2-11-2002

Title: Shimmer
Author: Izora Jade
Anime: Gundam Wing with a hint of Fushigi Yuugi! ^^ (I didn’t write that, Tenshi did.)
Pairings: 3x4, Tasx2, Tas+2, 1x2
Rating: R
Warnings: angst, death fic, lime, self-mutilation
Notes: You don’t have to know Tasuki to understand this fic. Whenever I use a crossover and put Tasuki in it, it’s just so Duo can have a friend because I think that they would make good friends.
Disclaimer: If I owned these animes, I probably wouldn’t be writing this stupid story. I don’t own them, thus I am writing this story. I’m warning you now, if you try and sue you’ll get exactly what I have. Nothing.
Archive: http://www.angelfire.com/gundam/darker_dayz and I would be delighted if anyone else wanted to host me, just e-mail me first, hm? ^_^
E-mail: wonkycat24@hotmail.com
Feedback: Yes please! ^_^

+- Dedicated to ObsidianSould who made me stop writing this fic for a week in fear that I was some kind of psychic. -+

She calls me from the cold
Just when I was low, feeling short of stable
And all that she intends
And all she keeps inside, isn’t on the label
She says she’s ashamed
And can she take me for a while
And can I be a friend, we'll forget the past
But maybe I’m not able
And I break at the bend
We’re here and now, but will we ever be again
‘Cause I have found
All that shimmers in this world is sure to fade
Away again....

+-1-+

“He’s such a freak,” Quatre murmured as they watched the boy in a huge black trench coat molding his mashed potatoes into what looked to be a duck.

“He always smells like pot,” Wufei muttered.

Heero looked over him with fascination. He didn’t know why, but he always wanted to know what was on the inside. He couldn’t be as freaky as he looked....

“You know why he wears all those long sleeved shirts and bracelets?” Trowa asked. Quatre shook his head so Trowa continued. “Because he’s a cutter.”

Quatre shuddered. “How can anyone do that to themselves?”

“Probably a devil worshipper, too,” Wufei growled.

“He doesn’t have any friends,” Heero mused.

“No shit!” Wufei cried. “Would you want to be friends with that?!”

Heero gave him a blank look and Wufei raised an eyebrow.

“I’d like to see you try to befriend that freak.”

“How much will you pay?”

It was Heero’s famous line. He didn’t have a job, but he was never short of cash. He was known for trying anything anyone dared him to if they would pay him the right sum. He was also known for getting the cash.

“I’ll pay you three hundred dollars if you can manage it,” Wufei replied, smirking. “As long as you pay me the same if you don’t.”

Heero returned the smirk and held out his hand.

“I’ll pay you five hundred if I lose.”

Wufei placed his hand in Heero’s and they shook.

“This should be interesting,” Wufei promised.

“Be careful, Heero,” Quatre warned. “You don’t know what that freak could do to you.”

Heero was content as he leaned back in his chair.

“I don’t lose.”

 

+-2-+

Duo wasn’t as stupid as people thought he was.

He heard them talking.

At lunch.

They called him a freak.... They said no one would ever be friends with him....

Why was he so fucked up?!

‘I hate you!’ he screamed at himself in his mind as he dug his pen into his arm, unconscious of the fact that he was in the middle of class.

Slowly he ripped at his arm until he got blood flowing.

It made him so happy to see himself bleeding.

Suddenly it dawned on him that the teacher was looking in his direction and he covered his arm up with his coat, letting the blood seep into the black material.

“Duo, hand me your coat,” she commanded and he shook his head. “Give it to me,” she demanded, holding out her hand.

“No,” he replied firmly.

“Now!”

“No!” he responded, realizing now that everyone was staring at him.

“Would you like to go see Dr. Hall?”

“Yes,” he growled when she suggested he see the principal.

“Go then.”

“Okay,” he replied, standing. “I’m taking the coat with me,” he spat before walking out and slamming the door.

He turned down the hall in the opposite direction, going the long way, which passed his locker. The way she wouldn’t suspect.

He opened his locker and grabbed some Band-Aids out of it and bandaged himself up, grabbing a bunch of silver bracelets and sliding them on to cover up his previous scars before taking his coat off and throwing it over his shoulder, jaunting down to the principal’s office.

He’d tell them he got scrapped up while he was skateboarding or some equally lame-ass excuse.

They’d believe it.

And even if they did figure out he was a cutter, it’s not like his mother would really give a damn.

 

+-3-+

It was Friday.

Heero decided to make his move Friday, after finding out all he could about Duo for the past week, which wasn’t much.

So at lunch, he didn’t join his normal click. He didn’t even spare a glance for them. If he did, Wufei would throw him looks or laugh or try to discourage him in some way, shape, or form.

“Mind if I sit here?” he asked the boy who was staring at a piece of paper in front of him, long bangs hanging over his thin face so that you couldn’t see his eyes. Slowly he looked up at him through those long bangs skeptically.

“Why?” he replied softly, lifting one leather gloved hand to brush the bangs out of his eyes for a moment and get a better look at this invader.

And for the first time, Heero realized how beautiful his eyes were. Deep, wide, and the most brilliant shade of purple....

Heero shrugged. “Tired of the norm.”

Duo chuckled. “That’s the most interesting answer I’ve gotten yet, but I know that’s not the real reason. I’ll let you sit there, for your creativity, but I’m not stupid.”

“I never said you were,” Heero replied as he sat down, trying to get a glance at what was on the paper Duo was so intent on.

“You don’t have to say it,” Duo answered as he moved the pencil over it.

There was a very uncomfortable silence between them.

“What’s that?” Heero finally asked.

“Something you probably wouldn’t be interested in.”

“Artwork?”

Finally Duo slammed his pencil down and lifted his head to meet Heero full in the face.

“Why in the hell do you care?” he asked, anger seeping out of his words and out of his eyes as his brows furrowed and his mouth turned into a frown.

“If it’s an uncomfortable topic--”

“It’s not the topic that’s uncomfortable!” he spat. “It’s you! Why are you here? What are you trying to accomplish? If you want to go back to all your stupid friends and tell them what a fucked up person I am, you don’t have to get a hands-on close up encounter to do that! People make up lies about me every other second, I’m sure that you with your creativity could make up a few interesting ones!”

Heero paused before speaking his next words.

“I’m not here to make-up lies, I’m here to dispel them.”

Duo sighed and rolled his eyes and stood, tucking the paper into his jacket.

“Bastard,” he hissed before storming away.

Heero crossed his arms over his chest.

This was going to be harder than he expected it to be.

“That went well,” Wufei called as Heero walked past their table.

“Shut up,” Heero snapped back. “This isn’t over yet.”

 

+-4-+

The whole weekend Heero spent fuming over his mistakes.

The whole weekend Duo pondered this and decided it would be his new game. That was if this character was still persistent about it....

 

+-5-+

As Duo hoped, Heero once again decided to make a point of talking to him Monday at lunch, this time with a different approach.

He sat right down and said “my name’s Heero.”

Duo gave a short shrug and looked back down to the blades he was playing with.

Finally Duo spoke, holding up the blades.

“You know the kind of cuts these make?” he asked. Heero shook his head. “Well, if you slid them from this angle they make a longer, thinner cut, like so,” he answered, pulling down his sleeves and sliding it across his scared arm. “See? It just breaks the skin. However, if you go at a straight up and down angle, it gets a much deeper cut, a lot thicker.” Once more he gave an example. Blood dripped from his wrists and onto the tabletop and Heero was in total shock. How could he just do that right there?

“You know the best thing about them?” he asked, smiling as he leaned in and held the bloody blades close to Heero’s face. “The thicker cuts just make the punishment all the more fulfilling.”

“Please tell me you have other interests than this,” Heero spoke, but mentally he realized what was going on. There was something in Duo that made him feel like he had to be punished. Why or what was unknown, but for some reason he thought he had to punish himself. Just a hint of something in his eyes....

Duo paused, not expecting this.

“And if I didn’t?”

“Then I feel sorry for you and would like to expose you to the more pleasant aspects of the world.”

“And what pleasant aspects in this world are there?” Duo replied, feeling suddenly threatened. He knew that Heero didn’t really care, but the suggestion that he did.... It was very strange.

“Art, music, literature. Have you never been to a museum?”

“Yes, but that is no business of yours.”

Once more Duo stood and stalked away, but this time, he was defeated.

 

+-6-+

Duo bit his lip gently as he slowly sketched the perfect face shape, and then added hair. Bangs that swept over the forehead, smoothly brushed over the ears, then stopped mid-neck. He shaded it in gently, and then smudged the charcoal lines with his fingertips.

Pursing his lips, Duo then studied what he had just created, and then it hit him.

Even without the eyes or nose or mouth or color, he had just sketched out an unmistakable representation of Heero’s face shape and hair.

Angry now, he ripped the sheet out of his sketchbook, crumpled it into a ball, and then chucked it into the waste bin next to his desk.

Why? Why?!

Why the hell was he unconsciously sketching a portrait that resembled Heero?

That awful prep who had infiltrated his lunch table and was bugging the hell out of him! Who was constantly invading his privacy and asking him endless questions while his stupid friends watched in the background, snickering! Just the thought of him made Duo flare up with anger.

If he weren’t so attractive, Duo would have socked him by n--

Wait.

Did the thought ‘if he wasn’t so attractive’ just swim through his mind?

Well, even if he was attractive, he was still a jerk!

So what kept Duo from punching him out?

What kept him beating his ass down?

Suddenly, the phone rang, yanking him violently from his thoughts.

It startled Duo, making him fall completely off the bed, knocking over his ashtray and spreading it across the carpet.

“Goddamn!” he cursed, reaching over to his night table and picking up the phone. If it was a solicitor, he was ready to cuss them out big time.

But, fortunately, the person on the other end was far from a solicitor.

“Hello. Um, could I please speak to Duo?” said the oh-so-familiar voice.

“Tasuki!” Duo shrieked. “Oh--my--God! I can’t believe it’s you! We haven’t talked in for~ev~er!”

“Duo! I’m so sorry I haven’t called! I miss you sooooooo much!”

“Oh, Tas-chan, I miss you too! Say...why haven’t you called in me since I moved, huh?”

The thing that Duo missed most of all since he had moved away from his Pennsylvania home in the beginning of the school year was his best friend, Tasuki. He was heartbroken that they hadn’t spoken in months.

“Well...er...see, it’s kinda a looooong story....”

“I have a lot of time.”

“See, er...you know that fine-assed prep at our school, Tamahome?”

“Oh, do I?! The really hot popular one with girls flocked around him all the time?”

“Uh huh. The very same. Well, it turns out, right after you leave, he announces to everyone he’s bi.”

“Oh! You’re kidding!”

“Nope. And so he goes on this rampage, bedding every guy he can get his hands on. And guess who was right up there in the top ten of his choices?”

“Oh my God!”

“That’s right. Yours truly.”

Duo squealed. “That’s sooooo awesome, Tas-chan! Oh my lord, you got to sleep with Tamahome, the king of preps? Geeze!”

“Hold on, I’m not finished. Well, anyway, he came on to me with the usual. The same he used on all his guys. ‘You’re so hot Tasuki. I want you so bad. I can’t wait another day.’ Naturally, I was ready to get this on as soon as possible. So, I invited him over because my mom was out on some date that night, and I figured she wouldn’t be home until after midnight, and that would give us enough time to mess around as long as we wanted, and then get him out of there.
“Well, he came over about eight and--”

“Gimme all the detail, Tas!” Duo cheered excitedly.

Tasuki laughed.

“I’m getting there.

“So, he comes over at eight and I’m all ready, of course. I’ve got on my thong, I’ve got chocolate ice cream smothered in whipped cream and hot fudge, I’ve got Chili Peppers blaring on the stereo. Everything was perfect.

“Well, everything’s going great. We’re on the couch, feeding each other ice cream. I’m on his lap. We’re both shirtless.”

“Wow....”

“Then, the next thing I know, our bowls are on the coffee table and we’re making out. Not just any old make out session. Oh no, this is the real hard-core thing. We’re grinding, I’m practically gasping for air, and his hands had somehow found their way to my ass.”

“This is where is gets bad. He’s about to take off my pants, and I’m about to get some, when my mom walks in.”

Duo gasped.

“Oh, God....”

“Yeah, no kidding. She freaked. Tama was out of there in a flash.”

“So what happened?”

“Well, she had left the date early cause the guy was a total jerk. She gave me an hour-long lecture. About how she knew I was gay but ‘having sex with someone you don’t love is immoral’. She was off her rocker with this one. She was really upset. I was grounded forever. That and she didn’t want me having any ‘wild phone sex’ so I was grounded off the phone forever too.”

“That’s awful, Tasuki,” Duo said, even though he really wanted to laugh when he pictured the look on Tasuki’s mom’s face when she walked in on that.

“That’s not the worst part. It was all over the school the next morning, too. Of course, I just laughed it off.”

Duo was laughing now, too. He really missed his school. He actually had friends there.

“So, Duo, what’s new with you?”

“Nothing...really....”

“Aw.... No hot guys? No new friends? No cool places to hang out?”

“Tasuki, its hell here. Everyone here hates me.”

“WHAT? How can anyone hate you!? You’re Duo Maxwell! Everyone loves you, Duo. Hell, I love you and I hate everyone.”

“They think I’m a freak. They’re all preps here. And the bad kind, too. Not the cutesy, want-him-in-bed, boy-is-that-tie-and-jacket-thing-he-has-going-sexy? type. The preps up there are fun. They’re open-minded. They know how to party. But here, geeze! They’ve all got their heads up their asses.”

“Well, um.... I guess I’ll have to see for myself, eh?”

“What?”
“That’s what I called about, Duo. I’m coming to visit you! I’m driving down tomorrow! I got out for Spring Break Monday, so I’m gonna spend tomorrow, Thursday, Friday, and the weekend with you!”

Duo was speechless.

Tasuki. Was. Coming. HERE!

He was soooooooooo happy! This was defiantly the best thing that had happened to him since he moved.

After a few minutes, Duo got over the shock and was ready to talk again.

“Oh, Tasuki! I love you sooooooooooo much. I can’t wait! I can’t wait! I can’t wait!”

Tasuki laughed.

“I can’t wait either, baka. But what about those preps down there, eh? Are they that bad? I bet I could bed one.”

Duo burst out laughing.

“Bed one! Oh my LORD, Tasuki! I don’t even think you could get some from one. I’d love to see that! Whahahahahahaha!”

“Oh yeah? You will, don’t worry. I’m irresistible, duh. I can get any gay or bisexual dominant male in bed.”

“Not down here, you can’t.”

“I guess we’ll just see, huh?”

“I guess.”

“Well, I have to go. I’m leaving early tomorrow, so I can get there around dinner time.”

“That’s cool. My parents are never around anyway. We’ll go out to eat or something.”

“You got money?”

“Yeah. I have a job.”

“Really? Where?”

“Starbucks.”

“COFFEE!”

Duo giggled.

“You still working that corner, Tas?”

“Duh.”

More laughter.

“Well, see you tomorrow, buddy.”

“Okay, Duo-chan!”

“I can’t wait!”

“Me neither!”

Click.

 

+-7-+

Slowly Duo slid his fingers over the picture, the blood smearing across it and mixing with the charcoal. The soft light from the lamp shinning over the paper. His eyes were burning with sleep-deprivation and tears, but it was pain he could take.

Slowly Heero’s face became a bloody mess.

He’d dug the picture out of the trashcan, just to do this.

“You look better this way,” Duo whispered to himself. He had to complete it this way.

But no matter how much he tried to convince himself that the blood represented death, it always seemed to represent something else....

He grabbed his cigarette in shaking fingers and took a deep drag on it.

“Bang,” he breathed as smoke curled from under his lips, the blood dripping from his wrists, staining his clothing.

He’d wash them out in a second, really.... Just a few more...seconds....

Slowly time dragged by.

He lifted another cigarette. And another.... Tears began to fall....

He'd clean it up....

Just another second....

 

+-8-+

Duo walked into lunch and found Heero already sitting at his table.

He gave him a blank look as he sat down. If there was any other table in the lunchroom then he would’ve sat there, but this was the only one that was empty.

“I don’t have a choice,” he announced before sitting down and resting his head on the table, his arms folded beneath his head.

“Do you ever eat?” Heero finally asked. Whenever he saw him with food, he was usually playing with it and sculpting it into some sort of animal.

“Food?”

“Well, yeah.”

“Occasionally.”

They receded back into silence.

Heero chuckled. “How ‘bout hotdogs?”

“Yeah, they’re pretty nice. Attached to the right men,” Duo replied, giggling, his eyes still closed.

“That’s what I thought....”

Once more there was silence.

“Do you know it too?” Duo asked.

“Know what?”

“How nice they can be....”

Heero blushed and Duo opened his eyes to watch and laugh.

“I....”

“That’s right. You’re probably virgin, huh?”

Heero was blushing harder and Duo laughed harder.

“You probably don’t even know where you put it, do you?”

Heero was about the shade of a tomato at this point.

“I do too!” he stammered.

“Why don’t you show me?”

Immediately Duo wished he could’ve taken those words back. Was it just egging him on, or...or did he really want Heero to show him?

Heero’s eyes flashed and caught Duo’s.

“Where?”

Duo suddenly became flustered. He didn’t want to be flustered! He didn’t want to be defeated like last time!

“Here.”

“Here?”

“Yeah, here. I’ll get up on the table and strip right now for you.”

Once more Heero’s eyes turned to the floor.

“You....”

“Aw.... Are you afraid that you won’t be able to compare to the others?”

“Compare...?”

“In size.... You know, the bigger worm gets the fish.”

Heero stood up, blushing so hard, so angry red filled his vision and he could hardly see as Duo’s mocking laughter filled his mind.

 

+-9-+

Duo heard the doorbell ring and smashed his cigarette quickly, practically falling down the stairs, throwing the door open and throwing his arms around Tasuki’s neck, knocking him off balance and into the wall.

“Whoa, whoa!” Tasuki cried, stroking Duo’s cheek as Duo looked back, their noses touching. Duo’s eyes wide with excitement and joy, happy tears swimming in them.

“I’m so glad you came,” he whispered, burying his head in Tasuki’s shoulder.

“What do you think? I’m just going to leave my best friend all alone?”

Duo finally let him go and scrubbed his eyes on the back of his hands.

“I’m only worthy of that.”

“Shut up you,” Tasuki smirked, mussing his hair. “I’m fucking starving. What do you chics have to eat around here?”

Duo giggled and dragged him into his car.

“You can unpack when we get back.”

 

+-10-+

“Wow,” Tasuki awed as he flipped through Duo’s sketchbook and landed upon the picture of Heero.

They went out to Applebee’s for dinner and caught up then moved Tasuki in for the next few days.

“What in the hell did you use to get this affect?” he asked, turning to look at Duo, who was messing around in the closet, looking for old nostalgic pictures to laugh over.

“What are you talking about?” he asked, looking back and realizing what picture Tasuki was looking at.

“Oh.” He turned back to the closet.

“What’s that for?”

“What?”

“The ‘oh’. What did you use?” Tasuki asked, curiosity taking the best of him.

“Just-just don’t ask!” Duo retorted as his arms began to shake and he dropped a box, the bands on his wrists sliding down to expose the scars.

“Duo?”

Slowly Tasuki pulled back the door and saw how shaken Duo was about it and took him over to the bed.

“What...?”

Slowly Duo lifted his arms and the bracelets slid down and Tasuki gasped.

“Duo...?”

“If you’ve been through what I’ve--!”

“Shh,” Tasuki cooed, laying him down and kissing his wrists. “It’s okay.... I know it’s been hard for you, it’s just...surprising.”

Duo laid on the pillows, gazing up at his best friend, tears catching on his eyelashes.

“Lets watch a happy movie, huh?” Tasuki suggested, grabbing Duo’s copy of the South Park Movie and sliding it into Duo’s VCR, setting it up to play before hopping back on the bed and wrapping his arms around Duo.

Duo leaned back into his embrace as the movie started.

“Duo,” Tasuki whispered, nipping at his ear as Duo turned to look at him, halfway through the film.

“Tas....”

Slowly Tasuki pressed his lips on Duo’s and Duo received the kiss willingly.

“I can make you happy, Duo....”

Duo reached up and rested his arm around Tasuki’s neck.

“I’d....”

Tasuki leaned back down and cut him off with another kiss.

Duo’s heart began to beat quicker as their tongues meshed against one another.

“Tasuki,” Duo gasped as Tasuki began to bite lightly at the sensitive flesh around his neck.

Slowly Duo sunk into the soft touches that he felt he would never have for real.

 

+-11-+

They got Tasuki a visitor’s pass for the next two days, with no trouble what so ever.

Everyone in class was a little...scared.

Duo smiling and laughing with another...Duo was scary for the people.

So, the first two periods were kind of odd, but nothing too bad happened.

Lunch, though, was a different story.

Heero and his posse were terribly surprised to actually see Duo not alone.

“Who the hell is that guy with Maxwell?” Wufei spat, disgusted that Duo actually had found a friend.

“God, now there are two freaks at this school,” Quatre said as if it were an awful disaster.

Heero didn’t even acknowledge them. He just headed straight over to the table.

Duo and his friend were laughing outrageously at something when Heero sat down across from them.

Finally, they acknowledged him.

“Is this one of the preps you were talking about?” the redheaded punk asked. “Cause he is kind of cute.”

“Shhhhhh!” Duo hissed and smacked him while he was overcome with a fit of giggles.

“Hey, Duo. You’re being a bit rude. You haven’t introduced me to your boyfriend, yet,” Heero greeted him softly, smirking.

Thoughts raced through Duo’s mind.

Did Heero know he and Tasuki had sex?

No, that was ridiculous.

Besides, just because they had sex didn’t mean he was his boyfriend.

Sex and love are two completely different words.

Especially in Tasuki’s dictionary.

Duo turned red.

“He’s not my boyfriend!” he stammered.

Heero raised an eyebrow. “Oh?”

“Duo! Of course you are!” Tasuki squealed, throwing his arm around Duo. “We make sweeeet love, don’t we Duo-sweetie?”

Heero’s eyes widened.

Inside, Duo was blowing up.

But outside, he just pushed Tasuki off of him and forced a laugh.

“Oh Tasuki, you’re such a kidder!”

Tasuki winked at Heero.

“It’s true,” he whispered.

“Um,” Heero replied.

Duo was slowly dissolving to nothing but tears.

“Shut up, Tasuki!” he screeched.

“Dude, sorry. I was just messin’ around,” Tasuki tried to cover his ass.

“Well you shouldn’t joke about that!”

“Why not? I thought it was harmless enoug--”

“Not when it’s fucking true!”

“I think I’ll--”

“Sit back down!” they both growled at Heero with his suggestion to leave.

Heero quickly resumed his seat.

“You two act as if you were married,” he finally muttered out and both boys stopped fighting and looked over at him.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Tasuki asked.

“Look at you! Cussing at each other and ready to claw at one another’s throats!”

Duo was silent. That was exactly how his parents acted before....

“People would think you were lovers anyway so you might as well get over your phobia, Duo.”

Duo bit down on his bottom lip as it quivered with unshed tears.

“I’m not gonna play no damn Judge Judy in divorce court, thank you very much,” Heero continued, oblivious to how close Duo was to crying as he stood. “And that is exactly why I’m going to leave. You can battle this one out yourselves.”

He turned and stormed away and Duo let his head fall into his hands.

 

+-12-+

There are some boundaries that aren’t supposed to be crossed in a friendship, and Tasuki and Duo had crossed one of them. This wasn’t going to be a let’s-kiss-and-make-up deal. They were still mad at each other when they got home, and though they both pretended like they weren’t, they knew that this wasn’t over.

Finally Tasuki got fed up with the whole ordeal and finally got to the root of the problem by finally asking Duo just what he had up his ass.

Duo promptly replied “hopefully not your cock ever again!”

There was dead silence.

“I thought--”

“Like fucking HELL you thought! If you would’ve thought, you wouldn’t have done this to me in the first place, Tasuki! If you would’ve thought, I’d probably be a lot better person than I am right now! If you would’ve thought, we...we wouldn’t be the friends we are, or aren’t, right now....”

“Well don’t go and fucking cry about it!” Tasuki snapped.

“Shut up!” Duo smacked him hard across the face. “Leave me alone! You don’t know anything about me, Tasuki! You think you know what I’ve been through, but you’ll never know! You’ll never know! You don’t care to hear about it and you don’t care about me! Do you think I want to cry about this?”

Tasuki paused and realized that Duo was so much different now than he ever was before. Before, Duo would’ve never gotten so upset. They fucked around plenty of times and both ended up laughing about it in the morning. He was so much more sensitive about things....

“Duo,” he murmured, reaching out to touch his shoulder, but Duo flinched back.

“I’m not ready to talk yet,” he whispered.

“I’m sorry for what I’ve done, whatever it is. I never meant for you to get upset.”

Duo sniffled but didn’t say anything as Tasuki slowly walked away and settled down on the floor.

Duo rested on the bed and fumbled in his drawer before pulling out a package of cigarettes and his blades. He lit a smoke and slid it into his mouth before hastily sliding off his bracelets in frustration and slashing up and down his arms as he sobbed.

Slowly the cuts opened and blood soaked into the sheets and smeared across his face as he sobbed into his open hands.

“Duo?” Tasuki asked, concern flooding his voice when he saw the bed sheets turning red and Duo rocking back and forth. “Duo? Are you okay?”

He just began to sob harder before clutching at his stomach, blood sinking into his clothing, and throwing up all over his blankets and legs. He choked on his tears and his vomit as he began to shudder.

“Aw, fuck, Duo!” Tasuki cried, jumping up from the floor and over to him as he coughed violently. Tasuki grabbed him and rubbed his back in a hug as Duo continued retch choppily.

“I can’t help it Tasuki,” he gagged. “I’m so fucking scared.... I’m so lonely....”

 

+-13-+

“For the past week we’ve been playing this game with each other,” Duo spoke Friday at lunch.

Tasuki understood everything now and decided that it was better to let Heero and Duo talk alone and made up an excuse about checking out some hot guy and seeing if they would lay him.

“I realize this. I was only doing it because you seemed to want to.”

“I don’t want to anymore. It’s stupid. Plus it’s getting harder to think of insults.”

Heero smirked. “Speaking of which, what happened to your little husband Tasuki?”

“Are you going to be mature about this or am I the only one who has the mental capacity of an adult?” Duo asked in exasperation.

“Hey, you just insulted me Mr. I’m-sooo-mature.”

“Well, I had to get you back, doncha know. Besides, there is nothing between Tasuki and I. Nothing. At all. There never will be. He lives in Pennsylvania. I’m not big on the long distance relationship.”

“I see.”

“However, I am big on being made a fool of so I want to make sure that Tasuki isn’t terrorizing some poor helpless soul by asking him if he’d like to get laid.”

“And why did you bother to talk to me then?”

Duo shrugged. “I’m a lover, not a fighter. I didn’t want you to think I was completely out there after yesterday.”

“Too late. I already did,” Heero gave him a small smile. “But I don’t consider that such a bad thing.”

Duo couldn’t help but let a faint blush creep across his face.

“Well, um, anyway.... Here.” He threw down a piece of paper. “You asked me if I had any interests other than cutting. You might find out.”

With that, he sauntered away to go find Tasuki.

Wufei dashed up to Heero after that one and sat down across from him.

“What was that about?” he asked, anxiously.

Heero picked up the piece of paper and unfolded it. Inside was a little pen sketch of a female pixy and a few lines of writing.

Saturday

7:00-9:30

Taco Mac

Not a Date

“Well, we’ll have to find out,” Heero replied, giving Wufei a look that clearly said ‘I think I won’ as he slid the paper into his pocket.

“What did it say? What did it say?” Wufei begged.

“Well, it’s not a date, but there’s such a thing as evolution.”

 

+-14-+

“So how many guys did you offer to lay during lunch yesterday, Tas?” Duo asked, a hint of a snicker in his voice, as they drove down the street towards mall.

It was late Saturday morning, and they had time to kill, so they decided to go chill at the ‘mall’ and maybe find Duo some ‘cool new threads’ as Tasuki put it, to wear at that night’s gig.

Tasuki laughed.

“How many do you think?”

“Hmmmm...at least twenty-three.”

Tasuki laughed again. “Nah. Only one. Some Asian guy. Hangs out with your little friend. You know the one.... Can’t quite remember his name.....”

Duo was running through the list of Heero’s friends in his head when it hit him.

In fact, it hit him so hard, he choked on the coffee he was sipping and almost jerked the car off road.

“Wufei Chang?!” he cried, staring wide-eyed at Tasuki.

Tasuki shrugged. “I told you, I can’t remember his name. His name and number are at home, though. In my jeans pocket.”

Duo still stared.

Wufei gave you his number?! I didn’t even think he’d talk to you. He’s a total asshole, Tas-chan.”

Again, Tasuki shrugged. “Seemed nice enough to me.”

Duo snorted. “I can’t believe it.... He just wants you in bed, smart one.”

“What’s wrong with that?”

Duo sighed. “Whatever, Tas-chan.”

So, they got to the mall in one piece (hooray!) and went inside. The mall was terribly huge, but there was one minor setback.

Tasuki looked to his left.

Abercrombie and Fitch.

Tasuki looked to his right.

American Eagle.

Tasuki looked up ahead.

Areopostale.

Then it hit Tasuki.

EVERYONE HERE WAS A PREP!

“I’m scared, Duo,” he whined softly, grabbing his sleeve. “I feel like an alien.”

“In this town, we are,” Duo said softly as he started in the direction of A&F.

“Duo! What are you doing?!” Tasuki shrieked.

“Going to A&F, what else?”

“But--but--but--”

“But what?”

“But it’s hell in there! We might never come out the same two boys we are now. We’ll come out wearing khakis and t-shirts that boast the name across them under plaid button ups! Duo! I don’t want to look like that! I don’t WANNA!”

“Well, you sleep with guys who look like that enough,” Duo muttered under his breath.

“I’m going to overlook that comment.” Tasuki said calmly. “Anyway, is there a Hot Topic here?”

Duo laughed.

“Alright.... Er.... How about a Mr. Rags?”

More laughter.

“A Pacific Sunwear?!”

Duo shook his head.

“Oooookay.... Well, um, what do you have?”

“These three stores right here are the cheapest in this yuppie mall.”

Tasuki’s mouth fell open.

“You’re...kidding!”

“Nope.”

It took a minute for Tasuki to gain composure.

“Well, screw the mall then. Why don’t we go to Target or Wal-Mart or something?”

Duo laughed again.

“There isn’t one around here.”

Tasuki bit his lip and threw a frightened glance in the direction of A&F.

“But--but--but--”

“Look, Tas. These pants came from there!” Duo said, gesturing to the all black, baggy pants he was wearing. They were split at the seams and zebra-print fabric ran up the legs, then, towards the waistline, along the seams, black ribbon was laced.

“No way.”

“Yup. I just...altered them a bit.”

Duo grinned.

“Besides, the guys on the shopping bags are hot.”

“Oooookay....” he finally agreed hesitantly. “But will you hold my hand?” he asked in a small voice.

Duo glomped him. “No! You’re a big boy, Tasuki.”

“I know,” Tasuki agreed with smirk.

Duo glared at him. “The point is, I’m not going to hold your hand. It’s not that scary. I survived.”

With that, Duo yanked him into the store.

While Duo browsed through a wrack of pants, muttering to himself what he could do to improve them, Tasuki cowered next to him, whimpering.

“This music is hurting my ears. It smells funny in here. There are too many girls in here, Duo. I’m allergic to girls!”

“Would you shut up?” Duo hissed, holding up a pair of khaki pants. “What do you think?”

Tasuki made a face.

“Well, I think I have some black dye left. I’ll dye them, then maybe cut holes in the legs, then put fabric underneath.”

Tasuki blinked, then cheered. “Sounds awesome!”

So Tasuki and Duo began shopping and not looking at the actual clothes, but what they could make out of them.

“Well, do you guys at least have a decent food court around here?” Tasuki finally asked a few hours later.

Duo shrugged. “If you like caviar and pâté.”

Tasuki practically fell over. “You have to be kidding.”

Duo cracked a smile. “Yeah. I’m just kidding.”

“Good.”

Tasuki dumped the bags on Duo, feeling uncomfortable holding them, and so he dashed ahead to the food.

When Duo came up to him he practically fell over.

He was--was...fraternizing with enemy!

He was over there, flirting--FLIRTING--with Wufei! Not to mention Heero was with them.

Fuming, Duo set the bags on the nearest table and stormed over there.

Wufei kind of glared at him with a disgusted air, but he just glared right back.

“Hey, Duo. This was the guy I was telling you about in the car,” Tasuki told him triumphantly.

“I know,” Duo grumbled.

“You were talking about me? I hope only good things were said,” Wufei told Tasuki with a smirk.

“In your dreams,” Duo snapped at Wufei. “There is nothing good to say about you.”

“As if I care about what you think about me, Maxwell. I could care less about the opinion of trash.”

Duo looked away as if he had been slapped.

Then Tasuki suddenly said something.

“For your information,” he began, “if you think Duo’s trash, then you must think the same of me, because he’s my best friend and we’re very alike.”

Wufei’s eyes narrowed. He really couldn’t see how Duo and Tasuki were alike at all. Tasuki was attractive, funny, interesting, outgoing, sexy, and slutty.... Duo was--

Wait.

What was Duo like? He had never...really...taken the time to find out.

Well he was a pothead and a cutter. Everyone knew that. That was bad enough.

Tasuki put his hand on Duo’s shoulder.

“You gonna be okay, Duo-chan?”

Duo’s head snapped up. “Yeah,” he retorted. “A snobby bitch asshole poser’s opinion doesn’t matter much to me.”

With that he walked off in the direction of Chick-Fil-A.

Tasuki bit down on his lip and watched him retreat, then Heero follow after him.

Then, behind him, Wufei asked “Do you wanna have lunch with me? We can go somewhere expensive....”

“No,” Tasuki snapped, then he too walked away, towards a place that sold pizza, leaving Wufei shocked that he had been turned down.

“Why are you following me?” Duo growled at Heero as he stood in the line for Chick-Fil-A.

Heero shrugged. “Who says I’m following you? Maybe I want a chicken sandwich.”

“That’s a pretty extreme coincidence considering there are about fifty other places here that sell chicken sandwiches.”

Heero shrugged. “Coincidence never bothered me.”

Duo growled as he ordered a number five with a coke.

“Besides,” Heero started back up, “I’d be interested in seeing you eat.”

Duo turned around to glare at Heero, but Heero was smiling at him jokingly, so he sighed in frustration instead and turned back to the cashier.

“I don’t like people watching me eat,” he retorted.

“Well, how about this?” he asked, throwing his arms around Duo’s waist and spinning him around in the middle of the food court.

At first Duo was mad. He didn’t ask to be touched and he didn’t like that much attention to be brought to him, but he then he couldn’t help but giggle.

Heero set him down as his order was set on the counter and he caught his breath before giving Heero a glare.

“I did not like that,” he spat, taking his food and storming away to sit with Tasuki where he had left his bags.

Heero smiled after him before consciously smacking the sappy grin off his face and ordering a sandwich.

 

+-15-+

“You look great, Duo!” Tasuki cheered as Duo modeled for him. “I never thought that prep clothes could look so good!”

Duo smiled as he played with his shirt. It was black, simple enough, with a silver dragon design printed across the front. He had slit open the long sleeves past the elbows in four different places on each sleeve, putting in a wealth of black silk cloth in each crack, threading black ribbon around the elbows. His pants were also black, but he had slit them open on both seams on both legs up to the knees, sewing in a ton of silver silken cloth, tying ribbons around the knees to match the elbows.

“I try,” he replied easily.

“You think Heero will show up?” Tasuki asked, raising an eyebrow and trying to catch Duo’s reaction.

Duo blushed a little. “I don’t really care if he comes or not,” he snapped haughtily.

“Aw, sure you do!”

“Do not!” Duo retorted childishly.

“Do too!” Tasuki laughed.

“I’m not going to argue like this,” Duo decided, grabbing his coat and his guitar.

“You have any other guys in your band?” Tasuki asked, curiosity overwhelming him since it wasn’t something he ever thought about before.

“So acoustic guitar isn’t enough any more, eh?”

“Well, er....”

“Or do you just want to get laid?”

“Ek, you see, well.... Kinda.”

Duo sighed in exasperation.

“I have a drummer that lives a few hours away who’s showing up. We meet every so often when I’m having a good day and go over what we have and shit.”

“Is he hot?” Tasuki asked.

“Her name is Vikky and she’s not interested in men.”

“Dammit Duo! A female! I told you I was allergic!”

“You came out of one,” Duo ‘helpfully’ pointed out.

“And that was the worst moment of my life!”

“And the worst moment for the rest of the world too,” Duo shot back with a grin before turning to look out the window when he heard a car pull up. “She’s here. Be nice. She doesn’t bite.”

“It’s not bite marks I’m worried about! It’s hives! Oh my God, I’ll never get laid with hives! Men think hives are freaky STDs!”

Duo blocked Tasuki out as he began to lock up the door.

“We’re not going in her car, are we?!” he gasped as the realization hit him.

Duo rolled his eyes. “She is the drummer. She can’t exactly move her drum all over the place. It’s already in her car.”

“Nooo!” Tasuki wailed.

Once more Duo tuned him out as he walked up to his only other friend in the world.

“Hey,” he greeted with a smile. “This is Tasuki. I’m sure you’ve heard about him.”

She slid down her square shades and looked him over before holding out her hand.

“I’m Vikky. Nice to meet you.”

Tasuki looked at her hand nervously.

“I’m sorry, I’m aller--”

Duo walked behind him and shoved him into her.

“He’s under the false impression he’s allergic to women.”

She grinned. “I’m more like a man than you think.”

In truth, she didn’t look like such a scary girl, Tasuki decided. First of all, she wasn’t a prep. That was a plus. Second she had spiked, bleached hair and she wore combat boots instead of long curly hair and high heels, and so that was also a plus. She also wore a small black tank and a leather jacket and huge jeans and tons of silver bracelets and earrings.

“Well, okay then,” he returned, dusting himself off. “Maybe I can manage talking to you and still be able to get laid.”

Vikky rose an eyebrow at that statement. “Um, okay then.... You wanna drive Duo? I don’t know where I’m goin’ yet.”

“Sure,” he replied, catching the keys as she tossed them to him and climbed in the passenger side.

“You get to be our water-boy, Tasuki,” Duo replied, handing him his guitar as Tasuki muttered under his breath, then suddenly perked up.

“Dude! That means I get to get laid by the football players!”

“Sure Tasuki,” Duo replied, patting his shoulder before hopping in the car.

 

+-16-+

“I wonder when Duo’s showing up,” Heero muttered as he sat down at one of the round tables in the middle of the room, half of it set away for some band that was playing.

He sipped at his coke as he waited patiently.

When suddenly a totally butch-dyke chic in black walked in with Tasuki, carrying a bunch of black cases for what looked like...a drum.

Heero mused over this as he watched the broad giving Tasuki exasperated looks while she set up her drum kit.

Heero figured that Tasuki was getting those constantly.

Then Duo walked in, blowing smoke out of his mouth with a guitar in his hand.

He scanned the room and for one brief second that felt like forever, their eyes met.

Then he turned away and began chatting with the woman as he opened up his guitar case and tuned it up.

“So where’s this Heero Tasuki was telling me about?” she asked him, a wide smile pasted across her face.

Duo mumbled under his breath before shifting his eyes in the direction of Heero’s table.

“The one sitting alone with a coke and long brown hair that’s watching us,” he spoke, then added “but I don’t understand why you’re so interested. It’s not like there’s anything between us or there ever will be.”

Tasuki and Vikky shared a look that clearly said ‘yeah right’.

“What?” Duo growled, his fingers sliding easily over the strings, warming up.

As they set up, Heero watched Duo intently. His face, his lips, his waist, his ass.... He couldn’t help but find Duo attractive when it was so blindingly obvious.

Having his arms around his waist like that earlier.... It was almost unbearable.

Finally, Duo took his position in front of his mike.

Tasuki hopped over and sat down next to Heero.

Heero gave him a look and Tasuki lifted one finger to his lips in the ‘shh’ motion.

Duo kind of giggled into the mike. “This is wild,” he breathed in the mike and it amplified his voice. It was, in truth, his first gig. “Well, yeah. I’m Duo and back there, that’s Vikky. I guess we call ourselves Glass Museum.” He laughed as his fingers played over the strings.

Suddenly he struck the strings hard and there was a wild drum roll before Duo broke into the mike.

“Trapped among this concrete jungle/Twisting in the spider webs of steel/Locked up in the highest tower/These broken wings have never learned to fly/Stuck in here from hell and back/You touch me and you asked me how to feel/Well, I was gonna ask you.” Duo giggled through the chorus.

Heero was amazed that he was so talented. He never seemed to show it. Everyone considered him a waster, and he never tried to prove them wrong, but they were so wrong.... He was so much more than that.

Tasuki watched Heero basically the whole time. He knew Duo was talented, that was no surprise, so watching the band wasn’t much.

But Heero.... He was practically drooling. Tasuki could tell he was turned on by the way he sat and the way he watched Duo and the way he moved his lips every so often.

“I bet ya didn’t know that Duo was this good, eh?”

Heero shook his head, not looking over at Tasuki.

Tasuki rested his chin on his hands. “He’s good at other things too.”

Heero blinked and then turned to look at him. “What kind of things?”

Tasuki smacked his forehead. “You know what kind to things. The kind of things you wish he was doing to you right now.”

“What are you talking about?” Heero asked.

“Dude, you’re hands on your crotch. You can’t make it more obvious than that.”

Suddenly, it dawned on Heero that was true and he held his hands up in the air.

“What are you talking about?! My hands not on my crotch!”

“It was a few seconds ago....” Tasuki murmured, smiling.

Heero growled.

“Well, you know, I can’t really blame you. He is sweating pretty hard up there and his fingers must be pretty dexterous of he can move them over the guitar like that--”

“Shut up!” Heero cried angrily.

“And if you really wanted some, well, you know I’m right here.”

“That’s it. I’m getting a new table,” Heero muttered, standing and moving a few tables down to the confusion of all the waiters.

“It was worth a shot,” Tasuki muttered.

Slowly Heero eased his hand on his crotch as he once more continued watching.

He would never approach Duo like that. They were friends, of sorts, but there was no way that Duo found him more than an annoyance.

When the set was over, Heero hopped over to tell them how good they were, glad his pants were tight so that they would hide the problem he currently had.

Duo packed up his guitar and Heero was on the unfortunate side of the deal and approached him not face first, but ass first.

“Hey,” he spoke, leaning over and trying to ignore Duo’s fine ass in those tight black jeans as it blatantly proclaimed its presence.

Duo turned his head to look over at him.

“Hi. What did you think?” he asked, picking up his case and sitting down on the stool, wiping back his sweaty bangs with his hand.

Heero wanted to say something to the affect of ‘I think you’re fucking hot, let’s go have sex in the bathroom stall’, but he didn’t.

“You’re...amazing! I didn’t think that you possessed so much talent! I mean, sure, I knew you weren’t a waster like everyone thought, but still--! Why don’t you ever try to disprove any of that shit that’s said about you?”

Duo shrugged. “It’s not worth it to me. I don’t want to waste the time. It doesn’t matter what I say, people will think what they want.”

Then the dyke walked up and held out her hand. “Hi. I’m Vikky.”

Heero looked her over and shook her hand. “I’m Heero.” Then he turned back to Duo.

Vikky smiled instead of being offended, finding him amusing, and obviously into Duo.

“Do you, like, have a CD or anything? Home-produced?” Heero asked.

Duo laughed. “Um, no.”

“You don’t?”

“Oh, and hell doesn’t exist. Of course we don’t. Neither of us have the hook up for that kind of thing.”

“I could help you make one, and you could do the cover art for it, huh?” Heero suggested, realizing that this might get him more time with Duo than he ever imagined.

Which might not be a good thing the way he was getting turned on.

Duo paused.

That would be fucking great if they could make a home-produced CD!

But that also meant he would have to accept Heero’s offer and his friendship, which he hadn’t previously done.

Did he really want to give in?

“Wow! You would do that...?” Vikky asked, amazed.

“Of course. I have the equipment and shit. It wouldn’t be that hard.”

Heero laughed on the inside. Oh hell yes it’d be hard.

“I....”

“Come on, Duo. I have nothing better to do. It’s not like you’d be wasting my time or anything,” Heero urged.

“I.... Okay,” he agreed, wincing as he did so. What was he doing?! He wasn’t supposed to be accepting the enemy’s help!

“Great!” Vikky cheered. “I can come up next weekend and--”

Heero and Duo didn’t hear her babble, they were entrapped in each other’s gaze.

Heero just couldn’t get over how beautiful he was and Duo.... Whether he’d admit it or not, felt the same.

“Well, I guess I should get going then.... Duo.... Hey, you are getting a ride home from me, right?” Vikky asked, waving her hand in front of his face.

“Huh? Oh, oh.... Yeah, sure,” he replied, smiling and picking up his guitar.

“Bye Heero,” he waved as they grabbed up Tasuki and hopped in the car.

“Dude, that guy is sooo into you,” Vikky teased as she drove back to Duo’s house.

“He was only drooling buckets,” Tasuki spat sorely. He didn’t get laid.

“Whatever,” Duo replied, staring out the window.

“Duo, his hand was on his crotch the entire time. Didn’t you see any of the activity that was going on down south?” Tasuki asked, incredulously.

“Sorry I didn’t check,” came Duo’s sarcastic reply.

“Well you should next time,” Tasuki replied. “It’d be worth your while.”

But when he was sure neither of them would notice, he stared out the window and let a smile curl on his lips.

 

+-17-+

“I.... I don’t want you to go,” Duo whispered as they shut Tasuki’s trunk Sunday evening.

“I have to get home before twelve, Duo.”

Duo was quiet.

“I wish I didn’t get so upset.... I wish you didn’t have to see me that way....”

Suddenly Tasuki wrapped his arms around his best friend.

“You don’t have to be strong all the time, Duo,” he whispered, giving him a quick peck on the cheek. “Besides, what are friends for?” Tasuki asked, moving away and smiling as Duo wiped at his eyes.

Duo laughed a little as Tasuki hopped into his car.

“I’ll try to call you more often, okay?”

Duo nodded. “I’d like that....”

“Well.... Until we see each other next.... This summer, at the latest, right?”

Duo nodded again. “This summer at the latest....”

Tasuki slammed the car door and started the car and rolled out of the parking lot.

Duo turned around and lifted a hand to his mouth, trying to keep from crying.

He didn’t want to cry anymore....

But then his knees gave way and he fell on the gravel, tears slipping down his cheeks.

 

+-18-+

Duo finally stumbled downstairs Monday and almost fell over when he found his mother totally licking all over this strange man in his kitchen.

“Oh Duo,” she said once she finally noticed him, climbing off this new man and fixing her shirt.

Duo wanted to laugh as she played with her hair. It was almost comical. Almost.

“This is John,” she introduced the man. He was unshaven, had longish brown hair, blue eyes, and somewhat of a beer belly and his clothing looked like it was perpetually sloppy.

Duo immediately got a bad impression of him because he smelled of beer and pot.

“As if I care,” he muttered before making his way to the refrigerator. “Your one night stands aren’t my business.”

“Well you should care,” she growled angrily. “He’s moving in.”

There was dead silence as the milk slipped from Duo’s hand and smashed upon the floor, slowly spilling out on the floor.

“What?” he whispered, turning to look over the both of them.

“You heard her. I’m moving in,” he spoke. “Now are you just going to stand there or are you going to clean up the mess you made?”

Duo’s eyes flashed in anger. What right did this pothead have to boss him around?!

He stormed over to the sink to grab a few dishtowels as his mother moved out of the room for a few moments.

Duo leaned down and picked up the milk carton.

“Even I know pot is illegal,” he growled as he set the towels on the spilt milk.

“Look here you little bastard,” the man growled, picking Duo up by the collar and slamming him into the wall roughly. “Don’t mess with people that are older than you. Especially not me. I’ll kill you.”

“Go ahead,” Duo managed out as pain coursed up and down his back. “I attach no value to life.”

He raised his hand to punch him, but that was when his mother walked back in.

“What are you doing?” she asked as John immediately set Duo to his feet and Duo struggled to keep standing.

John smiled. “We’re just messing around. You know how men are.”

She broke into a smile as Duo let himself fall to his knees and made it look like he was just bending back over to finish cleaning up.

“It’s great that you two will get along then.”

Duo fumed silently.

It wasn’t like she actually cared. If she did she would’ve been able to see the pain on his face.

It’s not like it wasn’t obvious.

 

+-19-+

Tuesday was even worse. He managed to avoid John as much as possible, but Tuesday....

The walls were a lot thinner than they thought they were.

He heard every scream and every moan.

And he cried as he slashed up the inside of his upper arm.

He heard them dash down the stairs and out of the house. Where?

He didn’t know. They didn’t care or bother to tell him.

He wasn’t important.

He wasn’t anywhere near as important as their sex and their fun....

And how could she choose that man over his father?

Slowly he looked through the pictures of the amusement park.

The last thing he had left of his father....

And it was only about a year!

He decided that this was best.

The pictures scattered across the floor. He didn’t want them to get bloody.

The blood from his arms was already staining the sheets.

Oh well, he could buy new ones. After his father left and gave everything to the family.... All the money he had made in foreign affairs--!

At least he was buying something worthwhile instead of John’s fucking pot!

“This is best,” he whispered as he looked at the knife. “This way I won’t have to think. I wouldn’t have to go through all this pain....”

Suddenly the phone rang.

Duo looked over at it and tilted his head, as if it were foreign.

In a way, it was. The phone never rang.

But he couldn’t let himself be distracted by what was most likely a solicitor!

Then, the answering machine picked up.

“Uh, hi,” came the timid voice that Duo recognized as Heero’s.

He couldn’t help it, he was distracted, and he dropped the knife in shock and stared at the phone.

“I was just wondering if maybe you’d like to see a movie sometime this week being as there’s not much else to do, right? Maybe the Lord of the Rings? It’s supposed to be really good. I thought you might be into fantasy like that.... But, anyway, I’m babbling now.... Call me back, I guess.... My number is--”

“Heero,” Duo sobbed into the phone, barely able to hold it correctly in his hands.

“Duo?” he asked back, surprised.

“I’m...I’m afraid I’m going to hurt myself.”

+-20-+

He heard footsteps flying up the stairs and the door slammed open and Heero got the sight of his life.

He never thought he’d see that much blood outside the movies.

Totally paralyzed with shock, he had no idea what to do.

“Duo....” he whispered as Duo lifted his face from his bloody hands and looked at Heero, like an angel fallen from heaven to bid him stop. He could almost see the feathery wings growing out of his back already....

“Goddamn! What were you thinking?!” he shouted, grabbing the knife away and throwing it in the trashcan.

Duo just sobbed harder.

“Don’t you know anything?! Committing suicide is stupid! It’s weak! It meant that you couldn’t take this world and that you were a failure!” Heero screamed at him in frustration and fear.

“I know, Heero!” he shrieked back. “I know I’m weak! I am nothing! I’m pathetic! I cry and cry and then I cry harder! I cry so hard I make myself sick! I don’t want to cry anymore, but when I think about how I don’t want to cry anymore, I just cry harder because I am pathetic! I am weak! Look at me! I’m so stupid....

“I want to kill myself and I think I’ve got it hard! I don’t have it hard! People in Africa have it hard! I have it nowhere near as hard as them and yet I want death! That is selfish, that is selfish and stupid and weak! I know this, Heero!

“I sit here and cry! I cry so hard because I am weak! To kill yourself is a sign of weakness! I have to stick it out and become stronger!

“Isn’t that funny? When you think about it, the whole world is funny. Everything is so jacked up it makes you want to laugh. The people who are best off kill themselves and the poor one’s are the happiest. If there’s a God, he’s laughing his ass off at his creation. Wouldn’t you be laughing at your creation? I would. I am. Except I didn’t create anything but a bigger mess.

“That’s what I am. A mess. Everything I touch becomes more and more of a mess. Everything’s a mess.

“You know, someone once told me that a car was a coffin carrying you through life. The same person told me that you look out the window, and it’s like a TV. You’re watching everything moving around you. In my opinion, your body is a coffin, carrying you through life. Isn’t that ironic? You live your whole life in a coffin. People are so worried about being put in one, but they don’t realize they’re already there. No one realizes it. They’re already there.

“They’re already dead. Oh look.... What does it matter...? I’m already dead....”

Then Duo stood and dashed into the bathroom, vomiting into the sink, his entire body trembling under the immense mental strain it was put under.

As he finished, Heero came up behind him, more nervous, but more scared than he’s ever been in his entire life, and wrapped his arms around his waist, letting his head fall against Duo’s, resting his chin on his shoulder, just holding him.

Finally he calmed down and let Heero lead him over to the tub where he filled it with cool water and Duo told him he had a first aid kit stashed under the sink.

Heero cleaned him up before leaning back on his knees and looking up at Duo, who sat on the edge of the tub.

“I....” Duo stuttered, before standing. “Give me your shirt. Would you like to take a shower or something to get...clean?”

“If you wouldn’t mind,” Heero replied as he unbuttoned his shirt and handed it to Duo.

“Use any of the soap you want. There are towels under the sink too. I’ll clean up your shirt.”

“Will you parents--”

“They don’t care about me, I doubt they’ll care that you’re here.”

Duo then disappeared and Heero shut the door.

He listened to the water drain through the pipes from Heero’s shower as he washed the blood out of Heero’s nice white shirt.

He couldn’t believe he had done that to Heero. Why did he pick up the phone and get Heero involved with his personal depression?

Duo knew the answer to that question.

He wanted someone to care.

He eventually managed to get all the blood out of the shirt, then worked on the sheets, and threw them in the dyer. He then made his way to the kitchen and pulled out a few Cokes before making them subs. He didn’t know about Heero, but he was starving.

He walked up stairs and back into his room, setting the food on a table before throwing open the two windows in his room, both of which were window seats, before going to the closet and getting some more sheets to cover the bed with.

He heard Heero turn off the water as he began to make the bed.

Heero walked out as he finished, his body still dripping with water from his damp hair, in nothing by jeans with the towel resting around his shoulders.

Duo was shocked at how sexy he was and tried to keep his eyes turned away.

“You can have some of that if you want,” Duo offered to him the food and threw him a Coke before he sat down cross-legged on the bed, picking up his sub. “I’m starving.”

Heero picked up his and receded to one of the window seats, the warm breeze feeling good on his wet body.

“I’m sorry I did this to you,” Duo apologized sincerely after a few minutes of intense silence. “I just--”

“I think that maybe it’s better this way,” Heero cut in. “If I hadn’t have called, who knows where you would be now?”

“But I used you.”

“How?”

“I....” Duo muttered, suddenly embarrassed. “I thought that maybe if I picked up the phone, you would care. I just...I just want someone to care about me....” Suddenly he lifted his head and gave Heero a sad smile. “Pretty stupid, huh?”

Heero shook his head. “Not stupid. Everyone has the right to want someone to care about them.”

Duo looked back down. “Yeah, but it’s stupid to have thought that you would care about someone as stupid and pathetic as I am.”

“I do care.”

“You don’t have to lie.”

“If I didn’t care, why would I have come for you?”

“You just didn’t want to see my death on your hands.”

“Look at me, Duo,” Heero demanded, staring at him. It took a lot in Duo to meet his eyes and keep them there. “I care. Can’t you see it? I’ve been through the same shit as you. It took me a long time to realize I had friends. I alienated people almost my entire life because I had bad social anxiety disorder, which ultimately leads to depression. I don’t want the same thing that happened to me, happen to you. I had no one to turn to, I want you to turn to me.”

Duo suddenly blushed and felt extremely privileged to have this confidence with Heero.

“Thank you.”

Heero nodded as he turned back to his lunch.

“So how does that movie sound, anyway?” Heero asked. Duo could feel the anxiety pouring off Heero in buckets.

“Well, that all depends,” Duo spoke, suddenly flirtatious.

“On?”

“Whether or not your asking me on a date or not.”

Heero stared as his hands as he played with the tab on the Coke can.

“Why don’t we just go and then come to a mutual agreement on whether or not it’s a date?” Heero asked, snapping off the tab.

Duo was silent.

“The only thing I’m worried about is whether or not you can handle a relationship right now, or I would say it was a date,” Heero spoke, more confidently than before. “Relationships bring on a lot of stress, most of which is in your subconscious. Though I wouldn’t put any stress on you intentionally, you might feel that way. I want you to make sure it’s what you want and that you can handle it.”

Duo nodded, feeling a little embarrassed.

“Besides, what do your parents have to say about homosexuality?”

Duo turned his head a little farther away from Heero, as if he’d just been slapped. Heero’s brain screamed at him ‘wrong topic, wrong topic!’, but he couldn’t take it back now.

“What does that matter, Heero? My mother doesn’t care about me, let alone my sexuality,” Duo muttered angrily, his arms shaking, visible by the soda can he held which he slowly put down on the desk.

“How do you know your parents don’t care?”

“How do I know? Do you know where my mother is? I don’t. Somewhere with ‘John’,” he spat the name out like rotten meat. “My father cared, until he died a year ago. Killed himself in a bus accident protecting me and my mother.” Slowly Duo lifted some of the pictures up off the floor, handing them to Heero. “That’s all I have left....

“Once he died,” Duo spoke up again, trying to wipe the sentimentality out of his voice, “my mother and I were left all of his money. We’re independently wealthy. He was for us. Foreign trade and such. He wanted to support me and give me the best future possible. I was his beloved son. I lived up to his expectations. More importantly, I wanted and liked to live up to his expectations.

“My mother, though.... After he died she was free to fuck anyone on God’s green earth that she wanted to, and she has. Not to mention all of a fucking sudden some asshole is living in my house, sucking off my father’s money to by his Goddamn fucking pot! And my mother just lets him! I hear them fucking! It’s no secret! The bastard! Both of them! I could fucking kill them fucking both!” he screamed, his hands tightening to fists as he began shaking harder, his wrath crashing through his body in an angry torrent.

Heero looked up from the pictures and at Duo, who looked like he was going to fall apart, he was shaking so badly.

“Hey, hey!” Heero soothed, walking over to him and wrapping an arm around his shoulders. “You can’t let yourself get this angry over this. It’s not good for you.”

“What am I supposed to do, Heero? Tell me what to do and I’ll do it. I just hurt so much,” he whispered as he threw his arms around Heero’s neck, unashamed to do so. “I just want to know what to do.... I can’t go on making my own choices.... It’s too difficult and it hurts so damn much....”

“I’ve got an idea,” Heero suggested as Duo unhooked himself from Heero and scrubbed at his blurry eyes. “Make a game out of this. Pretend like you really, really like John. See how well you can make them believe it, huh? Inside, of course, you can laugh at how stupid they are for actually believing it all. You know, get a few pictures of the ‘new family’. Get them developed and draw all over them with a sharpie.”

Duo giggled at Heero’s suggestion and swung his feet playfully.

“You think you can do that? Maybe for me?”

Duo looked over at him and smiled, nodding.

“I think I can do that.... And um, what time is that movie anyway?”

 

+-21-+

“That was fucking a~maz~ing!” Duo gushed as they got a seat at a Mexican restaurant by the movie theater. A few people saw them together, most of which snickered, but none dare say anything to the face of Heero (one of the most popular, influential, and daring guys at school) or Duo (the freak who might kill you if you get him mad enough).

So both Heero and Duo brushed the snickers off easily enough.

“The only thing that really pissed me off was Liv Taylor. Okay, first of all I don’t like her cause her lips are misshaped. Kinda like Julia Roberts, but that’s another story.”

Heero laughed, eyes shinning as Duo ranted and looked to be thoroughly enjoying himself.

“Second of all, I have no respect for her after Armageddon after only getting the part because her daddy wouldn’t do the music for the movie unless she got the part. That means she wasn’t good enough to get it on her own, in other words, she doesn’t deserve it and she sucks.

“Third of all, Arwen had no defined character in the books! There were virtually no women in the books! She was just that dude’s daughter! Okay, sure, yeah, she did give up her immortality to be with Aragorn, but that was just like a side note at the very end! Arwen didn’t even rescue Frodo in the beginning, it was her father!”

“You really know a lot about this, huh?” Heero asked, interrupting him.

“Yes I do, now I wasn’t finished,” he replied, smiling. “Fourth of all, maybe it’s just me, but was that love story totally off balance? There was no love story in the book, there shouldn’t be one there! It’s obviously not supposed to be there! It’s like me at school. I’m like a clown at a funeral. That stupid love story was like a clown at a funeral.

“Besides,” he finally growled, “I thought him and Legolas made a smashing couple.”

Heero laughed aloud as a waitress came to get their drink orders.

“So you didn’t enjoy the movie?”

“Now I didn’t say that,” Duo replied. “At first I was like ‘oh God this is going to suck major ass’ when they started with all that stupid narration and shit, but once it got going.... Wow! It was really weird because it was totally like I was re-reading the books. Everything was just like I pictured it. The Shire, the Elven Kingdom, everything. That monster that Gandalf faced, perfect. And you couldn’t tell that it was digitally altered at all! Oh my god! I couldn’t believe it! Especially in the mountain with all those amazing columns you know couldn’t have been real. The people looked like the fit perfectly and the entire thing was just.... I’m still trying to get over how everything other than that stupid love story was perfect.”

“So you did enjoy the movie?”

Duo nodded rapidly. “Most definitely.”

Heero smiled and was glad as they began to look over their menus, Duo still voicing his amazement under his breath.

They ate in quiet company, enjoying their time together and enjoying being outside of their normal lives. Neither had anything to prove and both loved this most about each other.

“So, um...I guess that leaves us with one thing left,” Duo muttered to Heero as he sat down in his car.

Heero looked over at him. “What’s that?”

“To decide whether or not this was a date.”

Slowly Heero let his headrest on the steering wheel.

“I really like you, Duo. It goes beyond just wanting to help you. I like the person you are, I like the fact that I can be completely honest around you and not be afraid that you’ll reject me. I like you’re wild ideas and your creativity and the way you look at the world, even if it is slightly jaded. And I definitely like the way you look, even though I wish you had less scars.”

Duo blushed and had never thought about that as being a potential turn off for the future.

“However I don’t want you to feel pressured into this if you don’t really like me. I want it to be from your heart.”

Duo blushed a little harder, never thinking he would hear such words from Heero’s lips, of all people. Just two weeks prior they totally ignored each other. Not to mention he never considered Heero a person that would look for things ‘from the heart’.

“Heero, I...I really like you too. You don’t turn away from me. You make the words ‘I care’ sound believable. You...you make me laugh and I like the way you make me feel. I want to give a relationship between us a chance, I’m just scared that you feel pressured into it. Like you’re afraid that if you say no, I’ll commit suicide or something. I don’t want a relationship based on your fear. I don’t...I don’t want the people I love to fear me....”

Slowly Heero tilted his chin up and kissed him softly before breaking away.

“I don’t fear you because I feel like I understand you and that I can approach you and tell you precisely what’s on my mind, like I am now. I fear most of my best friends more than I fear you, because they are unpredictable. One day they’ll love you, the next they’re avoiding you because you said something to hurt part of the ‘group’. I might look like it, but I’m not part of the ‘group’. That’s what I like about you. You don’t hide your emotions, you’re not a drama queen, and you’re real. I only wish I had the strength to show the world like you do, but I’m so damn scared of everyone.”

Heero leaned in again and their lips reconnected once more, but Duo broke away before Heero could give him any tongue.

“Funny. I admired you all this time for being able to put on a show and pretend like you were one of them, like you asked me to pretend that I like John. I thought it was all a wonderful show, and you call it fear. Maybe then, I admire your fear. I wish sometimes I were more afraid. Being bold gets you hurt.”

“Somehow I have a feeling that you hurt more when you’re afraid. I’ve been in pain all my life. Being bold, like I am right now, it feels good.”

Duo didn’t answer as once more he felt their lips connect and their tongues slide greedily into one another’s mouths, sucking on the sweetness they possessed.

It didn’t matter who saw, nothing mattered. This felt right, for both of them, it felt so right. No one could take that away.

But Duo pushed him off, begging him to stop.

So Heero did as he was asked, sitting up and wiping at his mouth from their sloppy kisses.

“What’s wrong?”

“I’m going to get the fucking biggest hard on of my life if we keep this up,” Duo growled as he managed to sit up. “That would be an unpleasant thing to happen right here, right now, in broad daylight, in the parking lot of a strip mall.”

Heero nodded his agreement as he tried to gain composure and drop his heart rate. He had to admit, that was a thrill. And he knew it would just get all the more thrilling all the farther he went.

“I’m sorry,” he murmured as he stared ahead, too ashamed for starting it without concern of their surroundings to meet Duo’s eyes.

“Why are you sorry? There’s no reason to be sorry,” Duo replied, smiling as he leaned over and pecked his cheek.

“I should have thought....”

“Thinking is highly over-rated,” Duo spoke as he leaned back in the leather seat. “Besides, wouldn’t it be a shame to ruin all this leather interior?”

Heero gave a wide smile. “Nah. Not that big of one,” he replied before starting up the car to drop Duo off.

 

+-22-+

Heero gave him a long, lingering kiss farewell and plans to meet again Friday and go to the beach, and for a few brief moments, Duo was happy.

Until he walked inside and found John and his mother fucking on the couch.

That was one HELL of a sight he certainly did NOT need to see.

They didn’t even notice as he calmly walked up stairs before retching up his dinner in anger, pain, and disgust. The whole ordeal made his stomach turn and his vision shake and fade red before his eyes.

He knew he’d have a hell of a time keeping his word to Heero and playing ‘good boy’ and trying not to kill the filthy bastard that would never replace his father, but on the other hand he knew he had to keep his word. Because it was to Heero.

 

+-23-+

“Thursday was a bitch,” Duo growled as Heero pulled out of his driveway. He grabbed a cigarette from the pocket of his loose, open white shirt. “Oh, you don’t mind, do you?” he turned to Heero before lighting it.

Heero shook his head. “One second. I’ve got an idea.”

He smiled over at Duo as he pulled the car over to the side of the road and got out, easily pulling the top down.

Duo was grinning like an idiot when Heero hopped over the car door and started back up the car.

“I’ve never been in a convertible before. At least not one with the top down,” he spoke as he light the cigarette.

“There’s got to be a first time for everything,” Heero replied easily as he grabbed Duo’s free hand and laced his finger through it.

“How far away is the beach?” Duo asked, suddenly realizing he’d never been to the beach either. Or at least not this one.

“Ah, once we get on the highway, which will be about five minutes.... And hour? If there was no traffic it might be thirty minutes, but it’s spring break and there is bound to be a lot of it.”

Suddenly Duo’s perfect little world went ‘smash’.

“It’s spring break....”

Heero nodded.

“That means that there will be people we know at the beach.... Your friends....”

Heero was quiet for a few minutes, trying to think of what to say.

“I don’t care what they think.”

“Don’t say that Heero. Remember, I’m nothing but a fucked up, failing, pot-smoking cutter. It doesn’t matter that I’m your boyfriend.... I shouldn’t be in the first place....”

“Stop that train of thought because that’s all bullshit. You want to know something about my ‘friends’, Duo? They are so far below you on the morale scale that the comparison between a goldfish and a whale wouldn’t suffice.

“First of all, I know you don’t do drugs. I know that if you could stop, you would stop smoking. All of my ‘friends’ smoke pot, they’re just too damn stuck-up to admit it. If you’re in my social group, you do pot. You do things a thousand times worse than pot. Heroine, LSD, acid, all that shit. I’ve probably smoked more pot than you’ve ever seen just trying to be ‘part of the group’.”

“Heero....” Duo whispered, almost scared at the way Heero’s hand had tightened around his and the way he glared at the cars in front of him.

“I don’t anymore, of course, because I’m not fucking stupid like they are. The only people that don’t smoke pot in that school are the geeks, you, and me and I’m damn proud of it. That’s why it hurts me so much to hear people say that bullshit and for you to be affected by it. I’ve been there, I’ve done that, and I did not by the T-shirt because all of that is fucking stupid, okay?”

Then Heero’s features softened and his grip loosened and he seemed almost sad.

“Sorry about over-reacting like that. I didn’t mean to upset you. It’s a sensitive topic for me....”

Duo nodded and lifted his knuckles to kiss him, flicking the cigarette away.

“It’s fine....”

“I guess it just makes me even more angry because I don’t want to be in that social group. I tried so hard to achieve it, and all I find is that it’s worse than what I was before. I’m so sick of the drama, the lies.... Everyone lies to each other, everyone lies to you, but when you lie to them, everyone hates you. Nothing you do is right. You upset one person and everyone has turned against you. There is no freedom here. You can’t be friends with who you want. You are suck as the same person you were since you were in elementary school. I pity you, yet in a certain way I envy you, for moving in the middle of it all. The last year of high school. Everyone has been defined so perfectly up to this point, but you. You’re new. No one knows you.

“I envy you that.”

“You shouldn’t,” Duo muttered. “It gets real lonely eating by yourself real quick.”

“Well, you won’t have to eat alone anymore,” Heero replied easily.

“You say this, but I have yet to see it,” Duo murmured. Part of him wanted to believe Heero and everything he said, but the other part, the wiser part, knew that these could all very well be lies.

Heero smirked. “I know what you’re thinking, trust me, you’ll see. I hold true to my word.”

 

+-24-+

“Wow....” Duo sighed as they parked the car. The cool breeze felt good in the heat of the sun and Heero grabbed a cooler and some towels out of the trunk, piling them all up under one arm so that he could grab Duo’s waist in his other.

Duo was almost surprised by this public affection, but giggled playfully and let himself be dragged foreword and across the sandy beach.

“Let’s try to find somewhere with a little shade, hm?” Duo requested and the moved up under some trees.

“How’s this look?”

“This looks perfect,” Duo replied and helped him spread out a blanket, weighing it down from the breeze with the cooler, the towels, and some nearby rocks.

Duo stripped down to his Hawaiian swimming trunks and dashed off toward the water, but paused when Heero didn’t follow him, turning back and hoping from foot to foot in the hot sand.

“You’re forgetting something Duo,” Heero called with a huge smile plastered foolishly to his face. Suddenly he pulled an out a bottle of suntan lotion and Duo laughed stupidly and dashed back up, grabbing it away from him.

He opened it up and began to spread some on his own face and Heero pouted.

“Well damn, you can take all the fun out of it....” Heero sulked.

“Here.” Duo threw it up to him. “You can do my torso.”

Heero grinned once more as he slowly spread the lotion over Duo’s chest, tickling him lightly at the stomach. Then he walked around to his back and spread it on him, slowly massaging it into his skin.

“That feels nice,” he drooled as Heero continued with strong, steady hands that made Duo’s muscles loosen up in no time and put him in a state of total ease.

“You want to do your arms?” Heero asked and it took Duo a moment to comprehend before he blushed and nodded.

He wondered what he was going to do, with fresh cuts up the inside of his upper arm. He didn’t want to break them open again and they weren’t healed over.... He finally bandaged them and hit the bandages under multicolor stripes of cloth that he wore as a fashion statement. The fresh cuts on his wrists covered easily with watches and bracelets.

Still, it embarrassed him more than he thought it would’ve that he had scars and he had to take the time to plan how to cover them.

“My turn!” Duo cheered, trying to get out of the depressing train of thought and into the idea of rubbing Heero down with suntan lotion.

Where as Heero’s strokes were firm, Duo’s were smoother across Heero’s body, lighter, getting him to tingle all over.

“Happy now?” Duo asked and Heero nodded as he helped him to his feet.

“I bet I can beat you to the water!” Heero cried suddenly, taking off on a mad dash across the scorching sand, Duo running after him, laughing and calling that he wasn’t ready, it wasn’t fair.

He caught up with him near the surf and shoved him down into water, smiling and dashing out further as Heero managed to stand again and chased after him this time.

They played in the water for about two hours, never tiring of the stupid game, because when they were with each other, they were happy, no matter how stupid or impossible it seemed.

Heero always dreamed of just being able to act stupid, like he never was before, and Duo opened that door for him. He could slip up and it would all be okay. People were always breathing daggers down his throat, but when he was with Duo, all those daggers disappeared and he could be himself.

Heero let the light shine through Duo’s window. The clouds lifted when he was with Heero. He wasn’t thinking about all his mistakes when they were together because Heero believed in him and didn’t look at the surface. He didn’t see all the jagged scars and when no one was there to look and give him funny looks, Duo didn’t think about them either.

Finally they decided on lunch so they sat down in the shade enjoying sodas, sandwiches, potato chips, and their time together.

As a lull dove in the conversation, Heero got a wild idea.

“What?” Duo asked.

“What do you mean ‘what’?”

“You have that look in your eyes. What idea do you have now?”

“Nothing, it probably won’t work.”

“You’re no fun! I want to know anyway!”

Heero sighed and looked over at him.

“There’s a hotel not to far away from here--”

Duo gasped, cutting him off, then giggled, slapping his arm playfully. “You’re so dirty!”

Heero blushed, embarrassed. “That’s not what I meant at all!” he cried.

“Really now? Then what did you mean?”

“I just don’t want to go home without you....”

Duo stared down at the blanket. Heero sounded so sincere....

“Maybe it would be a worse thing if we were to spend the night together,” Duo murmured sullenly.

“Why?”

“I...I don’t think I’d ever want to sleep alone again, if I knew what it was like to sleep in your arms.”

Heero was silent before stroking his cheek gently, brushing at his wet bangs.

“Isn’t it better to experience a little happiness before you die than to have never known it?”

“Are you suggesting I’m going to die before we get married?” Duo asked, looking up at him.

“Are you suggesting that we’re going to get married?” Heero replied, grinning like an idiot.

“I’d like that,” Duo replied, wrapping his arms loosely around Heero’s neck and leaning back to study his handsome boyfriend.

“Well then, I’ve got some work to do in finding the perfect ring,” he whispered, leaning in closer and brushing his lips over Duo’s forehead before staring into his crystalline eyes. “It’s going to take me a damn long time to find a ring worthy enough of you.”

Duo felt his eyes water as Heero pressed their lips together in chaste kiss, blatantly placing his deep feelings on his lips for Duo to taste.

“Heero,” he breathed into his ear as they parted, still locked in warm embrace. “Of course I’ll spend the night with you.”

 

+-25-+

They got a room and they had both taken showers because there was no way in hell Duo could handle his hair after being in salt-water without washing it. Heero brushed it out for him with gentle hands and braided it up.

Both had brought a change of clothes, knowing that they’d want to change out of their wet bathing suits before the ride home, anyway.

And that was how they found themselves walking into a really expensive seafood restaurant.

Everything around there was definitely pricey, but Heero had a credit card and his parents would bail him out of any situation.

The waiters kind of sneered at them, but they couldn’t force them out of the restaurant, so they gave them a seat.

Duo was in awe.

“I’ve never been in a restaurant this fancy before....” he whispered to Heero across the table, giggling as he pet the overly cushioned seats of the booth they sat at.

“They get really old really quick,” Heero told him honestly.

“We always had a ton of money, but my father never believed in boasting about how much money you had and kept everything toned down.”

“It would be better if more people thought the way your father did.”

Duo bit his lip. Heero reached across the table and held one of his hands.

When their waiter saw this, he looked down his nose even further at them.

“Would you like something to drink?” he spoke stiffly.

They gave the orders and Heero noticed how cold he was acting and how he didn’t go out of his way to entertain them as waiters usually did when he was with his parents and this made him mad. They were no worse than anyone else! Maybe they weren’t dressed in tuxedos, but Heero was still spending his money there!

Duo just thought that all the waiters in these places had lamp polls up their asses and always acted that way.

They got an appetizer of Caesar Salad and very buttery rolls and Duo finally admitted that he didn’t really like seafood.

“You don’t like sea food?”

Duo shook his head meekly.

Heero sighed angrily and glared down at the stupid menu. If he would have known that--

“Please don’t be mad at me,” Duo whispered fearfully, cringing.

Heero looked up at him, confused.

“Mad at you?”

“You’re mad.... Don’t be mad at me.... Don’t hit me...please....”

Heero was appalled.

“I’m not mad at you for not liking something!” Heero promised, almost finding the situation amusing. “I just wish I would have known that before hand so that I could have found another restaurant to take you to, that’s all. And even if I was mad at you, which I couldn’t be because you can’t be mad at someone because of what they like or don’t like, I would never hit you.”

Duo looked up at Heero and looked into his eyes, finding truth there.

He slowly let out a deep breath he didn’t realize he was holding.

“I’m more upset with myself because I should have asked you before we walked in.” Heero gave him a small smile and reached out for his hands. Duo slipped his own into Heero’s, twinning their fingers. “You like Italian though, right? Just order some sort of pasta and take the shrimp out.”

Duo smiled. “Okay.” He let one hand slide out of Heero’s grip and opened the menu with it, finding that there was a spaghetti order with shrimp in the marinara sauce.

So Duo ordered that and Heero ordered crab legs.

Duo did comment that one good point about fish places were the rolls were always really good.

They enjoyed their dinner as best as possible. Heero had to basically trip the waiter before he would notice them, but other than the poor service, everything went well. Duo found that Heero would allow him to feed him his shrimp and Duo found this particularly amusing each time. He managed to enjoy his dinner, maybe more so than any dinner because he was with Heero.

They wanted back to the hotel, in a love-dazed haze, to lie around the room and talk.

Heero decided to call his parents and told them he would be spending the night at Wufei’s.

“My mother would never call over there to check,” Heero explained. “She’s hates Mrs. Chang.”

“Why?”

“Well they always disagreed, something about being the best mother, but then there was a pie baking contest and my mother won, and Mrs. Chang, well, didn’t get close at all and so she blamed my mother for cheating. Of course, my mother was highly offended and now they don’t talk at all.”

Duo laughed. “It must be nice,” he mused.

“What?”

“Having parents like that....”

Heero snorted. “Grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”

“Yeah, but my side of the grass is always brown.”

Heero rubbed the top of his hand with his thumb.

“So I suppose you don’t want to call your mom and tell her some lie.”

“No,” Duo muttered. “I’ll just tell her I spent the night at a friend’s. I’ve pulled it off before.”

Heero paused. “Here?”

Duo nodded. “There’s the most amazing forest a few blocks down from my house, I guess on the outskirts of town. I don’t know, nature always fascinated me. I spend the night there sometimes, when things get to hard.”

“I’ve never really...camped before....”

Duo stared up at him. “You haven’t?”

Heero shook his head. “Hotels.”

“Ah....”

“Maybe I’ll have to go out with you sometime.”

Duo smiled. “That might be nice.”

There was a pause.

“You’re mother is totally unconcerned?” Heero just couldn’t get over that idea.

“She’s not unconcerned, it’s that she doesn’t even notice I’m not there. She doesn’t care.”

“But it’s not that, to you, is it?” Heero asked as it suddenly clicked for him. “It’s not that she doesn’t care, it’s that you did something to make her not care.”

Duo’s eyes began to shimmer with tears.

“That’s right.... Somehow I fucked up.... That’s why I can’t believe that you actually give a damn.... If my mom didn’t care, how could you? She’s supposed to love me, I’m her son, but I never felt that from her...so it was obviously something I did, but I don’t know what I did! I don’t know! I wish she’d tell me so I could fix it! But she won’t....”

“But Duo, you’re all wrong,” Heero replied, pulling him in to his chest, kissing his forehead. “It can’t be anything you did. She’s just not a good mother, like she never learned. Sometimes people just aren’t fit to be parents, it happens a lot. It’s nothing at all that you did, it just can’t be.”

Duo wrapped his arms around Heero’s waist and breathed shakily in his scent, his face pressed into his strong, warm body. He didn’t want to cry any more. Never. At all. He didn’t want to cry around Heero, or ever again. It hurt so much and he was sick and tired of the pain.

Heero stroked gently at his braided hair and Duo managed to calm himself before having a complete break down.

Slowly he sat up in between Heero’s legs and kissed his cheek, playing slowly with his hair.

“We’re going to have to plan outings like this more often,” he breathed.

“That might be nice.”

Heero stood as Duo backed up against the headboard, breathing deeply and watching Heero through half-closed lids, his legs spread out on the bed, his hands resting on them easily.

Heero walked over to the tiny refrigerator in the room they had stuff a few bottles of coke in and grabbed on, opening it and chugging about half of it right off the bat.

He walked back over to Duo and sat down next to him, resting his head on his shoulder as he stared ahead, looking into nothing.

“Heero,” Duo whispered, anxiety clear in his voice as he spoke the simple name.

“Yes?” Heero replied easily enough.

“Remember those stupid rhythms they used to tell way back in elementary school? I see London, I see France, I see so-and-so’s underpants?”

Heero nodded.

“Well, um, how would you like to see my world?”

 

+-26-+

Slowly Duo’s eyes opened to the unfamiliar ceiling.

He felt the extra weight on his body and gave a wide smile when he realized he was still underneath Heero.

Heero, who cared so much about him. Heero, who took him to the beach and the movies.... Heero, who took him for a ride. Heero, who stayed inside him as long as he could and whimpered and spilled his love from his mouth like a cup tipped over to let it’s contains splash upon the floor which was Duo.

His eyes filled with tears as he leaned his head against Heero’s and smirked a little at the sleeping boy who was face down in the pillow. Slowly he stroked his back, trying not to nip at his ears and tease him as he slept on.

Heero yawned a little and turned his head, blinking sleepily at the hazy person lying under his arms.

“Duo?” he murmured groggily. The reply was Duo’s signature giggle and his signature lips pressed against Heero’s in a quick kiss.

“That’s right.”

Quickly Heero’s arms tightened around the other boy and he buried his head in his neck.

“This is a dream....”

“What is, Heero?” Duo asked, stroking his hair.

“Waking up next to you....”

“No it’s not. Remember how we booked the hotel, then went out for sea food, then came back and....”

A grand smile flashed across Heero’s face as Duo’s words tapered off. He nipped Duo’s ear lobe while whispering ‘of course I remember; I could never forget you, though you’re beautiful image could very well be mistaken for nothing but a dream’.

“Why’s that?”

“Because real people just aren’t that radiant.”

“Oh stop!” Duo cried, slapping him playfully as he rolled over on his side to get a better look at the beauty in his bed.

Slowly Heero stroked his cheek and leaned in and gave him a gentle kiss.

“Duo...I.... I’m so glad I met you.”

Duo made to ask why he even walked up to him that one day, but his words were drowned in a brilliant kiss before they could ever escape his lips.

+-27-+

Duo had to admit, it was harder than hell to get out of Heero’s car and harder yet to walk through his door.

But he did it.

He had to take pride in the simple things.

“Where in the hell do you think you’ve been?” his mother cried as he walked in the door.

“I was at a friend’s house, mom. Nothing important.”

“Nothing important! Like hell! I had no idea where you were!”

Suddenly Duo realized that he had to restrain himself from slapping her.

“Don’t pretend like you give a flying fuck about me!!” he screeched, running upstairs and slamming the door, locking it before falling onto his bed, shaking with wrath and trying to keep the tears from falling this time....

 

+-28-+

Slowly Duo descended downstairs for dinner. Both his mother and John were looking at him with that ‘you-did-something-wrong-you’d-best-apologize’ parent look they gave so well.

Duo knew he did something wrong. He broke the promise he made to Heero. He let his anger show and he wasn’t supposed to do that. No, no.... Never supposed to break that promise....

“I’m sorry,” he finally spoke, staring out the window over the sink as he got himself a glass of water. “I was upset about a fight my friend and I had. I over reacted. Forgive me.”

The words sounded so mechanical to his ears. He knew they were so fake, no one could possibly believe them....

“You are forgiven,” she spoke softly while John managed to keep a steady glare on the thin boy.

“Never act that way to your mother again. If you’re mad, you should learn how to control your anger,” he growled.

Duo was positively exploding inside. It would have been okay if he had been allowed to apologize and got off the hook, but to have John say something like that--! It was appalling! He had no idea!

“You’re right John. I should,” he spoke very calmly, managing to keep the shaking out of his voice. Inside he was screaming ‘if that bastard only knew!’ But he promised Heero....

 

+-29-+

Finally, Duo found Heero’s house.

He took a deep breath and realized he was going to have to suck serious ass to Heero’s mother to get through the door.

He rang the doorbell and waited for someone to answer the door.

As luck would have it, his mother answered the door.

“Hello?” she asked, confused.

“Hey, you must be Mrs. Yuy? I was wondering if Heero was around. And might I say that I have no idea how in the world you got those roses to grow like that! Oh my gosh! I thought I was pretty good at gardening, you know, all those little flower in a box things, but let me tell you, you get out and try to grow real plants...that is hard.”

Heero’s mother slowly began to blush as Duo showered compliments on her.

“O-one second. Let me go get Heero.”

Duo smiled and let his eyes curve up in little u’s as she left.

There was the pounding of footsteps down stairs and Heero was totally in shock to see Duo standing at his door.

“Hey Heero!” he beamed, still with that happy smile pasted on his face. “I was wondering what you were doing today since everyone else is busy,” he chirped.

“Um, you wanna come in?”

Duo nodded and they dashed up stairs.

And did what else?

Played video games!

Duo found out very quickly that he would never be as good at racing games as Heero was.

So after about an hour of Duo trying real hard to kick Heero’s ass, they stopped and decided that it would only frustrate him further and fell into making out and talking and lounging on Heero’s bed.

“Why did you decide to come? I thought you’d never try to get past my parents....”

Duo shrugged. “You matter more to me than getting past your parents.” Then a realization hit Duo. “I’m not bugging you...am I?” he asked quietly after several moments of silence.

Heero shook his head and hugged Duo tight to his chest.

“Of course not. I want to spend the rest of my life with you, Duo.”

Duo felt assurance in his arms and stroked his neck lightly with his fingers.

Then they heard Heero’s mother calling up the stairs and Heero bolted off the bed and down the stairs, leaving Duo feeling very uncomfortable and unsure of what he should do.

“Why don’t you invite that nice boy to dinner, Heero?” his mother asked, smiling.

Heero almost fell over.

“Duo?” he asked, kind of shocked that his mother would take a liking to someone so...extreme.

“Well, I think that’s his name.... Would that be a problem?”

Heero shook his head, still kind of dazed. “I didn’t--”

“His fashion taste is a little...um...bad,” his mother spoke blandly, trying not to be too harsh about her son’s friends. “However he is a really nice boy and I think it would be a good idea to get to know your friends some, Heero.”

Heero blinked a few times. “Sure....”

With that, he walked back up the stairs to invite Duo to dinner.

“What did you do, Duo?” Heero asked as they curled back up together on the bed.

“What do you mean?”

“My mother, like, adores you.”

Duo smirked. “I guess I just have that affect.”

“She hates all my other friends.”

“Well, I never accused her of lying, unlike Wufei’s mother.”

“True....”

“I just complimented her rose bed.... A lot.”

Heero laughed and kissed Duo heartily. “That was a good move....”

Duo snuggled into his chest.

“Have you ever been to Maine?” Duo asked after a few long, comfortable moments of silence.

Heero shook his head. “No.”

“Hm, I guess that means that I’m just going to have to take you. Oh gosh, Heero.... They have the most beautiful waterfalls in Maine. I remember them from when I was...I must have only been six. My father took me and my mother out there, once. Once when things were happy. We camped out and visited the waterfalls and lakes and rivers and mountains and oh Heero.... It’s so beautiful.... You have to see it for yourself, you can never understand the grandeur of the place from my simple words....”

Heero kissed his forehead as they lay together, in perfect harmony, in perfect love.

“Of course we can go someday. Right when we get out of high school, how does that sound? We can take a road trip up there and you can show me everything you know, okay? You can show me how to camp out....”

“I’m afraid you wouldn’t like it.... It’s damp and...and...not really for the rich-type....”

“But I’d give it a chance. So what if I don’t like it or not? Individual events could be awful, but the overall will be wonderful because it will have been you who taught me.”

“Are you sure?”

Heero nodded. “I’m positive.”

Duo smiled against his chest. “I love you, Heero, I really, really do....”

Slowly Heero stroked at his back. “And I love you too. No matter what anyone else might tell you, I love you. You always remember that, okay?”

Duo nodded and hugged Heero a little tighter.

“Promise me that you’ll never forget how much I love you?”

“I promise,” Duo whispered.

“Good. I wouldn’t want--”

“Dinner!” Heero’s mother called up the stairs. “Is Duo staying over?”

Duo nodded and Heero called back down that he was before standing and giving Duo one long kiss.

“This week has been the best thing that has ever happened to me,” Duo whispered.

Heero nodded his reply and gave him another quick kiss. “Let’s not forget it.”

“Never,” Duo swore back as they managed to break away from each other’s embrace to find their way downstairs.

Dinner was definitely an experience.

Duo was a perfect angel and this surprised Heero. He didn’t think Duo had that much manner inside of him.

Duo was also delighted at seeing Heero in his natural habitat. He found it highly amusing, the way he acted with his parents. They joked with him and he joked back and blushed and seemed to be a normal kid with a normal family. In the midst of all his wonder at the situation, he did recognize his jealousy. What he wouldn’t give to have grown up like that.... It was perfect and it made him want to cry. How could Heero ever complain about something like this? It hurt him to even think about that. If he had something that wonderful within his grasp, he’d hold on tight and he’d never let go.

After dinner he said his farewells and his thanks and walked away from the house, listening to the door shut behind him.

Suddenly he turned back and stared at the door.

Inside that enclosed area there was everything he wished he could have. Everything he knew life was supposed to be.

His eyes darted to the window, where he found they met Heero’s.

Heero lifted one hand to the glass, looking trapped.

Trapped in perfection.

How could it be that he was suffocating in such a world as that? It was...it was perfect.

But maybe.... Maybe there was no perfection. Maybe what one person needed is what would hurt someone else. Maybe....

Maybe he would never be happy.

His eyes filled with tears as he turned his head away and dashed down the street.

He couldn’t stand to be there anymore.

He couldn’t stand to be anywhere.

But when you didn’t want to be anywhere, there was nowhere left to go.

He covered his mouth with one hand as he began to sob, trying not to fall.

Where would he go...?

Where could he possibly go...?

There was nowhere he could be...happy....

 

+-30-+

The next day he managed to drag himself out of bed and wash all the dry blood he had caked to his body off.

It was another day of school.

Heero’s...test.

But what does it matter? Even with Heero he may still be unable to be happy....

When he walked into school, he walked down the same halls, as always, paranoid and dejected, but suddenly he felt a great weight on his back and arms around his neck.

“Duo!” he heard Heero’s voice cry, very uncharacteristic of him. A lot of people turned their heads to stare at the two who were now standing in the middle of the hallway and a lot of nasty cracks were made. But what hurt most, were the people laughing like it was some sort of joke.

“Heero...?”

Heero slid his hand into Duo’s. “You don’t mind, do you?” he asked, tilting his head a little.

Duo blushed profusely. “I.... Why would you do this?”

Heero smiled. “I don’t want to lose you.”

“Somehow it’s hard to believe that you’re not making all of this shit up.”

“Why? After this week...?”

Once more Duo caught himself blushing as he stopped outside his homeroom.

“I’m really glad that you’re sticking with me,” he whispered, staring down at the tile floor, ashamed.

Heero stroked his cheek. “How could you expect any less?”

There was a calm silence between the two of them before Heero shrugged.

“This is your homeroom? Well, then, I’ll see you at lunch.” And with that, Heero leaned over and brushed a kiss across his cheek before dashing down the hall.

 

+-31-+

The rest of the day was snide remarks and rude comments and disbelief.

Duo just couldn’t wait to be home, away from the mess. He’s already had three lunches ‘accidentally’ spilled on him during lunch and more spit on his shoes than he cared to think about. He just wanted to be home and possibly in Heero’s arms, somewhere where no one would criticize them.

Suddenly he rounded a corner and found Heero’s back to him, talking to Wufei, who was grinning like the devil himself.

“I admire you, Yuy,” he grinned. “You managed to even act like lovers in school. That wasn’t part of the bet, you know. You just had to become his friend.”

“I know,” Heero replied.

Duo couldn’t believe his ears. He didn’t want to believe them. He felt his eyes fill up with tears, unable to hold them back as he fell weakly against the wall, unable to stop listening to the conversation.

“I suppose the money is yours, then. How you managed is unbelievable. I guess I should bow down to you, but my admiration ends where you kissed him.”

“We did more than that,” Heero replied, angered for some reason.

Slowly tears began to snake their way in winding rivers down Duo’s cheeks. He didn’t notice the people around him, all he saw was Heero.... Heero and the lies that he had cook up so pretty and shoved down his raw throat...!

“How can you tell these things, as if they meant nothing?” Duo whispered as he bit down on his lower lip, trying to choke back the sob that rose in his throat. He didn’t want Heero to see how weak he was.

He didn’t want Heero to see the affect that Heero was having on him!!

Wufei waved his hand. “I don’t even want to know the details. Usually I’d be pretty pissed at having to pay you so much money, but you deserve it.”

And that was all Duo could take before he ran blindly out of the building, sobbing, unable to see, pushing people out of his way.

He was suffocating in there.

He had to get out--!

He had to get away from all the lies.... All the lies....

“Duo--!” Heero gasped as he watched Duo run sobbing from the building.

Suddenly he turned and gave Wufei a death glare that should have killed him.

“Keep your fucking money! Duo was the best thing that has ever happened to me in my entire life! None of it was a show and none of it ever will be! I *love* him!”

The entire hall was dead silent and if you listened real close, you might have been able to hear his voice echo.

And with that he dashed after Duo.

 

+-32-+

Slowly Duo clicked the gun, cocking the small pistol into position.

“It was all a lie,” he whispered to himself. “All a lie.... So what else, is a lie? This life...is a lie...isn’t it, Heero?”

He lifted the gun to his head and pulled the trigger.

There was a small bang, but no bullet shot. There was only one in there. He didn’t want to know when he died, he just wanted to know that he would die if he kept pulling the trigger.

He had to escape, yet at the same time part of himself wanted to hope that Heero would come for him and tell him it would be okay.

So it was much easier this way.

“The world you let me build for myself was a lie, wasn’t it?”

Click.

“Maybe...maybe I am the lie...?”

 

+-33-+

Heero was panting by the time he reached Duo’s house and stood outside, looking up at the grand two-story building, knowing precisely where Duo would be.

He let himself smile for a moment for just getting there, but was sure to wipe the smile off his face as he ascended the stairs.

And that was when he heard the stomach churning sound of a gun being fired. And the loud thud of a body hitting the floor.

At first, Heero didn’t know what to think.

But that didn’t last long as he threw open the door and stormed into Duo’s house, running madly up the stairs and banging open his bedroom door.

“No....” he whispered.

Where did all the blood come from...? Where...? How could Duo’s body contain so much blood...? He’d never thought he would see so much of the warm, bright red liquid in his entire life.

Slowly he fell to his knees beside Duo’s fallen body and hugged himself, squeezing his eyes shut against the violent image of Duo’s death.

But yet, the after image remained.

His mouth was slightly parted, the lips tinged with red. His skin was already pale due to blood loss, only making the vivid red stand out so much brighter on his flesh. His hair was matted with the stuff. His beautiful honey brown hair.... His hand still held the gun, his entire right side of his body resting in a huge pool of his own blood. The stuff that gave him life, now giving him death, spilled upon the floor.

The worst part was his eyes. Usually so awake, alert, and full of life, now stayed open. The violet orbs drowned in a pool of black pupil, dilated by the sudden shock. They seemed so dead in his head. Eyes to the world, dead now. Blind. Eyes Heero could never look into and feel loved by again.

And he wanted to!

Damn, it was all his fault!

“I’m so...so STUPID!!!” he screamed, his body shuddering with the violent image as he began to vomit until he’s body gave up.

This was all his fault.... All his fault....

He was drowned by his guilt and slowly it overpowered him until he was consumed by it, falling upon Duo’s still warm corpse, unable to cry, unable to scream, only able to stare straight ahead, his mind as dead as Duo’s.

 

+-Epilogue-+

Heero sat upon the grave.

Yes, he visited once more. On the date of his death.

It was etched into his memory.

He never could forget.

Even if he wanted too, he still would never be able to forget.

He held on so tightly, for the past fifteen years. If he could have, he would have visited the grave every day, as he did when he was still in high school.

But he graduated, he had to move on they said. He couldn’t dwell on it, it wasn’t his fault. Duo was chronically depressed, he couldn’t have known. He couldn’t have been Duo’s savior. That was a responsibility no mortal man could take on.

It wasn’t his fault.

Oh, but it was.

It was his fault for even bothering to talk to Wufei. For even being involved with people who were fake.

“I hope you’re happy,” Heero whispered softly as he rested a flower upon Duo’s grave.

He couldn’t help talking to it. He usually went alone because of this. People would think he was insane. However sometimes...sometimes he felt like Duo was really sitting next to him. As if he was really listening....

But he knew that was stupid.

And yet.... A part of him wanted to believe....

“I hope you’re somewhere where you can be happy.... Because you deserve it more than anyone else I’ve known....”

Slowly he rested another flower on Duo’s grave.

He slid his fingers over the name etched in stone. No inscription, just the name. No one knew what to write.

And they couldn’t ask Heero. They were scared too.

He spent three months in the hospital, refusing to talk to anyone, refusing to see anyone, basically a living shell of himself.

Once he finally got back out, they tried to put him in a school setting, but he had so much anger inside of him toward the other students that they had to restrain him and sent him back to the hospital, where he spent the next month under the title ‘temporarily insane’.

For the next two years he was in counseling, trying to get over his guilt and his grief. He failed his last semester and had to retake it. He ended up taking the whole year again and got special permission to only take two classes a day and finish the classes he had missed without having the failing grades go on his record due to ‘trauma’.

“I found a song the other day, Duo.... I think you would like it...or at least, I hope you would like it. It’s kind of sad.... It reminds me of...us.”
All the time he stayed there and wasn’t under restraining orders, he visited Duo’s grave. Every day. Often times until odd hours of the night. He would just sit and cry. He couldn’t do anything else. He couldn’t pull himself out of the guilt. He didn’t think he ever would.

Sometimes he wanted to die himself. To join Duo, to get away from the guilt, to escape life....

At the same time, he wanted to keep Duo alive through him and he couldn’t bring himself to do it.

“It’s called ‘Shimmer’ by Fuel.... I have the lyrics here, if you want to see them.”

He rested another flower on the grave, and the folded up lyrics.

“‘All she keeps inside, isn’t on the label’.... You were always more than what you looked, Duo. I always knew that you were.”

Yet another flower he rested on the terra, not so fresh and new as before.... But fifteen years did that to you.

“I guess you never knew a killer for a savior, either, huh? I...I wished you’d never met me Duo!”

Heero scrubbed at his eyes for a moment, not wanting to spiral as he always did once a year when he came to visit the site.

He didn’t want to.

Not this time.

No.... Please not this time....

“I know that I’m stupid and you probably want me to get over all of this, but I’m going to try real hard Duo. I’m going to try real hard. I met a guy two months ago who reminds me of you. I think that you would really like him. Maybe someday I’ll even tell him all the details of us. I think that maybe you would like that. I think that maybe you would like to live on through other people, wouldn’t you, Duo?”

Slowly he stroked the stone, his brows furrowed in deep thought.

“I hope you’re not mad at me for moving on. I’ll...I’ll always love you Duo, you just have to remember that. And this guy is a lot like you. Like you if you were insanely happy. He even has the same color eyes and hair. I thought he was you, when I first saw him.”

Heero chuckled a little.

Suddenly, everything felt okay.

Duo wouldn’t be upset with him for moving on. Duo would have wanted this. He wouldn’t have wanted anyone to dwell on him so long.

“I’ll never forget you and I’ll always come back once a year to make sure that they’re keeping up with the tending of your grave, okay?”

Slowly Heero stood.

“Maybe next time I’ll bring him too, would that be okay? I’m sure he would like to meet you.... I...I only wish he could...for real....”

Heero dropped the rest of the roses on Duo Maxwell’s grave.

“I’ll always love you,” he whispered, shedding a tear before brushing it away and walking back to the car.

Slowly he climbed inside and Derrk looked over at him, in a silent question.

“I’m okay,” he replied quietly. “I’m sorry I dragged you all the way out here and didn’t even let you get out of the car.”

Derrk shrugged it off. “Its personal to you. When you want to tell me, you will. Even if that’s never. I’m not going to judge you for it.”

Slowly he started up the car and began to drive out of the graveyard.

“Derrk....”

“Yes?”

“I have found that all that shimmers in this world is sure to fade.... Yes.... Now it’s too far away for me to hold.... Too far away.... I...I guess I’ll let it go....”

The next year was the last time Heero Yuy ever visited the grave.

He took Derrk.

The year after that, on the anniversary of Duo’s death, he and Derrk were wed.

When asked about it later, he said that he finally made peace with Duo. He didn’t have to visit the gravesite anymore. Duo would always be with him.

She dreams a champagne dream
Strawberry surprise, pink linen and white paper
Lavender and cream
Fields of butterflies, reality escapes her
She says that love is for fools that fall behind
And I’m somewhere in between
I never really know
A killer from a savior
‘Til I break at the bend
We’re here and now, but will we ever be again
‘Cause I have found
All that shimmers in this world is sure to fade
Away again....
It’s too far away for me to hold
It’s too far away.....
Guess I’ll let it go......

-Fuel