4-13-2001

disclaimer: the boys aren't mine. i just manipulate them for my own personal enjoyment.
title: momentary lapse of reason
rating: *this fic is not yet rated*
author: jana
archive: shinigami & wing
feedback: it's necessary to live...so, yes!
warnings for entire fic: shounen-ai/yaoi, angst, duo/heero torture, language, small lemon-ish spots(?), AU (AC 200)
spoilers: none
pairings: odd....can't explain but it involves heero and duo and 3X4 implied.
notes: another one that came to me in dreamscape. yes, i know, i have weird dreams. you should see what happens after i eat pepperoni pizza ^_~

//heero's thoughts//
:: duo's thoughts ::

 

 

Momentary Lapse of Reason
Part 16

The previous evenings event had been summarily dismissed at Duo's admission to requesting Heero's company. On the surface, it made perfect sense to the blonde, but watching Heero dote over their braided friend left him uneasy about the closeness the two had achieved.

"Duo is reacting to Heero as his caregiver. It's a natural progression, Quatre." Trowa attempted to reassure his lover, the confusion on the blonde's face prompting him to continue. Sitting beside him on the bed, Trowa put his arm around Quatre. "Look.... Heero was the first person that Duo met. Heero was there for him... to help him start to pick up the pieces. It's almost as if Heero is his lifeline..... the main connection to his past."

"But we are here for him too." Quatre replied "He never comes to us. Heero isn't the only one who capable of bringing his memory back you know." Quatre was quite adamant. His tone filled further with anger as he spoke.

"Are you jealous, Quatre?" Trowa asked, studying his lovers face. "We did after all leave this in Heero's hands. I think he's doing a fine job."

Quatre relaxed his posture and shook his head. "I think that Duo is falling for Heero.... just like before."

+++++++++

Duo rose early, the sun barely making its way over the horizon. He lie awake as the light gradually began filtering into the room, his thoughts turning sullen as recalled last nights confrontation between Quatre and Heero.

He looked across the room, his eyes settling on the sleeping form still curled up underneath the blankets.

:: heero ::

The drastic changes he saw in Heero's mannerisms last night confused him. He noticed a coldness in his eyes that he was certain hadn't been there before. Ever since dinner last night, Heero had ignored him..... pawning him off on the others. Duo rationalized it as best he could, acknowledging that Heero most likely needed a break from his care giving.

"You're awake." Heero spoke softly, smiling as he meet with Duo's violet eyes. "Did you sleep well?"

Duo looked over at him, "Yeah...just fine." The warmth was back in those brilliant blue eyes as Heero smiled at him from across the room, confusing the young man even further. "Heero? I really need to talk with you about a few things."

+++++++++

Heero sat quietly on the edge of Duo's bed while his friend shared his fears; inwardly smiling at how easily the young man was able to let out his emotions. Heero quickly reassured Duo that he had not grown weary of his current assignment, instead, further accenting his commitment to Duo. "I'm here with you because I want to be. Not because anybody told me I had to, Duo." Heero reminded him, his hand gently caressing the side of Duo's face. "I'm sorry if I made you feel any differently."

Duo closed his eyes as Heero's thumb moved over his cheekbone, rejoicing in the words of comfort Heero offered. Wrapping his hand around Heero's, Duo slowly moved the two until they rested on his lips and gently placed a soft kiss in the center of Heero's palm.

Heero quickly withdrew his hand and stood leaving Duo stunned by his reaction. "I guess you weren't ready for that." he finally managed, offering Heero a weak smile. "Sit, please. I'm not done talking yet."

Heero sat on the edge of the bed, further away from him this time, his heartbeat still rapid from Duo's action of moments ago.

"You're special to me, Heero. More than as just a friend." Duo started, "It's one of the few things I am sure of." he finished, his eyes closing.

Heero looked at Duo, again noting that Duo rarely hid his feelings. It had always been a trait he had admired in Duo, he was happy that part of him still remained. At least he thought he was...... until Duo revealed his next line of thought, the violet-eyed boy having no intention of letting Heero off the hook that easily.

As much as he wanted this, wanted Duo, Heero wasn't ready..... he wasn't even in control.

"Do you find me attractive, Heero? ..... ya know in a guy kind of way.... relative to other guys?" Duo asked, his eyes opening to meet with Heero's.

Heero looked over at Duo, his eyebrows raised in expectation of a response. "Yes. I think you're very attractive..... in every kind of way, Duo."

That was exactly the response he was looking for. Duo smiled. "Then why did you back away from me just now.... from my advance?" Duo paused slightly before continuing. "What's the problem, Heero?"

"There was nothing between us before." Heero reminded him.

"You've already told me that." Duo replied curtly. "I'm not talking about before. I'm talking about now, Heero. Is there some reason why there can't be something between us now?" he asked.

Heero froze.

He was fully aware of how Duo was looking at him..... expectant and impatient.

Heero closed his eyes.

//is there some reason why there can't be something between us now?//

As many reasons as they are days in the year flashed through Heero's confused mind, none of them capable of bringing the words to his lips. He opened his eyes to find the man he loved staring hopefully at him and Heero knowingly stepped over the line.

"No."

Heero's both arms reached out to pull Duo toward him, the guilt over his deception vanishing instantly as his lips met with Duo's. His body began to tremble as his tongue asked entrance and Duo's lips parted for him. Duo was his.

There was no turning back.

 

Momentary Lapse of Reason
Part 17

It was a relatively chaste kiss, lasting only seconds and there hadn't been a repeat performance of it, the two using it as the gateway into their new relationship. It was indeed a turning point and the small changes in their behavior toward one another did not go unnoticed.

"You and Heero seem to be getting along rather well today." Quatre smiled.

Duo sat across from Quatre inside the den. The small blonde hadn't waited more then 10 seconds after Heero had left on his shopping expedition to confront Duo with what he had been observing for most of the day. Duo knew that Quatre had more than a vague idea of what was going on between him and Heero and he provided him with little more information than he had to.

"We had a nice talk this morning. Everything is fine. No need to call for an assistant." Duo told him.

"I'd say things were more than fine....." Quatre smiled, looking expectantly over toward him.

There was a knowing smirk on the blonde's face that Duo could not ignore. He smiled back and winked at Quatre.

It was all the proof that he needed.

+++++++++

"I'm warning you, Heero, back off."

Heero stared at Quatre for a moment, purposely not glaring at him, though he ached to. "This doesn't concern you, Quatre. It's between myself and Duo."

"Everything that involves Duo concerns me. You aren't the only one that cares about him." the blonde paused before continuing." As a matter of fact, up until his accident, you couldn't give a damn about him, Heero."

As intended, Quatre's harsh words hurt Heero deeply, but they didn't come as a surprise, it was what he outwardly projected. It's what everyone thought....... even Duo. Heero remained still and silent, not meeting the accusatory blue eyes of his long time friend.

Rising several minutes later, Quatre once again spoke, the blonde's words biting. "I will tell him everything, Heero, even if it hurts him. What you are doing to him is far worse. End it, Heero! And that is not a threat...... it's a promise."

With that, the blonde took leave of the room. Heero reclined back into the cushioned leather sofa, one fist gripping tightly at a lock of his hair.

+++++++++

Watching Quatre storm from the room, Duo made his way inside, finding Heero still seated on the couch. "Heero?"

"Mm?"

"What was that all about? Why was Quatre so angry?"

Heero looked over at Duo, his confusion prompting Heero to make his way to his side. Taking Duo's hand in his, Heero smiled. "He doesn't think it's a good idea for us to get involved." Heero told him softly.

Duo squeezed Heero's hand as he looked into his eyes. "Why not, Heero? Why would it bother him so much?" he asked, his confusion over the blonde's actions written all over his face.

Brushing his lips lightly against Duo's, Heero looked up into his eyes and softly responded. "I don't know, Duo. I honestly don't know."

+++++++

Slamming the door behind him, Quatre threw himself down on the bed.

"What's wrong, little one?"

Trowa's voice startled him. "I knew there was something going on between them." Quatre started, sitting to face Trowa.

"So they admitted it." Trowa mused. "What did Heero have to say?"

"He said it was between him and Duo." the blonde started, "It's wrong Trowa! Why is Heero doing this? Doesn't he know how much Duo cares for him?" the pitch of his voice raising several octaves as he spoke. "What the hell is he thinking?"

"Maybe Heero cares about more than we think." Trowa responded.

"I some how doubt that, Trowa, but even if he did, that doesn't change the fact that what he is doing is wrong... it's just dead wrong."

Trowa nodded, his lover's head dropping, sighing deeply into the quiet room.

++++++++

Several days passed, Heero and Duo keeping their displays of emotion for one another out of viewing range of the others. Duo did not understand why, but acknowledged the anger their relationship caused Quatre and blindly followed Heero's lead in hiding their small shows of intimacy.

Tuesday afternoon, found the two in their room. Heero sat at Duo's desk before his laptop while Duo stood in front the mirror brushing his hair. "Do you think either of the casts will come off on Friday?" Duo asked, curious as he looked at his reflection.

Heero turned toward him. "Probably not, hopefully smaller ones to replace them."

Duo nodded and continued his task, Heero watching him carefully. Setting the brush down, Duo reached forward, picking up the golden cross that Heero had left lying atop his dresser. Looking down at it, Duo wrapped his hand around it, his eyes closing as he brought it to his chest. "Sister Helen" he whispered softly.

"Duo?" Heero asked, rising to cross the room.

"Hm?" Duo asked.

"What did you just say?" Heero asked, the violet-eyed boy's words were spoken so softly that Heero was uncertain if he had heard him correctly.

"I...I'm not sure..." Duo started, looking over at Heero. "It just.... came out..... Sister Helen, I think. Does that mean something?"

Heero smiled and nodded, taking the cross from Duo's hand. "Yes, Duo... it does." Heero replied. "Sister Helen gave you this... when you were a child." Heero continued, laying the golden crucifix around Duo's neck. Clasping it closed, Heero looked into the mirror at Duo's reflection, his hand once again wrapped around the cross. "I remember her, Heero.... I remember Sister Helen..... and Father Maxwell too." Duo smiled, turning around to face Heero. "It's all starting to come back."

Heero wrapped his arms around Duo, kissing him gently on the lips. "That's great news, Duo." He smiled, releasing him. Taking both of Duo's hand in his, Heero looked up into his smiling eyes. "I can't wait to have you back."

++++++++

Heero thought about those very words as Duo lay sleeping across the room. His afternoon naps gave Heero time to think, but that wasn't always a good thing, this instance being one of those times.

Today marked the first of what Heero knew would be many of Duo's flashbacks, the recognition of the cross almost instantly bringing with it the flood of memory, that entire portion of his life returning to him. It frightened Heero.

//how much longer until he recalls the war? the things that have taken place between us? how i've treated him? how i've hurt him?//

Heero lowered his head and looked over at his sleeping friend.... or was it lover?

There had barely been any intimacy between the two since that morning..... several small kisses, tender embraces, gentle touches, special smiles reserved for one another, but nothing more; it seemed to make no difference to either of them. They were content in knowing they had captured each other's hearts. There would be plenty of time to take things further once Duo was more himself, physically as well as mentally.

Today's event brought with it Heero's greatest fear, the one thing that could take the violet-eyed boy from him.... Duo's memories.

He had every right to be afraid.

 

Momentary Lapse of Reason
Part 18

The next two days brought with them more awareness, Duo pleased by the returning past, his exuberance over it infectious amongst the five. The mood in the large house was quickly returning to its former state of cheer, the violet-eyed young man once again touching their lives in a way only he could.

+++++++

Trowa lay in the bed, his head propped up in his hand as he watched his lover across the room dressing for bed. The blonde appeared to be more relaxed the past few days, his conversation with Heero regarding his relationship with Duo apparently bringing it to a close. The statement his lover wore tonight, prompted Trowa to address him. "You look exceptionally happy tonight, Quatre."

"I am, love." Quatre smiled, turning toward him. "Everything is returning to normal. I'm so happy for Duo."

"I think things will get even better after tomorrow." Trowa began, "Duo's Doctor appointment." he reminded his lover. "He is hoping for smaller casts. Must be pretty rough getting around with the ones he has now."

"Yes and once that happens, Heero can go back to sleeping in his own room too."

"That still bothering you? I thought that your talk with Heero straightened things out." Trowa asked.

Quatre crossed the room, sitting on the edge of the bed. "It did, Trowa. Whatever was going on with them is over." he smiled, "But I'll feel better about it once Duo is more on his own, less dependant on Heero, you know?"

Trowa nodded, pulling Quatre down onto the bed beside him. "You are such a worrywart, little one." he smiled, lifting his head up to kiss his koi, "But you are my worrywart." he whispered, capturing Quatre's lips again.

+++++++

Duo woke early Friday in an upbeat mood. Looking over to find Heero still asleep, Duo climbed from the bed and made his way over to where Heero lie. It was rare that Duo woke before him and he took a few minutes to watch Heero as he slept. As if sensing the eyes above him, Heero rolled over to find Duo standing at his side.

"Is something wrong?" he asked nervously, quickly sitting up.

Duo shook his head. "Couldn't sleep." he smiled.

Heero looked over at the clock. "Doctor in two hours, nervous?"

Duo shook his head. "Nope. Can't wait to get these huge things off. Then I can hug you with both arms."

Heero stood and pulled Duo into his arms. "I'm looking forward to that as well." he smiled, kissing the tip of Duo's nose.

+++++++

As was hoped, Duo returned home, the cast on both his right arm and left leg significantly reduced in size and therefore in weight, allowing him increased mobility. The two had spent the better part of the day out and the wear showed as Heero helped Duo into the house. "You ought to go lie down for a while."

"No argument here." Duo smiled, gripping Heero more tightly as they stood at the foot of the stairs.

+++++++

Sleep came easy, the braided young man's head barely hitting the pillow before he found himself in dreamscape, a place he'd yet to go since waking from his coma.

His dream found him inside the cockpit of Deathscythe, frightened as battle raged outside the split windshield of his Gundam, the barrage of mobile suits before him inflicting considerable damage to his machine. He felt the pain as his young body thrashed under the viscous assault and the warmth of his blood as it ran down the side of his face. He blacked out at that moment, his recall now finding him in considerable pain as he lie on the small cot, already bandaged and sutchered.

The door of the room opened and a figure strode toward him. "What the hell were you thinking? Don't you realize you almost jeopardized the entire mission with your foolish stunts?" The hurt of the words registered and Duo saddened. The voice continued to speak for a time, its tone icy. Duo found his voice amidst the pain. "Are you quite through?" he asked, looking up. The figure above him remained silent, his face revealing nothing but contempt for the injured boy, hardened cobalt locked in a stare.

Duo woke from the dream, his breath heavy.

"The war." he spoke aloud. ".....and Heero?"

+++++++

Heero was pleased to find Duo awake. "Did you sleep well?"

"Actually, I had a dream... a flashback I think.... from the war."

Heero could see that Duo was frightened by the images he had seen and sat on the edge of the bed beside him. "If it makes you feel any better.... we all still have those from time to time, Duo." He told him, his arm gently surrounding Duo.

A frown overtook his face and Duo stared down at hands.

"Sometimes it helps to talk about it." Heero told him. "Want to?"

Duo shook his head. "I'll be fine." Feeling Heero's arm tighten around him, Duo rested his head on Heero's shoulder and closed his eyes. The confusion he felt over his dream passed quickly as he lay in Heero's embrace, unable to believe his earlier visions were in fact a glimpse of his past.

++++++++

That night the dreams came again, plaguing Duo with yet more bloody battle scenes; each segment of the flashback more terrifying than the last, his eyes still shut tight as he screamed out.

Waking to the shrill cries, Heero rushed to Duo's side and pulled him into his arms. "Shhh.... Duo... it's okay." Heero's voice was soft as he cradled Duo to his chest, his upper body rocking back an forth as he held the frightened young man, Duo's arms surrounding him tightly in return.

The door to the room flew open, Trowa and Quatre breathless as they stood in the doorway. "Is everything alright, Duo??" Quatre asked. Trowa flipped the light switch on and Quatre called out in surprise at find the two locked in an embrace. "Heero!" He looked up at the two, pulling the trembling young man closer, Duo's head now resting in the crook of Heero's neck. "He was having a nightmare."

Quatre's eyes narrowed as he viewed the scene on the bed, the two in clearly what he viewed as more than a friendly comforting embrace. "Let him go, Heero." Quatre told him.

Heero looked up. "He's frightened, Quatre."

"I said let him go. I warned you, Heero."

Duo felt Heero's body tense behind him and he reached out to hold him still. Heero rose, sharply twisting his arm from Duo's grip, to stand mere inches before Quatre's face. "Stay out of this, Quatre. I've told you before.... this doesn't concern you." He warned.

Trowa reached forward, laying his hand on Heero's shoulder in attempt to calm him down. "Heero..."

Heero forcefully removed Trowa's hand from his shoulder and turned to face the two. "I want you both to get out and leave us alone. NOW." he shouted.

Duo watched the three, confused by their actions, taken back by anger on Heero's face and in his voice. "Heero.. what is going on?" he asked timidly.

Quatre and Trowa turned to leave. "I'm not through with this yet, Heero. We'll talk first thing in the morning." the blonde replied flatly.

Heero closed the door behind them and made his way back over to Duo. "I'm sorry about that, Duo." Heero's voice was softer now as he sat down beside him.

"Why was Quatre so angry? And what did he mean when he said that he warned you? Warned you about what, Heero?" Duo asked.

Heero stood and looked down at Duo, "You and I haven't always gotten along well, Duo... in the past. Quatre thinks we should hold off on our relationship until your memory returns. Is that what you want, Duo?" He asked, searching Duo's eyes for a response.

Duo shook his head. "No." Duo thought about how he had just witnessed Heero's temper, the sheer anger in him..... like in his dream. "I don't think so....." He looked up at Heero. "I can't remember anything about us..... about how we were together." his violet eyes sad. It seemed so vital that he be able recall this part of his history now. "People change, right? I mean.... we're not the same as we were back then. Were things that bad, Heero, between us I mean?"

Heero shook his head as he looked down at Duo. "Quatre is overreacting. He feels as if he is protecting you."

Duo looked sharply up at Heero. "Protecting me? From what, Heero..... you?" he smiled, the look on Heero's face causing his smile to quickly fade. "Heero?"

"We'll talk more about it in the morning, Duo. Go back to sleep now, okay?"

Duo watched the young man carefully as Heero helped him settle back down into the bed, covering him with several blankets. Bending down, Heero kissed Duo's forehead. "Sleep well." he whispered, turning off the light and settling down into his own bed.

Duo lie staring up at the ceiling, replaying the last 15 minutes over in his head. Having initially dismissed his dream involving Heero as some bizarre figment of his imagination, Duo couldn't help but notice the similarity between the angry boy in his dream and Heero's emotional outburst this evening. He closed his eyes tightly.

:: it's not possible... it can't be ::

Duo remained awake for some time; extremely frustrated by his lack of memory and the realization that perhaps Heero wasn't being completely honest with him.

+++++++

Dreams once again overtook the braided young man's sleep, but this time there were no mobile suits, no smoking guns... there was only anger inside a small room where two young boys were engaged in an all-out shouting match. Voices escalated and the fight turned physical, Duo fearfully backing away from the other. "That's enough dammit!!" he shouted. "Cut it out!"

The youth advanced quickly on him and before Duo could stop him, his arm was pinned tightly behind his back, an incredible pain shot through his arm as his ears met with the crisp sound of his bone snapping. Suddenly hurled to the floor, the weight of the other boy on top of him, Duo cried out in agony; answered only by the fury burning in the cobalt eyes above him.

Tossing wildly in his bed in attempt to escape the horror of this latest nightmare, Duo's cries woke Heero, who wasted no time in making his way to his bed.

Duo opened his eyes to find Heero standing above him. "Duo." Trembling, Duo looked deep into Heero's cobalt eyes, they were tender now, but he recognized them..... the very ones he had just seen in his dream.

+++++++

A loud scream pierced the room's thin walls and Wufei awoke with a start.

"Stay away from me!!!" He cried, his voice filled with terror. "Just stay away!!"

Heero remained motionless in the center of the room as he watched Duo continue to move across the bed, the young man not stopping until he had tightly wedged himself into the corner. Heero made no further movement toward him, yet the fear in Duo's eyes grew as he looked toward him.

"He was having another nightmare." Heero told Wufei as he entered.

Huddled beneath his blankets, Duo's sullen eyes focused on the raven-haired boy and Wufei crawled up onto the bed, taking Duo into his arms. "What is it, Duo?"

Duo looked up at Heero and back at Wufei. "Heero?"

Duo nodded.

"Do you want him to go?" Wufei asked.

Duo nodded again and began to lightly sob, burying his head in Wufei's neck. Drawing Duo closer still, Wufei looked up to find Heero already making his retreat from the room. Ignoring the concerned faces of Quatre and Trowa just outside the doorway, Heero made his way downstairs and into the den.

+++++++

Neither Quatre nor Trowa followed him; they had seen enough to know what had transpired. "Is he okay, Wufei?" Trowa asked from the doorway.

"I think he'll be just fine. Won't you, Duo?" he asked, looking down at the young man cradled in his arms.

Duo nodded and looked up. "It was him, Quatre..... it was Heero in my dreams....and he...." Duo covered his mouth with his hand, still not believing his own words

"We know, Duo." the blonde reassured him. "We know."

++++++++

Heero had waited several hours before returning to Duo's room, giving him more than enough time to think about how he was going to proceed. He had hoped that the memories that obviously presented themselves tonight would have come at a later time, allowing Duo to first recall some of the warmer feelings he had held for Heero in the past. Holding only a slight hope that Duo hadn't totally abandoned his newly found emotions, Heero headed upstairs, pausing at the rooms entrance.

The violet-eyed young man lie awake and alone in the darkened room. Hearing light footsteps in the hallway, he focused his attention on the silhouette now framed in the doorway, recognizing it easily.

Heero crossed the room to sit on the edge of the bed. "Duo....."

Violet eyes closed as his name was spoken. "Don't, Heero." he choked out.

"Please..." he began, his hand reaching out to caress Duo's face. "I'm sorry...."

Duo flinched as Heero touched him and he immediately removed his hand, acknowledging the finality of Duo's action.

+++++++

"Heero?"

The young man looked up at hearing his name. Releasing the doorknob, Heero set his suitcase down and turned to face Quatre, his eyes softer than they had been earlier. "Why?" the blonde whispered.

There were so many answers to that question, none of which mattered now and Heero bent, tightly gripping the handle of his suitcase. Heero turned away, "For all the right reasons." he replied as he stepped out the door and closed it behind him. [+]

 

Momentary Lapse of Reason
Part 19

Heero stood on the huge front porch of their home. It was 2 a.m. and he was tired in every sense of the word. Stepping out onto the sidewalk, he held his jacket closed around him and began his near mile walk to Austin Street. Sitting his bag down within the wind shelter of the bus stop, Heero looked back to where he had just came from.

Tall streetlamps dotted the road far into the distance, casting their yellowed hue on autumn colored leaves hanging tenuously from the huge trees that stood beside them. He had walked this road countless times over the past three years, developing a certain fondness for this particular view. Boarding the bus with suitcase in hand, Heero sat beside the window and looked out once more at the scene, etching it into his memory.

++++++++

He checked himself into the first of the strip of hotels on Queens Boulevard just outside of Manhattan. There was nothing comforting about the small room. It was poorly lit and the mattress sagged as he crawled onto the bed, the steady glow of a neon sign outside his window lighting up the space with it's odd purple haze. Sleep eluded him for a time as he focused on what had happened earlier that night. The fear he'd witnessed behind those violet eyes as he reached out to the braided young man one last time stayed with him. In as much as he pitied himself, the greater part of his sorrow was for how his deception had affected Duo; once again violating the only one he ever loved.

++++++++

Allowing himself several days to put what little there was left of his life back into order, Heero returned to work, having rented a furnished room on the Upper East Side. It was in stark contrast to his previous living arrangements, but the tiny room met all his basic requirements; as minimal as they now were.

It was only a matter of hours after his return to work that Heero had his first encounter with his three former friends. There was an awkward silence as the four stood inside the elevator. Wayward glances were exchanged and Heero averted his eyes from theirs, the anger clearly visible on each of their faces.

++++++++

Several months had passed and Heero had fallen into his new routine. Training a new partner found him sufficiently distracted during working hours, leaving him little time to devote to anything else. Arriving early each morning, Heero had made his first task checking into Duo's condition, continually pleased as his health seemed to be steadily improving, the last entry seeming to indicate he had achieved a full recovery. It was one week after the day of that discovery that Heero found himself seated in Zech's office at the blonde's request.

The blonde's demeanor was more serious than usual as he addressed the young man. "Duo will be returning to his duties on Monday. I've assigned him to his former job." The blonde paused as he looked up at Heero. "I have been informed that there was some kind of disagreement between you and the others and I will understand if you wish to be reassigned, Heero."

"Does Duo know that we will be working together again?" he asked.

Zechs nodded. "He is fully aware of the situation."

Heero rose. "I have no problem with it."

Heero made his way back to his office, pleased that Duo was returning to work and once again willing to be his partner. The prospect brought with it renewed hope that Duo had been able to get past everything that had happened between them, perhaps allowing their relationship to pick up where it left off before his accident.

The weekend found him nervous and excited about seeing Duo again, the anticipation bringing forth a deluge of emotions he had tucked away. He was more than willing to accept him back into his life on whatever terms Duo offered, his thoughts never going beyond regaining the braided young man's friendship.

+++++++

Arriving at work early on Monday morning, Heero was startled to find Quatre, Trowa and Wufei standing outside his office. Acknowledging the three with only a curteous nod, he continued inside, pausing slightly as he met with the sight of Duo seated behind his desk. Making his way across the room, Heero seated himself behind his desk and looked toward him. It had been several months since he had seen Duo; the vision of the braided young man nearly taking his breath away.

Briefly looking at Heero, Duo nodded to the three who remained perched in the doorway. Without looking up, Heero could hear their footsteps; alerting him they were making their way down the hall.

//were they waiting to see if i would hurt him?//

Heero inwardly frowned at the thought; they still didn't understand. How could they think that he would ever harm Duo? Heero lowered his eyes at the shame he still carried with him over his actions.... he already had hurt Duo, his poor decision still haunting him.

+++++++++

The two continued the day as it had started, with only work related exchanges passing between them. Heero found himself glancing up at his partner throughout the day, unable to gauge what could possibly be going through his mind. Seeing Duo so quiet unnerved him, the fact that he has caused the highly uncharacteristic behavior within him saddening Heero.

//does he despise me?//

//is he afraid of me?//

Duo's silence was resolute, offering Heero no opportunity to seek answers. He was unsure if he even wanted them.

+++++++++

Tuesday morning again found the three outside their office, Duo politely dismissing them shortly after Heero's arrival.

"Good morning."

Heero looked up, somewhat surprised as Duo addressed him. "Morning, Duo.", he replied. Violet eyes immediately turned back down to focus on his work, nothing further spoken on a personal note for the balance of the day. The tension that hung thick in the air yesterday had lessened, the two now more at ease with the situation.

Once again finding the three young men outside the door at the end of his shift, Duo rose.

"Goodnight, Heero."

"See you in the morning." Heero responded, watching as the four made their way down the hallway. He sighed as he reclined back into his chair; savoring the long absent sound of his name on Duo's lips.

It had been a breakthrough of sorts, and the next day found the braided young man acting more like himself. Heero had caught several glimpses of Duo smiling as he spoke on the phone. While he would have enjoyed being on the receiving end of one of Duo's bright smiles, Heero nevertheless took comfort in them, pleased to see his friend returning to the happy person he once was.

+++++++

By the second week, Quatre, Trowa and Wufei had stopped showing up to escort Duo from the office to the car. There was limited personal interaction between the them, yet Duo seemed relaxed as he spoke with Heero, though still visibly holding back.

Monday of the third week showed things between the two young men almost back to normal. The progress had been slower than Heero would have liked and the subject of what had transpired between them had still not been dealt with. Thinking the timing was right and his growing need to speak with Duo about what had happened, prompted Heero to ask Duo to join him for lunch.

The look in Duo's eyes immediately told him he had made a horrendous mistake.

"There is no chance in hell of there ever being something between us Heero.... ever!" he spat. Grabbing his jacket, Duo turned and exited the office, leaving Heero to contemplate his bitter words and what Heero could only describe as a cold violet stare.

It was a look he'd never seen before and he was certain he'd never want to see it again, especially cast in his direction. Heero shuddered. He hadn't intended for his invitation to lunch to be anything more than a friendly gesture. He fully understood that any possibility of having Duo as a lover were long gone, still hoping that there was an outside chance they could resume their friendship.

Heero needed to clarify his intentions. He needed to let Duo know that was what he meant and find out if Duo already knew that and if his warning covering that aspect of their lives as well. Waiting almost an hour to leave, knowing that Duo was about to return, Heero placed the carefully thought out note in the center of Duo's desk and left for lunch, giving Duo nearly an hour to read and hopefully respond to his letter.

Returning to the office nearly an hour later, Heero paused as he entered the room. Duo stood behind his desk with Heero's letter in hand. The anger in his stare seemed to grow as he watched Heero cross the room and he looked up at Duo once he had seated himself at his desk. Tapping the letter on the palm of his hand, Duo spoke. "Nothing Heero. I want nothing to do with you at all."

Unable to hide how wounded he was by Duo's words, Heero immediately lowered his head and nodded. The violet eyed young man made himself luminously clear, the venom his voice held more frightening than the words themselves. Continuing his charade of pretending to work, Heero packed up at 3:58; 4:00 finding him already out the door.

That was the last Duo saw of him.

Momentary Lapse of Reason
Part 20

Duo's curiosity and perhaps something more, caused him to do a search for his ex-friend several weeks later.

Heero had indeed disappeared off the face of the Earth and the colonies too, so it seemed. There wasn't a trace of the former Gundam pilot to be found. Heero had virtually disappeared into thin air. Duo almost chuckled as he looked at the lack of results his efforts had produced. He had to remind himself that if Heero didn't want to be found, he wouldn't be, but somewhere inside, Duo couldn't help but imagine the worst.

What if Heero had done something foolish, taken his own life? That certainly wasn't outside the realm of possibility given Heero's tendencies in the past. Duo quickly dismissed the thoughts. This was Heero. He certainly had better control over his emotions than that.

Thinking back over the past several months, Duo frowned. Heero has clearly been upset the night he left, the recall of that evening still causing Duo to shudder...... and then there was Heero's note. Heero had made it clear that he valued their long-standing friendship, reassuring his friend he wanted nothing more from the relationship. As much as Duo had been surprised by Heero's emphasis on the importance of having Duo in his life, it had failed to dismiss his anger, Heero once again deeply hurting and on the run.

:: maybe he doesn't have as much control over his emotions as i thought ::

Troubled by his thoughts, Duo increased the parameters of his search, adding Heero's favorite color, food, movies, books, even several of the passwords he was known to use to his already extensive search. If Heero was alive and had access to a computer, Duo was intent on finding him.

+++++++++

The weekend came, the first five days of the search turning up nothing on his former friend. Duo set his laptop up at home so that he could continually monitor activity for any actions, even subtle ones, which might indicate Heero's whereabouts.

Duo tried to keep his mind off of the issue, but the thought that his dismissal of Heero's offer of renewing their friendship in such a heartless way might have caused Heero to do something rash, consumed him. The words had come so easily that day, Duo could still hear them even now.

:: nothing heero. i want nothing to do with you at all ::

They reflected the rage he felt over Heero's actions, the deception, the lies, the way Heero had toyed with his unstable emotions. The callous dismissal of his long time friend was appropriate then... it was appropriate now; as was the guilt he felt over Heero's disappearance... and the fear that rose inside him that some harm had come to the young man who, despite his numerous shortcomings, had once stolen his heart.

+++++++++

"Duo? You going to join us for lunch?" the blonde asked through the door.

Duo looked up from his computer, "Um. I'll be down in a few minutes, Q."

Quatre returned to the kitchen, Trowa and Wufei already seated at the large table. "Is he coming?" Wufei asked.

"He said he would be down in a few minutes." Quatre replied, "He has been spending a lot of time by himself this past week. It's just not like him." he added.

"Duo has been through a lot lately, Quatre. I think he still needs time to work things out." Wufei replied, noting his response did nothing to alleviate the worry he read on Quatre's face. "I think Heero's leaving was a setback for him."

Trowa nodded. "He does seem to be taking it rather hard, though I'm not sure why."

Wufei looked up sharply as Trowa spoke. "What is it that you don't get, Trowa?" he asked coldly, his tone surprising the two.

"He practically told Heero to go, Wufei." Trowa replied, "Why should he feel any differently about it now?"

"Yes and it was his choice." Wufei began, "Probably the best one for all of us, considering what happened." Wufei lowered his eyes. "That doesn't mean he has to like it."

"Wufei?" Quatre asked softly, looking over at his solemn friend. "Do you think that Duo regrets what he's done?"

Trowa looked over toward his lover. "I don't think that is what he means at all.... is it, Wufei?" he questioned.

"Only Duo can answer that." he replied.

+++++++++

Duo made his way downstairs, his wide smile greeting the others as he entered the kitchen. "Hey, guys. Sorry I'm late."

"No problem, Duo." Quatre smiled, "Glad you decided to join us. You've been spending all your time up in your room." the blonde began, "Is everything alright, Duo? You seem to be preoccupied these days. Something bothering you?" he asked.

Duo shook his head as he looked at Quatre, "Nah...I'm fine." he replied, "Just working on a little something..... you know how obsessive I can get." he winked.

The concern on Quatre's face hadn't diminished at Duo's reply. "Yes, we do." he smiled weakly. "What is it this time? Another bike? Old movies? Heero?" Quatre asked.

Duo smiled and shook his head. "You don't beat around the bush, do you, Q?" he replied.

"No. I don't." he smiled. "We've all noticed that you aren't exactly yourself these past few weeks... since Heero left." Quatre looked up expectantly at Duo.

"Is that what this is all about?" he asked smiling. "You all worry too much." he replied, taking a moment to gauge the reaction on each of their faces.

"You're looking for him, aren't you, Duo?" Quatre asked.

Duo looked up in surprise, smiling at the concern on their faces. Shaking his head from side to side as he laughed lowly, Duo continued his breakfast, not confirming or denying their suspicions.

He didn't have to.

+++++++++

Several months had passed, the time taking with it much of Duo's guilt over the events surrounding Heero's mysterious disappearance, yet the cobalt-eyed young man never left his thoughts. The idea of relinquishing his search for Heero wasn't something he entertained, though he found himself devoting less energy to the seemingly useless task.

+++++++++

Another week was drawing to a close and Duo sat behind his desk, watching the clock as it rapidly approached quitting time. The shrill beep of his computer caused him to turn sharply toward it, a small red light furiously flashing at the bottom of the screen. Duo's heart began to race as he continued to watch the blinking light. His search had finally turned up something on Heero.

He smiled at his reaction. "Calm down." He warned himself. "You don't even know if it's him."

He knew that the wide parameters he had set up could very easily turn up something completely unrelated to the missing former Gundam pilot, though his optimism remained. This was the first clue to Heero's possible whereabouts in the almost six months since he had vanished into thin air.

Duo moved his cursor over the red dot and clicked it, sitting back as the screen filled with its sudden wealth of newly discovered information. Carefully reading through page after page of text, Duo reclined back into his chair and sighly deeply.

It was Heero all right. Now what was he supposed to do?

The young man's thoughts had never gone beyond this point. He had focused only on finding Heero and now that he had, he wasn't sure how to proceed; nor if he should proceed. He simply didn't know what he wanted from him now that he had found him.

:: maybe just finding him is enough ::

Knowing that Heero was still alive lifted a tremendous amount of guilt from Duo's shoulders.

He let it go at that.

[+] *glomps a certain someone and runs away giggling*