6-20-2001

Firstly, I would like to thank all who took the time to read my fic and giving me the precious feedbacks. Thank you, minna-san. ^_^

Ok, now part 2 of the story........

Change Of Heart ( Part 2/?)

By Minky

They enjoyed themselves so much that time was totally forgotten. It was already after midnight when Heero pulled up at the front of the church. Getting off the jeep, he set the wheelchair and moved towards the passenger side of the jeep. Opening the door, he helped Duo onto the wheelchair.

“Okay, you’re home. Sleep well, good night,” Heero said as he wheeled Duo towards the main door of the church.

“Heero?” Duo pulled at his sleeves.

“Aa?” Heero crouched down to the braided boy’s eye level, “Yes, Duo?”

Duo suddenly threw his arms around his neck, hugging him tightly. Heero tensed, totally taken aback by his unexpected action. Realizing his abruptness, the braided boy quickly released his hold on Heero, bowing his head to hide his embarrassment.

“Erm...sorry. Guess I’m too exuberant but I’m so happy tonight. I’ve never enjoyed myself so much before. Thank you, Heero. Thank you for making my wish come true,” Duo whispered softly.

A finger tilted Duo’s face up, his eyes meeting an intense blue gaze from Heero. They looked into each other’s eyes in silence. Heero found himself mesmerized by the other boy’s amazingly sparkling violet orbs. His beautiful eyes seemed to speak volumes. And people said eyes were the windows to one’s soul. How true. He felt like he was looking deep into his soul.

It was only when their noses accidentally bumped against one another’s that they became aware of the sudden closeness of their faces. They broke away quickly, faces flushing, both looking most embarrassed and ill at ease by what had happened.

“I...I should get going now. Goodnight,” Heero muttered, getting up promptly.

He waved to Duo and drove away, leaving the longhaired boy still dazed, gazing at his retreating jeep.

Instead of going back to his apartment, Heero stopped his jeep and lingered at the side of a highway, reflecting back all that had happened so far.

Ever since he came to know Duo, his mind was filled with nothing but thoughts on the boy. He was the first person that came to his mind when he woke up in the morning and the last person he thought about before he went to sleep.

Duo had become an important part of his life without him realizing it. He was no longer just a friend to him but something else, something that Heero wasn’t sure if he was ready to accept.

================

Duo could hardly sleep a wink at all that night. He too was thinking about what had happened earlier.

He was surprised by his own action. He didn’t know what came over him that gave him such an audacity to throw his arms around Heero. He had thoroughly embarrassed himself. He just hoped that Heero wouldn’t feel offended by it.

Heero had been so kind and thoughtful towards him; always been around to help him. He certainly didn’t want to lose a great friend like him.

“I ought to do something for him too,” Duo thought, staring at the ceiling in the dark.

After a moment, an idea came into his mind. He sat up on the bed slowly and turned on the lamp on the side table. Opening the drawer of the side table, Duo took out a small box containing all the seashells that he had collected. He began to pick and choose the more beautiful ones, laying them on his bed. Taking out a screwdriver and a roll of string, he cautiously drilled a small hole on every seashell, careful not to break them.

Duo spent the whole night painstakingly stringing all these treasures from the sea together into a beautiful chain of seashells. Holding up the chain, he smiled at his handiwork satisfactorily.

“I hope Heero will like this.”

He turned to look at the clock. It was almost four am in the morning. Yawning, he put away everything and went back to catch some sleep. He was going to pay Heero a visit the next morning to give him that little gift he made.

================

As Duo made his way towards apartment building, he was getting more and more excited. He went into the lift and pressed the button for fifth floor. On the way up, he kept fingering the handmade gift in his pocket.

As he neared Heero’s apartment, he heard some voices and recognized one of them as Heero’s. He was about to make his presence known when snatches of the conversation floated to him, causing him to stop in his track.

“I didn’t know you actually enjoy those kiddy rides,” Wufei remarked sarcastically.

“You are tailing me? How dare you, Wufei!” an angry Heero grabbed at the collar of his shirt.

“You are my partner. I have the right to know what you are up to.” The Chinese boy slapped away his hands and straightened his shirt.

“But this is my private life, nothing to do with you,” Heero snapped.

“I don’t know what you are thinking but do you realize what you are doing, Yuy?” Wufei demanded in chagrin.

“It’s my fault that Duo ended up like this. I am the one who shot him, ruining his life and future,” Heero argued.

“I know you have always been feeling guilty about shooting him. But even if you are trying to make amends, don’t you think you have gone overboard with it?”

“I am just trying to help him. I have already caused him enough misery. Don’t you think I should at least try to make his life happier?”

Duo, who had been listening to the argument, lapsed into a horrified silence, feeling his heart growing cold. He couldn’t believe his ears. Heero was the one who shot him? How could that be? The rest of the conversation went unheard; as the only words that were ringing in his ears now were ‘I am the one who shot him’.

“And you intend to keep him in the dark forever?” Wufei continued to query.

“I will tell him eventually. I just don’t know when or how,” Heero sighed.

“You don’t know or you don’t want to?” Wufei countered.

“Damn it, Wufei! You think it’s that easy to just tell him straight in the face?”

“Then, how long do you intend to play around with him?”

"Play around? Who says I am playing around with him? I’m serious about him.”

“Serious? As in what?”

Heero went silent. How was he going to tell Wufei that he had developed feelings for Duo? But Wufei seemed to have figured that out himself.

“Wait a minute. Are you trying to tell me that you have actually fallen for that boy?!”

“You don’t understand, Wufei. I...I can’t explain it to you. Sometimes, things happened when you least unexpected it.”

“Are you out of your mind? Don’t you know you are not allowed to get into any emotional involvement with anyone?”

“I know! But...I just can’t control my feelings for him.”

“Are you aware of what they will do if they found out about this?”

“They have no right to interfere into my life as long as I do what I am supposed to do.”

Wufei realized that Heero was not going to listen to him. He knew of his stubborn nature.

“Very well Yuy, there is nothing for me to say then. It’s obvious that you are already obsessed with that boy. Do what you see as deem fit but don’t say I never warn you, that boy is going to bring about your downfall. Not only that, you could be endangering his life as well.”

Ending their pointless conversation, Wufei was about to walk towards the lift when he noticed a pale looking Duo slouched in his chair behind a wall.

“Damn!” Wufei fumed, realizing that the boy must have overheard their conversation.

“Yuy!” he turned back and shouted out urgently. Sensing something amiss, Heero came forward and got a shock of his life.

“Duo! Wha...what are you doing here?” He too realized that the boy must have heard their earlier exchange. He approached the dazed looking boy slowly and gently touched him on the arm. Immediately, Duo flinched away as if scalded by hot water.

“Duo..."

The boy stared at both of them speechlessly and quickly backed away, his eyes wide in confusion and fear.

“Duo, listen to me...”

“NO! You murderer! Don’t come near me!” He backed away further until he came to the edge of the stairway.

“Be careful, Duo!”

His warning went unheeded as the wheelchair rolled off the stairs and went tumbling down, taking the braided boy with it. It crashed against the railings before coming to a stop. Duo was thrown off the wheelchair, lying unconscious on the floor.

“Duo!” Heero shouted, running down the stairs. “Duo...Duo...” he called out again as he held the boy in his arms, gently shaking him. Something fell out of his pocket. Picking it up, Heero realized it was a chain made of seashells.

“Duo...” his voice dropped to a whisper. Looking up urgently, he yelled at Wufei, “Call an ambulance! I can’t let anything happened to him! Duo, please be all right, Duo...,” he kept repeating, cradling the unconscious boy against his chest.

Wufei stared at this unfamiliar persona of his partner and shook his head regrettably. He took out his cell phone and called for an ambulance.

================

Heero was sitting outside the ward when Father Maxwell and Sister Helen arrived at the hospital, both looking so flustered.

“What happened to Duo? How did he get injured?”

“He fell off the stairs,” Heero replied quietly.

“But how...” Father Maxwell was going to question further when the doctor came out. All of them gathered around the doctor.

“How’s the patient?”

“He is fine except for a broken left arm. I must warn you; his back cannot take anymore further damage. Please be more careful in the future,” the doctor warned sternly.

“Can I see him?” Heero asked anxiously.

“He is awake but he declined all visitors. I would not encourage any visitors either; he is emotionally very unstable right now. Let him have a good rest,” the doctor advised.

Heero looked at the closed door woefully. He wanted so badly to see Duo, to explain to him but he had been denied of the chance to do so.

Father Maxwell placed a comforting hand on his shoulder.

“Why don’t you go back and have a rest too? You look tired. Come back again tomorrow, when he is feeling better.”

Heero looked at the priest and nodded numbly, dragging himself away from the one that he cared for the most, hoping that things will indeed turn out to be better tomorrow.

================

“I have brought you some lunch,” the nurse said cheerfully. No response from Duo. The nurse looked at the silent boy who staring out at the window and shook her head.

“I will leave these here together with the medication. Don’t forget to take them,” the nurse instructed, leaving the tray of food on the table and walked out of the ward.

Duo ignored the nurse and continued to stare outside the window. He felt no hunger. In fact he felt nothing but anger, betrayal and disappointment. Heero had betrayed him. He had trusted him so much, regarding him as a close friend. Yet Heero lied to him. The heart shattering revelation was simply too much. He had never expected Heero to be the one who shot him, ruining his life, taking away his freedom, leaving him wheelchair bound. He had befriended him with a motive. All those concerns that Heero had for him were nothing but just an act to ease his own guilt.

“How could he?” Duo kept asking himself. “How despicable of him to do this to me.” The pain that he felt in his heart was a million times greater than the pain in his left arm.

Duo turned to the tray of food on the table. Seeing the fork, he reached out for it and held the unsuspecting weapon in his hand. The stainless steel fork gleamed harmlessly under the light. Holding the piece of cutlery tightly in his hand, the infuriated boy brought it down forcefully, stabbing his legs with the sharp tips, venting all his anger and bitterness at his useless legs.

Blood gushed out from the open wounds but Duo continued stabbing his legs. He felt no pain at all. Blood was flowing from the wounds rapidly, staining his hospital gown and the white bed sheet. But Duo didn’t care; he kept on abusing his useless limbs.

================

Heero stood silently outside the ward, feeling totally helpless over the situation. It had finally happened, Duo had finally learnt the harsh truth but in a most cruel way. Heero didn’t even have the chance to explain to him. Now he didn’t know what to do. Duo refused to see him, locking him out of his life, out of his reach. He stared at the chain of seashell mournfully. He had never felt so lost, so uncertain before.

He looked up briefly when a nurse walked past him into Duo’s ward. A moment later, he heard a sharp cry. The nurse ran out of the ward hastily. Detaching himself from the wall, Heero grabbed the nurse’s arm and asked, “What happened?”

“The patient...he is self-inflicting wounds on his legs and he refused to stop. I need to get the doctor now.” The nurse freed herself from Heero’s grip and ran to look for the doctor.

Heero hurried into the room to see Duo still stabbing at his badly bleeding legs.

“Duo, stop that!” Heero grabbed his wrist and forcefully pried the fork out of his hand.

“Leave me alone! Go away!” Duo screamed, pushing him away violently. Heero threw the bloodstained fork onto the floor.

“Duo, please stop hurting yourself. Don’t do that,” he pleaded.

“Why can’t I?! These are my legs!” Duo yelled at him. He pounded his legs furiously with his fist.

“Please stop it.” Heero quickly grabbed his wrist again, pinning him down onto the bed.

“Why? Does it pain you to see me hurting myself like this? Why do you care? Who is the one who caused all this?” the anger in Duo’s violet eyes was frightful.

“Yes, it hurts me to see you like this. Don’t hurt yourself anymore. I beg you, please don’t torture yourself anymore.”

“Get out, you liar, you hypocrite. I don’t need your sympathy. GET OUT!” Duo was getting more and more agitated.

The doctor, together with Father Maxwell and Sister Helen came running into the room. The doctor and the priest tried to calm the boy down while the nun quickly led the disillusioned Japanese boy away.

Outside the room, they could still hear Duo’s cries. The nun looked at Heero and sighed.

“Duo has told us what happened. This is certainly something that we have never expected.”

Heero bowed his head in shame. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to lie to all of you.”

“What is your real motive for getting near to Duo?”

Heero looked at the nun pleadingly.

“Sister, it is never my intention to hurt Duo in any way. Shooting him was the greatest mistake I have ever made. But I really want to help him, to be his friend.”

The nun listened in silence. She was having misgivings about this boy when Duo revealed the truth to them the night before but as she listened to Heero now, she felt that she might have misjudged him.

“I believe you,” she said after a long while.

“Huh?” Her words had taken Heero by surprise.

“I’m sure you don’t want to hurt Duo either. It is obvious to everyone that you care a lot for him. You are a kind child by nature. Circumstances force you to do things that are against your will.”

“Thank you, Sister. Thank you for believing in me, for being so understanding.”

“But the truth has hurt Duo tremendously. He will need some time to calm down and think it over.”

“I understand.”

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It was a moonless night with flashes of thunder highlighting the dark night sky. Leaning against a wall in a silent alley, partially hidden in the dark, Heero waited for his target to appear. He was sent to kill a gang leader of the local mob group. Fingering his gun unconsciously, his mind began to wander. He was thinking about Duo again. He couldn’t help it. Whenever he was alone, he would think about that American boy, about all the good times they had together.

It has been two months since that incident and Duo still refused to see him. He had even stopped his therapy session, hardly stepping out of the church these days.

Before he met Duo, he was walking this earth alone, lost and confused, wondering what his role was in this big world besides carrying out these dirty deeds. When he found Duo, his life was filled with so much joy and happiness. But now, all that were gone and once again, he was alone, lost and confused.

A rustle in the background brought his attention back to his present situation. His target had noticed his presence and was preparing to run away.

Heero fired at the man but he managed to dodge the bullets, jumping behind some empty crates.

“Damn! He’s better than I expected,” Heero thought as he prepared to fire another round of shots.

The man got up to run but tripped over some trashcans.

“Meow!”

“Huh?” Heero turned to see a frightened little kitten crouching behind the toppled trashcans. He was distracted momentarily as he remembered those cats that Duo loved so much in the old mansion.

Taking advantage of Heero’s distraction, the gang leader grabbed a broken bottle from the concrete floor and launched forward, stabbing the unnoticed Heero in the chest with the sharp jagged edges.

Astonished by the sudden sharp pain, the teen assassin reeled back against the wall but he recovered just in time to raise his gun and fired at the man. This time, his target fell onto the ground motionlessly.

It was beginning to drizzle. The little kitten had gone into hiding, away from the rain. Clutching at his wounded chest, Heero staggered out of the alley. By now, the rain was pouring, drenching him from head to toe.

Out on the street, everyone was running for shelter except Heero who was tottering unstably in the rain. In his mind, there was only one destination. He couldn’t die, not yet. He needed to see Duo, just one look and he would be satisfied; he could die a happy man.

So, Heero forced himself to continue the journey. The rain was beating down hard on him, washing away the blood from his wounds.

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Duo glanced out of the window briefly as the rain came splattering against the glass panes in the church hall. It was getting late but his troubled mind was depriving him of sleep. He had avoided seeing Heero for quite some time and he knew that his rejection was hurting the other boy. Every time when Sister Helen conveyed his message, she would come back to tell Duo how upset Heero was.

Duo himself wasn’t feeling any better either. He could neither forgive nor forget Heero. To forgive him for what he had done was quite impossible at the moment. Duo still finds it hard to accept the fact of Heero being the one who hurt him.

But he couldn’t forget him either. After all, how could one forget a person that easily when that person had become a part of one’s life, a supporting pillar and a shoulder to cry on?

A sudden banging on the door snapped Duo out of his thoughts.

“Who could it be so late in the night?” he wondered as he pushed his chair to the main door. As he unlocked the door, he almost cried out in shock.

Lying unconscious on the wet floor was Heero. Surrounding him was a reddish pool of rainwater mixed with the blood from his wound.

~End of Part 2~