disclaimer: the boys aren't mine. i just manipulate them for my own personal
title: momentary lapse of reason
rating: *this fic is not yet rated*
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)
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 ^_~
:: duo's thoughts ::
Momentary Lapse of Reason
The first two days of Mission Duo were going pretty much according to plan. Duo was considerably more stubborn than Quatre had predicted and while he had managed to get his braided friend to start eating, his hygiene matters were another issue.
Entering Duo's room at 8:00, Quatre opened the curtains and tilted the blinds upwards, allowing the morning light to fill the room. "Good Morning, Duo." he smiled. Duo rolled over, looking up at him through half-lidded violet eyes before groaning and burying his head back in his pillow.
"Why don't you go take a shower?" Quatre asked.
Hearing no reply, he made his way into the bathroom and turned the water on, allowing it to warm before returning to Duo's side. "Come on, Duo. It will make you feel better. A nice warm shower always does." Quatre tugged the covers off of his still prone friend, leaving him to shiver in the room's chilly air.
"Quatre...come on, I just fell asleep. I was up all night." he complained, pulling the covers back up over himself.
The blonde looked down at the sleepy young man. "Fine. I'll be back in two hours and you can take your shower then."
Duo grumbled his unknown reply and Quatre turned off the shower before he exited the room, closing the door quietly behind him.
As promised, Quatre returned at 10:00 to find Duo still curled up beneath a mound of blankets in his bed. "Time to get up." he cheerfully announced, heading for the bathroom. "Shower or bath?"
Still waiting for Duo's reply, Quatre surveyed the state of Duo's private bath and shook his head. Like the rest of his braided friend's room, the small area was littered with clothing and a host of other items Duo had used over the past week and had failed to return to their proper place.
Deciding to tidy up while he waited for Duo to fully wake, Quatre wet a washcloth and began wiping off the counter surrounding Duo's sink. Turning on the warm water to rinse the cloth, Quatre paused. There were several reddish-brown stains on the white porcelain of Duo's sink and Quatre bent to look more closely at them, easily identifying them as blood.
Not letting himself get too worked up before confronting his friend, Quatre cleaned the sink and made his way back in the bedroom. "Come on, Duo. Rise and shine." he singsonged.
Duo rolled over at sat up, practically glaring at the blonde. He knew that Quatre had nothing but good intentions, but he was not in the mood for company. "After I take my shower, will you leave me alone?"
Quatre nodded and entered the bathroom, turning on the water on inside the shower. Duo made his way into the small tiled room and stood before the mirror. "I guess I do need a shower, huh?" he asked.
"Yeah." Quatre smiled. "I'll go get you a towel."
Duo nodded and closed the door behind his friend, locking it.
Returning several minutes later, Quatre called through the door. "Here's your towel." The door opened and Duo stood on the other side, hand outstretched. "Thanks." he replied, taking the large white bath sheet from him before closing and locking the door.
Slowly removing his pajamas, Duo stood before the mirror and released his braid. Hearing Quatre footsteps crossing the room, he closed the lid on the toilet and sat, sighing as he looked down at his right arm.
Peeling off the sticky linen tape, Duo lifted the square of white gauze that covered his latest injury and looked down at his handiwork. He slowly ran his index finger over each line that graced the pale skin of his forearm, carefully following every angle, contour and curve as he studied it.
The cuts furthest from his elbow were the newest ones and were still deep red with newly coagulated blood, the ones further up his arm had already starting forming a rough scab.
Rising to stand before the sink, Duo opened the medicine cabinet and lifting the tube of toothpaste, withdrew the blade he kept beneath it. Resting his arm on the edge of the sink, Duo leaned forward and brought the thin double edged blade down to rest lightly on his forearm. Closing his eyes, he began applying pressure, gasping as the sharp blade pierced several layers of his skin, the blood immediately flowing from the wound. His face twisted in ecstasy as he pushed the blade further into the yielding flesh, reveling in the pain... it was the only thing left he was capable of feeling.
Quatre had left Duo's room, allowing his friend privacy and headed downstairs and into the kitchen. It was nearly lunchtime and the blonde found himself peering into each cabinet deciding what to make for lunch. Smiling as he recalled Duo's fondness of macaroni and cheese, Quatre withdrew the box from the cabinet and placing it on the counter, set a large pot of water to boil.
Duo sat in the center of the small tiled room with tape and gauze in hand. Reaching for a strip of toilet tissue, he blotted his wound dry and covered it with gauze, securing the white cotton with several strips of tape. Tossing the bloodied paper into the toilet, he flushed it and stood before the sink, washing away the telltale signs of his latest cutting.
Waiting nearly half an hour, Quatre headed back up to Duo's room and knocked lightly on the door. "Lunch is ready. You want to come down?" he called through the door. Hearing no response, Quatre entered and made his way across the room to where Duo lay asleep on the bed.
"You didn't even take a shower." Quatre spoke aloud as he stood above him. Shaking his head from side to side, Quatre bent to cover the sleeping young man, pausing as he looked down at Duo. There was a small red stain on the arm of Duo's white cotton pajama top and the blonde tentatively moved his hand forward to touch it, instantly pulling his hand back,
Covering his mouth with his open hand in shock, Quatre quickly made his way into the bathroom, searching the small room for any evidence to back up his suspicion. Finding no trace of blood, yet recalling the stains found on the sink earlier in the day, he opened Duo's medicine cabinet, searching it with his eyes for only seconds before they fell on the bloodied blade. The small blonde's eyes filled with tears and gripping his chest he stumbled backward to seat himself on the edge of the bathtub.
Quatre paced nervously inside the small front foyer of their home. Once again looking down at his watch, he sighed and averted his attention to the still vacant driveway, anxiously awaiting Trowa and Wufei's return home.
He had left Duo's sleep undisturbed after his discovery of the blade, choosing not to confront his friend about it. It was a clearly desperate act on Duo's part and Quatre chose to preserve his friend's dignity, hoping to spare him any further humility.
He knew full well that Duo would not be receptive to his pleas to stop his self-mutilation.
But there was something that Quatre knew that he was certain the braided young man would not be able to ignore.
Waking from his sleep and looking over at his desk, Duo griped his forearm, squeezing it tightly. Closing his eyes as the pain surged through his limb, Duo's thoughts once again focused on a certain cobalt eyed young man. Swinging his legs over to the edge of the bed to rest of on the floor, Duo rose and crossed the room, plugging in and booting up his laptop.
He returned to sit on the edge of his bed, staring at the glowing rectangle across the as it went through its various tasks. Finally ready for input, Duo made his way to his desk and gazed at the lower right hand corner of the screen.
He needed to re-establish contact with Heero, even if there was never another word spoken between the two of them.
It was almost four weeks before Quatre came clean to his lover about the various events that had taken place a month prior regarding Duo. His first task was to relate the full tale of Duo's 'spring cleaning' to Trowa, followed by his sudden interest in clearing out the contents of Heero's room. "That stuff had been sitting there untouched for nearly eleven months why now all of a sudden?"
Trowa was about to find out why; he was also about to find out that Quatre too knew the answer.
He relaying to Trowa all the information he had thus far kept to himself. He was ashamed at having lied to his friends about Duo's whereabouts that night he found him asleep in Heero's bed, but he knew that he kept it from them for all the right reasons.
'For all the right reasons.'
Quatre gasped loudly and stumbled backwards, seating himself on the edge of the bed. He recalled Heero saying those exact words to him the night he left.
The blonde looked up at his lover as he approached the bed. "Quatre?" Ignoring the deep concern on his lovers face, Quatre continued, explaining how he had found Duo that night. "He was clutching Heero's pillow, he a picture of the two of them in his hand." Quatre's voice was filled with emotion as he described the scene.
Trowa still didn't quite get what the problem was. It was apparent that Duo missed Heero in some capacity, they all did. He crossed the room and sat to face his lover. "Quatre, we all know that Duo misses him, but Heero made it clear that he didn't want Duo to contact him."
Quatre shook his head. "No, Trowa. Heero did contact him..... a few weeks ago." Trowa looked curiously over at him. "I was in Duo's office...... and a message came in. It was from Heero." the blonde replied, lowering his head.
"And what happened when you told Duo?" Trowa asked, concerned by his lovers demeanor.
Quatre did not respond, merely keeping his head down.
"Quatre? You did tell Duo, right?" Trowa asked. He stood and made his way to where Quatre sat on the edge of the bed.
Trowa lifted his lovers chin, there were tears streaming down his face. "Quatre?"
The blonde remained silent as he looked up into Trowa's eyes. He saw the anger in them and turned his eyes away.
Trowa did not hide his feelings regarding what his lover had done, his tone harsh as he questioned him. "Quatre, how could you not tell him? You know how all of this has been affecting him?"
"I don't know, Trowa." he replied, shaking his head. "I thought that if he finally got over Heero.... that he could just go back to being Duo."
Trowa looked down at his lover. "Quatre..." he replied softly "... we never knew Duo before there was a Heero."
The blonde's eyes saddened. "Oh God, Trowa, what have I done?"
Momentary Lapse of Reason
It had taken all of Quatre's nerve and large dose of his lover's steady encouragement before Quatre made the decision that it was time to confront Duo. They realized that it was most likely a bad idea to throw the entire sordid affair on the table before their troubled friend and so the two had planned to feed Duo small bits of information and assess his reactions before continuing to let the story unfurl.
Making their way to Duo's room hand in hand, Quatre paused outside the door.
He knew there would be consequences for his silence, the severest of them disturbing him greatly. He could only hope that Duo would somehow overlook his arrogance and stupidity, leaving their relationship more or less intact. The loss of Duo's friendship was something that Quatre could not bear to think about, but the reality of it was there and lurking just behind the door. Quatre had brought it on himself.... he was undeserving of his own self-pity.
It had been over a month since Heero had tried to contact Duo and their communication had been permenantly severed. He had been unable to drive the events of what happened that morning from his thoughts. He had assumed it had been Quatre who had shut down the tie-in, though he had no facts to support that belief. As much as that idea saddened him, the alternate possibility was far worse.
There was nothing concrete that told him that it either was or was not Duo who had requested? insisted? suggested? that all communication between the two cease. It didn't strike him as something that Duo would do... to allow Quatre to handle the deed, when it was in fact Duo who opened the channel to him to begin with.
// then why hasn't duo re-opened the line? //
Determining that it was impossible to know precisely what had happened on the other side of the country that day, Heero found it difficult to decide how he should proceed. The only thing he was certain of was that he needed to do something, unwilling to deal with the solitude and pain his actions of nearly a year ago had brought about.
// shit or get off the pot, yuy //
Quatre raised his fist and knocked hesitantly on Duo's door. "Duo, it's Quatre and Trowa. May we come in?"
"The door is open." Duo called back.
Entering the room, both young men were pleased to find their friend out of bed and seated at his desk. It was Quatre who noticed the small flashing light at the bottom of Duo's screen, the seemingly innocent green circle upsetting him greatly.
"We need to talk about some things, Duo." Quatre started.
Duo looked up at his friend. "Quatre, we've been over this before. I do not need help, I'm fine, really, I just need some time to work things out."
Quatre shook his head. "No, Duo. Not that."
It hadn't taken Heero very long to notice that contact had been re-initiated. He never stopped to try and discern the reason why, he just acted on it.
Quatre's mouth hung open as he looked at the screen of Duo's computer, the shock on his face causing Duo to turn toward it.
Quatre moved forward and spun Duo's chair around, meeting with his friend's surprise. "Duo, I really need to talk to you." The blonde's voice held the utmost urgency.
"Quatre, it's Heero." he whispered, smiling faintly at the small blonde. The statement on his face quickly turned sour as Quatre firmly grabbed him by the wrist.
"I know, Duo." Quatre stated, his tone firm. "He is just going to have to wait until I finish what I have to say."
Duo shook his head rapidly from side to side, looking back at the screen, then at the desperation in Quatre's eyes.
Heero sat in the center of his bed with his legs folded in front of him, his laptop resting on his mid-thighs. It had only been a minute or two since he had typed his message, but waiting to see if there was going to be a response was sheer torture.
He thought for a moment that perhaps it would be more appropriate if he called, knowing he needed to deal with each of the friends he had left behind. Acknowledging that Duo was the key to any possible reunion of the five, Heero turned his attention once again to his computer and the single green word that loomed at the top of the screen.
Allowing himself to be pulled away from his computer, Duo sat on the edge of his bed as his friend directed and looked up at him. "What, Quatre? What is it that is so important that you have to tell me right now?" Duo managed through his slightly hazy state. He turned toward the computer and its blinking cursor before looking back up at Quatre. "Well?"
There was no chance of Quatre feeding the information to Duo as the two had planned. It was all coming out now...... and fast. Trowa placed his hand on his lovers shoulder, a gentle reminder of his continuing support.
"Duo..... Heero tried to contact you six weeks ago." He started.
The amethyst-eyed young man's head turned sharply, looking up and rather confused at his Arabian friend.
"I didn't tell you because I thought that you were finally making progress in trying to forget about him."
Duo's stared up at the two and he opened his mouth to speak, Quatre immediately cutting him off.
"I realize now that it was a huge mistake." Quatre added in an effort to stop Duo's impending verbal assault.
Duo looked down at his two hands now tightly balled into fists and then back up at Quatre. His gaze was discomforting as expected. "I can't deal with this right now, Quatre." He spat.
"Duo.." Quatre started.
Rising from the bed, Duo pushed past both young men and sat his desk. Turning toward the two in the center of the room, Duo narrowed his eyes and issued his warning. "Just get out."
Momentary Lapse of Reason
Heero sat nervously tapping his fingers, one fingertip after the other falling on the bare flesh of his knees in rapid succession. He stared impatiently at the mostly vacant screen before him.
//where are you, duo? //
 hello, heero
Heero's face lit up and he reached forward to type his response.
 how are you, duo?
:: now that's a loaded question ::
 i've been better. you?
//lousy, but suddenly i'm feeling much better.//
 been better too
Duo nodded. He had questions...... lots of questions and needed answers now. He had waited far too long already. Brining his fingers down to the keyboard Duo typed.
 why did you disable our link?
Heero cocked his head, and immediately typed his response, shaking his head from side to side.
 i didn't
Now it was Duo's turn to be confused.
 then who?
Heero shook his head and replied.
 i thought it was you
Duo looked at the words on the screen, dumbfounded.
Heero read into the confusion in Duo's one word answer and thought back to day he had last attempted to make contact with his friend. He hated to make accusations, but since neither one of them owned up to it.....
Duo eyes opened wide.
// did heero know something he didn't? //
 why do you say that?
Heero allowed himself a moment to think about it. The notion was previously unfounded, but now that Duo was denying responsibility for the act, Heero could find no other explanation and it all seemed to fit. He hoped his disparaging comments regarding their close friend would not upset Duo, nonetheless typing his response.
 last time i sent you a message....... he answered it
 and then the link was gone
Duo reclined back in his chair and brought his hand up to cover his mouth. He hadn't given Quatre time to finish what he had wanted to say earlier; this was obviously part of it.
 yeah, i think it was
Heero let out the breath he had been holding.
 i got the package you sent
 thank you, duo
 good. heero?
Duo placed his fingers on the home keys; they were visibly shaking as he began to type.
 i want to see you again
The green cursor flashed at the left of the screen on the next line, but Heero could not tear his eyes away from the line of text that appeared directly above it.
// oh god, duo... //
Duo held his breath as he waited for Heero to respond. He was sure he was caught in some kind of time warp; able to hear his own heartbeat thundering inside ears.
Duo looked at the screen in shock, the character speaking volumes about his friend's state of mind.
 did you just make a smiley face, heero?!?!
Heero laughed out loud, the foreign sound coming as somewhat of a shock to him.
It was Duo's turn to laugh out loud, but it only lasted for a moment. Solemnness once again taking over his demeanor.
 i've been so confused, heero......
Heero waited for Duo to continue.
 and lost... really lost....
Heero frowned at Duo's words, remaining silent to allow Duo time to say what he needed to before responding.
Duo looked at the screen.
 are you still there?
 yes, duo. of course
 so when can you come? i need to see you......
Duo looked up at the words he had just typed, wishing he had taken a moment to reread them before pressing the send button. They were filled with such desperation and he gave himself a mental lashing for it. It was very short lived however, as Heero's words almost instantaneously appeared on the screen.
 i can be there first thing in the morning.
Duo was nearly overcome with emotion at Heero's words and he remained silent for a time, his eyes welling up with tears. His next message reflected all the thoughts that were going through his head in one tidy sentence.
 oh god, heero, i've missed you so much.
Heero's fingers couldn't work fast enough to respond.
 me too, duo...
Duo smiled widely at the screen, wishing he were able to see the statement on Heero's face.
 until tomorrow then.
 until tomorrow........
 connection severed.
Heero looked down at his watch. 11 p.m.
Calling the airport, Heero booked a 2 a.m. flight to New York, which was scheduled to land at LaGuardia at 7. Allowing for car rental and driving time, Heero estimated that he would be arriving back home at 8 a.m.
Quatre and the others would have left for the office already, allowing him a better portion of the day to work things our with Duo before having to face them. There wasn't much time to think, Heero had just two hours before he had to leave for the airport. Smiling at the thought, the cobalt-eyed young man set to packing.
Duo stared at his computer for several minutes before gazing around his room.
:: crap....look at this place! ::
Hurrying around the room, Duo bent, first picking up the wide array of dirty laundry that was scattered on the floor. Arms full, Duo proceeded into bathroom, stuffing his armload full into the hamper, turning to leave, Duo met with his reflection the mirror. "Fuck the room..... I look like hell."
He hadn't paid much attention to his physical appearance the past few weeks, evidenced by the haunting vision before him.
Fingertips moving slowly over his hollowed cheekbones, Duo frowned. "Geezus, now I understand why Quatre kept trying to feed me." There were dark circles under his amethyst eyes, which appeared almost lost within his now too bony facial structure. Looking down, Duo lifted his shirt, revealing more of his unusually slight frame, there was barely enough meat on his bones to cover his ribs. "Mental Note: Clothes stay on at all times. No swimming, no shorts."
"And now for the hair." Reaching behind him to remove the tie from the end of his braid, Duo yanked the tangled red elastic band, yelping as he pulled a quite a few strands of hair out with it. Attempting to untwist the three thick sections, Duo found them more to be one big matted knot. "Damn..... this is going to take me all night."
Momentary Lapse of Reason
Quatre nervously paced the room that he and Trowa shared. "That really didn't go too well, did it?" he asked. Trowa understood that his lover was not looking for an answer. "Heero had such bad timing! Why tonight of all nights?"
Trowa had already lectured his lover at length about his actions and now was not the time for further scorn. "Calm down, little one. Things will be settled soon enough." Trowa started. "I'm sure that Duo will be pounding the door down looking for a piece of your ass once he is done talking with Heero."
Quatre looked over to find Trowa smiling toward him.
"TROWA!" the blonde smiled. "that was no help at all."
Crossing the room, Trowa's arms surrounded the blonde's tiny waist, "Sure it was." he whispered, kissing the top of his head, "It made you smile."
Sitting down on the edge of his bed, Duo began working the fingers of both hands through his hair. The activity didn't require much in the way of thought and he directed his focus elsewhere.
"Quatre.... man...... what the hell was he thinking?" The more Duo thought about what his friend did, the angrier he became. He thought about the last month and the hell he had been through since the connection had been severed, knowing it all could have been avoided. Bringing his arm down, he gripped his forearm through the sleeve of his shirt. "He knew the way this whole Heero mess was affecting me. Why didn't he tell me?" Duo frowned. He could not answer the question, no one could but Quatre himself and Duo was in too good of a mood to confront his friend at the moment.
Heero wondered whether Duo had told the others that he would be arriving in the morning. Making his way over to the computer to contact Duo about it, Heero stopped. He had no clue as to the situation with the others back in New York. While he would prefer that Duo didn't mention anything about his visit, he decided to leave that decision solely up to Duo.
Mindlessly working through his knotted and tangled hair, Duo's thoughts switched back and forth between Quatre and Heero. One making him incredibly miserable, the other nearly causing him to squeal with delight. Pushing all thoughts of Quatre's deeds out of his mind to deal with at a later time, Duo stood. "Conditioner should get the rest out."
He looked at the clock on his nightstand. 12:30 a.m. "Too late to tell anyone that Heero will be here in the morning." Duo mused. "Probably for the best anyway. We need some time alone."
Making his way into the bathroom, Duo turned the water on, stripped and stepped into the steamy shower.
Shortly after midnight, Quatre had finally relaxed, knowing that his confrontation with Duo would be delayed until at least tomorrow night. He had decided it best that he return to work in the morning, certain that Duo would find no comfort in his company. While he didn't particularly like the idea of having the unknown hanging over his head for another day, the time would hopefully allow Duo to cool down a bit before the much needed and dreaded conversation. Curling up beside his already sleeping lover, Quatre draped his arm around Trowa and pulling himself toward him, fell into sleep.
Heero picked up the leather bag containing laptop and laid the thick padded strap of his overnight bag on his shoulder. Grabbing the car keys from the kitchen counter, he looked around the small lonely apartment he had lived in for the past year. Stepping out into the hallway, Heero closed and locked the heavy door behind him. He hoped this trip would mark the beginning of the end of his solitary life.
It was 1:00 a.m. when Heero turned the engine of his Ferrari over, he was right on schedule. He settled back into the cushioned leather seat and closed his eyes. Seven more hours and he would be standing face to face with Duo, the prospect sending a shiver of fear as well as a tingle of delight through the cobalt-eyed young man.
Duo was too nervous to relax and he paced his room for several minutes thinking about the upcoming encounter. He wasn't sure what time Heero would be arriving, there hadn't seemed the need for such petty details when they spoke. Hearing movement in the house, Duo looked over at his clock.
:: 6:00 hopefully just a few more hours ::
His stomach growled and he smiled into the empty room at the sound. He knew the others would question the fact that he was up and dressed at such an early hour. He needed stifle his hunger for another hour and a half or risk his time alone with Heero. There was no contest and Duo sought out something that might sufficiently distract him for the next few hours.
Glancing over at his computer, Duo eyed the small green light at the bottom of his screen willing it to flash. He was certain that Heero wouldn't leave home without his laptop; then again, he was pretty sure he wouldn't be able to use it during the flight.
Sitting down at his desk, Duo started a game of FreeCell.
The flight to New York was smooth and while Heero tried to get some sleep, his mind would not let him relax. He did however have plenty of time to think about Duo. He wasn't exactly sure what to expect when he got there, the two not having discussed it. Heero was elated that Duo was anxious to see him and he knew that the worst-case scenario included having Duo back as his best friend.
//a pretty damn good worst case.//
He smiled inwardly.
Heero's thoughts then turned to the one thing he had not allowed himself to think about for the longest time.... the possibility that their relationship could grow into something more. He lay back and delighted in the few faded memories his subconscious brought up of having Duo cradled in his arms and of the kisses they had shared. He had the opportunity several times while Duo was recovering, but he wanted a chance to hold him that way again... he needed that chance..... but it was more than that too.
What Heero Yuy wanted was to unleash the passion he had harboured for Duo Maxwell and to have that love returned. He was closer to the reality of it now than he ever dreamed possible.
Duo rose and went into the bathroom, standing before the full-length mirror for the 10th time in the past hour. He smiled back at his reflection, combing his fingers through his bangs. While he was thin and slightly pale, his violet eyes were filled with a sparkle that he could not recalling seeing in them for the longest time, as a matter of fact, he was quite sure they ever shone quite this brightly before. Widening his smile, Duo returned to sit at his desk.
Heero grabbed his bags from the overhead baggage compartment and headed for the plane's exit. Making his way into the huge terminal at LaGuardia Airport, Heero frowned at the long lines at each of the car rental counters.
//damn. it's gonna take me an hour just to rent the car.//
Making his way through the automatic doors and out into the crisp morning air, Heero stepped out onto the curb, and held his right arm held high above his head. "Taxi!"
The yellow cab pulled up and Heero climbed into the back seat. Moving forward to address the cab's driver, Heero spoke. "121 Haven Drive, Forest Hills Gardens".
//it's been way too long since i've said that.//
Instructions given, Heero closed the door and relaxed back into the seat, booting his laptop.
"Arghhh. This game sucks!" Duo mumbled. The fact of the matter was that this was one of Duo's favorite pastimes; he was just unable to concentrate on it at the moment, losing the last 7 out of 7 games.
Glancing up at the taskbar, Duo noted the time. He had been so distracted by playing the silly card game that he failed to note that it was almost 7:25 and that the others would have left by now, allowing him to finally address his growing hunger.
Making his way downstairs and into the kitchen, Duo poured himself a cup of coffee, grabbed three large cinnamon buns and headed back up to his room.
"Food." he smiled, seating himself at his desk. Taking a big bite out of the first gooey pastry, a small flashing light caught his attention.
 you there?
Duo set the bun down, nodding at the screen.
 yes...i'm here, heero. where are you?
Heero was pleased to find that Duo was awake given the hour and knowing his friend was not an early riser.
 on the belt parkway
 you're almost here
 we have so much catching up to do
Heero smiled, their thoughts were so similar regarding the reunion.
 a whole year, duo. can you believe it's been that long?
 seems like longer. see you in 20 minutes
 yes, just 20 minutes more
 connection severed
The taxi pulled up to the curb in the front of the large white house at precisely 7:55. Heero smiled as he peered out of the window at his former home. There was a lone figure perched in front of the door on the spacious porch. There was no need to look more closely to identify who it was and Heero's body tingled with anticipation.
Paying his fare, Heero took his overnight bag and laptop in hand and opened the door, exiting the cab on the street side.
Duo had been waiting on the front porch and watched as the yellow cab made its way down the block, slowing as it approached the house. He was trembling inside and out and wished he had remembered to put shoes and a jacket on, though he was certain it wasn't the chill in the air that caused him to react in such a fashion.
He watched as the taxi pulled away, leaving the former Wing pilot standing in the street just 75 feet in front of him.
Duo's first reaction to the scene was that of immense joy. The resulting tears were unstoppable as he watched Heero make his way up the walkway toward him. Wiping his eyes dry with both hands, Duo stepped down off the porch and wrapped his arms tightly around Heero, not willing to waste one precious moment.
Heero allowed Duo to remain plastered to him for more reasons than he could count, the least not being that his own tears were now flowing freely from his eyes.
Finally releasing his friend, Duo stepped back, his face slightly flushed, his violet eyes red around their edges. "You too, huh?", he sniffed.
Heero smiled weakly and nodded at the braided young man, slightly embarrassed as he brought his hand up to wipe his face dry
Taking Heero's hand in his, Duo made his way up the steps. "Come on, Heero. Let's go inside."
Momentary Lapse of Reason
Heero entered the foyer and Duo closed the door behind him. "Not much has changed since you left." he said, walking forward into the den, Heero following him into the large room.
"Make yourself at home." Duo smiled, motioning for Heero to sit. "Want some coffee? I just put on a fresh pot."
"That would be great, Duo. Thanks." he replied sitting down on the edge of the large black leather sofa.
"I'll be right back." Duo told him.
Heero nodded and watched Duo as he crossed the room.
"Touch of milk, no sugar, right?" he asked from the doorway
Heero smiled and Duo winked at him, practically running toward the kitchen, his braid swishing from side to side behind him.
Heero reclined back into the soft thickness of the couch and awaited Duo's return.
Several minutes later, Duo returned with coffee cups in hand and sat beside Heero on the couch, handing him the large white mug.
"Thank you." Heero replied, taking a sip.
"I hope you don't mind, Heero, but I didn't tell anyone you were coming." Duo started. "I just figured we needed some time alone, you know?"
Heero nodded. "I was hoping that you wouldn't mention anything to them. There is a lot you and I need to talk about first, Duo."
Leaning forward, Heero set his cup down on the glass top table. "How are you, Duo? I mean.... how are you feeling ? You look thin...and pale." Heero told him in a soft voice. His hand reached up to cup the hollow of Duo's cheek for just a second before he retracted it. " I'm sorry." he smiled weakly toward him, picking up his cup.
"Nothing to be sorry for, Heero." Duo responded. "I've lost a lot of weight and I know..... I look like shit." Duo offered. "I have started eating again though."
"This isn't still related to the accident, is it?" Heero asked, clearly concerned about his friends appearance.
Duo shook his head. "No. At least not directly. Ummm...... Wanna bring your stuff up to your room?"
Heero looked up, his face revealing his surprise at Duo's words. He did not fail to notice the fact that Duo had succeeded in changing the subject. There would always be later.
Duo stood, taking Heero's bags in his one hand, Heero hand in his other. "Don't looked so shocked, Yuy. Do you think you can be that easily replaced?" he asked, winking at Heero's wide smile.
Opening the door to Heero's room, the two stepped inside. "I dusted and vacuumed it this morning." Duo remarked nervously, setting Heero's bags down at the entrance.
Attempting to release his hand from Duo's grip, Heero was met with resistance. His eyes locked with Duo's, the braided man shaking his head from side to side. "Not letting go, Heero."
Duo's eyes took on a glassy appearance as the two stood staring at each other. "Duo....."
Duo tightened his grip on Heero's hand. "No, Heero! I've made this mistake before and I'm never going to make it again." he told him; his voice crackling as he spoke.
Heero brought his hand up, the palm gently cupping the side of Duo's face "Duo... it's okay... I don't want you to let go." Moving his thumb over his cheekbone, Heero wiped away a single warm teardrop.
That was second time Duo cried since Heero had arrived back home.
It was far from the last of the tears to be shed.
The two made their way back downstairs and into the den, Duo still holding Heero's hand tightly in his. Sitting on the large sofa, he pulled Heero down to sit beside him. "We should talk before everyone gets home."
Heero nodded and took a deep breath. "Where should we start, Duo? It's all such a mess."
"How about we take it from the beginning?" Duo asked, raising his eyes to meet Heero's gaze. "When we first met."
Heero looked over at Duo, his statement of surprise clear. "What does that have to do with now?"
"A whole lot if I'm not mistaken, Heero..... and I'm pretty sure that I'm not."
Heero shifted uncomfortably against the smooth leather beneath him. "Why don't you just come right out and ask me what it is that you want to know. I'll answer you as best as I can."
Duo nodded and releasing Heero's hand from his grasp, stood to cross the room. "Fine then." Pacing the large room for several minutes, Duo collected his thoughts and turned to face Heero. There had been too much beating around the proverbial bush and Duo wouldn't have any more of it. "I think you know that I've had feelings for you almost from the first time we met. Would that be a fair thing to say?"
Heero shook his head. "No. It took me quite a while to figure it out."
"How long?" Duo asked.
"A few months maybe. I don't know, Duo. Too much time has passed for me to remember that clearly...." Heero replied. "I know that you've cared deeply for me... for a long time."
"And you, Heero?" he started, "When did you realize that you cared deeply for me?" Duo asked quietly, coming to his knees on the floor in front of Heero.
Heero looked nervously down to where Duo knelt. His amethyst gaze was soft as he looked expectantly up at him, "Well, Heero?"
Sitting motionless and in silence, Heero lowered his head; turning his eyes from Duo's gaze.
Standing, Duo looked down at his friend. "Fine. If you can't answer me then there's no point in us continuing this conversation."
Disappointed by Heero's refusal to answer him, Duo shook his head lightly from side to side and turned to leave the room. Stilled as a hand caught his wrist as he reached the room's exit, Heero spoke. "A long time, Duo......... too long."
"How long has it been, Heero?" Duo asked turning toward him, his voice almost desperate, "I need to know!"
Releasing Duo's wrist from his grasp, Heero sat down on the couch and looked up into Duo's eyes. "Five years."
Duo once again brought himself to his knees before Heero. He heard the words, but it took a while for them to fully sink in. Reclining back onto his feet, Duo's gaze locked onto nothing in particular. He was glad that Heero was able to confirm his suspicions, but there were many more questions that had to be asked and more answers needed; answers that Heero Yuy would surely be reluctant to give. For a moment, he thought that perhaps Heero would continue talking now that the floodgates had been opened, but he sat in silence and Duo's mind was a flurry with what exactly he should ask Heero next.
It was difficult for Heero to gauge Duo's reaction to his admission. While he seemed outwardly unaffected, his silence was unnerving and Heero wanted to be sure of his friends reaction before he continued. Heero spoke softly as he addressed him "Say something, Duo." His attention was only on Duo who still seemed lost in thought as he stared off into space.
Duo visibly snapped out of his trance and looked up at Heero. "I was kind of hoping that you would say something, Heero. If you prefer though, I will keep on going."
"I'm not surprised by your answer, Heero. I would have been shocked as hell if you told me that last year, but not after all that has happened in the last 12 months. I've spent a great deal of time thinking and things started falling into place." Duo offered. "The most obvious one being your motivations behind what happened after my accident."
Heero rose and made his way to where Duo stood. "So you want to know why I kept my feelings for you hidden for all those years?"
"Yeah." Duo smiled. "That would be a real good start, Heero."
Their discussion had continued throughout lunch and Heero discovered that relieving himself of the long carried burden left him able to be more open and honest with both Duo and himself.
The look of confusion that occasionally flitted across Duo's face usually resulted in a smile or a nod of understanding from the amethyst-eyed man as Heero read his expressions, expounding further on his offered explanation. He had no intention of holding anything back from Duo, gently reminding himself that that was how they found themselves in this predicament in the first place.
Heero sat back in his chair after concluding a particularly lengthy monologue and looked across the table at his friend. "Quite the switch here. I'm the one doing all the talking for a change." Heero commented.
Duo stood and carried his dishes to the sink. Setting them down into the stainless steel basin, he turned to address the cobalt-eyed young man still seated at the kitchen table. "Don't worry, Heero. I have plenty left to say."
Making his way over to Heero, Duo took both of his hands in his and pulled him to stand. "But not now. Let's go back inside."
Duo sat in the center of the large overstuffed sofa and let out a small sigh as he leaned back into its softness. "I'm exhausted. I've had virtually no sleep these past few days."
Heero nodded. "I've been awake for over 24 hours myself." he returned, seating himself on the couch to the left of Duo. "All this talking has tired me out even more."
Duo looked over at Heero. "It's emotionally draining." He replied, letting his eyes close.
Heero settled back into the corner of the sofa, closing his eyes and resting his head against smooth leather cushions behind him. Letting the events of the past few hours flash through his mind, Heero opened his eyes and looked over at Duo.
His eyes were closed and the tension so clearly visible earlier had vanished from his heart shaped face. Completely relaxed and at peace, Duo Maxwell had never looked more beautiful. Heero reached out and wrapped his hand gently around Duo's upper arm and guided him closer, hoping that he would not resist.
Partially opening his eyes to look over at Heero, Duo moved across the couch toward him, allowing the cobalt-eyed young man to draw him into his embrace. Bringing his head down to lie on Heero's shoulder, the two drifted off to sleep.