimate words .....
Duo frowned and realized, except for himself, Heero never had someone to tell him about love or give him some intimate ministrations. His heart ached as he realized that as an orphan he was luckier than Heero. At least he had Sister Helen who constantly showered him with affections but Heero had none of that.
"Yo, Duo, what's up?" Hilde's voice brought Duo back from his thoughts. He looked at the wondering girl and then grinned. He would surprise Heero by telling him how much he loved him.
"I want to ask you something, Hilde." Duo pulled Hilde away from the others, whom continued to play the game.
"What do you want to ask, Duo?" Hilde asked.
"Well, you see... " Duo thought hard on how to ask the girl about the word he wanted to know. It was not an easy task because he didn't want to make another mistake in understanding a new word this time. "If you care a lot for your koi, what will you say to him?"
Hilde looked at him, surprised at the question. "Say 'I care for you' then."
"No no no...... I mean.... I can say I care for Quatre, though I care even more for my koi. I want words that can only be said to your koi, not to the others."
"Ah, you mean 'aishiteru', Duo?" Hilde smiled and looked expectantly at the boy.
"'Aishiteru', Hilde? Is that the word that is meant for my koi only? Not for the others?"
"Yes, it's for your koi only. It means you truly madly deeply in love with your koi."  Hilde stepped closer to the beaming Duo.
"Love?" Duo seemed confused.
"Love is more than just care. It's almost the same as 'aishiteru'" Hilde explained.
"I got it. Thanks Hilde!" Duo smiled widely and hugged Hilde in gratitude. Then he turned his head back to the house. "Now I can say tell Heero....." His words and smile faded as Duo saw no one at the window.
Heero was running. He ran as fast as he could, trying to shove away Duo and Hilde's words that kept echoing in his head. It was really a big mistake to hear their conversation using his Power. Hell, he should have known it. Last time he did it, he was thrown to the reality that Duo didn't think of him as a koi. He should have learned his lesson not to eavesdrop on the others using his Power but he was curious and jealous.
Aishiteru Duo... He was shocked by what the wind brought him, shocked by Hilde's words. But it didn't compared to how shocked he was when he heard Duo's reply. Aishiteru Hilde.......... Right after he heard those words, Heero was too shocked to continue eavesdropping. He watched as Duo smiled at the girl, feeling so empty and lost. And when Duo hugged the girl, Heero couldn't think about anything, except to run. To run from the reality he will soon be forced to accept.
Because he wasn't looking where he was stepping, Heero stumbled on something and fell down face first. For some minutes he didn't move and then he flipped to lie on his back. A bitter smile was formed on his face as he realized despite how often he reminded himself that he wasn't Duo's koi, a small part inside him still hoped Duo really loved him.
But what he heard today had destroyed that little hope. Duo cared for him, but that was it. Nothing more. How could he ever hope Duo will want a monster like him to be his koi. "Baka..... Heero no baka..." Heero cursed himself. He suddenly felt so tired and beaten. It had been so long since he last ran as fast as this, since that day when he had ran away from his village...... The stoic boy closed his eyes, letting the sleep claim him.
Duo groaned as he found himself once again in this familiar dreamscape.
"No!" Duo turned and saw a four-year-old Heero sitting stubbornly on the dark floor while J hovered over him.
"Yes, you have to train or you won't be a great warrior."
"No! I want to play."
"No one wants to play with you." Duo felt his blood boiling as little Heero bowed his head in defeat. "Now, let's practice."
"No! It's no fun."
J looked irritated. "Listen boy, don't you want to meet your parents?"
Little Heero looked up in surprise. "My... my parents?"
"Yes, your mother and father. Don't you want to meet them?"
"Then you have to be a great warrior first."
"They will only meet you once you have become a great warrior."
"That's why you have to practice. Come, boy."
Duo glared at J with anger and hatred as little Heero followed the man to practice. So that was how J got Heero to obey him. If looks could kill, J probably be dead by now. That bastard knew Heero's parents didn't want their child but yet he promised him... he promised a life of hell for Heero in exchange for his obedience with the training.
The scene changed and Duo saw an eight-year-old Heero being taken to his parents' house. He watched the days Heero spent there as his mother shouted at him and attacked him while his father ignored him. He watched as little Heero became so heartbroken and lost by his parents' behaviors. J never showed up, making Duo wonder where the bastard went. Hopefully Heero had killed him accidentally in one of his practices.
The scene changed again. Duo was surprised to see a bigger Heero. He was about twelve to thirteen and was wearing a warrior robe. Duo watched as Heero looked at his village sadly "I can't stay.... Forgive me, father... I don't want mother to suffer anymore because of me........" And then he walked away.
Before Duo could do anything, the scene once again changed. This time he was in a tavern and saw Heero walked in. Two men near Heero were talking about a burned village, where none of villagers survived, which made Heero paled and left the tavern quickly.
"What the...." Duo didn't finish his words as the scene changed and showed him Heero looked at his burned village with horror. Everything was burned to the core, no human or animal survived. Duo reached for Heero, wanting to soothe the boy but before he managed to touch him, Heero turned and ran away, shouting out loud. "Nooooooo!!!"
"Heero!" Duo ran after the boy. He felt his heart break as the said boy cried out in grief as he ran, blaming himself as the cause of the burning. He tried to catch Heero but the boy was faster. "Heero!!!" Duo tried to reach for the boy again but Heero ran faster, putting more distance between them.
"No! Heero!" Duo watched helplessly as Heero ran further and further away from him and then disappeared.
Duo sat up and had to cover his eyes from the sunset coming through the window near him. He steadied himself and looked around. Heero still wasn't back yet. He had asked Sally about Heero and she said Heero only mumbled about taking a walk and then went away. He was so eager to tell Heero how much he loved him that he decided to wait for him to come back, but the tiredness after the game had lulled him to sleep.
Duo looked at the sun, which was almost set to the horizon line, to estimate the time. He frowned as he realized Heero had been gone for too long. It was not Heero's habit to walk away for too long without Duo. Then a scene from his dream flashed in his mind. Heero ran.... Ran away..... and he couldn't catch him..... Duo went cold and began to panic.
No, Heero would not leave him like in the dream. Heero loved him and had promised to stay with him. Duo tried to calm himself and gain his sense, but a worried feeling continued to fester inside him. He only lasted for five minutes before he bolted out to find Heero. He walked towards the direction Sally had pointed out Heero had gone earlier and ran his eyes around, trying to find his missing koi.
Whether it was only luck or something, after fifteen minutes of walking and searching, Duo easily found Heero. The stoic boy was sleeping near a small river. Duo sighed in relief and crouched down next to him. "Heero no baka.... You've made me worried about something that will never happen......"
Duo leant down and kissed Heero lightly. When he pulled away a pair of blue orbs looked back at him in surprise. Duo smiled and ran his fingers over Heero's lips. "You'll never leave me, ne?.... You're mine....." Duo captured Heero's mouth again, closing his eyes and kissing the boy passionately. Too bad he missed the slight changes in those blue orbs.... from surprised to confused ...and then to defeated.........
Duo opened Heero's mouth with his tongue and drank the sweetness of the moist cave, letting his tongue roam inside Heero possessively. Duo could still remember the dream perfectly and he was thankful that it was only a dream. Heero was here with him, not untouchable, not unreachable. Duo growled and attacked Heero's mouth more hungrily. Heero wouldn't run away from him, not now, not ever.
After some minutes of tasting Heero, Duo realized Heero hadn't responded back to his kisses. Confused, he pulled away and looked at the stoic boy. Heero's eyes were opened but they weren't focused at him. Although it was dark, Duo could see the blue eyes. Those eyes seemed lost and heartbroken. "Heero...?" Duo knew those expressions; he had seen them before.... But where?
"Heero, look at me." Duo cupped Heero's cheek but Heero didn't look at him. It seemed like Heero was trying to ignore, to deny what was happening. And that was when Duo remembered where he had seen these expressions before. They were in his dream. They were the same expressions he saw on Heero when he was abused by his mother and was ignored by his father. When Heero learnt the ones he loved didn't love him back...............
"Heero....." Duo choked out. He had only left Heero alone for one hour or so. What had happened to the boy before him? Who had hurt his beloved like this?
"What happened to you?" Heero kept silent and averted his gaze while Duo caressed the boy's cheek. He was feeling so confused by Heero's behavior. Was it him who did this to Heero?
"Nothing." Heero mumbled and looked away, trying to evade Duo's caressing hand, but Duo caught his chin and turned his face to face him.
"You're lying. You..."
"Maxwell!!! Yuy! Where are you?"
Duo groaned as he heard Wufei's shouting from a distance.
"Maxwell! Yuy!!" Wufei shouted again. Duo stayed silent. He didn't want them to be found yet. There was something wrong with Heero and he had to find it out.
"Duo! Please answer me! " Hilde's shouting made Duo realize they were worried about him. Of course. He had gone out without telling anybody while there was someone out there wanting to catch him. Reluctantly he pulled away and was about to stand up when he realized Heero's hand was gripping the edge of his sleeve tightly, as if he didn't want Duo to leave him.
"We'll talk later." Duo put his hand on Heero's then he stood up, hoisting Heero up with him and pulled him towards their shouting friends' direction. "We're here, Wufei! Hilde!"
Duo cursed as he walked to his room.
He had explained and apologized to Wufei and Hilde while they were walking back to the safe house. He had planned to confront Heero as soon as they arrived back. But when they did, Sally and Noin had dinner ready. Heero quickly seated himself at the dinner table without a word, leaving Duo with no choice but to wait till dinner's over.
But when Duo was half finished with his dinner, Heero stood up and excused himself, mumbling something about being tired and wanting to sleep earlier. Duo knew it was a lie. Heero was evading him....... As he approached the bedroom, Duo tried to recall what he had done wrong to Heero and couldn't find any.
Just when Duo was about to open the bedroom door, Hilde called him, "Duo."
Duo groaned, but he stopped anyway and turned to face the girl. "What, Hilde?"
"Uhm, I want to tell you something." Hilde seemed nervous.
"Can it wait till tomorrow? I have something to do."
"I prefer to tell you now. Please, it won't be long." Hilde seemed so nervous that Duo didn't have the heart to refuse. What Hilde has to say to him might be very important for her to insist about.
"Okay. What is it?"
"Not here, let's talk outside." Hilde grabbed Duo's hand and pulled him outside to a small park next to the safe house.
"So, what do you want to tell me?" Duo stood casually while Hilde stood nervously in front of him. His mind was still filled by the image of Heero's broken eyes. He wanted to be with Heero, to find what had disturbed his lover.
"Uhm....I.... I love you, Duo." Hilde blurted out and then bowed her head.
Duo's eyes widened as the words registered in his mind. He looked long at the girl before he sighed and took Hilde's chin and raised her head. The girl looked at him expectantly. "Hilde......"
"Duo..." Hilde looked at the braided boy. Duo seemed to be serious, a very rare expression from the usual cheerful boy she knew. But did she really know Duo?
"I love Heero." Duo said the words slowly and seriously. "I like you, I care for you like the sister I never had, but Heero."
"But you said you weren't his koi...." Hilde stammered.
"I am now. I had misunderstood the meaning of koi, but it's a blessing since I found out Heero's feelings for me because of it. He loves me and I love him." Duo smiled.
"He loves you? I don't think so. He is so cold and he ignores you, as if he thought you as a nuisance."
Duo looked at the girl. "I once thought like that. But now I know that's not the case. If he is so cold and ignores me because he thinks I am a nuisance, then why will he help me in the first time, taking me with him? Why will he bother to teach me your language? And moreover, why will he bother to protect me?"
Hilde knew Duo had a point, but it didn't stop her from trying one more time. "But he never appreciates what you do for him. You take care of him and hug him throughout our journey, but he doesn't return them back to you. He always calls you baka and glares at you. He never shows you once how much he loves you."
Because he doesn't know how... was what Duo wanted to say, but instead, he said, "I love him for who he is, Hilde. Just being near him has made me happy. Just being able to hold him, to hug him, and to know he's there beside me; it's enough for me." Duo put his hands on Hilde's shoulders. "You are a nice girl Hilde, but I love Heero. Only him. I want to make him happy, to make him smile, and to be with him to see his happiness."
"You really love him, don't you?" Hilde looked at Duo, holding back her tears.
Duo smiled warmly. "Yes, I do. I'm sorry to hurt your feelings but this is one thing I can't deny. I love him with all my heart."
Hilde bowed her head in defeat. "I know.......... I just didn't want to admit it...... You look so happy and you simply glow when you are with him or when you talk about him just like you do now." She looked up at Duo again, still holding her tears. "Will.... Will you hug me ? Just for once?....."
Still smiling, Duo pulled the girl into his embrace. He saw nothing wrong for Hilde only asked for a little comfort. It might be her last request since she knows the truth of his feelings. But what Duo didn't know was that there was a pair of broken blue eyes watching him and Hilde from the window of the bedroom. A pair of blue eyes whose owner was too heartbroken to use his Power to eavesdrop. A pair of blue eyes that watched from the beginning until the one he loved hugged the girl. And when the girl snuggled into his loved one's arms, that was when some crystal tears escaped those eyes silently. The tears that hadn't been shed for years.........
Duo entered the bedroom silently and was disappointed when he saw Heero sleeping. The boy looked so tired that he didn't have the heart to wake him up. Duo sighed and plopped down on his own bed next to Heero's. He really wanted to know what had happened to the stoic boy. He had vowed to make Heero happy, yet it seemed he still failed........ Duo closed his eyes. Tomorrow.... Tomorrow he would ask Heero what had happened to the boy today.
As Duo's breath became steady and soft snoring was heard from the slumbering boy, the boy next to him opened his blue eyes. Heero looked at Duo's sleeping face longingly. Now that Duo had Hilde, would he still want Heero? Would he still want a creature that wasn't fully human? Would he still care for him? Would.... Would he stay with him or go with Hilde?
"Don't leave me...... "
It only came out as a whisper, a very faint whisper, which wasn't enough to wake the long-haired boy...........
"Mr. Tsubarov, the time has come."
"What do you mean, Lady Une?"
"Send your men to retrieve Duo Maxwell. This time his friends won't be able to protect him."
"That's really good news! Otto, take some men and go, bring me the boy."
"Yes, my Lord."
Heero opened his eyes as the morning sun filled the bedroom. He turned his head and saw Duo was still sleeping next to him. Pain stabbed his heart as he remembered what he saw last night. He didn't feel too good, but he stood up anyway. Heero still didn't want to be confronted by Duo, to be told that it was all over between them. He left the room, only to collide with Hilde on his way out of the house.
He ignored the girl's yelp of surprise and proceeded to walk out but Hilde grabbed his hand. "Heero, I want to talk to you."
Heero pulled his hand roughly. "I have nothing to say."
"I have, especially about your behavior." Hilde looked at him sharply.
Heero looked at the girl. What did Hilde want from him now? Why did she care about his behavior? Heero felt another stab of pain as he realized Hilde might ask him to stay away from Duo.
"You do know Duo's feelings about you, don't you?" Hilde continued as Heero didn't seem like he wanted to talk.
And about you too, Heero added bitterly in his heart while outside he spoke roughly. "It's none of your business."
Hilde was fuming. She just wanted to tell Heero to act kinder and more open to Duo but instead she got treated roughly. "You let him treat you tenderly but you treat him coldly. Are you happy seeing him always depending on you? Do you think it's funny to make a fool out of him?"
"You know nothing... NOTHING!" Heero hissed angrily. Hilde's words pricked his heart like needles.
"Oh, I know one thing for sure. You don't deserve him!" To Hilde's surprise, Heero let out a bitter laugh. "What's so funny?"
Heero looked at the girl, he was smirking but his eyes and heart were in pain. "You don't have to tell me about that. I know I don't deserve him. Who will ever want me as their companion anyway?"
Hilde gasped as she caught the bitterness in Heero's words and the pain in the boy's eyes. She felt she just made a big mistake. "Heero, you..."
But Heero didn't listen to the girl anymore, he was lost in his pain. His eyes focus on nowhere while he spoke, more to himself than to Hilde. "I know you want me to leave him.... But I can't......... I don't want....... I love him too much to leave him..... He is the only one I have...... the only one who ever cared for me....."
"Hee..." Hilde choked up, trembling as she realized how much the damage she has caused. But Heero suddenly looked at her, making her at a lost for words.
"I love him.....but........ he loves you..... he will not want me anymore..........he won't hug me again..... won't kiss me .... won't use me....." Heero murmured weakly.
Listening to the lost boy in front of her had made Hilde's legs weak. Use him? So all this time it was Duo who..... She took a step back only to bump into someone. Hilde saw Heero look at the person behind her and the boy widened his eyes in shock.
"Duo.." Heero choked out the word. Suddenly he gasped and felt his legs give away, falling to the floor. No, it was impossible! Heero was panting and was in shock as he acknowledged the syndromes. This was his yearly sickness but it hadn't been a year yet. Why did it come earlier this year?
Duo, who was on the other side, was as shock as Heero. First from what he had heard and now from what he saw.
But before Heero could think further or Duo to reacted, some men entered the house. "That's him!!" Otto shouted and extended his ribbons, restraining Duo. Hilde also shouted, calling the others to help her but was quickly restrained by the ribbons too.
"Duo!!" Heero shouted as another man took the restrained boy and ran out with him. Though feeling weak, Heero stood up and drew his sword. No one would take Duo from him!
"You guys go first, take the boy to Mr.Tsubarov. I'll take care of things here." Otto commanded.
"Duo!!!" Heero charged forward, evading Otto and chasing the men who had jumped onto their horses. He didn't see Otto smiling wily but he did hear swishing sounds approach him. But it was too late for him.
"AAAAAAAHHHHHH" Heero cried out holding his bleeding shoulder. Otto's sharp ribbons had cut his right arm, separating it from his body.
 Savage Garden :p
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