6-19-2001

Title: Return to Happiness ~ Part One

by: Chiaki*
Standard Disclaimers Apply. I don't own 'em. Just the story. ^__^

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[ Part One ]

Hirde looked up from her work as she heard the office door slam. She
quirked a delicate eyebrow at the figure clad in black.

// Duo.//

He was decked out in a black mechanic's suit which was open at the top revealing a white wife-beater underneath. The long chestnut braid had a few stray strands here and there, while his face was smudged with grease. In the past three years, Duo's features had matured from that of a beautiful boy's to that of an incredibly gorgeous young man. However, the once bright amethyst eyes were now lifeless and exposed the suffering soul inside. Hirde watched him as he moved with stealth across the room to flop on the couch set against the wall.

"Long day?" she asked. Duo lifted his head to look upon her. A faint smile spread across his lips.

"Same old, same old." Was his reply. He lifted a dirty hand to push a few strands of silk behind his ear.

"So." Duo started. "Any mail for me today?" He asked sounding very automatic.

"Actually, yes...."

"Really?" Surprise written all over his face. " From who?"

"Quatre and Trowa..." Hirde stated as she pulled it out of the desk drawer. "It's a hologram.....So, are you going to open it then?" She looked up at her friend once more to find Duo staring through her.

"Duo!"

"Oh yeah. Sorry, um.....what do you think?" he said as he got up and took the cube from her hands. He twirled it several times before placing it on the desk only to stare at it some more.

"Oh Duo!!" Hirde exclaimed, the pressed the play button.

The cube began to glow slightly, then the hologram of Quatre and Trowa was projected above it.

"Duo, I hope this finds you well." Quatre began. Trowa gave a slight nod and smile at the greeting.

"I know you've been, uh, busy, Duo but please hear us out." he paused looking at his lover then continued. "Trowa and I are engaged and plan on getting married a month from now. Which will be May 12th. Duo, you are cordially invited to our wedding. We really want you to be there. We need you to be there. It's been a little over three years since we've last seen you. Time and time again, you've politely refused our invitations and have eluded us at the least. I know you can't be THAT busy Duo. We'd like it if you could come here to earth a week before the wedding. This way we'd be able to catch up on things. Everyone will be there. I will have a shuttle ready and waiting for you at Dock 09-L2, if you decide to come. Onegai Duo. Do this for me...." Quatre finished softly. Trowa took this as his cue to speak up.

"Duo. It obviously means a lot to Quatre, but it also means a lot to me. I would be very honored if you would be my Best Man at our wedding. Please consider our request. Just this once."

"We'll be waiting for your call Maxwell." Quatre smiled and the hologram ended.

Hirde didn't have to look at Duo to know that he was staring at the empty space the hologram once occupied. Without looking up, she placed her hand on Duo's and gave a light squeeze.

"You should go Duo." Hirde whispered and felt Duo stiffen at her words. She looked up at him with pleading eyes.

"Oh no you don't!! Hirde! You know I can't see /them/ again." Duo ground out as he pulled his hand back.

"You mean you can't see /HIM/ again." she retorted. Duo's expressionless face flinched in defeat. Hirde rose from her seat and came around the desk to stand before her friend.

"I don't know what's wrong with you Duo. For three years I didn't ask. You said you didn't want to talk about it and I wanted to be a good friend. But by submitting to you wishes I was a bad friend. So now I /have/ to ask. What happened? How can you make Heero suffer? How can you make yourself suffer? You just don't throw away true love!!"

"You wouldn't understand even if I told you!!!" Duo shouted. He could feel his heart twist in pain at the mention of his beloved's name.

// I don't understand...//

"You're right Maxwell!! I don't think I would!! Then let me ask you this! Do you still love him?!"

"......I ..."

"Well do you?!" Hirde demanded. Duo looked down at the purple headed girl. Her eyes were filled with unshed tears and her lower lip trembled. He had never seen her so upset. And he couldn't comprehend why.

"Yes I do. Goddess I do...I-"

"Bullshit!!" Hirde screamed, " You run, you hide, and now you LIE! If you really-"

"What's going on in here?!" A voice bellowed from the doorway. Another young man of about twenty cast chocolate eyes upon Hirde, then to Duo, and back to Hirde again. He quickly made his way toward his distraught girlfriend. Hirde immediately threw herself into his embrace and began to sob. The brown-eyed boy shot a glance at Duo.

"Sorry Jake. I'm going to go now. I guess I'll see you tomorrow." Duo willed Hirde to look at him but she wouldn't look up. So he quietly left her office taking the hologram cube with him.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Two weeks later, on the night before the shuttle's arrival, Duo entered his lonely apartment. It had been a hell of a two weeks with Hirde refusing to speak with him and the recurring nightmare he had each night. Exhausted, he trudged to his bedroom, stripped himself down to his silk boxers, and promptly fell face first onto his bed. With a deep sigh, he fell into a restless sleep, awaiting the nightmare he knew would come.

 

<<<< The cold burned his lungs. The blackness went on forever in every direction. The loneliness gnawed at his soul. Duo stood alone in the priest's outfit he wore during the war. Whispers of those he'd killed and the deafening explosions of battle surrounded him. Duo screamed at them to go away but his pleas were left unanswered. Then, out of the pit of darkness, a faint light began to glow. The voices stopped. The explosions ceased. Duo turned to the only source of light and warmth in the dreaded place. The light began to intensify as he approached it and within the light he could see a figure. Even though Duo could not make out the person's face, he knew who it was. It was the one who made him feel complete, loved, and safe. It was he source of his happiness and his reason for living. The figure in the light held out his arms, beckoning Duo to come into their embrace.

Duo smiled as he began to step closer to the warmth. His happiness was only a few yards away and Duo began to walk faster. Suddenly, a wall of cold hit Duo and another figure appeared before him, blocking his view of the light.

"Father Maxwell......" The priest stared at Duo with dead eyes for a few moments then disappeared into the darkness.

"NO!! Come back!! Come back! Father? Where are you? Please come back...." Duo shouted as he ran around searching in vain. The tears started to well up in his violet eyes. He wiped them away quickly as he turned to the light once again. Duo found himself farther away now and so started to run in its direction. Manifesting in front of him was Sister Helen, knees bent, and praying. A look of fear and dread on her delicate features. She shot her head up at an unheard sound, got up, and turned her head towards Duo. She opened her mouth for a silent scream as she was engulfed in red and was no more. Duo stumbled and fell at the awful sight. Crying now, he crawled to the spot where she once was. His hands came into contact with a warm sticky fluid unrecognizable in the dark. Duo lifted both palms to see them covered in blood. Her blood.

".....Nonononononono.....Sister....NO~~~!!!!!!" Duo threw his head back and howled.

"Why?! Don't leave me too..." he cried.

"Duo!" a voice cried out in the darkness. Duo shot his head up to see a tall blond haired man smiling at him.

"Solo......no...."he begged.

"I love you `little brother`" he said sadly before he began to disintegrate before Duo's eyes. The pain twisted his insides and his throat hurt from his cries of anguish. Now the light was gone and Duo was left alone once again. The only sounds were his sobs and harsh breathing.

"Everyone I've ever loved......taken from me.....gone.......dead......It hurts too much..." Duo whispered, "I can't love again....or else, or else, they'll die too.......they'll die too. Heero." Duo wanted out of the nightmare. He couldn't take anymore. He was supposed to wake up right now like he had before but this time the darkness would not let go.

"Duo. Look at me." A new voice commanded, a familiar voice. Duo looked up from his fetal position and saw ...himself. His other self was sadly smiling, but nonetheless smiling. Duo was about to take the hand that offered to help him up but stopped short as he remembered his own were covered in blood.

"Your hands are clean Duo. Now get up." It was true.

//My hands are clean.....no more blood...// Duo took his other self's hand and stood face to face with himself.

"Your fear has stood in the way to /our/ happiness for the LAST time. The fear has made you loose sight of it. Do you understand now? You believed that if you were to love again, or fall in love with someone, that they too would be taken away from you-"

"I couldn't take it if that happened again. I couldn't take it if I lost /him/. It'd be the death of me...." Duo's other self sighed.

"Duo, those who have the courage to love, must also have the courage to suffer.(1)" Came his reply. "You already suffer without him. You're as good as dead. You've /existed/ for the past three years. What have you got to loose? Nothing!! You are one of the lucky few to have found true love, a soul mate....don't throw it away." Silver tears spilled from Duo's eyes and his breathing became labored. Hope slowly began to bloom in his heart.

"But what if he doesn't love me anymore? I couldn't take that either..." The other Duo placed his hand over Duo's heart.

"You know the answer to that question already. Besides, isn't he worth that risk? You /know/ that he loves you and that he's waiting for you. I /know/ that. If it wasn't true, I wouldn't be hear trying to help your sorry ass." the other Duo smiled.

"Yes." Duo sighed. "It's time I pushed my fears aside. It's time I move on...It's my turn to be happy." His other self threw weightless arms around him and drew him into a warm hug. Duo closed his eyes and returned the hug.

"Thank you." He whispered. He pulled back when he felt the sudden change in the other figure and came face to face with a radiant Heero. Duo found himself surrounded in the warm bright light he tried so desperately to reach earlier.

"Aishiteru Duo." Heero breathed. And then he was gone.>>>>

Duo shot up out of bed in a cold sweat. He reached under the mattress to pull out a picture frame. It was the only picture of his Baby and himself. It was taken shortly after the war in Quatre's garden. Duo had his arms wrapped around the Japanese boy's waist and his chin rested atop his baby's head. Heero was really smiling and it was a wonderful sight to see. Duo averted his gaze onto his own happy statement. Lovingly, he caressed the glass as if it were his beloved's face. For the first time in years, the ex-pilot of Deathscythe really smiled.

"Nothing to loose..."

*~*~*~*

The next morning with his two bags packed and ready, Duo found himself at Hirde's apartment. Taking a deep breath Duo rang the doorbell. He heard movement inside and the sound of the door being unlocked. A solemn faced Hirde opened the door.

"Duo! I`m-" she exclaimed.

"Hi Hirde. I just came by the say that I'm sorry for being such an ass. And that you've been the greatest friend ever. I'm leaving today and should be back in about a week. I promise I'll catch up on my work when I get back."

"Oh Duo!" Hirde sobbed as she launched herself into his arms. "Promise me you'll work things out with Heero. I just want to see you happy."

"I promise." Duo smiled. " I want to see me happy too." He kissed the top of her head and placed her back down. Hirde smiled brightly as she gazed upon him. His eyes were brighter and he just seemed so much more alive then before.

"Um, Hirde?" Duo chuckled lightly. "Do you think I could call Quatre from here and get a ride to Dock 9? I forgot to do that before I left my apartment." He grinned sheepishly at her.

"Oh Duo~~!"

*~*~*~*

Quatre, Trowa, and Rashid stood at the gate awaiting the arrival of Duo. The two ex-pilots were ecstatic that Duo had finally decided to come, even if it was at the last minute.

// I wonder what made him change his mind? Oh well. He's going to be here and that's all that matters.// Quatre thought. Trowa brought his fiance's attention to the shuttle that just landed.

"He's here." Trowa stated. Quatre tugged on his lover's sleeve in excitement. The shuttle pulled up slowly to the gate and it seemed like forever until they opened the gate. The first passengers filed out but there was still no sign of Duo. The trio patiently waited for what seemed like an eternity before they spotted a glimpse of the chestnut braid.

"Oh my GOD!!!! DUO~~!!!" Quatre squealed and proceeded to glomp his long lost friend.

"It's good to see you too Q-chan!" Duo laughed heartily as he hugged the blond boy. Trowa stood a few feet away smiling at the two.

"Hey Tro. Long time no see ne?"

"Yes Duo. It's been way too long." He said returning the smile.

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Author's Notes: [1] I read this somewhere in a fanfic...I only got
her name....Lateri Marie. *sigh* I hate it when I forget..... :P