3-13-2003

Title: #50 Facing Demons
Arc: Life With Heero
Author: Calic0cat
Story Completed: Mar. 13, 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.

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

As Duo stepped through the bay doors and into the garage, past and present blurred. For a moment, he could see the Alliance soldiers and mechanics moving about amongst dozens of transports, some loaded and some not. Could hear the voices and the sound of idling transport engines. Then a hand touched his shoulder and a voice said quietly but firmly, "Tell me." He blinked and the phantoms vanished, leaving behind the garage's current occupants - a handful of assorted vehicles, from motorcycles to delivery trucks, and a couple of people working over one of them at the far end of the building.

"I came through these doors at a run," Duo said softly. "Any pretense of sneaking was long gone. There were shouts behind me and I'd already been shot at. I dashed right through the soldiers and workers, straight to the first loaded transport I saw." He walked across the floor, stopping a short distance into the garage. Heero followed him, hand still on his shoulder.

"The one I picked was parked right here. It was idling but I could see through the windows that there was no one inside. A couple of people tried to catch me along the way, but I'd been dodging far less clumsy attempts for as long as I could remember. They had no chance of catching me like that."

Duo closed his eyes, remembering. The shouting. The shots. The slap of his feet against the ground, then against the garage floor. Gasping for breath, lungs burning, reaching deeper for that last tiny bit of energy, that last fraction more speed.

"I was scared to death, but all I could think of was Father's crumpled body on the church floor and Sister Helen's reddening cheek. Those rebels had hit them already, I was sure that worse would follow if the rebels stayed at the church. I'd seen worse violence on the streets and I knew how bad things could get. Father and Sister were too nice, too kind, to go through that. If a suit would make the rebels leave, then I'd get one, whatever it took.

"Just getting in the transport was hard. The steps weren't designed for kids. And the door was heavy and stiff. It only took me a second to find the lock once I was in; that bought me some time to try and figure out how to make the thing work. It was already running, so I just had to figure out how to get it in gear. I had to put the seat forward as far as it would go just to get my toes on the pedals. It's a wonder I didn't stall the thing. I'd only gone along a couple of times when the older street kids stole vehicles for joyrides or to strip'em for parts, so I only had the vaguest idea of how to shift gears and I ground the hell out of them. I knew I didn't have much time, so I just slammed my foot down on the accelerator as hard as I could and hung on to the steering wheel for dear life. I think I hit at least a couple of those big wheeled toolboxes and scraped the entire side of another transport on the way out. Broke the mirror off the side of mine.

"People scrambled to get out of my way. I don't know whether I hit anyone or not because I couldn't see down in front of me at all or much out the sides either. I could just barely see over the top of the dash through the open part of the steering wheel. I wasn't tall enough to see over the top of the steering wheel. It was a wonder I managed to keep the thing straight enough to get through the door."

Duo turned and walked slowly across the garage and back outside, Heero behind him. Heero's hand slid down to rest against his back in a less visible touch than holding onto his shoulder.

"Those big solid gates were open," Duo said, pointing to the huge metal gates barring the main entrance. "Just the little guard barrier was there to stop me. Somebody must've ordered the big gates shut 'cause they started moving, but they were still open wide enough to get through by the time I barrelled down on them. If they hadn't been open, I'd have hit them just like I plowed through the guard barrier. There's no way I could have hit the brakes on that thing hard enough to stop it, let alone managed to steer at the same time."

Wrapping his arms around himself, Duo gazed off into the distance as he continued, "I have no idea how the hell I ever managed to get the thing turned fast enough to get onto the street outside. I think I might have taken my foot off the accelerator before I hit the guard barrier; maybe that slowed me down enough to make the turn without rolling over or crashing into anything. And I don't remember much of the trip from then till I got - back. The whole thing's a blur.

"I know I hit more stuff - some parked vehicles and I think I took out a few signs too. Scraped all the way down the side of a building when I turned down an alley that wasn't really wide enough. I remember the noise that made. But I don't know how long it took me to get back. Only that it was too long." Duo shivered, then shook his head sharply, shaking off the next set of memories. Those ones could wait; he would be dealing with them soon enough.

He could feel Heero's body heat directly behind him. Knew that if he turned and reached out, Heero would pull him into a hug, regardless of their location. For now, it was enough to know that the option existed. Duo didn't really want to attract more attention than necessary while they were here. Old street instincts shrieked in protest at the thought of displaying any kind of vulnerability in this of all places. Things were different on his old turf than on the colony that he now called home. They might both be part of the L2 cluster, but they were light-years apart in virtually every way possible.

'Just one more look,' Duo thought, 'then we'll go.' Drawing a deep breath to brace himself, Duo turned and strode back into the garage again. He looked around, making careful note of all the changes. Reminding himself how much time had passed. How much things had changed. How the base responsible for so much destruction was now part of the plan to rebuild and renew the colony.

And as he looked around this time, the past stayed in the past. The chatter of the class returning from lunch and the assortment of vehicles scattered through the garage were clearly of the present.

"Heero?"

"Yes?"

"Feel like taking a long walk?"

There was a pause, then a sigh. "Dammit Duo, don't tell me you want to do that today too. Do you have to face *all* your demons in one damn day?"

"Umm... yes?"

Heero sighed again, then said, "Well come on then. We'd better go get our guns back and start walking or we'll run out of daylight."

"Thanks Heero."

Duo wasn't completely sure, but Heero's muttered response sounded suspiciously like a Japanese word. One that covered a wide range of meanings, none particularly positive. And he had to admit, Heero was probably right. He *was* being a baka. But all he wanted to do was get this *over* with. He'd deal with the emotional fallout once it was. He was pretty sure that he could get through the rest of this and get back home before he fell apart. 'I hope.'

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

- tbc -