7-15-2001

after mcuh frustration...here is the sequel to night on peacemillion ...please enjoy or hide or whatever. ^_^

 

Dawn on Peacemillion
By: Lyssira Miokii

Disclaimer: -_- I just found out the worst news.....THEY'RE NOT MINE!!!! ::breaks down into hysterical sobbing:: I don't own them. They belong to big corporate companies like bandai and sunrise. ::sniffles:: not lil ol me who can't even afford a tissue. so don't sue...::hiccups:: *o*

Warnings: Yaoi. Implied Citrus. Angst. Some Sap. Maybe OOC, I hope not. (waaa...I warped duo)

Pairings: 1x2/2x1 Aww...that makes me feel all better. ^_^

Rating: PG-13

Note: The first sequel I've ever written. Usually I don't bother. Hopefully it will do the original justice. Probably not, but hey! ^_^ I'd like to thank everyone who sent supportive feedback for this!! Everyone. Poe, Artemis, D-babe and everyone else part of Neko's family, thank you too for helping me when i got stuck. You guys are the best! To Kojin-chan who's always willing to listen to me whine and pitch my ideas to her. And thanx to my Evil Older Sister who really isn't that mean and was nice to enough to help me out. ^_^

 

His first impressions were of warmth, comfort....protection. Someone, somewhere was keeping him safe from all the woes in the world. Someone cared. Then came other feelings, skin on skin, arms wrapped around his waist, intertwined with his hair which had come undone in the night. The world was still in a haze, but he didn't want to open his eyes. He could feel another person shifting next to him, the same being who sheltered him now. But who? And why? No person had ever made him feel like this after...after the church massacre. Sister Helen was dead. So who dared to touch him now? Curiosity was a natural born instinct in Duo Maxwell, as was suspicion. He liked this feeling, but it felt strange, foreign. This was not a common occurrence, nor should it have been. They were in the middle of a war....Who cared about one soldier, a rebel? Who? He could not remember anything from the night before not at the moment. A veil rested over his mind, blocking those memories out, another shelter, a new place to hide. He didn't want to open his eyes now. The truth would probably be painful. Yet, he had to, because he was that terrorist, that soldier, that rebel. Those instincts would never be suppressed for long. Cautiously, he cracked open one violet eye. Heero.

The world came crashing down upon his braided head once more and all thought process screeched to an abrupt halt. Sprawled next to him, tangled in the same blanket, on the same couch, in the same lounge on Peacemillion, was Heero-set-my-own-leg-I-don't-need-anyone-but-myself-Yuy. Unruly dark brown hair obscured one blue eye, full perfect lips were slightly parted, head resting next to Duo's. Though a blanket had been gently spread over both of him, a good part of the Perfect Soldier's chest remained exposed, giving the Deathscythe pilot a good view of bronze, well toned muscles. Under the flimsy woolen quilt, which was actually more of a sheet, Duo thankfully noted, due to the scratch of fabric, both of them were wearing boxers. Some rational thought had occurred the night before. Both muscular arms looped around Duo's waist pulling him close, revealing the source of warmth and protection. It was...him. Eyes now nearly bugging out of his head, mouth slack jawed and gaping, the events of the previous night slowly returned to Duo. Him and Heero. Heero and him.

*We....oh my god...I...oh my god...he....OH MY FUCKING GOD!!!!*

The Deathscythe pilot paled considerably, stark white, then began turning dark shades of red. He didn't dare move, for fear of waking up the slumbering boy beside him. Taking two large gulps in order to calm himself, Duo studied his comrade-now...lover?-carefully. Heero looked a great deal more peaceful that moment, more relaxed than Duo had ever seen him before. Somehow, there was something innocent about him when he slept, something that faintly reminded him of a child who thought himself to be safe. The idea sent a kick into Duo's stomach, banishing his initial reaction to what they'd done, one of disgust and fear.

*He trusts me. He could have left after we...after we...after that. But he didn't. He believes I won't hurt him, that I wouldn't betray him. He always said he'd rely on himself. But he trusts me...* Ice filled him, chilling his bones. He reach out one tentative hand to touch the perfect creature lying next to him, in awe, trying to decide if it was real or not. This slight movement caused Heero to stir, the beginnings of the usual glare forming on his brow. Duo yanked the hand back, now staring in fear as Prussian blue eyes met his violet. Forever, he fell into those eyes, never to be caught or rescued. Just falling....

Heero reached out with one lean hand to touch his cheek, tips of his fingers barely brushing Duo's face-

Sharply, the braided boy jerked away from the touch, away from Heero, hardly thinking with a mind numbed by shock, panic and most of all, fear. He almost didn't register the hurt the washed across the others features, pain written clearly there...Then, the Wing pilot blinked and that look disappeared. But not before the reality of what Duo had just done came tumbling back to him.

*I pushed him away...I am...pushing him away...* the thoughts came dull, emotionless in his mind, like a robot programmed to play those sentences over and over. Shaking his dead, Duo yanked away further, desperate to put more space between himself and Heero. Between himself and...what he'd done. Frantically, he snatched his black priest outfit from the floor, where it had been thrown carelessly the night before. Next to it, was a familar tanktop and a pair of spandex shorts....Duo's heart wrenched. Pulling on the layers, he shot almost wild, wary glances around the room for anyone who might be witnessing this display. His shoulders drooped visibly with relief when he found the others still rested peacefully in their places from the night before. Wufei stretched out on the floor, Quatre and Trowa in the bunk at the wall. None had stirred all night, not even awakened when they'd...

Duo shook his head again, almost violently denying that had ever happened. He felt eyes burning holes into his back, the same eyes that had looked at him that way only hours ago, how he'd looked...Duo finished dragging on his boots, carefully threading up the laces, sure to take his time. The longer he waited for confrontation the easier it would be, especially when he could force those images out of his mind. His memory, clear and concise as it was, cruelly flung scenes back at him, more than he'd ever wished to remember, many things he wouldn't ever want to know. About himself. About Heero. Duo choked on the tightening feeling in his throat, trying to rid himself of the feeling. The result was a strangled noise, like a wounded animal, but also suspiciously resembling a sob.

*Dammit!!! One of the few friends in this world, the one person who know you can rely on,Maxwell, and what do you do? Sleep with him!!! Bravo. Well done. Ingenious...* he cursed himself further, totally agreeing with the bitter voice in his mind. Unbidden, rough humorless laughter spilled from his lips, unlike the tears that would never leave his eyes. Now fully dressed, Duo turned dull violet eyes on his partner who had not yet moved from his sitting position on the edge of the overstuffed sofa. His eyes, fierce as always, reflected nothing of the true person inside, more like shields than windows for his soul. Neither said anything for what seemed an eternity, lightening practically crackling around the pair. Guilt flooded Duo's senses for a moment, seeing Heero like this, with that emotion direct towards him. He'd hurt him...betrayed his trust...inadvertently ruined what he'd worked hard to build between them. Comradery. Friendship. It was gone.

"Heero...."he began meekly, barely meeting that blazing, undying stare.

"Do what you want," the Wing Zero pilots interupted coldly, turning his back on him, so he too could dress.

"But Heero! Just listen to me..." the braided pilot pleaded.

"You've said all you needed to," Heero replied stonily, "Without saying a word."

"I didn't...I don't..."he choked out. Where were the words he needed to say? What happened to a fairly well educated mind in times like these?

"I told you, Maxwell, do you what you want," the other growled in his low monotone, before turning to leave completely. Tears stung harder in Duo's eyes, like so many needles stabbing at once but he ignored them, temper growing hot from frustration.

*He won't even let me speak to him!*

"Fine! But stay away from me Heero! Don't come near me ever again, you hear? EVER!" Duo snarled, more harshly than he meant to. But he refused to take those words back. Heero had left him with no choice. Nothing could be salvaged of their partnership. There wouldn't be any apologies. The blue eyed boy glanced back, once, no trace of emotion, not even tensing in the muscles of his back.

"As you wish," he said. And disappeared, leaving Duo standing in the center of the room, alone, though surrounded by his slumbering allies.

He was unaware of one onyx eye watching them from the cover of sheets and pillows, the entire exchange recorded into a steel-trap mind.

*****

Heero's first reaction, as was his response to most things, was to submerge himself in work. There were always repairs to be made on Wing Zero and upgrades, battles data, mission reports...his load of duties never eased, had barely lightened despite many days full of free time.

So now, pushing every conscious thought of pilot 02 out of his mind, the Japanese boy set to work, bent on finishing his job today. There was still a war going on, his feelings could be buried again for that. Peace had to be achieved. The colonies must be defended. One hurting soldier was of no consequence. Or at least that's what he kept telling himself.

*****

For the first time since the war began, since he'd been trained by Doctor G, since his clouded, twisted childhood, Duo Maxwell was at a loss. For words, for action. Until that morning, exactly 6:07 AM, he'd known his every move. There had always been some route to take. Now there was none. He stood in middle of one of Howard's well furnished lounges, complete with three couches and a secluded bunk on one side, feeling emotions rage through his body, each one followed by another. At one point, the braided pilot of Deathscythe, knew he sat down, perched precariously on the arm of one chair, but he could neither say why or when. Next he began straightening those crowded quarters, leaving no trace of what had occurred the night before behind. The blankets were discarded in a hamper, along with some of his clothes from the previous day, just to make it look ordinary.

Neither Trowa nor Quatre had so much as stirred, but Wufei was starting to look semi-awake and Duo thoughtfully left a pot of coffee on the tiny stove they'd been given. Now without action again, he took off for the halls of Peacemillion, not sure of where else he could go. His gundam, his one true ally, waited in the hanger for minor corrections but he dared not enter the hanger. He did not trust his concentration with a certain spandex-clad pilot working so nearby in the next gundam over. The dull gray walls of the large salvage ship welcomed him silently, giving him in empty void in which his thoughts could make their presence known. Fortunately for him, the corridors were rarely crowded, people always one place or another never in between. There were no worried faces, people who try to help him solve his problems before he could even discover them for himself.

*What is my problem? What's the matter with me?* Duo wondered, now a great deal more level headed before. If only he'd been able to approach the Wing pilot with this sort of calm. There might have been a future for them, then.

*But what kind of future do I want? And why the hell was it him? Why not Quatre? Or Trowa? Or Wufei, even? Why one of the others at all? Why a man?* he began to pace the length of the hall, not caring how far he went, how deep into the bowels of the ship this journey took him. Duo Maxwell didn't give up on a battle this easily. He wanted answers. And he would fight for them .

*Does this mean....? I'm....I'm attracted to other guys....Never before...but...am I?* violet eyes widened to nearly twice their typical size. To completely honest with himself, he'd never considered the idea before.

*Shit! I've barely done anything with women! There isn't time for this, there was never for time for considering what I found attractive. Dammit! We're in the middle of a war...None of us know anything about the real world...about -liking- another person...Most guys my age, I know. They've had hundreds of girlfriends already. Or guyfriends..I suppose. But I never have...I never thought I'd live to be able to do things like that...And I've taken this huge step....With Heero Yuy.* Duo continued his erratic flight from the scene, never truly escaping what they'd done together but traveling further nonetheless.

*Speaking of that.....What the hell possessed -him- to sleep with me? I mean, I do consider myself good looking,* the pilot paused tirade a moment to give himself a glance out one window. His reflection winked back at him, cheeky grin in place out of habit more than necessity. *But Heero doesn't go for every pretty face...just Relena's. Maybe I was just an outlet cause he can't have Relena.....but why would he act like -I- hurt -him-? I don't think that was guilt...Heero's more open than he thinks. Poor dude's so sure no one can get past his defenses......I guess I wish I hadn't.*

*That still doesn't answer my question. Heero had no reason....I had no reason. Since I don't really believe in that stuff anymore...I can hardly say we were possessed. All I did was push him with a couple questions....I've done that before. It's the only way to get a straight answer of that guy! Then that kiss....Neither of us knew where to stop....* By that time, Duo had discovered he was thirsty and, never one to neglect his body's needs or mistreat himself, the braided boy stopped into one room to grab himself some water. Inside, Noin was watching a recording of one of Zech's speeches. the purple haired woman sighed at the screen, conflict visible in her own face. Quickly, he grabbed a bottle out of the fridge, trying not to disturb. Part of him wished he could help her, if only to forget his own problems for a while. But most of him said to his mind his own business.

*People don't want heroes. Not the colonies. Not earth. Not me, either. Only people like Relena, those people who are -supposed- to change things, want a knight in shining armor. That's just the way it is..*

"Duo....." a sober voice came from the couch, causing him to turn easily on one heel. He gave no signs of his inner distress, still caught in chaos because of his own actions.

"Hey Noin!" he saluted cheerfully, feeling not at all unease despite his lack of interaction with this woman. He had a habit of accepting his allies. Besides, Quatre trusted her. And if anything, Duo trusted the blonde boy's infallible judgement of others. He'd known the Gundam pilots were meant to work together, hadn't he?

"Can I ask you something?"

"Sure! And you can depend on me to answer too!" he quipped, crossing his arms, mocking the more silent of his companions. Noin offered him a small smile in return, a crack in her gloomy statement.

*Zechs really hurt her...he did. Damn him...but I'm no better.* Duo reached one hand up to rub his chest, trying to dispel the knot of guilt that had begun to form there.

"Why did you keep fighting? What did you believe in when the colonies betrayed you pilots?" she whispered, as if not trusting to her voice to remain steady.

He smiled sadly, one of the few genuine expressions on his face. He looked less boyish then, old for his years, aged by hardship and surviving. "Heero would say he kept fighting because he believed in himself. That he would continue fighting no matter what," Duo's smile twisted a bit at the mention of that name, but remained firm, "I guess I'm not that simple. The thing is, people don't always see the danger...in themselves or in others. Sometimes they need another person to save them. The colonies still needed us, even if they didn't know it. And we're going to give them their freedom whether they want it or not. Everyone needs that once in while, I think."

*God knows I do.*

Noin's eyes lit, seeing what he meant. Zechs...Milliardo needed someone to show him what he was doing was wrong. She could do that. Or she could die trying. She gave the young pilot a nod, thanking him and dismissing him all at once. With a flash of his usual grin and one long chestnut braid, Duo disappeared. Funny how people appeared right when you needed them, in this war.

*****

Once again on his own in the halls, taking generous gulps of water to relieve his parched throat, Maxwell resumed his thinking, working at the morning's events like so many complicate pieces of a confusing puzzle. *I know I like Heero, as flawed and mean as he can be...The guy's my friend. I tried to get to know him as much as I could when we were together. But do I like him, that way? And, if I survive this coming disaster, is it just Heero I'm drawn to? Or all men? Am I gay? Or is it just him?* A idea struck him suddenly, like an abrupt bolt of lightening from the heavens, from the stars.

*I care about what happens to him...I care about Heero! I don't know what I am...There's no time to find out. It's not like I'm gonna screw with everyone aboard this damn ship! Maybe I can figure it out later..Right now I need to....know why I did what I did. If I do care about that bastard why did I push him away? What am I afraid of?* Gray, padded walls turned to steal plating and nuts bolts, announcing to Duo that he'd walked about half away through Peacemillion, now going through the engine room, where heat rolled off the very core in huge, voluminous waves. Sweat clung to the black preist outfit, moisture darkening the color to something deeper than black.

*I've walked half around this bloody piece of metal I have no answers. Only that Noin certainly has it bad for our arch-enemy....And that tells me nothing about what I need to know!* he dragged the back one hand across his forehead, wiping away the sweat that threatened to sting his eyes.

*I care about him....I know that. He's someone I've always been able to depend on. And...goddamn! I don't even remember when -he- became so important. Heero do you have that effect on everyone or just me and the pacifist-nation's poster child? I hurt him though, she hasn't. Relena would never hurt anyone...not a fly. But I suppose that's why they call it -absolute- pacifism...oy! I hurt him cause I was scared.....But of what? What's scary about Heero besides the weird maniacal cackling and his unhuman fighting abilities, well that and the way he self-destructs at the drop of a dime or there was the time he pointed a gun at me.....* Duo smothered a laugh at himself. This wasn't going anywhere, though his walk continued forward. He'd left the engine room, the oppressive humidity now behind him.

*Lets face it, Maxwell, you're psycho. None of that really scared you. You've done some of those things yourself. Wasn't it you, ya dumb baka, who shot him twice when you first met him? He scared me cause....cause he got close. And this morning, waking up, feeling like I was safe....* the idea brought more images back to him. A little catholic church on a poor street in poor colony. A blonde boy, face dirty from the constant pollution.

*Heero...shit...did you have any idea what you did? Any clue? Why couldn't you have left it alone...You got under Quatre's skin. Under Trowa's. Heck, you got to Wufei! Couldn't you have left it that? They all believe in you! Why do I have to, as well?* Yet, strangely, the mourning feeling he'd carried with him for so long, some of the emptiness they'd left behind didn't feel hollow anymore. Not so empty now....

*****

Coffee brown hair, tousled and unruly, disappeared once more beneath the hatch of Wing Zero back into the wires and circuitry of the white gundam. Quatre eyed the Perfect Soldier worriedly not sure what to make of the almost robotic dedication Heero'd taken to his work. The Japanese boy had always been totally devoted to their cause, but he didn't work for hours without rest before. Even Heero had been known to take a water-break now and then. And Duo hadn't been all day. The only sign of his passing had been the coffee waiting for them when they awoke. Heero hated coffee, so must have been Duo....that was the only reason he wasn't waiting for ransoms on the braided boy right now. Yanking Wufei to one side, despite the scathing look the Chinese boy flashed at him, Quatre faced the Shenlong pilot with openly concerned aqua eyes.

"Wufei...."he began, his higher, more expressive voice striking a note in Trowa, nearby.

"I'll look for him," the other grumbled, heading away from his Nataku where he'd been tormenting mechanics all day. One of those men sent Quatre a relieved wave, getting a small smile in return. A twinge in the slight Arabian's chest destroyed most of his good cheer. What was going on?

*****

Now nearly to the pilot's hangar, Duo felt his feet slowing, his heart racing quickly.

*Is there anyway I can make it up to him? I shoved him away...Is that something a person can fix? I was afraid of what he could mean.....That I'd trusted someone...That I could possibly have hope. Maybe it just means I'm gay...but I don't know how to deal with it. How do I make him understand that?* Flustered, he ran shaking fingers through his long bangs.

*I did freak out this morning. I'm surprised he didn't...I guess I shouldn't be. Nothing gets to that guy, least of all me! Cept I did. he reached out, not me....Dammit! If it wasn't so confusing it might be funny. -Heero's- the one who reached out. I guess I always though he'd be the follower in a relationship....I mean the whole lack of emotion has its disadvantages when not decimating a bloodthirsty military organization....But what can I say? Sorry pal, I didn't think I swung that way? Or I'm just not ready for that Heero...even though we did screw each other silly last night!* letting a out a less than gentlemanly snort, he was so consumed in his own thoughts that he didn't notice the slender figure not three feet in front of him.

Sally Po felt herself be pulled up only minutes after the collision, realizing that it must have been one of the pilots she crashed into. Any normal person would be out just like she was.

"Doc! Jeez I'm sorry...didn't see ya there," chirped a cheerful voice, that was recognized as Duo's after a few minutes of trying to get herself together.

"Ooohh....That's alright...I'll be okay," she replied woozily, swaying on her feet.

"Ack! Actually, I think we better get you sitting down, just my unprofessional opinion but you look just a tab unstable..." the easy grin appeared on the youth's feet and he led her into yet another lounge, carefully settling the older woman on a couch.

"Unn...Thank you," she replied automatically, closing her eyes.

"Heh! For knocking into you? No I must say the pleasures all mine,"he gave her a sly wink, then brought over some water and a bottle of Advil. Gratefully, she popped the pills in.

"Hmm...Well, while you're taking care of the doctor," she gave him a wink of her own, teasingly before continuing, " Is there anything you needed Duo?"

His statement turned sheepish and serious suddenly, round cheeks flushing to an almost painful shade of red. "Actually, Doc, I guess...Well I needed to talk with someone, if you're not busy, I mean if you are....." he stuttered, completely unlike the smooth talking soldier she'd taken into her care recently.

"Duo, I was just nearly knocked out on the floor of the upper-deck. I don't think they'll mind if I take a little while to recover or even a little longer to give you a listening ear," she smiled comfortingly, an statement that had only confused Wufei. It seemed to reassure Duo, the braided pilot relaxing visibly.

"That was my fault too," he added quietly. She laid a comforting hand on his shoulder.

"Well in all fairness, I'm not suffering and it's not like you left me there and ran off. Now what's the matter?"

"Jesus, I don't know how to word this, Sally, but do you know what love is? What it's supposed to be? I don't think I know anymore," he mumbled quietly, more to himself than to the blonde woman next to him. Gray eyes widened at the question and she slipped her arm around the slender boy, drawing him closer.

*This war is deadly in more ways than one...But I'll fight. if only to save these boys, I will fight. Dammit, if this goes on what's left of them? Of their souls...* Sally said to herself, making another solemn vow, like many promises she'd made to herself in the past year.

Aloud she whispered, "Well that's not my expertise, but I'll do my best. There are so many different kinds of caring, Duo. But love is the deepest form of trust, loyalty and affection there is. It's good feeling associated with one person...Love is the ultimate way of caring."

"And...it can't be tainted...can it? Love can't be stained..."he sounded so unsure of himself, it dug deep into her.

"No, you can't twist it when it's real."

"And if you hurt someone...can't caring about them make it better? Or don't you deserve to be forgiven? If you made a mistake...God was suppose to forgive that...but I don't know if I can believe in Him anymore...or if I ever could...Are mistakes not fixable...dammit..are they?" Sally began to wonder if he remember she was in the room.

"Anything is fixable Duo, if you believe in a cause enough," she tried to keep her voice steady, but the look in those eyes. There was so much guilt there. For what she did not know, but something weighed heavily on the youth's mind.

"He does...Sally, I have another question...Does it matter who you care about? Does it matter if you're not worthy?" his voice was muffled slightly, by his own hair and by the quick hug she pulled him close for.

"Everyone is worthy. And everyone deserves a second chance. Just believe in yourself!" she urged, before releasing him. A familiar glow reappeared in violet eyes. Before the blonde doctor could resist, she was pulled close for a quick kiss, right on her lips. Now her eyes nearly bugged out, large gray orbs huge and shocked.

"Thanks doc! Thanks for everything!" he called back racing towards the door with all the speed of...of a trained gundam pilot. Sally was blushing furiously, redder than should have been humanly possible.

"Your welcome!" she called after him, "DON'T EVER DO THAT AGAIN!"

"Sure thing, doc," came the faint reply, leaving her alone in an empty room.

*I needed to hear that...I need to know what love is...I don't think I know yet. But I know that I can fix what I did wrong this morning. If anything, I -know- I can make Heero forgive me a little at least. If only so that we work together for the colonies. Sally's right. I need to believe in myself or I'll never get anywhere. If I can fix one thing today, it has to be this. I never meant to hurt him, which is the last thing he needs...And I can't concentrate with all this guilt....Or with people following me around!*

Duo turned to face a stone-faced Wufei, the Chinese man glaring like Heero for all he was worth.

"Did I just see you kissing Sally?"he snarled, more than a hint of envy in his voice.

*Dude's got it bad...hmm...maybe I can fix something else this morning....*

"What, jealous?" the Deathscythe pilot taunted, turning around to continue walking.

*Almost there...Heero...I can survive you hating me...but I have to make sure you understand.*

"That doesn't matter...But does it have something to do with why Yuy won't stop moping this morning?" Wufei replied cooly, trying to dispel the green eyed beast inside his head. Duo and Sally. The very idea was ludicrous! Or..he hoped it was.

Duo threw him a sidelong glance without slowing down, "Heero? Moping? Dude, he doesn't know how to mope!"

"That may be true," Wufei allowed, knowing the idea didn't sit well with himself either, " But he won't come out of his gundam, hasn't all day."

*Figures he'd bury himself in things to do until he could forget I told him off...Shit! I wish I hadn't been quite so forceful....Okay that's understatement...never come near me again isn't forceful it's cruel. He didn't deserve that...*

"That's hardly my problem," Duo snapped, always harsher than he meant to. *I've been a real ass, lately haven't I? I doubt Wufei will be crushed though...*

"Yes it is. I know it is. I'm not a fool, Maxwell," Chang snarled, look of contempt clear on his face.

*Always the bad guy...*

"You were watching us!?!" the braided pilot exclaimed. Despite his earlier assumptions about the other boy, no blush rose to his cheeks, neither did he look at all squeamish. Cooler than rock that one.

"Yes. And I know enough that it's you who caused this. You're the one who should fix it," pilot 05 glared, fully expecting to win the (coming) argument.

"You're absolutely right Wufei, I'll go right now," Duo took off at full speed down the hall, much to Wufei's disbelief. *I never expected him to actually comply...*He stood gaping before he composed himself.

"By the way," the violet-eyed thief called back, " You might wanna check on Sally...I hit her pretty hard!!!"

"NANI???" he roared, "Maxwell! You dishonorable cur...."

"Yep! She needs your big, strong, sexist protection. Get moving, man!"Duo grinned wider, watching with glee as Wufei did just that.

*****

Howard's men were about ready to forcibly remove the Japanese boy from his cockpit when a blur of braid, black and violet interupted their plans and blew through the hanger. After waving a hello to Trowa and reassuring Quatre that he was alive, well, and as sane as he could possibly he hope to be, Duo set his jaw determinedly and set out for Gundam Zero, the nightmare gundam of all gundams. Squirming with distaste, he scaled the white suit anyway, set on his goal. He made mistakes, he knew that now. But he could and would fix them. Whether Heero wanted his interference or not. The hatch sprung open after some of his tampering, knowing full well the Wing pilot would never open it willingly. Duo found himself staring into Prussian blue oceans for the third time that day, losing himself again. Falling.....

*Always falling. never caught.*

He jerked his head up, forcing them both back into reality, noting that Heero had been just as lost as he for a moment. Now the other boy glared harshly, regaining his normal glower and losing that lost, frightened look Duo was beginning to see more often than he would like. One night had certainly messed with their minds, twisting thoughts and feelings. One morning had brought it all to hell. But Duo was going to return from the fiery depths once more and damned if Heero wasn't coming with him. He started to turn away again, fully prepared to ignore the violet eyed pilots in front of him. Heero wouldn't allow any slips.

"Go away," he snarled softly, so only Duo heard the words.

Strong hands lifted him by his tanktop, the slender weight of the Wing pilots, not too much to Duo, who was used to hauling heavy salvaged metal. He dragged Heero out of the small confining space, glided down on the grappling hook attached to the inside of the cockpit, one arm cradling his cargo. Only when they reached the ground did Heero struggle at all, but he'd forgotten just how strong the Deathscythe pilot was. He couldn't escape, not without seriously injuring or killing Duo. And he wouldn't do that, no matter how mad he was.

"I said go away," he hissed in the other's ear, not at all pleased about being hauled around like so much baggage. Duo didn't seem to care.

*Of course he doesn't care. He made that clear this morning!*

"And I'm saying that I won't," the braided boy replied softly, none of his characteristic buoyancy in his voice," We need to talk. Now."

"No..."Heero wretched around more, trying to break free.

"I didn't say you had a choice. You're coming whether you like it or not. I want my say. And you're gonna listen," Duo growled, sounding much more like himself than the almost foolishly cheerful American.

And with that, black clad pilot and his charge disappeared into a smaller room, leaving Quatre and Trowa standing there, more than a little bemused. Trowa blinked confused green eyes at his companion.

"Do they always do stuff like this? Or is this something new I missed?" he wondered.

"I'm just as lost as you...."Quatre shrugged and the two left, together, maybe to play chess or get some food. A long time ago each had given up normalcy...what was the point, since they were gundam pilots? Normal simply was not an option.

****

*He doesn't realize...I woke up this morning and I felt safe...I felt -needed-. And it took him all of an instant to destroy that feeling. Is peace really that fragile? Because for the first time in my life...I felt peace! Damn you, Duo. Peace is like a butterfly, just so fragile...and easily crushed...He killed it so easily..with one simple movement...But I can't hate him no matter how much I try...only...feel that loss...* Heero's thoughts ran wild as he studied the youth in front of him. Duo returned the stare, eye for eye, at a loss for words. But, evidently Heero wasn't...

"Is this stay away from you thing only when you say so? Or do you prefer I be at your beck and call?" he spat cynically, anger tinging the low monotone.

"No...." hurt actually flashed through the violet, like a fleeting breeze. He almost felt bad for saying it.

"What then? Is there some part of stay from me, you felt I didn't understand? Haven't I left you alone all day? Or do you prefer I leave the ship....Can't do that Duo. The mission, remember? the colonies come before your own wishes!" Heero continued in a low snarl, not quite believing himself.

*Why am I doing this to him?*

"The colonies always came first for me, Heero. But I have to say this...because right now there's something more important than the colonies..."the seriousness in that voice didn't belong there. He'd never heard it before, even in the most desperate of battles.

"Hn,"Heero grunted, certain there was nothing he could say to that.

*What could possibly be so important?*

"You," Duo finished softly, answering the unspoken question, not meeting his eyes for a moment.

"Hm?" wide-eyed, the bowed head snapped up. The statement on the chiseled Asian features was priceless, vulnerable and confused, almost like a child met with a new concept he didn't understand. "Me?"

Duo suppressed a chuckle.

"Yeah...I...shit! Heero. You scared me this morning. And not because of...of what we did last night. I mean...I was a little scared of that at first...but it's not that that bothered me. I didn't have a great childhood, Heero...it's not excuse I'm not trying to excuse hurting you...I never should have pulled away...Every instinct I had was telling me to let you touch me...." Duo paced, despite his long earlier that day, despite the fact all he really wanted to do was run.

*Run...hide...but he has to know the truth before I can any of those things...*

Prussian blue eyes were focused and attentive, watching him, letting him speak. They offered him some strength, mostly courage to go on. Heero wasn't rejecting his words just yet.

"As a kid everyone who protected me...well...they bit the big one...kicked the bucket...they're gone now...I just couldn't accept the fact someone else was keeping me safe cause for a minute Heero, for once minute before I opened my eyes, you kept me safe, from everything. Man! Do you have any fucking idea how terrifying that was?" Duo continued, resorting to profanity when he had nothing left.

"I do..." that quiet voice said, never obtrusive but getting his attention all the same, "I felt the same way...I've never felt that way...I guess it was selfish of me, wanting it to last.."

Duo grabbed the narrow chin witha almost bruising force, halting his words," It wasn't selfish...I was scared...but I hadn't wanted it to end...that scared me more...so I tried to get rid of you. I'm so sorry.." the words leapt from his mouth, an apology he'd never intended to say put into the light, earning a slight smile from the Wing pilot. Silently Heero got up, hesitantly lifting one hand to the others face, fully expecting to get slapped away. When he wasn't, nimble digits traced the corners and lines of the braided boy's face, getting a shocked a statement from Duo.

"Heero....I...dammit..I never did figure out what love is," unconsciously he leaned into the touch, closing his eyes slightly.

"If you're asking I don't know either..." Heero murmured back, hand slipping along the edges of the wide, constantly grinning mouth.

"I do know I care about you...I don't know how or what it means...And we don't have time to find out," worry clouded his features for a moment.

"The colonies come first. That's always how it's been," Heero agreed, reassuring him through words and touch.

"Listen, neither of us knows where this gonna go...but we can try to survive and find out. We can wait and figure this out, " Duo smiled a little, hoping that they could discover what all this meant. It might be love. It might not. But something drew him to this boy in front of him and he would not risk destroying it again. Gentle lips touched his cheek before Heero pulled away completely, giving him an open honest look.

*I don't know either, Duo. But we can find out. I know that. I can do this,* he said to himself.

To his comrade, his friend, his lover Heero whispered:

"I'm okay with that."

 

The End

 

::dodges cabbages, carrots, cucumbers and lettuce:: Okay, ummm...it wasn't that bad was it? okay so it was that bad... *sighs* at least i can make a salad now....

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