3-11-2003

Title: #48 Tomorrow
Arc: Life With Heero
Author: Calic0cat
Story Completed: Mar. 11, 2003
Genre: Shonen Ai/Yaoi, Angst, Friendship
Pairing: None yet
Rated: PG
Warnings: AU, OOC, Swearing
Archives: Also at Mediaminer.org under Calic0cat.
Disclaimer: Duo and Heero and the rest of the GW gang aren't mine. This story is. Nuff said.

Notes: The arc begins between one and two years after Endless Waltz. Duo POV in this story.

'Thinking'
"Speaking"
************ Time passing or scene change

Author's Notes: See earlier fics for notes on the arc as a whole. Feedback is appreciated.

#############################################

"How'd you know I needed a hug?" Duo murmured against Heero's shoulder. "Hilde tell you I was a complete liability at that lunch meeting?"

"She mentioned that you were somewhat - distracted," Heero answered quietly.

Duo choked off a laugh. That was a major understatement. He knew that he'd been worse than useless during the meeting. He just couldn't seem to stay focussed. Too little sleep, too many nightmares. Too many memories. Too much damn guilt.

"I think we'd better go ahead and make the trip to visit the damn ba... transitional facility," Duo sighed. "Puttin' it off isn't going to make it any easier." If anything, the anticipation was making the damn dreams even worse.

"You sure?" Heero asked, his concern clearly audible.

"No," Duo answered honestly. "But I don't think there's any real choice at this point. Once I opened the door on all these old memories, I pretty much committed myself to dealin' with them. Don't think I can just stuff'em back away and ignore them again, no matter how tempting that might seem."

"Do you want to schedule a visit or just show up?"

"Just show up," Duo replied. In part, because he wanted to see exactly what the place was like when they didn't know someone was coming. And there *would* - or rather, *should* - be something to see, since supposedly the "evaluation and rehabilitation" program was already up and running, dealing with however many homeless had voluntarily vacated the neighbourhood when the opportunity was offered to them. A lifetime of suspicion of government "programs" - and things in general that seemed almost too good to be true - left him skeptical about this one and he wanted to see the evidence for himself. Though he would have been far *more* skeptical if it had been more perfect. As it was, it had just enough flaws to seem genuine.

But he also wanted to just show up because he was a little bit afraid that he might get there and not be able to go through with it. Not be able to actually set foot on the base. To actually walk through the immense garage that had once housed mobile suits and transports. That had housed the loaded transport he had stolen, dooming the church and those he loved.

Duo shuddered and pressed himself more firmly against Heero, thankful for his solid, reassuring presence. Doubly thankful that Heero had changed enough to be capable of providing emotional support. Though "changed" was perhaps not the correct term. Because the deep-down things that made Heero the person he was hadn't *changed*. Rather, Heero had *grown*, leaving behind the silent, emotionally-repressed, duty-bound boy to become a quiet, stable, reliable man. A man that Duo was proud to have as his best friend.

A man that he was probably embarrassing the hell out of by continuing to cling to him in the middle of a busy salvage yard.

'Dammit, I completely forgot where we were,' Duo thought disgustedly as the beeping of a reversing piece of heavy equipment caught his attention. He gently pushed free of Heero's embrace with a sheepish grin. "Sorry, Heero. Forgot where we were. Seeing as I am obviously completely useless for work today and probably not exactly fit to be driving home either, how about we both go tell Hilde we're playing hooky and get out of here?"

"Sure," Heero agreed, turning to head back into the office.

"It's too late in the day to go - there - today, but maybe we should just tell Hilde we're taking tomorrow off too and go get it over with," Duo said as they crossed the yard together.

"It's up to you, Duo," Heero responded. "If you think you need to get this out of the way, fine. If not, that's fine too."

Duo passed through the door that Heero was holding open for him, then paused to look back over his shoulder. "Have I told you lately what a great guy you are? 'Cause if not, I'd better say it again. In fact, I'll say it again just for good measure. You're a great guy and a terrific best friend, Heero. You know that, don't you?"

Heero gave him a small smile and reached out to give his braid a very tiny, teasing tug. "You're a pretty great guy yourself, Duo. And if I'm a terrific best friend, it's because I had such a great example to learn from."

"Alright, alright already. Enough with the back-patting you two. How's a girl supposed to get any work done around here with your mutual-admiration society distracting her?" Hilde demanded from her office doorway. Hands on her hips, she directed a mock-glare at the two of them and ordered, "Out! Both of you! I don't want to see either of you again till sometime next week. If then! And that's an order!"

"Uh-oh, she's on the warpath Heero. We'd better get while the getting's good..." Duo warned with a grin, his spirits lightening in response to the wordplay.

Hilde laughingly ordered, "Get out of here, you brat!" Then, stepping closer to Duo, she told him more seriously, "Duo, take as much time off as you need to. You and Heero both. Rick's going to be in town all week next week, so he'll help out here if necessary. You just look after yourself. And let Mr. Terrific Best Friend there look after you too. Got that, brat?"

"Got it," Duo agreed solemnly. "Thanks, Hil. I'm sorry about today - I should have just let you go alone to start with."

With a dismissive wave, Hilde said, "Don't worry about it. We weren't overly thrilled with the margin on that contract anyway, so if she ends up choosing someone else, it's no great loss. I'm more worried about *you*."

Duo gave her a hug, thankful once again for the support of friends. "I'll be okay. I just need to lay a few memories to rest."

At least, he hoped that was all he needed to do. If going back and facing the memories didn't work... Well, he'd already tried talking them out. It was a wonder Heero wasn't having *his* nightmares by now, after all the times he'd repeated them to Heero in all their painful detail over the past couple of weeks. He wasn't too sure what he would try if facing the past head-on didn't help. Seeing a therapist was about the absolute last option he would consider; he simply could not imagine telling a stranger everything he'd told Heero. He'd told him things that he'd never told *anyone* before. Told him things he'd never even *imagined* telling anyone. And it *had* helped. Now he was sometimes able to sleep nightmare-free for the remainder of the night after getting that first nightmare and its discussion over with. But that first one of the night seemed pretty much unavoidable so far.

'I just hope going back lets me finally put the past to rest,' Duo thought. He knew it would always be with him to some extent. That he would probably always have occasional nightmares. That was unavoidable. He just wanted the nightmares to *be* occasional, not nightly. To not spend his days alternately dreading the coming of night and getting lost in memories. To not feel so damn guilty because he'd lived while those around him died of disease or hunger or violence. Lived while others died because of his actions. Lived to become Shinigami and cause the deaths of countless others during the colonies' violent quest for peace.

With an effort, Duo broke off that train of thought before he ended up depressing himself even further. As he followed Heero out to the car, he thought, 'Well, I guess I'll find out soon enough whether facing my memories back where they happened will help or make things worse. Tomorrow. We'll go to the old Alliance base tomorrow.'

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Title: #48 Tomorrow Arc: Life With Heero Author: Calic0cat <calic0cat@f...> Story Completed: Mar. 11, 2003 Genre: Shonen Ai/Yaoi, Angst, Friendship Pairing: None yet Rated: PG Warnings: AU, OOC, Swearing Archives: At Mediaminer.org under Calic0cat. Anyone with archive permission for my other fics can help themselves; anyone else, please ask. Disclaimer: Duo and Heero and the rest of the GW gang aren't mine. This story is. Nuff said.

Notes: The arc begins between one and two years after Endless Waltz. Duo POV in this story.

'Thinking' "Speaking" ************ Time passing or scene change

Author's Notes: See earlier fics for notes on the arc as a whole. Feedback is appreciated.

#################################################

"How'd you know I needed a hug?" Duo murmured against Heero's shoulder. "Hilde tell you I was a complete liability at that lunch meeting?"

"She mentioned that you were somewhat - distracted," Heero answered quietly.

Duo choked off a laugh. That was a major understatement. He knew that he'd been worse than useless during the meeting. He just couldn't seem to stay focussed. Too little sleep, too many nightmares. Too many memories. Too much damn guilt.

"I think we'd better go ahead and make the trip to visit the damn ba... transitional facility," Duo sighed. "Puttin' it off isn't going to make it any easier." If anything, the anticipation was making the damn dreams even worse.

"You sure?" Heero asked, his concern clearly audible.

"No," Duo answered honestly. "But I don't think there's any real choice at this point. Once I opened the door on all these old memories, I pretty much committed myself to dealin' with them. Don't think I can just stuff'em back away and ignore them again, no matter how tempting that might seem."

"Do you want to schedule a visit or just show up?"

"Just show up," Duo replied. In part, because he wanted to see exactly what the place was like when they didn't know someone was coming. And there *would* - or rather, *should* - be something to see, since supposedly the "evaluation and rehabilitation" program was already up and running, dealing with however many homeless had voluntarily vacated the neighbourhood when the opportunity was offered to them. A lifetime of suspicion of government "programs" - and things in general that seemed almost too good to be true - left him skeptical about this one and he wanted to see the evidence for himself. Though he would have been far *more* skeptical if it had been more perfect. As it was, it had just enough flaws to seem genuine.

But he also wanted to just show up because he was a little bit afraid that he might get there and not be able to go through with it. Not be able to actually set foot on the base. To actually walk through the immense garage that had once housed mobile suits and transports. That had housed the loaded transport he had stolen, dooming the church and those he loved.

Duo shuddered and pressed himself more firmly against Heero, thankful for his solid, reassuring presence. Doubly thankful that Heero had changed enough to be capable of providing emotional support. Though "changed" was perhaps not the correct term. Because the deep-down things that made Heero the person he was hadn't *changed*. Rather, Heero had *grown*, leaving behind the silent, emotionally-repressed, duty-bound boy to become a quiet, stable, reliable man. A man that Duo was proud to have as his best friend.

A man that he was probably embarrassing the hell out of by continuing to cling to him in the middle of a busy salvage yard.

'Dammit, I completely forgot where we were,' Duo thought disgustedly as the beeping of a reversing piece of heavy equipment caught his attention. He gently pushed free of Heero's embrace with a sheepish grin. "Sorry, Heero. Forgot where we were. Seeing as I am obviously completely useless for work today and probably not exactly fit to be driving home either, how about we both go tell Hilde we're playing hooky and get out of here?"

"Sure," Heero agreed, turning to head back into the office.

"It's too late in the day to go - there - today, but maybe we should just tell Hilde we're taking tomorrow off too and go get it over with," Duo said as they crossed the yard together.

"It's up to you, Duo," Heero responded. "If you think you need to get this out of the way, fine. If not, that's fine too."

Duo passed through the door that Heero was holding open for him, then paused to look back over his shoulder. "Have I told you lately what a great guy you are? 'Cause if not, I'd better say it again. In fact, I'll say it again just for good measure. You're a great guy and a terrific best friend, Heero. You know that, don't you?"

Heero gave him a small smile and reached out to give his braid a very tiny, teasing tug. "You're a pretty great guy yourself, Duo. And if I'm a terrific best friend, it's because I had such a great example to learn from."

"Alright, alright already. Enough with the back-patting you two. How's a girl supposed to get any work done around here with your mutual-admiration society distracting her?" Hilde demanded from her office doorway. Hands on her hips, she directed a mock-glare at the two of them and ordered, "Out! Both of you! I don't want to see either of you again till sometime next week. If then! And that's an order!"

"Uh-oh, she's on the warpath Heero. We'd better get while the getting's good..." Duo warned with a grin, his spirits lightening in response to the wordplay.

Hilde laughingly ordered, "Get out of here, you brat!" Then, stepping closer to Duo, she told him more seriously, "Duo, take as much time off as you need to. You and Heero both. Rick's going to be in town all week next week, so he'll help out here if necessary. You just look after yourself. And let Mr. Terrific Best Friend there look after you too. Got that, brat?"

"Got it," Duo agreed solemnly. "Thanks, Hil. I'm sorry about today - I should have just let you go alone to start with."

With a dismissive wave, Hilde said, "Don't worry about it. We weren't overly thrilled with the margin on that contract anyway, so if she ends up choosing someone else, it's no great loss. I'm more worried about *you*."

Duo gave her a hug, thankful once again for the support of friends. "I'll be okay. I just need to lay a few memories to rest."

At least, he hoped that was all he needed to do. If going back and facing the memories didn't work... Well, he'd already tried talking them out. It was a wonder Heero wasn't having *his* nightmares by now, after all the times he'd repeated them to Heero in all their painful detail over the past couple of weeks. He wasn't too sure what he would try if facing the past head-on didn't help. Seeing a therapist was about the absolute last option he would consider; he simply could not imagine telling a stranger everything he'd told Heero. He'd told him things that he'd never told *anyone* before. Told him things he'd never even *imagined* telling anyone. And it *had* helped. Now he was sometimes able to sleep nightmare-free for the remainder of the night after getting that first nightmare and its discussion over with. But that first one of the night seemed pretty much unavoidable so far.

'I just hope going back lets me finally put the past to rest,' Duo thought. He knew it would always be with him to some extent. That he would probably always have occasional nightmares. That was unavoidable. He just wanted the nightmares to *be* occasional, not nightly. To not spend his days alternately dreading the coming of night and getting lost in memories. To not feel so damn guilty because he'd lived while those around him died of disease or hunger or violence. Lived while others died because of his actions. Lived to become Shinigami and cause the deaths of countless others during the colonies' violent quest for peace.

With an effort, Duo broke off that train of thought before he ended up depressing himself even further. As he followed Heero out to the car, he thought, 'Well, I guess I'll find out soon enough whether facing my memories back where they happened will help or make things worse. Tomorrow. We'll go to the old Alliance base tomorrow.'

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- tbc -