5-4-2000

Saaaa I feel /really/ evil for lurking for over a week
:::hides:::
Duo: Heh, you should be.
Sally: Don't /encourage/ her!

UH HUM!!! :::clears throat::: As I was saying. I feel really bad about lurking so I figured I'd send ya a ficcie I'm working on, I've got chapter two already written if you ppl want me to send int in as well ^_^ But then I've only got like 4 pages of chapter three ^_^;;;;; Well that's all ya needed to know, onto the disclaimors: I don't own GW, but we already knew this right? Ummmmm /slight/ shounen ai in this chapter. Nothing really too bad, but if yer on this list I'd HOPE you love Duo and Heero together! =^-^= Hmmm what else..Ah! This story does take place four years after the GW timeline and it does contain original charas. Prolly the /only/ time you're going to find a major original charactor in my GW fics. Also, question, I want to post Reality Bytes on this list. Should I post the entire thing for those who aren't on the GWML? ::blinkublinku::: Methinks that's all, I'm gonna go slave over chapter three now. Ja!!!

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AC: 199

Soon. The word echoed through Bridget Connor's mind as she stared down at the beautiful planet below. From space, the blue planet looked perfect, peaceful, never betraying a hint of the post war tension that existed on the planet's surface. Bridget sighed as she pushed an unruly lock of dark red hair away from her face. Her face suddenly became weary and she sighed as she sat back in her seat and waited for the ship to begin its descent. A wry smile played across her lips. To return to earth, the place of her birth, finally, only to come to die.

"Aye, how ironic." Bridget sighed her voice thick with an irish brogue. Pain crinkled the corners of her eyes as painful memory after painful memory assaulted her. "Soon." She murmured.

 

The beach was beautiful Heero decided as he and Duo walked out of the spaceport. The sun glinted off the ocean, making look like quicksilver while the sea gulls overhead cryed, adding to the picturesque scene, and all was right in the world.....

"Heero! Heero chotto matte!" Heero flinched as that screeching voice reached his ears. He heard Duo snicker beside him and glared at the American pilot. After five years of living as a civilion and nearly three apart, Heero found it easy to fall back into the pattern of his friendship with Duo. To fall back into the habits of the so called 'Perfect Soldier' The laptop clutched in Heero's hands trembled as the pilot gripped the black case in a vice-like grip.

"Shut up, Duo." He growled as he walked faster trying to escape from the girl with wheat blond hair who was swiftly catching up with them. As much as he wanted too, Heero could not /run/, so he tried to out /walk/ Relena Peacecraft, even though he knew it was hopeless. Suddenly, with a devilish grin, Duo snatched the precious laptop from Heero's hands and darted off. Heero caught on immediately and grinned ferally.

"Duo no baka!" he shouted and raced after his partner thanking him silently for giving him a reason to run after him. And if the direction Duo was running, /happened/ to be in the opposite direction of Relena, who was he to complain? The American pilot laughed merrily as he and Heero made it out of the building and took off down the beach.

"Ya owe me Heero!" Duo shouted over his shoulder. Heero's eyes glinted evilly.

"Yeah, and let me show you my appreciation!" Duo eeped and tried to outrun Heero but the Japanese pilot was faster and Duo yelped when Heero yanked on his long braid and he was thrown offbalance. He tripped on the sand and fell heavily to his knees, Heero right on his heels tripped on him and they fell in a jumble of limbs.

"ow Ow OW!!!" Duo shouted. "Heero get off my braid!!" The American cried trying to spit out sand and glare at the Japanese pilot at the same time.

"I would if you would move your knee." Heero groused and the two untangled themselves. Heero gazed woefully at his laptop laying covered in sand and scooped it up. "Dou...omae o korosu!" he growled semi-playfully. "ne, Heero, not now, we've got an audience." Duo reminded the slightly homicidal pilot with a nervous grin." Heero's dark eyes narrowed and he grasped Duo's arm in a vice-like grip.

"Then let's go somewhere more private?" Heero drug Duo towards the stairs that would lead to the boardwalk. At the top of the stairs a woman stood, her wild and unruly red hair drifting about her pale face. Something about her triggered something inside Heero and he looked sharply at her.

"Yae are late." She murmured and both Heero and Duo tensed and looked around for an ambush; they found none. The woman chuckled. "Fear not, I'm not here to harm yae." The woman assured them her voice thick with brogue. Heero and Duo pulled their guns and pointed them at the woman. She cocked an eyebrow but otherwise her face was expressionless.

"Who are you?" Duo demanded.

"I'm yaea contact." The woman said gesturing at them.

"Hurry, we'll drawl unessicary attention if we linger long here." The woman walked back up the stairs deiliberatly turning her back to them. Duo looked anxiously at Heero.

"Should we trust her?"

"Hn." Heero commented noncommental. Duo cursed fluently as he ran after the woman.

 

"My name's Bridget." The woman introduced herself as she and the two Gundam pilots sat down in a booth far to the back of a nearby coffee shop. Heero booted up his computer after shooting Duo a venomous glare which Bridget seemed to find vastly amusing. She handed over the disk with all the necessary information. Heero inserted it into the diskdrive and Duo glanced at him for confirmation, his gun discreetly pointed at Bridget.

"She's clear." Heero murmured and Duo looked at the Irish woman. "I'm..."

"Heero Yuy." The woman inserted. "And yae are Duo Maxwell, no need to introduce yeaselves, I already know." Duo cocked and eyebrow and the woman smiled humorlessly. "I always study the people I'm going tae meet." Bridget explained and Duo nodded. "I'm surprised yae weren't briefed on what I looked like at least." Bridget murmured.

"We just received the word about this morning." Duo explained and Bridget nodded her long hair floating loosely around her face.

"What can you tell me about this group?" Heero asked, his voice cold.

"The Travelers were once a peaceful band of Rom, gypsies as it were. They originated from Ireland but then about ten years ago a young man named Darren took over and started tae insense the Travelers and turned them into a band of mercenaries." Bridget handed Duo and Heero photographs of a young man in his early twenties. He had strait black hair and dark midnight blue eyes. "That's Darren Yuy, claims tae be the son of the late Heero Yuy." Heero's head jerked up and he stared at Bridget.

"Is he?"

"Who knows." Bridget admitted. "Would nae make no difference anyway." Duo stared intently at Bridget as she and Heero conferred. There was something in her eyes, a look of sorrowful regret and longing mixed together.

"It's like she's trying to memorize every single line, and curve of his face. Like she's trying to imprint his face into her memory." Duo frowned slightly. "Why?" he wondered and marveled that Heero hadn't noticed the glances Bridget kept giving him. "Surely she's not old enough to want him romantically! She's old enough to be his..."

"Duo! Are you listening?" Heero demanded and Duo started in surprise.

"Are yae alright lad?" Bridget asked, her dark blue eyes showing genuine concern.

"Huh? Oh yeah I'm fine." Duo said grinning brightly. Heero scowled and Duo's eyes widened innocently.

"Is something wrong Heero?" he asked and the Japanese pilot's frown deepened as he turned back to his computer.

"Baka." Heero muttered as he shoved a disk into the drive. Briget looked at the two young men, a slight smile tugging at her lips. Duo turned to the Irish woman and cocked his head to the side.

"So what exactly are we going to do?"

"The Travelers, from what information we've gathered are preparing to invade another colony in L1 sector. If they manage to take it over, they'll have no problem taking over that sector and then another and another till they have control of all of L1." Bridget frowned slightly. "They are already dangerously strong, I fear not many people are willing to fight against them. All who have tried before have been wiped out." Duo nodded.

"So we gotta stop these Travelers from expanding their power?"

"Aye."

"And how are we going to do that.....?"

"That is the problem, I cannah go to tae Preventers because the Travelers have done nothing wrong, visibly. They are just another 'Political Group' in tae eyes of the public. And tae Preventers cannah lauch a attack against the Travelers without proof, t'would be a political landmine."

"So we are going to get the information that the Preventers need to intercede." Heero murmured.

"Aye. I meself am not a spy, tis not my way of doing things. And most of me people were killed about six months or so back by the Travelers. We dunnah have tae manpower to stop them. Tis why we need yae help. You Gundam pilots are famous throughout the Colonies, yae are known for accomplishing the impossible. Will yae help?" Heero's face was expressionless as he booted down his computer.

"I'll help." Duo murmured and Heero looked at him sharply. "Saa, the Sweepers business ain't as exciting as it used to be. I'm going out of my mind with boredom, but this sounds like it could be fun ne?" Duo's blue-violet eyes shone with amusement.

"Dunnah go into this half-cocked lad. It won't be fun and games, and the Travelers mean business." Bridget warned. Heero stood up and handed a disk to Bridget.

"I'm not going to get involved in this." He murmured.

"What??" Duo asked shocked. Heero turned and started to leave the shop without a backwards glance.

"Um...I'll be right back." Bridget nodded and watched Heero leave.

"Yae better hurry lad." She murmured and Duo ran after Heero. He caught up with the Japanese man just as he reached the street and grasped his arm.

"What was that about?" Duo demanded and Heero look at him hard.

"Let go Duo."

"No. Not until you tell me what was up back there." Heero shook Duo's hand off and looked at the long haired man coldly

"I don't want to get involved."

"Why the Hell not?"

"Because I swore not to kill anymore, I'm through with fighting." Heero's dark blue eyes were momentarily haunted. "I'm tired of killing Duo, aren't you?" The Japanese pilot looked over at the American. "Isn't there enough blood on our hands?"

"Heero..."

"I thought that with the destruction of the Gundams we'd get peace again, and for the three years I've tried to find that peace. Why endanger it now? Why should I kill again?"

"But Heero, if this group gets power, they could start /another/ war. And then /everyone/ will suffer /again/ Do you /want/ another war on your hands? If we stop them now, that will be prevented. Lives will be saved, how is that a bad thing? What is your problem? I thought /you'd/ be happy about it! You're the Perfect Soldier remember?"

"I'm not the Perfect Soldier!" Heero cried.

"You sure coulda fooled me, but maybe you aren't anymore." Duo's eyes burned and he blinked them rapidly to fight back the salty moisture gathering in them. "Maybe you aren't the Heero I remember. The Heero I knew wouldn't think twice about helping to stop these creeps."

"So what? I'm supposed to put aside all I've worked for all these years so I can go and play soldier again for a cause I /don't/ believe in?" Heero shot back. "Dammit Duo I'm tired!" Heero sighed and closed his eyes; visibly trembling... "I'm tired Duo, I'm tired of all this fighting, I'd just like to get my life in order, to actually /try/ and be normal for a change. And living as a civilian for three years has shown me that. And I like it." Heero's voice quivered slightly and he opened his eyes and looked at Duo. "I like it, it's boring and tedious, but I don't have to worry about meeting people and wondering if I'm going to have to kill them or their family the next day. I haven't had a nightmare about the war in nearly a year, not one. And I love that, and I don't want to lose it. I've done my part Duo, let someone else deal with this for once, I'm through." Duo who had remained silent, but nodded his head; refusing to meet Heero's eyes.

"Maybe you're right, but I gotta do something, it's how I feel." Duo grinned ferally. "I guess Death hasn't retired after all." Heero's lips twitched and he nodded. "Well, I'm gonna go back and finish planning with Bridget, it was nice seeing you again Heero." An odd tone filled Duo's voice and his smile wavered. "Maybe I'll see ya around."

"Maybe."

"Ja ne, man!" Duo called as he turned around and started to walk back towards the coffee shop. He looked over his shoulder at Heero. "If you just wanna talk or hang out, you know where to find me, 'kay?"

"Yes." Heero replied as he walked in the oppisite direction. Duo's eyes clouded over slightly as he walked back into the coffee shop and made his way back to the table where Bridget sat. The Irish woman pushed a mug of coffee towards his which he gratefully accepted.

"He doesn't want to get involved." Duo murmured and the red haired woman nodded her head.

"Understandable." She murmured. "I wouldnah want to get involved in this mess either. I wouldnah be if I'd had a choice."

"He's not like he used to be, I thought....I thought he'd leap at a chance to fight again, he's /not/ the Heero I remember." Duo said softly and his next words were nearly inaudible. "I'm not sure if I like this new Heero." Duo frowned and jumped when Bridget squeezed his shoulder comfortingly. "Dunnah judge him too hard lad, tis understandable. He's done more then enough. T'would be unfair and petty tae begrudge him this small measure of happiness."

"Yer right." Duo said sighing. "I just can't believe he would pass up on the chance to fight again. He is...was the perfect soldier."

"Aye, but he didnah enjoy it, didnah enjoy the killings and I'll bet me last cent he's still comong to terms with his life. Trying to repent for all tae people he's killed, this would just compound that guilt and throw his life back into chaos. And he dunnah strike me as the kind that likes chaos." Bridget stared Duo straight in the eyes. "In fact, it t'would be cruel to force him tae fight, let him live and put his past behind him, he deserves that much, lad." Duo looked curiously at Bridget.

"You speak as if you've gone through this already." Bridget's lips twitched and her dark blue eyes glinted.

"Aye, and I'm still coming tae terms with me own daemons everyday. Just keep me words in mind lad, he's not like ye, keep that in mind before ye judge his behaviour."

"I will."

"Good." Bridget stood up and paid the bill. "I'll be seeing ye soon lad, we'll meet next week at the location I gave ye."

"Alright, I'll be there." Duo grinned and shook hands with Bridget. He sat down again as the red haired woman left and ordered another coffee to go. He walked back to his hotel room slowly; pondering what Bridget had said. Had he judged Heero? Duo frowned, yes he had; and unfairly at that. What right /did/ he have to begrudge the ex-Gundam pilot whatever chance he had at happiness. It had taken him nearly a year after Trieze and Oz had been defeated for him to come to terms with what he had done. And when Marimaya had tried to overthrow things he'd seen it as he second chance, a chance to make a difference once again. He'd never seen it as a chance to regain some of the glory he'd felt when he was fighting in the war. Maybe that was why he'd been able to destroy Deathsycthe Hell unflinchingly, because he' already accepted his past. Duo's eyes suddenly widened when he remembered something Wufei had told him. Wufei had said that while he and Heero had been fighting, the Wing Zero pilot had asked him how many more people he had to kill, how many times he had to kill that girl and her puppy. Wufei had admited that those anguished words had convinced him what he'd been doing was wrong. Duo hit himself upside the head. "Gah! What an idiot I am." He berated himself. Why hadn't it occurred to him then how much Heero had hated fighting. And all this time he'd thought the Japanese pilot had been unfazed by all the death around him. But in thruth, Heero had been effected as deeply, or maybe ever more deeply then Duo himself and all the other Gundam pilots had.

"Che, no wonder Heero doesn't want to get involved." Duo hung his head, shame burning his cheeks. He reached the stairs of his motel and slowly began to walk up them. He looked around mostly out of habit searching for anything out of place. Everything was fine. Children were noisily playing in the pool downstairs, happily splashing each other, the poolside and the ocassional passerbyer in their exuberance. Duo leaned against the railing and grinned happily as he watched the carefree children play. Growing up on L2 under the constant threat of lack of water, Duo had never been allowed to do such frivolous things like play in a pool. There had barely been enough water drink, and such things as pools were unheard of. It never ceased to amaze the young man how free and thoughtless the people of earth could be with water. But for once, Duo didn't think about how wasteful the pool was and he simply enjoyed the sight of such happiness it brought. One of the children, a little girl with shining brown eyes waved up at him. Duo's own blue-violet eyes shown happily as he cheerfully waved back. The little girl ran to the edge of the pool encloser and looked up at the smiling teenager.

"Come play with us Oniisan!" The little girl called and Duo's eyes widened. He blinked a few times and scratched his head in exagerated embarasment.

"I can't swim." Duo called back sheepishly and the girl grinned.

"It's okay Oniisan, I won't let you drown." Duo stared down at the little girl, completely moved by her gentle caring and looked away.

"Okay." Duo helf out his hand. Layla took the proffered hand giggling.

"Well hello Layla, I'm Duo, nice to meetcha." Duo said grinning. Layla tugged on Duo's hand.

"Come on Duo-san, come swim." Duo eyed the pool with trepidition.

"Er...." Layla shook her head in child-like exasperation and walked to the end of the pool. She laid one of her hands on her hip and struck a very Duo-esque pose.

"Don't tell me you're afraid?" Layla asked and she jumped in. Duo, who was still getting over seeing a kid echo his own actions so thoroughly, was spalshed. He blinked in surprise and wiped the water from his eyes. Layla looked up from the pool giggling. "Come on, it's shallow here, you /can't/ drown."

"Heh, you don't know me." Duo muttered with a resigned look. He walked over and sat on the edge of the pool and dipped his feet in the water. Layla swam towards a slightly older boy and whispered something in his ears. Duo eyed the two children suspiciously but Layla spalshed him giggling, catching his attention once again. Duo then missed the other child going around the pool and talking to the other chidlren. Layla suddenly grabbed onto his hand and started to tug on it again, but Duo didn't even budge. Then the young man felt multiple pairs of hands push on him from behind. "Hey! That was low." Duo cried as he was 'pushed' into the water. The children all giggled and jumped in and started to spalsh Duo. They played like this for over an hour, but then a stately young woman called all the children in for dinner. Duo fliped his long hair out of his eyes as he stared at the woman. Layla pouted and latched onto Duo.

"I wanna stay with Duo." Layla cried and Duo bit his lip unsure of what he was supposed to do. The woman sighed.

"Layla, it's time for dinner, and you need to get a good night's sleep for the trip tomorrow." Layla sniffled and Duo lifted her out of the pool and followed her. He smiled at the woman and knelt down in front of Layla.

"Hey, don't cry." He whispered. "You're going on a trip, that's a lot more exciting then playing in a pool." Layla eyed her new friend suspitious.

"Really?" she asked, not quite daring to hope.

"Really." Duo grinned. "Hey, thanks for teaching me how to swim." Layla grinned happily and waved at the long-haired American.

"Bye Duo!" Layla shouted as she ran after the other children. The young woman smiled warmly at Duo as he stood up.

"Thank you for playing with the children this afternoon." She murmured as she held out her hand. "I'm Sister Mary Francisis." Duo blinked at the woman but shook her hand. "We're from St. Luke's Orphanage, we're going to the Capital to tour the old church tomorrow."

"I'm Duo, Duo Maxwell. So you're going on a field trip huh?"

"Yes, we've been on the road since yesterday morning, I fear the children are a little tired of traveling."

"They're tougher then you think." Duo grinned. Someone called to the Sister and she turned to Duo with an apologetic smile

"I'm must be going, once again thank you." The Sister's eyes twinkled merrily. "And I hope the children weren't /that/ hard on you. Duo grinned and started to walk back towards his room soaking wet because he forgot a towel. He keyed in the lock and whimpered as the cold, cold air from the room washed over his body.

"Sonahabitch!" Duo cried as he ran to the bathroom to grab a towel. It was only when he walked out of the backroom with a towle wrapped around his shoulders that Duo realized he wasn't alone in his room. Duo's eyes narrowed and he looked around for a possible weapon but he found none. "Dare da?" Duo asked softly.

"Hn, you're lucky I'm not an enemy." Duo's eyes widened slightly in surprize.

"He..Heero?!" he exclaimed as the Japanese man pushed himself away from the cheap table near the window and turned on a light. Duo relaxed slightly and walked over to his suitcase. He pulled out a change of clothing and turned to Heero. "Oi, you gonna be here for a while?" Heero looked at him perplexed. "If so, I'm gonna take a quick shower." Duo looked at his hair with trepidition. "I think I just descovered one of the great truths of the universe....chlorine is a bitch to get out of your hair." Duo made an exagerated face and to his surprise, Heero's lips twitched slightly. Yet another indication of how much he /had/ changed. The Japanese man nodded and sat down once again. Duo grinned and walked back into the cramped bathroom. He shut the door and swiftly stripped out of his cold, wet swim trunks. Fifeteen minutes and a half a bottle of shampoo later, Duo walked out of the bathroom fully clothed and attempting to brush the tangles out of his long hair. "Saa, what a pain." He complained.

"You could always cut it." Heero noted and Duo clutched his hair protectively

"Not a chance!" Duo exclaimed stroking his hair like one would a pet. Heero simply looked at him weird his expression saying 'are you high or something?' and Duo laughed nervous. "So....What brings you here Heero?" Duo asked litling the last part of Heero's name. The Japanese man's features settled into its customary and familier frown.

"I thought about what you said...."

"Oi!" Duo interrupted. "Look man, I had no right to say those things to you. I was way outta line."

"No, you weren't." Heero said softly. "You have every right to speak your mind, I just...I just wasn't thinking too straight earlier." Duo peered at Heero curious. "I won't lie to you, I don't want anything to do with this. I am tired of it all Duo. I don't want to kill anymore." Heero clenched his fists and glared down at his whitened knuckles. Duo sat down next to Heero on the bed and wrapped a comforting arm around his shoulder.

"Hey, it's okay. I understand." Heero looked at Duo intently.

"Do you? Do you really, Duo?" Duo nodded and smiled.

"Hai, and I wouldn't blame you if you chose to sit this one out."

"Thank you...for not judging me a coward."

"Nah! I could never think that of you Heero, I've seen you fight. And I've seen you do things no one else I thought could possibly do; unflinchingly at that."

"I'm not the Perfect Soldier, Duo. Not by a long shot." Duo looked at Heero but remained silent as the Japanese man's eyes narrowed in pain. "I killed innocent people who had /nothing/ to do with our war."

"Look Heero, you can't keep blaming yourself for Noventa's death, remember, his wife forgave you. The only person who hasn't is you...."

"No!" Heero exclaimed shaking his head. "I'm not talking about him..." Heero's eyes darkened with sorrow and for one brief moment he looked like what he was, a child haunted by daemons most adults never even had to face. For one second, the true Heero Yuy, the humane and sensitive man who had been forced to repress all emotion, shown through. But that glimpse was gone in a flash, replaced by the 'Perfect Soldier's' mask. Duo stared at Heero surprised by the vemon in his voice and by the vulnerability he was just starting to see.

"Then who?" Duo asked confused and Heero scowled.

"No one."

"Bull!" Duo retorted; face unaturally grim. He was going to find out why Heero suddenly seemed so haunted....so...un-Heero like. "I thought I knew the true Heero Yuy, but it's seems I couldn't have been farther from that." Duo thought silently as the Japanese man raked a hand through his already tousled hair.

"It's nothing Duo, it happened a long time ago. And it's best left in the past."

"Heero, you can't begin to heal until you face your problem." Duo whispered. "And maybe I can help?" Heero laughed a mirthless, slightly manic laugh.

"No offense Duo, but I doubt you could understand."

"Try me." Duo challanged, his eyes intent.

"It's just that I killed a innocent, and that in itself should prove I am not the 'Perfect Soldier'. The 'Perfect Soldier' would never have made such a mistake."

"Sou ka." Duo murmured, things were suddenly fitting together.

"She was just a kid Duo, a innocent child and I killed her. That is why I'm not some 'Perfect Soldier' and why I didn't hold my life in high value. A soldier's duty is to die in the line of duty if nessicary, but I courted death, longed for it. But I guess my training was a little bit /too/ efficient considering I'm still here huh." Heero looked down, his eyes distant.

"I know how you feel." Duo whispered and Heero looked at him startled. The blue-violet eyed man looked at Heero calmly. "You're not the only one with innocent blood on your hands Heero. Maxwell Church, everyone there was slaughtered 'cause I stole a MS and lead the authorities back to the Orphanage. It was my fault they all died." Duo looked at Heero with eyes that were a barren and blasted as a desert. Suddenly Duo smiled self-depricatingly. "But I survived, Death has always alluded me. I may call myself Death but I'm simply some poor fool who courts it, yet never catches it. That and I've got either the worst luck in the universe, or the best. I'm not sure which." Duo admitted frankly. "But one thing I do know is /why/ I am willing to take up my role as Death again." Duo stood up and walked over to the curtained window and pulled back the heavy material slightly. Heero walked behind him and Duo pointed down at where the girl named Layla played with the rest of her friends. "I'm doing this for her, and the countless other people like her, people like those at Maxwell Church, and people like you and me Heero. Those who have seen war, known it's horrors, those who don't want to fight again. But I will, what's the discomfort of one compaired to the discomfort of a hundred, or a thousand people?" Duo turned around and the last rays of the sun shown on his unbound chestnut hair, haloing it around his head. "Our own wishes seem kind of small compared to those everyone elses', ne?" Heero frowned in thought and slowly nodded.

"Yes, I guess if you were to look at it that way." He admitted softly and Duo continued to smile bitterly.

"You've changed." Heero remarked.

"So have you Heero, we both have, it's been a long time."

"Only a few years." Heero smiled slightly.

"Animals can be born, have children and die in less time then that Heero."

"True. So what have you been doing these last few years?"

"Nothing, everything, take your pick." Heero sat down in the uncomfortable hotel chair and Duo sat across from him. "Have you and Hilde been working things out okay with your scrapeyard?"

"Yeah, we've been doing okay, she's got herself some new beau, spends her time talking about him." Duo rolled his eyes and smiled a genuine smile.

"You okay with that?" Heero asked cautiously, an odd look in his eyes.

"Sure, why wouldn't I be?" Duo asked confused.

"Well...I thought that you and her were like...well you know....an item or something." Heero flushed slightly from acute embarassment, emotions had /never/ been his forte.

"Me and Hilde!?" Duo exclaimed, his eyes as wide as saucers. The long haired American's shoulders begain to shake from surpressed laughter and he abruptly started laughing. "Aw man! Yer killing me!" Duo continued to laugh and Heero started to glare at him.

"What's so funny?" Heero asked; his voice ice.

"You..." Duo sat flopped onto his bed and wiped at his eyes. "Me and Hilde, that's classic."

"Duo...." Heero warned, but the American contiuned to laugh. Finally, Heero grabbed the edge of the bedspread and yanked, pulling the blanket and Duo onto the floor.

"I..Itai." Duo whined as he rubbed his head; Heero smirked. "Jerk, what was that for?" Duo managed to pout and glare at the same time.

"You were acting like an idiot and not answering my question. That was an effective way of getting your attention." Heero said in monotone and Duo rolled his eyes.

"Ever the 'Perfect Soldier'." He muttered as he rubbed his injured head and Heero snorted.

"You never answer my question." Heero persisted.

"Nothing, it's just that you thought me and Hilde were, you know...going out." Duo failed to surpress a chuckle.

"So you aren't?" Surprise tinged Heero's voice and his Prussian blue eyes widened slightly.

"No. Look, we're just friends."

"Sou ka." Heero murmured and Duo sat down in the oppisite chair as Heero.

"What about you and the Ojou-san?"

"Relena?" Heero looked faintly ill. "We're not going out, I guess we could be called friends, if you used the term loosely." Duo smirked. "She's stoped stalking me at least..." Heero thought about earlier. "Well...mostly." That was too much for Duo and he laughed out loud. "Shut up Duo!" The American laughed harder and the Heero frowned; then grinned evilly.

"Speaking of which, I still owe you for stealing my laptop." Duo abruptly stopped laughing and looked anxiously at the evilly grinning Heero.

"Man, stop grinning like that, it's creepy."

"Like what?" Heero asked innocently.

"Like that, like a lion that's about to pounce on a nice fat antelope, said antelope being me." Duo said as he backed away and Heero's grin grew and he pounced Duo; sending the two of them tumbling onto the beg. Duo squawked and the two young men started to wrestle earnestly. Heero grinned manicly and tickled Duo mercilessly. "Man, stop!" Duo cried as his sides started to ache from giggling so much. Heero snorted and pinned Duo to the bed.

"Not till you apologize for wrecking my laptop."

"Okay, okay! I'm sorry."

"Hn." Heero grunted as he continued to stare down at Duo. The American looked at Heero quizically.

"H...Heero?" Duo murmured uncomfortable as Heero stared at him.

"Hai?"

"What's wrong?" Heero blinked and his eyes seemed to cloud over with some strong emotion.

"Nothing." Heero said as he climbed off of Duo and crawled to the other end of the bed. Duo immeditatly noticed the lack of Heero's warmth and sat up.

"Hey, what's wrong?" Duo asked quietly; a frown marring his forehead.

"Nothing, I just...got to close." Heero said as he looked down at his hands in his lap.

"Aa." Duo said as he looked at Heero. "Ya know, getting close is not a bad thing, Heero." Heero looked at him sharply and Duo smiled warmly. "Promise, you should try it again sometime." A mischievous gleam shown in Duo's blue-violet eyes as he crawled across the bed and sat next to Heero. "I wouldn't mind ya know." Duo said, his voice barely above a whisper. Heero looked at him torn.

"Duo...." Duo grimaced slightly as he looked ahead.

"I know, I know. Back off Duo, gomen." Pain and regret flashed through Duo's eyes before he could mask them.

"No, I wasn't going to say that." Heero said as he turned to look at Duo.

"Really?" Duo looked over at Heero and their noses nearly touched. Duo's eyes grew huge as he jerked back. "Sorry." He whispered as he tried to regain a iota of his personal space but Heero leaned forward. "H..Heero..." Duo stuttered as the Japanese man closed the distance between them and kissed Duo tentatively. 'Oh shit....oh Christ.." Duo's brain tumbled to a halt as he panicked mentally. "He's kissing me...Heero's kissing ME." Duo thought frantically. "What do I do?! What do I do!?!" Duo wondered silently; but then he followed what his instincts told him and leaned forward into the kiss. Heero laid a shaking hand on his shoulder and wrapped his arm around Duo's waist. The American slid closer to Heero as he rubbed his lips against Heero's pliant ones. "He's kissing me....? I'm kissing him back, and I like it!" Duo thought furiously as he brought his hand up and laid it against Heero's cheek. At the light touch on his cheek, Heero gasped as reality slammed down on him and he jumped back. Heero looked at Duo with confused and panicked eyes.

"I...I..." Speech seemed to elude Heero as he stared at Duo. The American had the cutest confused and pouting look on his face.

"Ano...." Duo mentally gathered his thoughts as he wringed his hands together.

"What just happened?!" The both asked at the same time. Heero looked away, a blush staining his cheeks as he stood up.

"Whatever that was...it shouldn't have happened...right?" A hurt note tinged Heero's voice as he looked to Duo for answers. Pain flahsed in Duo's eyes but he looked down.

"Yeah, I guess." He whispered without much enthusism.

"Up to you I guess, I dunno." The American clentched his fingers painfully. Dammit, why did Heero have to be so unsure suddenly? Duo was used to looking to Heero for the answers, used to relying on Heero's unshakable attitude. But now, he was just as lost and confused as Duo, probably more so.

"You don't sound to happy." Heero said a questioning look on his face.

"Why should I be?" Duo asked mentally. "I don't?" he asked outloud.

"No, you don't." An odd light filled Heero's eyes. "Do you...do you want this to..." The vid-phone rang and Heero jumped visably.

"Saved by the bell." Duo thought cynically as he picked up the receiver. "Hello?" Duo said as the caller came up on screen. "Quatre! How are you man?" Duo grinned and motioned for Heero to come over to the phone.

"Hiashiburi desu Duo." Quatre cheerfulled called. "And Heero?" A unspoken question hung in the air.

"Aa" Heero said. "I was talked to Duo about these Travelers."

"Ah." Quatre murmured. "So are you two going to help?"

"You bet." Duo said. "What about you?"

"Hai, it's the reason I'm calling. The palns have changed, we just got information that the Travelers have moved their plans up. Can you be ready to leave tonight?" Duo looked over at Heero.

"Aa." The Japanese man murmured and a happy grin split Duo's face.

"That'll be two of us." Duo winked.

"Good, if you'll meet us at this location at 2200 hours we'll get under way." Quatre sent the coridinates.

"Okay, we'll be there." Duo said cheerfully.

"Bridget-san will meet you there, and you'll proceed to the colony." Heero looked sharply at the vid-screeen

"Bridget?"

"Hai, she's going to lead you to the location. Trowa and I will be on the other ship. Wufei and Sally will meet you at a scheduled rendezvous point.

"Yoshi!" Duo said clapping his hands together. "We'll met see you at the party, Qautre." Duo said grinning like an idiot. "But right now I've gotta get some things in order before we leave."

"Aa, see you soon, Duo, Heero." Quatre noded and smiled warmly. "Good luck, and take care."

"Of course. Ja ne!" Duo grinned and closed the communication. Duo swiftly braided his hair and tied it back. "Oi, I'm going to get some things for the trip, you want to come?"

"No." Heero said softly. "I need to do some things too, I'll meet you there."

"Okay." Duo packed up his things and Heero followed him to the door. "Just got to drop off my key, see you tonight Heero." Heero nodded and at his side, his hand clentched in frustration.