5-5-2000

It's my first time to post a fic here so be kind. And no, I will not post again. I'm no fic writer. I'm a fic nagger/reader *beams* I only posted this thing here `coz Chibicharm asked me to. Bear with me onegai?

This is for Kurai and Chibicharm. Oi Michiru, I have one for you too *evil grin* (but that means I have to post another fic...oh well)

Warnings: I made it, be warned. 1+R, 2+D underlying 1+2. Maybe OOC? Hilde angst.

Disclaimers: They're mine!! In my dreams that is -_-

 

ATONEMENT
by Scythe

Hilde came into the room with coffee in hand. She set it down in front of her husband who was reading a letter, failing to see the single tear that rolled from his indigo eyes. The letter fluttered silently to the ground.

"He's dead"

Hilde looked up, worry was evident in her eyes. She hasn't heard her husband use this tone of voice, not in a long time. His voice was a flat monotone, much like Heero's, but more...dead. The last time she heard it was when news of Heero and Relena's wedding reached them.

[flashback]

A stumbling drunk Duo found his way into Hilde's apartment in the middle of a thunderstorm. A goofy grin was on his face and an empty bottle of sake in hand.

"Duo!" Hilde shrieked "What the hell are you doing soaking wet in the middle of the night?"

"I...um...well, my car broke down and I just happened to be passing by...er..." his voice was obviously slurred.

"Well, come in before you catch pneumonia or something."

"Thanx"

Hilde half dragged, half carried the American inside the house and set him on the couch, then sighed.

/Duo, what the hell happened?/

---> ---> ---> --->

Duo woke up with a splitting headache and something fuzzy scratching his right cheek.

"Ohayo!"

He blinked once. Twice.

"Hilde? What are you doing here? And what the hell am I wearing?!" Suddenly realizing that he was wearing a fluffy yellow robe.

"Well...I was thinking maybe you could tell me what's happening. You came here last night, drunk and wet." The former OZ officer explained.

"Honto? Sorry about that...I..." the boy faltered upon remembering what happened last night.

"Duo...?" the girl started hesitantly "Can I ask you something, I mean, are you alright?

He gave her a bright smile and a confused look. "Why would you ask that?"

"`Coz last night, you kept saying 'Heero you bastard' and I thought that...Duo? Daijoubu?

The braided boy looked down letting his long bangs hide his eyes. But not before Hilde saw the tears that was rapidly filling the other's eyes.

"Heero and Relena are getting married" he said flatly.

"Oh..." was all she could say. She didn't know how to react. She knew that the two boys were lovers during the war, and she has learned to accept that fact. They were both happy living together for a while. But what could have happened between them in the past few months?

/Relena happened/

Instinctively, she wrapped her arms around the boy. The braided ex-pilot kept staring fixedly on the ground. And except for the tears that was freely falling down his cheeks, no other expression can be read from his face.

"I'm really sorry. I don't know what to say. But...if you'll let me...please, I promise, I'll make you happy..."

That was the day Duo Maxwell died. And this lonesome stranger is the only thing that was left of the braided boy.

[end flashback]

"Nani?"

"Heero's dead." the young man got up and left the room.

"Duo..."

/Stop it/ Hilde ordered herself /Just let him be. He needed some time alone/

But the pain on her eyes was evident. The pain she kept locked inside her heart was now coming back to haunt her. The hurt is almost unbearable and its eating her alive.

/He was never mine/

---> ---> ---> --->

The funeral was cut short because of the rain. And Relena all but threw herself on her husband's grave, crying her heart out. They just had to get her away. Back in their mansion, she continued to lament endlessly.

Quatre was now trying to comfort Duo, but the braided boy wasn't even crying. Not a single tear. He was wearing a Heero-like expression, devoid of all emotions, that the Arabian became worried of his friend even more.

Hilde and Trowa was on another side watching them.

"He's not even sad. I thought they were best friends." Hilde said softly, more to herself, but the silent one heard it nonetheless.

"No, they were more than that."

"Nooooooooo" the sound of Relena's voice made everyone look up. They could hear Wufei's voice rising dangerously and Relena's near-hysterical shreiks on the other side of the room. She asked, no ordered the Preventers to investigate her husband's death, expecting to see foulplay.

Of course, there was none.

"I love him!"

"Yes, but does he love you?"

"He married me!!"

"You asked him to!!!"

"Then why the hell would he shoot himself holding a picture of Duo in his hand!! Damn it, snap OUT of it Relena!"

They all froze. This is the first time they heard of how Heero died. Everyone stared at the ex-pilot of Shinigami, but he did not so much as twitch a muscle. He just sat there with cold, flat, and unseeing eyes.

They heard every word of that conversation. And every word cut through Hilde like a knife.

~ but does he love you ~

/Yes, Duo loves me/

~ is he happy ~

/I...I don't know.../

With that, Hilde broke down and cried.

---> ---> ---> --->

Hilde woke up with the sun shining brightly outside. The morning is so alive and a soft breeze gently carresses her cheek.

Her beloved husband was nowhere in sight. Again. Yes, she knew that Duo had been going out at night when he thought that she was asleep. Every night he goes out to visit Heero's grave.

The day they heard of Heero and Relena's wedding was the day the light died in Duo's eyes. And the day Heero died was the day the smile died in Duo's lips.

And now that Duo was gone, she had a sinking feeling that he will never come back agin. She dismissed the thought away. As she moved towards the dresser, a note caught her eyes. With shaking fingers she opened it, slowly, fearing that she already knew what was written inside it.

 

I've gone to find my old friend, Shinigami
Duo

 

Hilde closed her eyes and crumpled the paper in her hand. That damn piece of paper that took her husband away. Her legs buckled under her and collapsed to the ground crying. She knew that this would happen...eventually.

She knew he still loved Heero, but she was so intent on the love that she was desperately trying to gain, that she lost sight of what was real, and what's important.

[flashback]

It was a double wedding - Heero and Relena, Duo and Hilde. Everyone was happy, or so it seems. It felt more like a grand reunion. It's been three years since they last saw each other, during Merimeia's regime. And now, on the day of the Queen's wedding, everyone has gathered. All the ex-pilots, the Preventes, even her brother, Millard, has come back to walk his sister down the aisle.

But Hilde could not get the mental image of her husband out of her mind. It was during the wedding ceremony, when the grooms were supposed to kiss the brides. Before Duo leaned down to kiss his wife-to-be, she saw the two young men look at each other. She saw something in both their eyes.

Hurt? Betrayal? What? But she didn't care. She was happy, and that's what really counts.

---> ---> ---> --->

After the weddding, Relena took Hilde aside. Both have instantly formed a strong friendship towards each other, since their hisbands were "best friends."

"I'm soo glad that you and Duo finally decided to get married."

"You too. I have no idea how you convinced soldier boy there..."

"Hilde?" Relena's voice suddenly becomes serious. "You know, Heero was supposed to cancel the wedding. But when we heard that you and Duo are gonna tie the knot, he suddenly agreed to settle down with me. I don't know why, but if it weren't for you and Duo...I don't know how to thank you..."

[end flashback]

She could've made a difference. No, she 'should' have made a difference. But her selfishness and pride wouldn't let her.

And this burden she would carry for a long time. And it would be a long time before she could ever find peace again.

She would carry all this grief to remind her of the lives she's destroyed, the hearts she has broken, and the love she has taken, and somehow, atone for her mistakes.

But she knew now what she should do. The last thing she could ever do to atone for the crime she has committed...to her heart, to Heero, to her lover - no, not her lover. He was never her lover...

She'd let go...

~ I've gone ~

Just let him go...

~ to find my old friend ~

To his lover's side...

~ Shinigami ~

"Ganbatte...Duo"

==owari==