Author: Lady Nagisa

Rating: NC-17

Pairings: 1x2, 3x4

Category: Yaoi, Lemon, Angst, OOC (Just to be safe!)

Spoilers: Nah... not really

Feedback: Gladly invited and accepted. Be it good or bad. No Flames... kudasai. I've tried to warn of any disturbing content. If the beauty of love between 2 people offends or disturbs you... then by all means... DON'T READ IT!! Flames... will be snickered over and used to cook my dinner!!

Disclaimer: *sob* They aren't mine!! Demo... what fun we'd have if they were! *sniffle* I'm not making any money at this... it's purely for my own insanity! Don't bother trying to sue... all you'll get is my husband, the crazy dog and a copy of our bills!! Warnings: All of the normal ones... you know the drill. I'm adding an OOC warning, simply because my interpretation of personalities may not agree with yours.

Notes: This story takes place after 'Endless Waltz'... several years after. Let's say around the summer of AC 201... after much researching... I've determined that that would make our gorgeous bishounen, right around 21 years old.


Heero pulled the collar of his denim jacket up and shoved his hands into his jeans pockets as he stepped out of the space port into the balmy night air of the L2 colony. Looking around, he could see that situations hadn't changed much in the five years since he'd last been here, right before the Mariemeia uprising. There wasn't as many piles of rubble, some clean-up had been done after the war, but the buildings that were standing were dingy and run down. He could see people camping out in a vacant lot across the street, obviously homeless. Lurking in the shadows were scantily clad teens, both girls and boys alike, hoping to run across someone, who'd pay them a few dollars for an hour or two of fleeting pleasure. It was all that had been left to them, to survive by. He sighed, the L2 cluster was known to be the poorest of all the colonies. Brought down by the Alliance's occupation and struggling, unsuccessfully, to get back on its feet since the war ended.

Five years, it had been five years since he'd been on this colony and still he knew the layout of the streets well. Turning left, he walked, swiftly, down the cracked and crumbled sidewalk, ignoring the pleas and offers of the young prostitutes as he passed by them. He decided to grab the first hotel he could find, at least for the rest of this night. As long as it was reasonably clean, he needed a bed. It had been a long trip and he was tired. He was about to walk through the door when a small figure ran up and clutched his arm.

"Mister, kudasai. A man like yourself... all alone... surely you'd like some company."

Heero looked down at the small girl in shock. She couldn't be more than 10 years old, judging from her size. The clothes, or lack of, styled hair and heavy make-up didn't do much to hide her age.

"Iie." He replied. "I'm not interested."

Her bright smile faded, quickly. "Aa... I see." She said turning away. "Gomen-nasi."

"Wait." Heero said. This girl, this child was obviously one of the many orphans, growing up too swiftly and too hard, on the streets. Much like "he" had. Heero reached into his pocket and pulled out a roll of money. Selecting a bill off the top, he walked over to her and pressed the $100 into her hand.

"Get yourself a hot meal, somewhere and a place to stay for the night." He said.

Her eyes widened in surprise. "Aa... are you sure?"


"Arigatou... sir!" She cried as she ran off down the street.

Heero watched her leave. The money would keep her safe for a couple of days, but he knew after that, she'd be back out here, offering herself to another stranger. He was aware that it was a sad fact of life here. One of a war, that would take decades for this place to recover from, if they ever did. And "he" had decided to come back to this. Not that Heero couldn't understand. Rejected and left alone, Duo had returned to the place most familiar to him. After Heero had shattered his heart and driven him away.

Heero paid the man behind the desk and climbed the creaking stairs to his room. Unlocking the door, he stepped inside and took a quick inventory of the room. Crisp, faded blue curtains hung in the window, the carpet was also faded and threadbare, a small scarred dresser stood in the corner and the middle of the room was occupied by a single twin bed, neatly made and covered by a blue bedspread, faded almost white. Despite the obvious poorness of the hotel, he could see that the owners tried to keep it up and it was clean.

He locked the door behind him and crossed the floor to the dresser. Tossing his one small duffel-like bag on top, he removed his jacket and threw it over the bag. He hit the light switch on the wall, finding the soft glow from the street enough to see his way around the room. He lay down on the bed, not bothering to turn down the blankets, and closed his eyes. Tomorrow he would begin his search.

As tired as he was, Heero soon discovered that sleep was not going to come easily. He lay on the bed, hands behind his head, and stared at the ceiling, for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, out of frustration, he leapt out of the bed and glanced at the clock, on the little dresser. It was only 3am, too early to start. None of the people he needed to speak with would be around for at least another 3 hours. He literally growled as he paced the small room several times before coming to a stop at the window. Staring out at the artificial night sky, he let his mind wander. Replaying that scene, the last time Duo and He had spoken. It was never far from his mind, he'd been haunted by it for the last five years. The anguish, he'd seen, in his lover's eyes when he had said...

... "I don't love you."

Duo's eyes widened and he staggered as those curt words hit him. "N-nani?"

"I said, I don't love you. I never did." Heero could feel his heart, that the violet- eyed American had thawed, start to encase in ice, once again.

Duo's pain quickly flared to anger. "Kisama! It's because of her! Isn't it? Because you made some stupid promise to protect her!"

"Duo..." Heero began.

"Iie! Heero... the war's over! The uprising is over! She doesn't need you, the Preventers can keep an eye on her. Why can't you see that? You should be living a life of your own now. This isn't right!" Duo shook his head wildly, his fists clenched, his braid snapping back and forth behind him.

He opened his tear filled eyes and stared at Heero, seeing no trace of emotion in the cobalt depths. "Heero... you can't say that you don't love me. After all we've been through together. You couldn't have touched me the way you did, if you didn't love me. You couldn't have!" His voice broke and the words trailed off weakly.

Heero fought back the urge to gather his love into his arms. He hardened his resolve and his heart with it. "This has nothing to do with her. Like I said, I never loved you. We were thrown together by the war and you were convenient. Nothing more."

"Kisama!" Duo's fist connected with Heero's jaw. His head snapped sideways with the force of the blow and he could taste blood in his mouth. "I was convenient, huh? I gave you my heart, my body and even my soul... and you say you took them because it was convenient?"

Duo stopped and stared at him, his breath coming in gasps. "I guess that's it... you've decided. No matter how you really feel... you've decided." Suddenly he turned away. "She gets what she's always wanted. Control over you and your life!" He spat as he stormed from the room.

"Well... the bitch is welcome to you!"

Heero stood, in the middle of the floor, watching the doorway for a moment before turning away. He closed his eyes as a single tear trickled down his cheek. "Duo...

... Ai shiteru." Heero spoke to the L2 sky. That was the last time he'd spoken to the American, or seen him, for that matter. It was as if Duo had simply vanished. He'd been right of course.

Heero had felt obligated to watch over her, he'd made an oath, and he felt that because of that, he couldn't stay with his lover. They would've never agreed on it, he had thought it was the best choice. He found out quickly, how wrong he'd been. But, by that time, there was no trace of Duo. Heero handed responsibility of her over to another and a year ago, in desperation, he turned to the one person he thought might know of the American's whereabouts...

"Quatre, I need you to help me. I've used up all of my resources. It's like he never existed."

Quatre surveyed the Japanese man, from behind his desk, his sapphire eyes cold. "And, tell me, Heero, why should I? So you can destroy him again? So that you can turn your back on him and your friends again, when the mood strikes you?"

Trowa, who was sitting on a couch nearby, raised an eyebrow, when he saw Heero flinch at the Arabian's harsh words. This wasn't the Heero he remembered. Something had changed him, he seemed more vulnerable.

Quatre stood up and leaned over the desk. "What makes you believe that even if I knew where he was... I'd help you?"

Heero sighed. "Fine. You don't know his whereabouts, demo you have contacts and resources that I don't. Maybe you could locate him."

"Have you heard what I've said? I won't help you hurt him again. Iie! My God, Heero... you almost killed him. I'm not-"

"Quatre..." Trowa spoke up softly, stopping the blonde in mid sentence. He stood and walked over to Heero, stopping in front of him, his green eyes searching cobalt ones.

"The one thing we've failed to ask is... why? I don't want to know why you did what you did, demo why are you looking for him?"

Heero's gaze never wavered from Trowa's. "Because , I love him. Because I made a mistake. I want a chance to tell him that."

"And what do you expect in return?" Quatre asked, coming to stand beside his lover.

"I don't know. I'd like to be forgiven, demo I doubt that will happen. I just want to be able to tell him that I was wrong."

"Heero, I don't think..." The Arabian glanced sideways as Trowa lightly touched his arm.

"We'll help you." Trowa said simply. "I think you owe it to him, to tell him."

Just then the library door popped open and a small girl, about four, ran in with an older lady following close behind.

"Nina!" She cried. "I told you, you're not to bother your parents when they are working!"

The girl, a miniature of Quatre except for her green eyes, ran behind Trowa and hid. Heero had heard that the two had appealed to medical science to help them have a child, that would be a part of both of them. Obviously, the rumors were true.

"Ojousan." Trowa spoke lightly. Then he looked up. "It's alright Mair... we'll take her for the rest of the day. Heero, leave a number where we can find you. We'll let you know when we have something."

"Arigatou." Heero said simply, once he'd given them the information.

Quatre picked up their daughter, after Heero had left and turned to his lover. "Why did you agree to help him?"

Trowa, ruffled Nina's blonde hair and kissed Quatre. "Because, my kokoro, he's paid for his mistake. And I believe that, although their path will be much rockier than ours was, those two...

... belong together." Heero suddenly realized that the sky was lightening. The environmental controls were bringing on the day. He glanced at the clock, five-thirty. By the time he got a shower and dressed, it would be late enough to leave. Trowa and Quatre had searched for nearly a year before they had found any solid information. And still all they'd been able to give him was the names of some people who said they knew where Duo might be. And that they didn't think he wanted to be found. Heero was here to convince them otherwise... it was time to end this search.

Heero stepped out of the shop, squinting up at the bright, morning sun. This was the fourth place he'd been to, all calling themselves antique dealers. He snorted at the thought, junk shops was more like it. Dusty, cluttered, dark hovels, dealing mostly in useless pre-war garbage. How the hell, Quatre knew people like this, was beyond him. Then again, he had a feeling, this lead was more Trowa's doing. He still found is a bit hard to believe that either of them would associate with these kind of people, considering their situation.

Here he was though. And after his patience finally ran out, five years of frustration snapped in the face of the shopkeeper's, tight-lipped, attitude. After receiving a broken nose and a dislocated shoulder, the man, fearing for his life, talked. Heero now had what he wanted. He knew where to find Duo.

He returned to his room and grabbed his bag. Downstairs, he stopped at the desk, speaking quickly to the manager as he turned in his key. After assuring that the hotel manager would call a cab, he decided to wait outside. It was warm and he wouldn't have to deal with conversation with the manager.

As it turned out, he didn't have to wait long. There must have been one nearby. Sliding into the back seat, he gave the driver the directions that he'd gotten from the shopkeeper.

"Oui. Oui. Buddy." The driver turned and stared at him. "That's an awful long and expensive trip. I ain't into givin' no free rides."

Heero leaned forward and grabbed the driver's collar. "I'd suggest you just drive." He growled.

Then he slapped a handful of bills onto the top of the seat and sat back. "That should be more than enough."

The driver's eyes widened as he shoved the money into his pocket and started the car. "What makes you want to take a hack all the way to the other side of the colony, anyway? You're obviously a traveler, you could've come into the other space port." He looked in the mirror, waiting for a response. Not getting one, he continued. "It woulda been a lot closer. Whatcha meeting a friend or somethin'?"

"Hn." Heero replied, glaring at him. Thinking that if the driver didn't shut-up soon, he might be tempted to kill him... and walk.

The driver, seeing the dark expression on his passenger's face, realized that he wasn't going to get an answer and maybe it would be wise to leave him alone. He obviously wasn't very friendly.

Heero settled back in his seat and watched the buildings race by his window. 'Duo' He thought with a stab of sadness. 'Will you even listen to what I need to say to you? All the things I should have done? That I know now that I should have told her five years ago that...

... "I'm leaving." Heero stated, simply, standing in the middle of the spacious office.

"Nani! Heero! You can't!" Relena cried, jumping up from her desk. "I need you here."

"Iie, you don't. All you need is a bodyguard. The Preventers can provide you with a suitable person."

"A bodyguard? Is that all you think you are to me?" She crossed the floor to him and looked up into his cobalt eyes.

"That is all I am to you. I can never give you anymore than that. You know that." He answered.

"Heero, demo,"

"Iie, Relena. I don't wish to be here. I never really have." He turned to leave. "And there are things I need to take care of."

Relena grabbed his hand and stopped him. "Heero! You are needed here. You must, by now, know how I feel."

He shook his head. "And you must know, by now, how I feel."

"How could I? You never talk... about anything! Heero, you can't just leave me!"

Heero felt something inside of him threaten to snap. He turned to her. "I have given most of my life to the war with the Alliance... then OZ. The last four years, I gave to you. I gave up the only thing that mattered to me. For what? To do a job that just about anyone could've done. Why? Because I felt I had an obligation. Now... I've had enough. I am going to try to put back together what I destroyed. I... have... that... right!" He ground out between clenched teeth.

Relena stepped back and stared at him in shock. "I think that's the most I've ever heard you say at one time." She laughed, shakily. "You're really going to leave... aren't you?"

"Hai." He started to walk out the door but, her words stopped him.

"He won't forgive you, you know." She whispered, looking at the floor.

"Nani?" He demanded.

She looked up at him. "I said... he won't forgive you. You didn't think I knew? Nanase. We all knew. Demo, what you did to him was so cruel, no matter how sorry you are now... no matter how much you do love him... he won't forgive you. You made sure of that." She walked over to her desk and leaned both hands on it, her back to him. "And, if you walk out that door... neither will I."

Heero actually laughed. A short, sarcastic laugh. "Vice-Foreign Minister Darlian... you are the last person I'd ask forgiveness from." He turned and strode from the office, leaving her standing there, staring down at her hands...

... Heero knew he'd been cruel to her when he left. To this day, though, he'd never regretted severing his ties to Relena Darlian. Actually, he had felt relieved when he walked out of her office that day. For the first time in his life, he had felt like he was actually free. He was free to live his life in whatever manner he chose.

"Oi, buddy." The driver said, pulling the car over to the curb. "This is where you get out."

"Arigatou." Heero replied, sliding out of the back of the cab.

He watched the cab drive away, before turning to look at the building he was standing in front of. The information he had gotten was that Duo had rejoined with some of the old Sweepers group. Reviving a small and unprofitable portion of their salvage business.

From the looks of it, he was just barely making enough to keep this place from falling in on itself. He could see, from the street, that the roof was sagging and missing shingles in places, the paint was cracked and peeling off of the rotting boards of the walls. The windows were covered in several layers of dust, some were cracked and a couple had been boarded up. The small building had no identifying marks to tell you what was inside. Unless you already knew, one wouldn't know to come here for anything. It looked like every other non-descript building on this street.

The back of it butted up against a high, wooden fence, enclosing what appeared to be a large lot. The fence was unevenly built and also in dire need of repair. Off to the side of the building, in the fence, was a large gate, hanging crookedly on it's rusting hinges. Judging from the size of it, it was designed to allow fairly large trucks into the lot behind it. Cut into the center of the large gate, was a smaller one. Only big enough to allow a person through.

Taking all of this in, Heero was nearly overcome with anguish and guilt. If not for his actions, Duo wouldn't be back here. Trying to survive in these conditions, in a place like this. He had done this to him.

It suddenly occurred to Heero, standing there trying to decide whether to try knocking on the building's door or the small gate, that he was afraid to do either. He, Heero Yuy, who had never truly been scared of anything in his life, except maybe living itself, was afraid to face his ex-lover.

Taking a deep breath, Heero decided to try the building first. Considering the time of day, he was sure Duo was around here somewhere. He knocked on the door and waited. He could hear someone moving around inside but, they didn't answer. After a moment, he knocked again, a bit louder.

"I said... it's open!" An irritated female voice yelled from inside. Then he heard her mutter as he opened the door. "K'so! Are all these people deaf?"

Heero stepped inside the dark and cluttered building. Crammed into the small space, were shelves and shelves of haphazardly stacked items and parts. In a couple of the corners he could see leaning stacks of papers. The few rays of light shining through the windows lit up the dust, he's raised walking in, making the air around him look hazy. Standing on a ladder, in the middle of it all, looking down at him, was a small female. One eyebrow raised in question above her green eyes.

"Can I help you?" She asked, somewhat impatiently.

"Aa... hai." Heero replied, peering at her curiously. "I'm looking for Duo Maxwell."

She sighed and scrambled down the ladder, wiping her dusty hands on faded jeans. Walking over to him, she straightened her cap over dark auburn hair, pulled back into a short ponytail, and scowled at him.

"Oh, you are, are you? There seems to be an awful lot of people asking about him of late. And... just exactly what do you want with Maxwell?'

Heero raised an eyebrow at her sarcastic tone. "I'm an old friend."

She leaned forward and snorted. "An old friend, eh? That's the same story I got from the blonde fella a couple weeks ago. Seems that Maxwell's had a lot of 'old friends' pop up recently."

Heero stepped back, stunned. Blonde? Had Quatre been here?

"And I'll tell you another thing. 'Old friend' means wartime, so you'd just best forget it!" She poked a finger in his chest. "Maxwell's not interested in any 'old friends'."


"Iie! Leave! Now!" She pointed towards the door and glared at him.

Heero opened his mouth to protest but, she shook her head and gestured at the door again.


He looked at her for a moment, then turned and left. He'd find another way in without having to deal with the stubborn redhead.

"Oi, don't even think about trying the gate!" She threw at his retreating back.

Once outside, Heero slipped around the side of the building, opposite of the gate. Try the gate? He hadn't even considered it. One thing he was good at, was getting into places through unusual routes, unnoticed. Staying within the shadows of the fence, he checked the boards until he found what he was looking for. One board loosely fastened. He could pull it open just enough to slip in. But, now was not a good time. The girl in the shop would be looking out, He needed to give her time to relax her guard. Noting the location of the loose board, he started to walk off when the sound of the red haired girl's voice stopped him.

"Oi, Maxwell!" She yelled, stepping out the back entrance of the building.

"Aa, hai." Duo looked up from the crate he'd been sorting through. "Nanda, Bridgette?"

She strolled across the large yard and sat down on the ground beside where he was kneeling. "A new shipment?" She asked peering into the crate.

"Hai." He replied. "Demo, that's not what brought you out here."

"Aa, iie." She picked a metal object out of the crate and examined it. "You had another visitor."

Duo sighed and sat down beside her. "Who was it? Or did they tell you?"

"Iie. He didn't"

"And I suppose whoever it was made a hasty retreat in the face of my dragoness, guarding the place." He chuckled fondly.

"Oi, I hate it when you talk like that, Maxwell! Makes me think you've got feelings in there." She shot back, smacking him. "And, hai... he left fairly quickly demo... I don't think he's going to give up very easily."

"Why's that, Brie? You weren't fierce enough?" He asked, ducking her swinging fist.

"Kisama! You said you didn't want anything to do with the people from your past. If you don't want-"

"Iie! Iie! Brie... I'm very grateful for your interference. Gomen. I won't tease you about it anymore. Now, why don't you think this one will give up as easily?"

"Aa... there was something about him." She replied, absently brushing a loose strand of auburn from her face. "A certain kind of intense determination."

Duo sobered suddenly. Intense determination? He'd used that description for someone before. He grabbed her shoulders, violet eyes searching startled green ones. "Bridgette... what did he look like?"

"Aa... he was about your height, slender, a kind of quiet deep voice. Short dark hair, it looked kind of mussed. And dark blue eyes."

"Cobalt blue?"

"Uh... hai. That would be about right."

He jumped up and paced back and forth in front of her. His braid snapping behind him wildly. Suddenly he stopped and stared at her, his violet eyes the only thing betraying his agitation.

She stood and reached out, laying her hand on his shoulder. She could feel him trembling lightly under her touch. "Maxwell? Nanda?" Her green eyes concerned.

"I think it's time we did some scavenging of our own. These suppliers, keep bringing useless junk." He said breaking away from her touch. "Brie, make arrangements to close the shop for a few weeks. Then find us a shuttle."


"Just do it, alright?"

"Fine! Hai!" She snapped, heading for the building. He obviously didn't want her to know what was going on. Not that he'd ever told her much anyway.

Duo closed the crate back up and started towards the building.

"The Duo Maxwell I knew wouldn't run away like this." A low voice spoke from behind him.

Duo spun around, his violet eyes wide. All the pain he'd buried, resurfaced and washed over him as Heero stepped out from behind a stack of scrap metal.

"Duo." Heero spoke softly. "It's been a long time."

Duo closed his eyes and fought the surge of anger that followed closely behind the pain. With horror, he felt a bittersweet joy, at seeing his ex-lover again, rolling along behind the more violent feelings. God, he still loved him. After all this, he still loved Heero. He opened his eyes, the violet depths flashing with his conflicting emotions. Feelings he thought himself no longer capable of having. Drawing on the anger within himself, he spoke.

"Not long enough, if you ask me." He spat. "It will never be long enough. Why are you here, Heero? Are you the reason that Quatre and Trowa have been looking for me?"

Heero bowed his head in the face of Duo's rage. He'd expected this, he even knew he deserved it... demo... it still hurt like hell. "Hai." He answered quietly. "They were here because of me. I've been looking for you."

"Looking for me? Why, Heero? We said all there was to say to each other five years ago." His tone slipped from anger to sarcasm. "What could possibly tear you away from Vice-Foreign Minister Darlian's side? Surely there nothing anymore important than her."

"There are things I need to say to you."

"What else could you possibly have to say to me? She actually let your leash out far enough to look for me?"

Heero sighed. The hurt ran deep for both of them but, it ran much, much deeper for the American. "I haven't worked for Relena since about eight months from the time I drove you away."

Duo felt the bands around his heart tighten... eight months? When the pain had still been fresh. Right after he'd stopped hoping that Heero would come for him. Right after he'd decided to cut all ties with his friends... and vanish. "Anou... I'd say you waited too long. Demo, if it will get you to leave any faster... say what you have to say. Then I never want to see you here again."

Heero wasn't sure where to start. Long speeches weren't usually his area, especially ones involving his feelings. And if he didn't start this right, he had a feeling that it would fall on deaf ears. "Duo... you were right."

Duo raised and eyebrow and started to speak. He didn't want to hear this.

"Iie." Heero said. "Onegai, just hear me out. Then I promise you... I'll accept whatever you have to say to me."

The violet-eyed American nodded slowly. God, he really didn't want to hear this. Just seeing Heero again was reopening old wounds... bringing old feelings welling to the surface.

"You were right... about everything. I promised her I'd watch over her. I felt that I had no way out of that. I also felt that I had no right to expect you to be a part of it. That my only choice was to release you..." Heero took a deep breath. "Demo, I didn't know how else to do it."

He closed his eyes and shook his head, then continued. "I ripped my own heart out and tossed it there on the floor alongside yours. It nearly killed me to say the things I said to you. I thought I was making the right decision... that you'd be better off without me." He crossed the yard and came to a stop directly in front of the wide-eyed Duo.

Duo didn't react to his nearness. He just stood there, fists clenched at his sides as he trembled in agony and rage. And relief... yes, relief that he now knew that Heero hadn't really meant the things he had said.

"Duo... you were never a convenience. You were my very heart and soul. I loved you then, I love you now, and I'll always love you. Without you, I've been dead. You are my life... my world. And I am so sorry... for everything I did to you."

"Heero, just what do you expect to get from all this?" Duo asked sharply. "What do you want?"

"Everything... nothing. I just needed to tell you. I needed you to know that you weren't wrong that day. Maybe now you can start to live again... quit hiding."

Duo laughed, a sharp bitter laugh. "And you thought coming back into my life would help that? If you're looking for forgiveness, you won't find it here. Maybe Quatre and Trowa can overlook your actions... demo, I can't. I won't!" He turned his back to Heero. "Leave, Heero. There's nothing for you here. You pitiful attempt and redemption disgusts me."

Heero reached for Duo's shoulder but, stopped a scant inch away. He shook his head, his cobalt eyes bright with the tears he'd never been able to shed, and dropped his hand to his side. He'd done what he'd come to do. He'd hoped for more but, he'd known that this was probably what was going to happen. There was nothing more for him to do or say. Stepping back, he spoke sadly. "If you change your mind... I'm leaving this evening from the L2-612B space port." Getting no response, he added softly... each word cutting Duo like a sharp blade.

"Kokoro no ai shiteru. Itsumo to eien ni."

Bridgette stood, frozen, on the steps, her hand over her heart, green eyes wide with shock. This is what's always been wrong with him, she realized as she listened to Heero's parting words. She watched Duo's shoulders sag as the other man walked away.

"Maxwell." She whispered, coming down from the steps.

Duo looked up at her and she gasped at the raw agony in the tear filled violet depths. "Maxwell? Daijoubu desu ka?"

"Brie..." He rasped. "For your sake and mine... just leave it alone."

"Demo, Maxwell."

"I mean it Bridgette. Just leave it alone." He growled, stalking past her into the building, slamming the door behind him.

The redhead sighed and sat down on the steps. She knew he was headed for his room in the living quarters upstairs. Sitting there, she thought about the scene she had just witnessed. Now several things made more sense: his bouts of depression, not wanting to deal directly with business associates (his reason for hiring her), especially not wanting to see anyone who claimed to be a friend. "K'so!" She exclaimed. "What a mess."

Bridgette wasn't sure how long she sat there thinking but, it was quite a while. Suddenly coming to a decision, she stood and headed inside. This very well might end her employment but, it was something she felt she needed to do.

Duo lay on his back, in his room, and stared at the ceiling, tears streaming down his face. He had spent years building up defenses. Years learning how to numb himself against the pain. Now, one visit from Heero had torn him wide open again. He could feel his heart bleeding. God, was the pain ever going to go away? Was this...

... war ever going to end? Duo walked wearily down Peacemillion's corridor to the quarters he shared with his fellow pilot, Heero Yuy. Sliding the door open, he noticed it was dark inside. Was Heero already sleeping? He heard movement from one of the beds as he walked in and slid the door shut.

"Oi, Heero? You awake?"

"Hn..." Came the reply from the bed.

"Aa..." Duo replied brightly. "As talkative as ever I see. I'm surprised you're not working on that computer of yours. I thought that took priority over everything... even rest." He fumbled for the switch on the wall. "Watch your eyes. I'm turning on the lights."

As light flooded the room, he realized that his roommate hadn't answered him and that he'd been talking to Heero's back. "Hmph!" He exclaimed, throwing himself on his bed. "You could at least answer me!"

"Do you have to talk so much?" Heero retorted, getting up out of the bed. He figured that until the energetic American pilot calmed down from the last battle... that's there's be no rest. He might just as well check his laptop for any messages or new developments on Earth.

"Hai... I do. Demo, you never talk... so, I have to do enough for the both of us." Duo flung over his shoulder as he grabbed a towel and headed for the bathroom.

Heero scowled at the computer screen as he heard Duo start the shower... next he'd be singing. It was going to be a long night. Strangely enough, he'd discovered that he didn't mind him as much as he used to. Actually, he'd come to miss the other pilot when he wasn't around.

Friends... that's what Duo liked to call them. He'd never had any real friends before meeting the other four pilots... and he still had a hard time with the concept. He'd also realized that what he felt for the braided pilot ran deeper than friendship and he had an even harder time with that concept. No matter what he was doing the violet-eyed boy invaded his thoughts and it was irritating to him. He didn't have time for things like this. Feelings were too distracting and one didn't need distractions during a time like this. Besides, the other pilot never showed any indications of feeling anything other than simple friendship. His defense was wearing down, though. He realized it the first time, when he saw Duo on board Peacemillion. The utter relief that he had come through unharmed. Now that they were sharing quarters, it was even harder to ignore him. The slightest touch was enough to send the Japanese pilot skittering to a corner to get away from him. He just didn't know how to deal with such feelings.

The door to the bathroom flew open and Duo bounded into the room, wearing a pair of black sweats and a towel around his hair. Heero quickly looked back at the computer screen, before Duo caught him staring... no... admiring his simple beauty.

He stiffened in shock as Duo suddenly draped himself over his shoulders. "Oi, Heero... anything new going on? Like maybe they suddenly decided to call off the war?" "Iie. Would you please move... you're getting me wet." Heero growled at him.

Duo stood up. "Aa... you don't have to be so cranky. You know it might do you some good to try smiling once in a while!" He said as he grabbed his hairbrush and sat down on the edge of his bed.

As he started to work the tangles out of his hair, he watched the taught muscles of Heero's shoulders flex as he worked the keys of the computer. Aa... Heero... he thought, if you only knew how important you are. Then again, again if he knew, he'd probably kill him for it. So, Duo wisely kept his mouth shut about how he felt for his fellow pilot. But that didn't stop him from watching him whenever he got the chance. Beautiful... he thought as Heero stretched his arms over his head and sighed. He's beautiful.

Heero snapped the laptop shut and turned to get out of his chair, he found himself looking straight into twin pools of violet. Duo coughed, looking away as Heero raised an eyebrow in question. Shimatta... he'd been caught staring like a schoolboy. Trying to ignore the other pilot, he went back to working the tangles out of his hair.

Heero watched Duo go back to working on his hair. Did he see what he thought he's seen in those eyes? Longing? Just maybe, the other pilot returned some of his feelings? He watched Duo work on his waist-length tresses, mesmerized by the smooth motions of his slender hands, the muscles in his arms rippling with his movements. He couldn't take anymore. He needed to touch in some capacity.

Duo's eyes widened as Heero suddenly got out of his chair and walked over to him. Did he guess, he wondered. Then Heero took the brush from his hand and moved around onto the bed behind him. He didn't dare speak as the other pilot took over brushing his hair. He didn't move as Heero ran the brush through his hair until it dried in silken, chestnut waves over his back.

Leaning forward, Heero buried his face in the fragrant softness, sending shivers down Duo's back. This had to be some kind of delicious dream, Heero would never...

"Baka... why do you keep this? It serves no useful purpose." Heero growled into the chestnut cloud.

"Because, it means something to me." Duo whispered, starting to lean back into the solid warmth, that was Heero. "It's my memory of the people who once cared for me."

Heero breathed in the fresh, clean scent of the silken mass, reveling in the softness of it against his skin. "Sugoi." He whispered, his voice low and husky. Placing his hands on Duo's wrists he slowly, softly slid them up his arms, feeling the long-haired pilot tremble under his touch.

Reaching his shoulders, Heero brushed the mass of chestnut aside and pressed his lips to the side of Duo's neck.

Duo gasped and melted into the other pilot, shivers running up and down his spine. He didn't know what had gotten into Heero but, he was going to take what he could from this moment. He was afraid it might never come again. Later the Japanese pilot would come to his senses and be horrified by his actions. Onegai, he thought, just let me love him for a little while. Let me feel love from him, if only this one time. His head fell back onto Heero's shoulder as the other pilot ran his lips down his neck and along his shoulder. Heero's hands slipped around him and grazed lightly over his ribcage, drawing a strangled gasp from Duo.

Suddenly, Heero drew away and Duo almost cried out at the loss of his warmth. He took Duo's shoulders in his hands and turned him sideways on the bed, shifting so that they were facing each other. "Duo..." He murmured, the backs of his fingers grazing Duo's cheek, his cobalt eyes troubled. "Gomen..." He shifted his eyes away. "I-I didn't..."

"Heero," Duo grabbed his hands. "Don't you dare apologize! I don't want that, not from you. Never from you." His violet eyes stared intently into Heero's. "Don't you know Heero? I haven't drawn away... doesn't that tell you something?" Please don't let this be a mistake... he cried silently to himself. "Heero, I want you to touch me. Sometimes I've wanted that so badly, I've almost screamed with the desire for it. Don't draw away from me now. Don't you know how much you mean to me? How much I care?"

Heero started at Duo's words. He cared? This beautiful soul actually cared about him? How? Why? "Duo, I-I..."

"Shh." Duo placed his fingertips to his lips. "Don't speak right now. Even if it's only for this one moment... feel. Open yourself up and feel, Heero. Then, act on those feelings." He watched as Heero closed his eyes, praying that he done this right thing. This might be the only chance to get the other pilot to realize that he loved him. That he could be loved and could love in return. He held his breath as he saw Heero tremble, a low groan escaping from his lips.

Heero opened his eyes, the cobalt depths bright. "Duo..." He whispered as he reached for the violet eyed pilot. "I-I need..."

"Hai," Duo leaned into his arms. "I know." He murmured as their lips met.

Heero slipped the fingers of one hand into the mass of chestnut hair as his other hand slid around Duo's slim waist, drawing him closer. He had never felt anything so exquisite as the feel of the American pilot in his arms. It was as if he'd always belonged there, would always belong there. A soft moan escaped him as Duo parted his lips and he plunged inside, his tongue tasting and exploring the moist warmth.

Duo's hand slid up Heero's back, ghosting softly over taut muscles as his tongue fenced with Heero's. Darting in and around, tasting, teasing, learning. He shivered as he felt Heero's hands start to move over his shoulders and back, sending darts of pleasure throughout his slender form. He felt like he was melting into a liquid fire wherever Heero's hands touched him.

Their lips parted and they stared at each other, chests heaving, their eyes wide. Duo smiled and leaned back on the bed, pulling Heero down on top of him, sighing at the feel of his skin against Heero's. Then gasping as Heero's lips grazed across his collarbone. He'd never imagined anything could feel like this, that anything could feel this perfect. Heero's lips explored his chest, teasing his nipples to an almost painful hardness, his fingers lightly tracing his ribs. He slowly slid back up Duo's body and claimed his lips once again. Duo fell eagerly into his kiss, wrapping his arms around Heero's waist and pulling him closer. Both of them drowning in the sensation of warm skin meeting.

Pulling apart once again, Heero's eyes skimmed around the room. "Bathroom..." Duo panted. "In the cabinet."

Heero looked down at him in surprise. How had known what he was looking for? Kissing him lightly, he slipped off the bed and crossed the room to the bathroom. Quickly retrieving what he was looking for, he returned to the bed. Setting the oil on the table beside the bed, he leaned over and pressed a kiss to Duo's slender neck. He bit lightly, then swirled his tongue over the same spot, drawing a moan from the other pilot. He repeated this action across Duo's throat as his fingers found the waistband of his sweats, drawing them down as far as he could reach. Duo shifted and kicked them the rest of the way off, the same time reaching for the waist of Heero's shorts. He slipped them down over his slender hips, and Heero swiftly stepped out of them.

Heero's eyes traveled the length of Duo's body. My God, he thought as he sat on the edge of the bed, he's so beautiful. "Duo..." He began, concern creasing his forehead. "Are you sure you..."

"Heero. I've never been sure of anything in my life." Duo smiled up at him. "Until now. I'm sure about how I feel. And I'm sure that I want you."

Duo reached for him and Heero groaned as he was pulled back down into that warm embrace. Soft lips trailing along his jaw. They rolled until Heero found himself lying on his back, Duo leaning over him, his hair flowing around them in a soft chestnut curtain. The silky hair slid over his skin, causing him to shiver, as Duo lowered his head and slid his mouth across his chest. Fire, I'm on fire, he thought as Duo's lips and hands seemed to be everywhere at once. Sliding down his body, Duo lingered at his stomach, nipping and pressing kisses around his navel, drawing a startled gasp from Heero. Smiling softly, Duo slid further down pressing kisses along the inside of his thigh. He slipped his fingers around the hard evidence of Heero's arousal, covering it with light caresses, the feather light sensations almost driving the Japanese pilot up off the bed.

"D-Du... o" Heero groaned, his eyes flying open for a fraction of a second as he felt himself enveloped in the warm moistness of Duo's mouth. "Ahhh..." He cried as Duo started a light suction, his tongue swirling around him, exploring. As the long-haired pilot started a gentle motion, Heero thought he'd surely die before this was over. Slender hands, slid up his hips, laying gentle caresses across his quivering stomach. Heero reached down and grabbed one of those hands, drawing Duo's arm up until he could nip the pads of his fingers, feeling the other pilot moan around him. That sensation was almost too much, he was going to explode.

Tugging lightly on Duo's wrist, he caused Duo to break his contact with him. Pulling him up the length of his body, he kissed him hard... all his passion and need pouring forth, at the same time placing his hands on his shoulders and rolling Duo over in the bed, until he was now hovering over him. Duo gasped and arched under him as he felt gentle lips skim over his skin, igniting pinpoints of flames wherever they touched.. Heero raised his head and looked at Duo. "Duo?" He asked uncertainly.

Duo opened his eyes and reached up to sweep a lock of brown hair of off Heero's forehead. "Don't ask, Heero. You don't need to." He answered the unspoken question, slipping his fingers into Heero's hair and drawing him back down to him. Falling once more into each other Duo could feel Heero reach over to the stand, fumbling for the oil. He reached out with amazing instinct and grabbed the bottle, drawing away from Heero as he did so. His violet eyes shining, he nimbly flipped the cap open and poured some of the oil into his hand and then a smaller amount onto Heero's fingers.

Tossing the bottle in the air, uncaring where it landed, he took Heero in his slick hand and smoothed the oil around him. Heero's eyes narrowed at the feel of Duo's oil slicked fingers encircling him, sliding around and down his hard length. His breath hissing through his teeth, he reached forward and pressed his own oil coated fingers into Duo, drawing a throaty gasp as his fingers penetrated, carrying the slippery substance with them. "Heero... ima... kudasai." He whispered, his breath coming in short, fast bursts, as he pulled Heero down to him.

"Ima... koibito. No kokoro. I can't wait...

... any longer!! Maxwell!!" Bridgette's angry voice broke through his memories.

Duo groaned and rolled over. "Go away, Brie!"

"I will not! Not until you talk to me!" Suddenly the door flew open with a crash.

He looked up at her, standing in the doorway, hands on her hips, strands of auburn that had escaped her ponytail floating around her face, her green eyes flashing in anger. K'so! He had to hire someone that used to be a soldier! "Nani, Brie. Nande? Can't you just leave it be?"

"Iie... I probably could... demo, I won't. What is going on here?" She walked over and knelt beside the bed. "Maxwell, I've never asked you about your past. I figured it wasn't any of my concern... demo what I just saw out there. I can't just ignore it. Who is he?" She asked, her eyes filled with concern for this person she had come to call 'friend'.

He sighed and looked at her with tear filled eyes. He supposed he owed her an explanation of some sort. She had worked with him for the last 3 years and had never asked a thing. "His name is Heero Yuy. We used to be lovers." He replied, the tears starting anew.

"Maxwell..." She stood up and sat on the bed. "Gomen... I-I shouldn't have..."

"Iie. You have a right to know. I'll tell you what I can bear to." He started to relate the story to her, from the moment he first lay eyes on Heero on the dock that day, to the scene just a little while ago in the yard. By the time he'd finished she'd put her arms around him and held him tightly as he cried, his breath coming in great heaving sobs. He clung to her like a child. He'd never really cried anything more than silent tears over the loss of his lover before this moment. And now he was drowning.

As the storm passed Bridgette moved back but didn't break contact with him. "Duo." She spoke, using his first name for probably the first time. "I have one question for you... how do you feel about him now? After all this?"

He started. How did he feel? Searching within himself... he realized that he'd never been able to hate the cobalt-eyed man. Deep down, he'd always held on to his true feelings because, he had actually understood to a degree. He'd tried to deny it all this time but... "I love him." He finally answered her.

She leaned forward, green eyes meeting his violet ones. "Then what are you doing here?"

He sat back and stared at her, stunned. Then suddenly he leaned forward and kissed her hard before jumping up from the bed and running out the door. "Onegai. Don't let me be too late." He whispered, leaving a wide-eyed Bridgette sitting there with a small smile on her face.

"At last, I've finally done something right." She thought to herself. "I've done something good."

Heero shouldered his bag and pushed the door to the space port open. His heart heavy as he crossed the building to his gate. He'd somehow hoped that Duo would have been able to forgive him, that he would've been able to understand. Iie, that wasn't right. He believed that he did understand, but the hurt had been so great that he couldn't forgive. I'm alone, he thought. Once again, still, I'm alone. He knew that he always would be alone, lost with in his memories of the vibrant violet-eyed American that had loved him so completely. And he had destroyed.

"You should have asked me."

Heero spun around at the sound of that familiar voice. His heart leaping. "N-nani?"

Duo stepped forward and looked into his eyes. "I said, you should have asked me. You should have told me how you felt about your promises, and you should have asked me to stay. To help you, not chosen to drive me away. Demo... you never were very good at expressing yourself, were you, Heero?" Then he laughed softly, the musical sound tugging at Heero's heart. "That's not entirely true either, is it? There were times when you expressed yourself perfectly and I felt that you loved me more than anything else in the universe."

"The only thing..." Heero replied. "You were the only thing I loved."

"Hai. I think I know that now." Violet eyes shined as he reached out and touched Heero's cheek. "Can we be strong enough to get past all that, Heero? Can we start again?"

Heero dropped his bag on the floor and, oblivious to the people around him, pulled Duo to him. Wrapping him in a tight embrace, long unshed tears starting to flow, he kissed him.

Duo grasped the edges of his jacket and melted into the familiar feel of those lips, the tenderness and warmth that Heero had only ever been able to show to him. The solid reality of the body beneath his fingertips. I've come...

... home. Heero thought wondrously. This is where I...

... belong. Duo drew back and smiled at him. "Kokoro no ai shiteru. Itsumo to eien ni."


Kokoro no ai shiteru. Itsumo to eien ni. -- I love you my heart. Always and eternally.

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