4-18-2001

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 21

Duo had waited several weeks before informing the others that he had located their missing friend. Saturday morning over breakfast found him ready to share the news.

"I found Heero." Duo began, "He's out in California."

Not sure if their apparent surprise had been caused by his sudden broach of the topic or something else, Duo continued. "He has been there since he left." Duo was confused at their reaction to his news. "Am I the only one that is happy I found him?" he aksed, looking at each of the three.

"Duo..." Trowa started, "We are all glad you've located, Heero."

"You are?" he asked sarcastically, "So why the looks?"

"We weren't aware that you were still looking for him." Quatre replied. "You haven't mentioned it in months."

"Actually, Quatre, I never mentioned it." Duo returned sharply. "Now I think you can all see why."

Wufei looked up at Duo, the braided young man obviously angered by the reception his news received. "You can't expect us to just forget what happened here, Duo. I don't understand how you can forget it."

"I didn't say I had forgotten it, Wufei. I have no intention of forgetting it. I merely looked for Heero.... to be sure he was okay after how things ended. Is there anything wrong with that?" he asked.

The three held little of the animosity for their missing friend they had months prior, but there was still the matter of Duo. The protective feelings they had toward him had changed little since his accident, despite the fact that he outwardly appeared to have made a full recovery.

This latest discovery brought the questionable nature of his still fragile emotional state to the forefront of everyone's thoughts. They had not underestimated the effect Heero's actions had on Duo; the young man clearly still confused over what had transpired between the two. This morning's discussion only solidifying thier perception that Heero remained a threat to Duo.

Quatre shook his head "Of course not, Duo. I think we have all been concerned about him in our own way. We are far more concerned about you though."

Duo decided to drop the issue.

They hadn't witnessed his dismissal nor seen Heero's reaction to it..... no one understood the guilt he carried with him over it and his somewhat irrational fear for Heero's safety.

More importantly, Duo noted, none of them knew the anguish he felt over the fact that the greater part of his anger toward Heero had since fallen away, replaced once again by his deep yearning for the young man who was now further from his grasp than ever before.

++++++++

Duo sat at his desk, distracted by the small red signal that flashed continually on the bottom of the screen as new data was being recorded. It served as a constant reminder of Heero. The idea of discontinuing the feed had crossed Duo's mind briefly..... but it was only a fleeting idea. Duo enjoyed the fact that Heero's activities were being fed to him every minute of the day. It provided him with an odd sense of comfort and he smiled as he watched the light continue to flash.

++++++++

Upon arriving in California several months prior, Heero immediately identified the need to fully immerse himself in something that would successfully distract him from his actions and ensuing exile. He was not angered by how Duo had reacted to all that had happened. He knew full well that he deserved his contempt, as well as that of the others.

Not surprisingly, he had taken a job with a small computer firm in Silicon Valley. It hadn't taken very long for him to prove himself an invaluable asset to the firm. There were too many hours in the day that he needed to fill and he quickly allowed the job to consume him. His unintentional tenacity paid off and he soon found himself being offered a management position, which he accepted without reservation... but there was only so much void a job could fill.

Returning home after yet another exhausting 12-hour day, Heero stripped down to his boxers and threw himself down onto the bed in his tiny apartment. It was these few minutes of every day that Heero had come to despise. The passing time had considerably dulled the pain and he thought about it less frequently now, the memory of his former life and how he had screwed it up still disturbed him. He struggled again to fight back the tears and drifted off to sleep.

++++++++

Duo lie on his bed, arms folded behind his head, the small crack in ceiling above the bed his focal point. He had risen before dawn and despite the fact that it was Saturday, he found himself unable to fall back asleep. Ever since his search had located Heero nearly a month ago, Duo had been sidetracked by thoughts of his former friend. Rising, Duo made his way over to his computer and turned the power on. He wasn't certain what he wanted from Heero, but he knew the first step was to make contact him.

It was easier than Duo thought to hack into Heero's computer. Staring for a moment at the screen, Duo brought his hands down to the keyboard.....

[] hello

Hitting enter, Duo sat back and watched the flashing cursor, nervously awaiting a response, unsure of how Heero would react to his trying to re-establish communication.

Heero sat at his kitchen table, morning coffee in hand. Hearing a familiar beep, Heero turned toward his laptop to find one green word at the top of his otherwise blank screen. He ignored it.

Waiting several minutes, Duo typed again.....

[] are you there?

Laptop beeping once again, Heero was puzzled as he reads the screen. "Who could have managed to hack their was into my system?" There was only one person that came to mind. He responded.

[] who is this?

Duo smiled and pulled his chair closer to the desk.

[] an old friend

Heero could feel his heart begin to race as he brought his fingers down, letting them hover over the home keys for a brief second before typing.

[] duo?

Duo nodded, "Yes, Heero.... it's me." he whispered, typing his reply.

[] yes

Heero read the one word answer, frowning as he did. He didn't respond. He didn't know what to say.

Duo waited several minutes, giving Heero time to absorb the initial shock he imagined Heero most likely feeling before he continued.

[] how have you been, heero?

Heero turned his face away from the screen.

//how have i been? he wants to know how i've been? //

Duo again waited for a reply, but none came.

[] are you still there?

Heero read the screen, again choosing not to respond.

//why is he contacting me after all this time? i'm just beginning to get over it..... over him...//

Duo clicked to open the monitoring program and finding that Heero was still logged on, continued.

[] why won't you answer me?

Heero closed his eyes after he read the last message.

//don't you already know? //

Duo waited patiently for a response, unable to imagine what might be going through Heero's head.

[] heero?

Heero turned his attention back to the laptop and rested his fingers on the keyboard. Duo's next message appeared before he had the chance to type anything.

[] fine. don't respond. i'll just keep talking anyway.

Heero almost laughed out loud.

//some things never change.//

[] how is the weather out there, heero? it's nice, duo. how is the weather there?

[] it's great, heero. thanks for asking.

[] and how are you duo? oooo.....i'm fine heero. glad to see you are concerned.

Heero slammed his fists down on the keyboard.

[] tijau450j

Duo looked at the screen, puzzled.

[] heero?

[] WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME, DUO?

Duo frowned and hit F9

[] connection severed...

 

Momentary Lapse of Reason
Part 22

Duo sighed as he sat back in his chair, his gaze still fixed on his computer screen. Heero's reaction hadn't totally surprised him, but some part of him held onto the hope that Heero missed him, even if it wasn't in the same capacity or as much as he missed the former Wing pilot. The blank screen before him testament that that was indeed not the case.

++++++++

Reaching forward, Heero shut his computer down and stared at it for moment, his thoughts now filled with his braided friend. //why now? after all this time....// Reminding himself that he had shrouded his activities up until recently, Heero smiled weakly, part of him pleased that Duo had tried to make contact with him.

Heero lie in bed that night, still attempting to sort out the confusion he felt over what had happened earlier in the day. He didn't know what Duo wanted, only that the emotions the contact had roused within him were unwelcome. He had struggled for months to suppress his feelings for the violet eyed young man. He was not willing to let them resurface.

++++++++

Duo's desire to re-establish communication with Heero was not squelched by the earlier episode. Trying to put himself in his friend's place, Duo imagined that Heero was shocked by his actions. Giving Heero an entire day to mull over what had happened, Duo decided to try to make contact again, hoping that Heero would be more receptive this time.

++++++++

Returning to his desk after an early morning meeting, Heero was met with a flashing cursor and two green words hovering directly over the blinking rectangle.

[] good morning

Heero stared at the screen for a minute

//hadn't i made it clear yesterday that i didn't want this contact?//

Heero frowned. He felt no compulsion to be rude, but he did need to make Duo understand that he wished no further interaction with him.

[] good morning, duo

Duo smiled, he had been unsure if Heero would respond to him after yesterday's somewhat angry dismissal.

[] are you going to talk to me today?

Heero thought for a moment.

//no need to let this go any further.//

As much as he was certain it would hurt Duo, yet feeling it was best for both of them in the long run, Heero typed.

[] i have nothing to say

Duo frowned and sat back in his chair for a moment, his eyes filling with tears.

:: perhaps this was a bad idea ::

Moving forward, Duo typed his response.

[] gomen for the interruption then.

F9

[] connection severed...

:: goodbye, heero ::

+++++++++

Breakfast on Saturday morning found Duo ready to share what had happened earlier in the week. He didn't know exactly why he continued to share the news regarding matters about Heero. The fact that their reactions to his broaching the subject continually brought about a negative response had done little to deter Duo from speaking with them about it.

"I contacted Heero earlier this week." He announced, "I think I surprised him... I hacked into his computer." he continued, reaching for his coffee.

"Do you think that was a good idea, Duo? I thought we had agreed to just let it go." Trowa replied.

"No... YOU agreed to let it go." Duo snapped back. "Makes no difference anyway, he wants nothing to do with me." he frowned. "Excuse me, I'm not hungry." he spoke softly, pushing himself back from the table.

Watching as Duo left the room, Quatre turned his attention to Trowa. "Even Heero thinks it's a bad idea. Why is it that Duo is the only one that doesn't seem to understand?"

"It's obvious he still cares about Heero, in spite of all that has happened." Wufei told the blonde.

"I don't think it's fair to say that Duo is the only one who cares about Heero, Wufei. We all do, the five of us have been together for nearly five years. How could we not care?" Trowa saddened as he spoke, swallowing hard as he looked at the other two young men. "Duo's feelings for Heero just went way beyond friendship. We shouldn't assume we are able to put ourselves in his place."

Wufei and Quatre nodded solemnly.

"At least Heero had the good sense to not let things go any further." Quatre added. "It's better this way... for Duo."

+++++++++

Several weeks later, Heero received a package in the mail. He was hesitant to open it at first as there was no return address, but he had a pretty good idea who it was from. Letting the large box sit on the kitchen counter for nearly a week, Heero's curiosity had finally gotten the best of him and he decided to open it.

Inside were several personal belongings that he had left back in New York, at the house... at their home. It had been nearly a ten months since Heero left, slowly replacing the material objects he had opted to leave behind rather than face his friends.

Slowly reaching into the box, Heero drew out the first of the items, the corners of his mouth turning upward slightly as he removed it.

The small brown bear had been a get-well gift from Duo during the war, the bandages his friend had wrapped around the small animal, mimicking his own wounds at the time. Heero reached forward, turning around the tag that was affixed to the bear's ear. It had yellowed slightly with age, but the message Duo had written there was still legible. 'not the perfect soldier, are we?' Heero didn't know whether he should laugh or cry, instead choosing to answer his friend's question of so many years ago. //no, duo, not perfect at all.//

Setting the bear down on the table, Heero reached inside the box again, this time drawing out a small plastic container that held some of his computer disks. It wasn't his entire collection, but as he flipped through them and read the labels, he could tell that Duo had taken the time to include the ones he thought Heero might want the most. Heero sighed as he looked at the titles on the four remaining disks in his hands 'h.y. - personal'

Removing the first disk from it's protective sleeve, Heero slipped it into his computer and sat to watch.

++++++++

Duo had given a great deal of thought to the items he included in the box he sent to Heero. He deliberately hadn't chosen anything that Heero would easily recognize as his attempt to coerce Heero into re-establishing contact, certain that Heero would gather the message he intended the package to deliver.

Two weeks passed since he had mailed it and Duo had left his computer on day and night in the hopes that Heero would hack into it as he had done, even if it was to say a simple thank you. Duo would even have been satisfied with a 'stop bothering me.', for at least it would have offered finality, the fact that nothing came hurt him tremendously.

++++++++

Heero reclined back on the couch of his small apartment with his feet resting on the edge of the coffee table as he watched the five young pilots standing in the center of a large clearing. //that was such a long time ago.// He smiled, the genuine smiles on his friends faces warming his heart.

This particular video had been shot just after The Eve Wars had ended. Heero focused most of his attention on Duo, the highly animated braided boy merciless as he teased the others, laughing loudly as they eventually gave into his unrelenting silliness. He was highly contagious, there was something undeniably overwhelming about being surrounded by the joy that was Duo Maxwell back then...... and Heero continued to watch the young amethyst-eyed boy on the screen.

 

Momentary Lapse of Reason
Part 23

It was Sunday morning and Duo had decided to spend the day cleaning. It was far from a typical thing for him to do, but perhaps the fact that he had received no word from Heero had aided his odd desire.

:: time to start fresh ::

He didn't like to admit that this chapter of his life was ending, but the writing was all over the walls, far be it for him to ignore it.

Moving methodically from one area to the next, Duo had succeeded in sorting the contents of his room into three piles on the floor in the center of his bedroom. The first being the stuff that he used on a day to day basis, the second being things he had not seen in years and cared not if he ever saw again, the third and probably the largest of the three, consisted of those things which no longer provided him with the comfort that they used to. In effect, the third pile was now as much trash as the second, but they were things Duo could not bring himself to part with.

Neatly returning all the contents of the first pile to their new homes around the room, Duo made his way downstairs, returning shortly with several large trash bags and a large cardboard box. Filling two of the black plastic bags with the contents of the second pile, Duo tied a knot in the top of each one and set them down in the hallway outside his room.

Turning his attention to the one remaining pile, Duo knelt beside it and picking the items up one by one, carefully placed them into the large cardboard box and sealed it with masking tape. Standing to get a marker from his desk, Duo labeled the box and placed it on the uppermost shelf of his closet. Looking up at it once more, he frowned at the thick black letters he had written on the side of the box 'Heero'. Turning that side of the box toward the wall, Duo closed the closet door and leaned against it, reflecting on the task he had just completed.

+++++++

Heero finished watching the first of the four personal disks Duo sent him. He had enjoyed it for the most part, though it left him feeling more vacant than he had anticipated. He glanced over at the table where he had left the other three disks, opting to store them away for future viewing.

Making his way back into the kitchen, Heero removed the rest of the items from the box, one by one putting them away. Each article he touched brought with it some small flashback, a long distant memory that made Heero uncomfortable and a sudden sadness fell over him. His smile returned as he picked up the small brown bear. Walking across the room, Heero placed it in the center his dresser and looked down at it.

He now understood Duo's intent.

+++++++

Duo stood in the center of his room with his hands on his hips. Satisfied with his efforts as he looked around his bedroom, Duo frowned. There was one more thing that he needed to do.

Searching throughout the house, Duo made his way down stairs and hearing voices coming from the den, entered the large room. "Hey guys."

Quatre and Trowa turned their attention to the room's entrance where Duo stood. "Hey, Duo." Quatre smiled. "Come on in." the blonde replied.

Duo hesitantly entered the room, standing before the two who remained seated on the couch. "Would either of you mind if I packed up the stuff in Heero's room?"

Both men looked up at him as he finished his sentence. There was no mistaking the sorrow in their friend's eyes.

Duo eyes remained downcast and he toyed with the end of his braid as he awaited a response.

Quatre looked toward his lover and Trowa lowered his head. "Sure, Duo, that's fine."

+++++++

Several cardboard boxes and trash bags in hand, Duo climbed the stairs and made his way down the hall, pausing in front of the door to Heero's room. He had been there nearly three weeks ago to choose the items he planned to send Heero. This time the effect it had on him was very different. This time he was looking for closure.

Entering the room, Duo couldn't help but notice that the only change the room held, despite it's obvious lack of an occupant, was the thick dust that had gathered on the furniture in Heero's absence. He smiled as he ran his finger through it, imaging Heero's statement had he been there to witness Duo's action.

"Where to begin." Duo mused looking around the room. Setting the boxes down in front of a large bookcase, Duo began taking them one by one from the shelf, bending to place them into the box at his feet. Having sucessfully cleared the lower shelves, Duo stood on his tiptoes, reaching forward to collect the few paperbacks that stood neatly in a row on the top shelf. Sliding them forward toward the shelves edge, Duo looked down as something fell from between the small stack of books he held. Placing the last of the books in the box, Duo bent to pick up the square white paper that had fallen to the floor. Turning it over, Duo looked down at it, suddenly overcome by a profound sadness.

In his hand was a photograph of the two young pilots taken shortly after they had met. Though there was little to be joyful about, Duo's smile was wide as he hung on his friends shoulder. The corners of Heero's mouth were turned upward, almost forming a smile... the Wing pilot's arm wrapped tightly around his waist.

:: what happened to us, heero? ::

Closing his eyes, Duo sat down on the edge of the bed and tried to drive away the incredible anguish Heero's memory caused him. This is what greiving was all about. Saying goodbye. It mattered little that Heero was still alive, the process was still the same.

Looking down once again at the picture he held, Duo took a deep breath, his senses suddenly assaulted with the distinct scent that still remained in the room after all this time. Clutching Heero's pillow to his chest, Duo buried his face in it, purposefully inhaling Heero's long absent scent and softly sobbed.

++++++++

"Where is Duo?" Wufei asked, looking over toward Quatre and Trowa.

Trowa looked up. "I have not seen him in a few hours. He is probably up in his room."

Quatre rose "I'll go get him." he smiled, making his way from the kitchen.

Knocking lightly on Duo's bedroom door, Quatre called out. "Duo. It's dinnertime."

Hearing no response, Qautre entered the room, his eyes searching the large space for only a moment before he closed the door.

Thinking back to the last time he had seen Duo that day, Quatre made his way down the hall to Heero's room. Opening the door slowly, Quatre crossed the room to stand beside the bed, frowning as he met with Duo's sleeping form.

"Duo." he whispered. "What are you doing to yourself?" The blonde saddened further as he looked down at his friend.

The braided young man lie in the center of the bed, his body curled in a fetal position around the large pillow.... the picture of the two young pilots clenched tight in his fist. Covering Duo with what he could of the bedspread beneath him, Quatre kissed Duo on the top of his head and turned off the light...... leaving Duo with all he had left of Heero.

+++++++

Heero entered his office on Monday and booted his computer. Draping his jacket over the back of the chair, he set his briefcase down and ventured down the hallway in search of his morning coffee. Seating himself behind his desk, Heero looked toward his computer, his eyes drawn to the small green light flashing in the lower right hand corner of his screen.

//duo.//

The package that Duo had sent him once again brought the braided young man to the forefront of Heero's thoughts. He made little effort to push the memories away this time. Distracted by the small blinking light, Heero couldn't help but wonder whether Duo had any intention of trying to make contact with him again. He imagined that Duo had to be angry or even hurt over how Heero had responded to his last two attempts, yet the line remained open. Duo had made the last gesture, he at least owed him an acknowledgement of his efforts.... a thank you for the package..... and perhaps something more.

Waiting nearly an hour, Heero decided he was going to take the first step this time.

[] hello?

There was a short pause before the return came.

[] heero?

Heero smiled and nodded, typing his reply.

[] yes, it's me, duo

[] it's not duo, it's quatre

F9

[] connection severed...

Releasing his finger from the function key at the top of Duo's keyboard, Quatre looked down at the screen and shut his eyes, letting the implications of what he had just done sink in. Continuing to successfully delete any trace of the brief encounter, Quatre rose and made his was toward the door of Duo's office.

"Hey Quatre ? Did you want to see me about something?"

The blonde looked up startled as Duo's cheerful voice rang throughout the large room.

Quatre smiled and shook his head. "Nope. Just dropping off those files you were looking for, I put them on your desk, Duo."

"Thanks, Q." Duo smiled.

Making his way down the corridor, Quatre paused at elevator and looked back towards the open door. He wondered whether he should tell Duo that Heero had tried to contact him. Thinking back to Duo's behavior over the weekend, he decided against it and stepped forward into the elevator, pressing the 3rd floor button.

 

Momentary Lapse of Reason
Part 24

Heero reclined fully back in his chair and eyed the now blank screen in front of him. //what was that all about? //

He couldn't help but wonder what wad happened on the other end of the line..... his lifeline to Duo. //why was quatre there? why had duo left the line open all this time, only to close it when he had finally contacted him?//

He didn't need to wonder for too long why Quatre had brought his attempt at communication with Duo to a halt. He was certain that the blonde more than likely continued to harbor ill feelings toward him. It seemed that Quatre had taken what happened between himself and Duo more to heart than the others.

While Heero had previously made it perfectly clear to Duo that he intended to shut him out, part of him longed to see the flashing green light on his screen again, knowing that Duo was on the other end... thinking about him in some capacity.

++++++++

Duo returned to his desk after his brief encounter with Quatre. He turned toward his computer screen, noticing that the green light that acknowledged his open connection to Heero's computer was no longer flashing. A further check of the system showed that the link had been permanently severed.

Duo closed his eyes and fell he back into his chair.

There was a part of him that was relieved that Heero had cut off their communication. It was the final barrier that stood in the way of allowing him complete closure. The rest of Duo Maxwell trembled uncontrollably with a mixture of sorrow, disbelief and deep despair.

++++++++

The rest of the day was nothing more than a blur and returning home that night, Duo made his way up to his room and climbed straight into bed.

The 14 hours he had slept did nothing to quell Duo's misery. He woke at six to the sound of his alarm clock, still dressed in his work clothes from the day before.

He was still lying in bed when Quatre knocked on his door at 7:15. "Duo? We're leaving in 10 minutes." Quatre waited for a response, when none came, he knocked again and opened the door. "Duo? You're all dressed, why don't you come down and have a bite to eat."

Duo sat up and looked toward the open door and the blonde who stood just inside it. Quatre could easily see that Duo had been crying. "Duo?"

"I think I'm gonna stay home this morning, Quatre."

Qautre moved to sit beside him. "Are you feeling okay, Duo?" the blonde asked. "You don't look well."

Duo lie back down on the bed bringing his forearm to cover his eyes. "I'll be fine, just let personnel know I won't be in today. Thanks."

"Sure thing, Duo." he replied. "Anything I can get you?" he asked looking toward his friend.

Duo shook his head in reply.

Quatre rose and exited the room.

+++++++

The three young men returned home to find Duo much in the same state that Quatre had left him in that morning.

"You going to join us for dinner?" Wufei asked from the open doorway.

"Not hungry right now, Fei, thanks."

"You? Not hungry? You must not be feeling well." Wufei joked as he made his way toward the bed. "Fever?" the raven haired young man asked as he brought the palm of his hand to rest on Duo's forehead. "No fever. Why don't you come down and join us anyway."

Duo rolled over onto his side. "Maybe later."

Wufei brought the covers up and laid them over his friend. "You should at least change into something more comfortable." Wufei told him, noting Duo was still clad in his work clothes.

"Yeah." Duo replied, crawling out from underneath his blankets. "Thanks." he replied, standing to remove his jacket.

Wufei smiled toward him as he made his way to the room's exit. "Sleep well."

Duo nodded in return.

Swiftly changing into a pair of his favorite sleeping shorts and a t-shirt, Duo made his way into the bathroom. Relieving himself and flushing the toilet, Duo stood before the sink to wash his hands, catching a glimpse of his reflection in the mirror. The evidence of his tears stained his face and he brought his hand up to touch his cheek. "Boys may not cry...." he whispered. "...but men sure do."

++++++++

Though Duo rarely fell ill, it wasn't until the third day of his current 'sickness' that Wufei began to suspect that their friend was not suffering from a stomach virus as he had contended. Before sharing his discovery with Trowa and Quatre, he decided he should confront Duo about it.

"Duo?" he called through the door. "You awake?"

"Yeah, Fei. Come on in." a soft voice returned.

Wufei entered the room, crossing it to sit beside Duo on the bed. "Feeling any better tonight?"

Duo shook his head.

Wufei reached forward to brush the hair from Duo's face. "Did you eat something today?"

Duo looked up at his friend, his dark eyes filled with concern and shook his head. "No."

"You want to talk about it?" Wufei asked, standing as Duo sat up in the bed.

Moving toward the edge of the bed, Duo brought his legs over the side and lowered them to the floor. "I'll be fine. I just need to work through a few things." he replied, looking up at the raven-haired young man. The concern on his friend's face prompted him to continue. "Don't sweat it, Fei." he smiled weakly toward him.

"You should at least eat. I'll bring something up, okay?"

"Sure." Duo replied, standing. "And Fei?"

"Hm?"

"Let's keep this just between us, k?"

Wufei nodded and exited the room.

++++++++

As promised, Wufei did not mention anything to Trowa or Quatre about his little talk with Duo. His condition soon become apparent to both.

"It's now an entire week he's been like this." Quatre began. "The last few nights he hasn't been sleeping. I can hear him up in his room until all hours of the morning. Someone has to talk with him and find out what's going on."

Wufei lowered his eyes. "He won't talk about it. I tried."

"Maybe we need to bring in a professional." Trowa offered. "It doesn't seem to be something he's just going to be able to snap himself out of."

Quatre and Wufei both nodded.

"Shall I go talk with him?" Quatre asked.

"I'll go with you." Trowa replied standing.

++++++++

Duo sat in the chair in the very corner of his room. The huge overstuffed chair had become his favorite spot of late. Sitting with his knees drawn up to his chest, Duo clutched them tightly with both arms as he gazed out the window in front of him. Resting his head on his knees, Duo sighed and whispered the one word that all his thoughts and their ensuing confusion centered around. "Heero...." Closing his eyes, one warm tear rolled down his cheek. Tightening his grasp on his legs, Duo lowered his head and sobbed as he tried to release the mounting pain. It wasn't enough this time, it was never enough.

++++++++

A light knock on the door roused Duo from his thoughts. "Duo, it's Trowa and Quatre. May we come in?"

Rising from the chair, Duo made his way into the bathroom. "I'll be right there." he replied, bending over the sink to splash his face. Walking toward the door, Duo took a deep breath and opened it, allowing his two friends to enter.

One need only take one look at the braided boy before them to see that Duo had been crying, the condition of his hair and attire further proof of his declining mental state. "Duo..." Quatre began, looking up into his sad violet eyes "You need to talk to someone... if not one of us, then a professional. Maybe Sally."

Duo shook his head. "I'll handle it, don't worry." he told them.

"It's too late to tell us not to worry." Trowa started. "Look at yourself, Duo, you're not handling it."

"I just need more time, that's all." he replied, looking up at the two. "I think I'll go take a shower now... if you'll excuse me." he continued, crossing the room to enter the bathroom.

"Come down and have something to eat when you're done, okay, Duo?" Quatre called after him.

"Sure. I'll be down in a little while." he responded, closing the door behind him.

+++++++

True to his word, Duo strode into the kitchen nearly an hour later, his shower and a change of clothes seeming to lighten his mood somewhat. He remained quiet during their evening meal, his sullen demeanor reflecting whatever it was that was troubling him.

"It's Heero, isn't it, Duo?" the blonde asked, though it was more of a statement... there had never really been any doubt.

Duo looked up and nodded. "I know it's stupid." he started, lowering his head. "I just can't seem to get over it... over him...... I miss him so much." Duo choked out, his eyes watery as he looked up at his three friends.

Quatre lowered his eyes as Duo looked toward him, recoiling from the pain so clearly visible behind his violet eyes.

 

Momentary Lapse of Reason
Part 25

The three young men had honored their friends wishes to be left alone for the most part. There had been no improvement in his condition during the past two weeks and their concern grew. Duo's unwillingness to speak with them about his current frame of mind sending the braided young man further into isolation.

Quatre had once again suggested to Trowa that psychotherapy might be a useful tool at this point, as their attempts to draw Duo out of his misery were unsuccessful. His mention of the idea to Duo drew its expected reaction. They had all undergone some form of therapy after the war had ended, none with less success than Duo.

"Absolutely not! There's not a damn bit of good that'll come from me going into therapy... or have you forgotten?" Duo asked sharply. He felt little guilt as he dismissed their concerns, the tone of his voice reflected the anger he felt over what he was beginning to see as their meddling. "I appreciate that you are trying to help here, but we've been over this before. I need to work this out... on my own... alone!"

Quatre and Trowa looked toward one another as Duo addressed them. He had remained seated facing the large window in the corner of his room as he spoke, never once turning to face his friends.

++++++

Hearing the room door close, Duo sighed deeply and his thoughts turned once again to Heero and the mess he now found himself in. It was all he ever thought about....all he ever dreamed about. There was nothing new he could add to the now standard redderic, yet he let the ideas mull about in his head. Actually he didn't let them, he didn't want them to, they just wouldn't stop.

++++++

Once again contemplating what Heero had done while he was ill, Duo considered the actions that had brought them to this point. He hadn't previously given much thought to why Heero had behaved the way he did, instead choosing to focus on the anger his behavior caused.

He rationalized that it was entirely possible that Heero had merely submitted to his advance in an effort to aid his healing. Heero recalled how adamant Heero had been in his assertion that there was no prior relationship between the two.

:: did he feel sorry for me? is that what it was? pity? ::

Duo shook his head. He had all too vivid memories of the affection that he had shared with Heero for those few shorts day, the tenderness in his cobalt eyes. "No..... it was more than that."

:: maybe he liked the new me ::

Duo frowned. Following the accident and his memory loss he was much less talkative, therefore less annoying and certainly less active..... all the things about him that seemed to irritate Heero.

The last thought that entered Duo's mind was the extremely remote possibility that Heero actually cared for him. As ridiculously far-fetched as it sounded and with absolutely no proof to back the theory up, Duo was still unable to dismiss it..... it all made too much sense to him.

+++++++

Duo lie in his bed, awake and exhausted staring up at the ceiling. It was how he spent a good portion of his time these past few weeks. He hadn't gotten dressed in almost two weeks. An occasional shower and a change of bedclothes more than satisfied his current hygiene requirements.

He rarely left his room, as there was no need. His meals were now brought to him and had been since his refusal to join the others a few days after his flight to seclusion.

He appreciated his friends concern, Quatre more than the others had stopped by his room...... several times a day. But what he really wanted was to be left alone. He usually dismissed Quatre shortly after his arrival, several times feeling more than a modest amount of guilt for turning his friend away; after all, he did understand the blonde's worry over his current situation and frame of mind.

They all probably would have been even more concerned had they actually known how far into depression Duo had actually sank.

++++++++

With the possibility that Heero actually cared about him once again in the forefront of his thoughts, the pieces of the puzzle began to fall into place. He knew that what Heero had done to him had justified his actions toward him, but part of him now understood the desperation that Heero felt regarding his emotions. Not that he was sanctioning the act, but he once had feelings for someone that were so intense that he could see himself nearly driven to that same point of desperation.

:: Heero.::

++++++++

A greater part of Quatre's decision to take some time off to spend with Duo stemmed from his guilt. The small blonde's decision to keep Heero's last contact a secret from Duo and the others was still one he stood by, though his firm belief in what he had done did nothing to diminish the sorrow his friend was experiencing.

"See you tonight, little one." Trowa smiled, kissing his lover at the door.

Quatre waited until the Jeep had backed out of the driveway before closing the front door. "Day One.. Mission Duo." he smiled, making his way toward the kitchen.

First clearing the table of its dirty dishes, Quatre put on a fresh pot of coffee and set about preparing Duo's favorite breakfast, hoping he would be unable to refuse it. Tray in hand, Quatre carefully climbed the steps, setting the tray down on the floor outside of Duo's room.

Knocking lightly, Quatre opened the door to find Duo sitting in the large chair by the window. "Good Morning." he smiled. "I figured you still be sleeping."

Not turning his gaze from the window, Duo shook his head. "Couldn't sleep."

"I made you breakfast." The blonde told him, moving out into the hallway to retrieve the tray. "Pancakes with raspberry syrup." he smiled as he made his way toward the still motionless young man. "Your favorite."

Duo turned toward Quatre, his eyes red and swollen. "Sorry, Quatre. I'm not hungry."

Quatre sat on the edge of the bed closest to Duo. "You have to eat something." he told him, the young man turning away again. "Please, Duo. You haven't eaten properly in over two weeks. You're going to make yourself sick."

Duo lowered his head and shook it. "Doesn't matter, Quatre. I'm already sick."

"You need your strength, Duo, please?" the blonde pleaded.

Duo nodded and turned to face his concerned friend. Offering him a weak smile, Duo reached for the plate Quatre held out to him.

Taking several forkfuls, Duo set the plate down on the nightstand and turned toward Quatre. "What are you doing home today, Quatre?"

"I thought you could use some company..." the blonde smiled. "..and a little TLC."