Okays! This story has a bit of background, so you peoples get to hear about it, aren/t you excited? ^_~ About a month ago, I took in a stray puppy that I'd found /starving/ on the street. He was in poor condition and just one terrible sight. I started to try and think of a name for him, and of course the first thing I thought of was Duo (duh) I mena here was this little streetdog who had no home and he needed someone to watch out for him. But I'll tell ya, for some odd reason, I couldn't stick with the name Duo, and I kept thinking of him as Solo. /Big/ mistake, cuz we all know how Solo ended up, ne? Well here's a spoilor for anyone who doesn't know, Solo died of a plague. ::whispers::: About two weeks ago, the puppy got /really/ sick and I took him to the vet. The vet said he had distemper, and the only /humane/ thing todo to a dog that has distemper is to put them down. I actually cried when I heard this, I NEVER cry. I brought the puppy home so I could consult with my grandmother on wheter or not we wanted to let the vet put Solo down, or take him to an animal shelter. It was then that I started this fic. I needed some way to get rid of all the grief and regret I had locked up in me. I was going to have this done before I had to put the puppy down. :::sniffles::: But the night before I was going to put Solo down, he started to eat again. He hadn't eaten anything for nearly a week and he couldn't even keep water down without throwing it up or having the ::coughs:: the trots so to speak. This was like at 12 at night and I ran into my granma room and woke her up, I was soooooo happy. The next day, Solo was looking even better and I took him into see the vet. Both my grandmother and the vet assistant had told me that Solo had distemper, so I went to the vet with a heavy heart, thinking I was /still/ sentancing Solo to death. But the vet took a look at him and said maybe he'd thrown the virus off and maybe he was doing better and to wait and see. Well I'm VERY happy to say, Solo seems have have a made a full recovery. He's back to /attacking/ his food without even bothering to chew as he enhales it and he's no longer sick ::::hugs everyone happily:::: So I guess that's why I named this story 'The Choice' it was about both Heero's choice and my choice between following what everyone was telling me, or clinging to the fragile hope I had for one little lost puppy. ::looks at the looooooong story she just told::: Yare yare, well we'll just call this lovely little piece of rambling 'Solo's story' and get on with the GW fanfics ne? :::winks:::

Warnings: None really, maybe a tiny bit of angst if you wanna call it that and a tiny bit of shounen ai. I don't own GW, nor do I own the G-boys :::sighs::: No matter how much I wish I did, oh well. :::snaps fingers:::: Please send c&c to Sheira_Kagema@yahoo.com since I'm on the web-only option on GWML and I /never/ have time to check anymore :::grumbles::: Baka work, evil bosses making we work 11 hours standing with lousy 30 minute break ::::grumblegrumble:::
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Chapter One

“Heero! Hurry up!” Duo called over his shoulder as he grinned manically at the Japanese boy.

“Baka!” Heero growled as he was jostled by another person. “Duo chotto!”

“Beeedah!” Duo replied as he held up a hand. “You should hurry up. Can’t have Mister Perfect Soldier falling behind on a miss-“ Duo was abruptly cut off by Heero’s hand covering his mouth.

“Duo no baka.” Heero growled, his voice deadly soft.

“Gomen.” Duo whispered around Heero’s mouth, his eyes huge. Heero scowled and released Duo.

“Let’s just get to this safehouse you mentioned.”

“Yoshi!” Duo cried exuberant as he all but bounced forward. Coming back his home colony on L2 filled Duo with an odd light-heartedness that he rarely experianced. Maybe it was because Heero was here with him and he wanted to show the stoic Japaese pilot all there was too his home colony. “Heero! Hayaku!!” Duo cried impatiently and Heero scowled even as he wiped a bead of sweat from his forehead. The Japanese pilot was having a bit of difficulty adjusting to this colony for some reason. Heeo sighed and hefted his carisack on his shoulder. The artifical sun beat down mercilessly on him as he trudged along in Duo’s wake.

With each passing moment, his annoyance at the braided boy grew. Why was he so damned hyper?! Didn’t this blasted heat have any effect on the loud-mouthed idiot? Heero growled in frustration and winced as some sweat got in his eyes. Duo laughed from up ahead as he knelt down next to a thin waif of a child. The Japanese boy paused a moment, frozen at the sight of Duo so carefree and open. The merry ring of Duo’s laugh met Heero’s ears and the dark haired boy was surprised to hear true happiness in that laugh instead of the usual desperate maniacal tone he’d come to associate with Duo’s laughter.

‘He runs….he hides…’ Heero thought silently as he caught up with Duo. Truly, that was what Duo did, his laugh was one of a desperate man who was trying so hard to run from his own daemons. Maybe coming back to L2 wasn’t such a bad idea, Heero found he could stand the heat if only he could hear Duo laught like that more often…Wait a minute!! Where had /that/ come from!? Heero blinked in surprise and he was even more shocked to find his legs unsteady. By shear force of will, Heero made himself walk forward one step at a time.

“Duo, the safehouse.” Heero said as he shook his head, trying to get rid of the odd ringing in his ears.

“Hai!” Duo said goodbye to the child and led Heero through some back streets till they stood before a rundown, ramshakle…hut…

“This is it?” Heero asked looked at Duo incredulous.

“It doesn’t look habitable.”

“It’s not.” Duo grinned mysteriously and pulled Heero into the hut. “That’s what makes it the perfect place for the /enterance/ to a safehouse.” Duo pushed a pile of wood out of the way and moved a mat aside to reveal a small lever. He pulled on it and a small hole appeared in the ground. “This leads to some abandoned hangerbays that pretty much everyone has forgotten existed. The perfect place to store Shinigami and Wing, ne?” Heero nodded and Duo tossed his and Heero’s bag into the hole. After that, Duo lowered himself cautiously through the hole. “It’s about a six foot drop, so be careful.” Duo warned as he let go. Heero heard the American pilot land with a muffled ‘Umph’

“You okay?”

“Fine!” Duo called and Heero nodded. He manuvered himself into the small opening and dropped to the ground below. Heero landed wrong and his ankle twisted, sending him crashing to the ground. “Heero!? Are you alright??” Heero laid on the ground stunned for a moment before he pushed himself up.

“Aa.” He muttered as he glared down at his right leg.

“Just landed wrong.” The Japanese boy looked around into the murky gloom and he could just barely make out Duo’s outline with the help of the slight light shining down through the hole. “How are we supposed to close that?” Heero asked motioning at the hole.

“Can you give me a boost?” Duo asked and Heero nodded as he bent down next to the braided boy. He cupped his hands and Duo place his foot in them. “One, two, three.” Heero lifted Duo up and gritted his teeth as he arms protested the strain. His ankle felt like it was on fire and Heero had to bite back a cry of pain as Duo pushed the latch up and locked it. They were plunged into total darkness and Heero’s head reeled from a sudden lack of orientation. He wavered a bit and Duo grabbed onto his shoulders in panic “Oi!” Duo said as he lept to the ground. “Don’t do that! You nearly had me crashing into a wall!”

“Gomen.” Heero said softly as he leaned against a wall. “Do you have a light?”

“Che, thanks for the understanding.” Duo muttered as he felt around blindly for his and Heero’s packs. Duo found his and dug a flashlight out and flipped it on. He winced as the light hurt his unprepared eyes. “You ready to go?” Duo asked turning towards Heero but making sure to train the flashlight away from the Japanese pilot’s face.

“Aa.” Heero said as he grabbed his pack. Duo grabbed his and the two made their way through the access tunnels quickly. Every now and then, Duo would consult a small map he carried and finall; Duo opened a side door and led Heero into the room that would become their temporary home.

“This is it.” Duo said grinning as he turned on the lights. “Oi, I’m gonna go and arrange to have Shinigami and Wing flown into the hangerbay. It’s right through that door there.” Duo said pointing at a door on the far side of the room. Heero glanced at it and continued his survay of the room. The Japanese pilot noted the double bed off to one side along with the shabby but sturdy looking table next to a small cooler unit. “The bathroom’s through that other door next to the closet.” Duo said poiting at two doors directly in front of Heero. Heero walked over to the table and pulled his laptop out of his bag. It was expertly packed between clothes so it hadn’t been damaged in the six foot fall it’s suffered. Duo tossed his bag next to Heero. “There should be some food in my bag if you get hungry, same with water. I’ll pick some more stuff up after I deal with the Gundams.”

“Okay.” Heero said as he booted up his computer. “I’ll inform Doctor J that we made it here with no problems. Duo nodded and his eyes lingered on Heero’s back before he turned to leave the room.

“You know where to reach me if there are any problems.”

“Aa.” Duo sighed and hung his head. Why did he even /bother/ to try and talk to Heero?

“I swear the extent of his vocabulary is mainly composed of ‘Aa’, ‘Hn’, ‘Baka’, ‘Ninmu Ryoukai’, ‘Ninmu Kanryuu’, and everyone’s favorite ‘Omae o Korosu’!” Duo muttered to himself as he stalked down the hallway. Although he didn’t let on about it, Duo was hurt that Heero hadn’t at least /attempted/ to be more friendly with him. He’d been partners with the pyschotic pilot for months now and he was lucky if he got more then five word sentances out of the Japanese pilot. “Che, not like I’m asking for his life’s story.” Duo grumbled as he took an alternative route thent he one he and Heero had taken earlier. “I just want someone to talk to, is that so bad?” Duo shook his head. He wasn’t fooling himself, he wanted more then just friendly conversation with Heero. But he also knew better then to not even /hope/ the taciturn pilot would return his feelings. Heero was so obviously strait, and Duo was…male. “Kuso, there went /my/ good mood.” Duo sighed as he opened a hatch that lead to a small forgotten sidestreet. No, Duo had no hopes of the Japanese boy seeming him beyond a friend at the most, if that much. “Heh, he’s got Relena ojou-san.” Duo muttered as he walked down the street. “And I got…nobody….Nobody but Death, that is.”

 

Heero blinked as more sweat dripped into his eyes and stung them. His fingers faltered a bit as they raced across the keyboard; the Japanese pilot growled in frustration as he backspaced. Heero pushed away from the table and finally gave into his overwhelming thirst as he dug through Duo’s bag searching for the water the American had mentioned. He found a bottle and uncapped it. Heero tilted his head back to take a drink when he suddenly became /very/ dizy. He grabbed at the table but missed it and the floor seemed to drop out from beneath him. Heero fought to regain his balance even as his vision started to gray out. The Japanese boy felt blindly for something to hold onto even as he weakend legs gave out and he fell to the floor unconsious. The water that had been held in Heero’s hands trickled out of its bottle and formed a puddle around the Japanese boy’s body.

 

Chapter Two

Duo wiped some sweat from his brow as he trudged through the spaceport. Why did this colony have to be so blasted /hot/!?! Duo growled in frustration as he waited in line to get out of the terminal. He fingered the credit chip Heero had used to rent a shuttle at L1 one. It was conncected to a slush fund in some Oz department so Duo knew he wouldn’t have to worry about not having enough money to rent another shuttle. And hey, if said shuttle never got returned, it was no money out of his pocket. Duo smirked as he turned his attention to his surroundings. The intercom blared into life and Duo listened to it idly as he waited for the next person to move forward.

“Attention please, attention please. This is a messaged from the health department of L2 colony cluster. All incoming visitors should report to the health department annex to receive vaccinations against the latest bout of Langrane Plague….” Duo’s froze and his hands tightened into fists. The people around him twittered nervously.

“Langrane Plague?” One person whispered softly. “Isn’t that the plague that ran rampant about ten years ago?”

“Yeah.” Someone answered her. “It killed a lot of the indigent ‘cause they couldn’t get the vaccinations in time.”

‘That’s bull, the health department didn’t give them it in time. They were just faceless trash to them!” A young man snarled. “They’ll probably do the same thing this time.”

“Don’t say that.” Someone hush the man. “If security hears you talknig like that, you could be in a lot of trouble.” Duo closed his eyes and tuned out the people around him. Langrane…the plague that had killed Solo….Duo’s face contorted with pain and he pushed himself out of the crowd. Solo! Duo bit his bottom lip as his cruel mind conjured up pictures of his childhod friend. Memories he’d tried to forget….He and Solo racing to escape the authorities. Their small gang huddling together against the cold and finally….the peaceful look on Solo’s face as he lay dead from Langrane. Duo hadn’t been able to steal the vaccination in time for him; he’d been too late. Duo leanded against a wall breathing heavily. Why was he always too late!?!? First Solo, then Maxwell church, he was always too damned late! The voice over the incom droned on about the symptoms of Langrane but Duo didn’t really listen to it.

“…..high fever, disorientation and diziness. I repeat, common signs of Langrane Plague include, halucination, dilated pupils, excessive sweating, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, high fever, disorientation and diziness. If you haven’t been vaccinated in the last ten years and have shown any of these symptoms, please report to the health annex in the shuttleport. More information is available at the nurse’s desk as well as vaccinations. That is all, thank you.” Duo swollowed as something nibbled at the edge of his mind. Fatigue….sweating….

“Oh my God! Heero!!” Duo’s eyes widened as realization came to him. He abruptly pushed himsefl away from the wall and raced through the shuttle port to the healt annex. “Excuse me!” Duo shouted as he ran into the door. “Where’s the information on Langrane Plague?” Duo asked hurriedly.

“Why, have you been explosed to it?”

“When I was a child but I got vaccinated.” The nurse nodded and led Duo to a seat. “Can I see some information on it…so I can know if I’ve contracted it again?” Duo asked not /quiet/ lying. He doubted he’d contracted it, but he was /very/ afraid that Heero had. Coming from L1, the Japanese boy would not have been vaccinated against such an obscure and local thing as Langrane. The nurse clucked over Duo as she handed the American pilot a pamplet. “What do you do if a person has Langrane?”

“Well that’s the problem, there isn’t much you /can/ do for a person with Langrane. Do you want me to vaccinate you just in case?”

“H..Hai.” Duo said hoping he could convince to nurse to leave so /he/ could swipe some of the vaccine for Heero. “But what can you do?”

“You have to treat the symptoms pretty much. Back on earth, they had a sickness called hydrophobia. If you contracted it, you were dead pretty much, because the person ran such a high fever. But one doctor, didn’t know his patient had contracted it and he simply treated the symptoms and that patient survived.”

“So these are the symptoms?” Duo asked pointing at a list in the pamplet. “But..Langrane it’s not as deadly as this hydrophobia is it?”

“Oh no! Albiet it /is/ serious, with proper medical treatment, a patient has a very good chance of surviving. Actually this vaccine right here, it’s better then the one you were probably vaccinated with when you were a child.” The nurse pulled out a bottle from her scrub pocket. “It helps patients who have already contracted Langrane. But mostly, it mainly depends on how healthy the patient was before contracting Langrane.”

“Oh.” Duo murmured as the nurse pushed a cart with the vaccine and a needle over to him. She opened the needle and set it down to scrub Duo’s arm with an alcoholic spong. Duo sharply kicked the cart and the needle fell to the ground. “Gomen! I got a cramp in my leg.” Duo made a pitiful look and the nurse sighed.

“Nuts, that was my last one too….” Duo tried not to grin as she searched under the cart for the needles he’d stolen when she wasn’t looking. “I’ll go get some from the back, don’t you move okay?” Duo smiled his most charming smile at the frazzled nurse and she smiled back. “I’ll be right back.” The nurse turned away and and walked into the back. “I could have /sworn/ I had more hypodermics then that.” She muttered. The moment she was out of sight, Duo grabbed the vaccine and ran for the door. The nurse heard the door open and close and she grabbed a few hypodermics.

“Can I help…..” The nurse froze when she found herself faced with an empty room. “Now where dig he go…?” The nruse frowned as she looked at the seat she’d left Duo in. She noted the lack of the vaccine and bit her lip. “A thief….” She whispered. “Probably one of those street kids. I hope he knows how much to give to his friends…” The nurse murmured not at all upset that she’d been stolen from. It was the way life went on the colony. Maybe this way a few people wouldn’t have to die because of the administators lack of regard for the desitute. “I’m gonna get in trouble.” The nurse said with a cheeky grin as she went and filed a theft report. Of course, if that report got shoved to the bottom of her ‘to do’ list, maybe that would give the kid the time he needed to get away. Smiling mischievously, the nurse sat back down at her desk and awaited the next person to walk through the door.

 

Duo quickly picked up some food and finished with the Gundams before he rushed back to the safehouse. “Heero!” Duo called as he ran through the door of the main room. He stopped dead in his tracks when he saw Heero lying unconsious on the ground, laying in a puddle of water. The bag containing the food and vaccine dropped nervelessly from Duo’s hands and he shuddered. “Heero!?” Duo cried as he ran over to the Japanese boy’s prone body. Duo was surprised he was trembling as he carried Heero over to the bed and laid him down. The Japanese pilot was burning up with fever and sweating profusely. “Oh God, oh God, oh God.” Duo chanted over and over again as he laid a hand against Heero’s burning forehead. He ran over to Heero’s bag and dug through it till he pulled out the first aid kit the Japanese boy always kept with him. Duo pulled out the thermometor and placed it between Heero’s lips. The Japanese boy recoiled and slowly became concious.

“Duo?” Heero croaked out.

“Shhh. Don’t talk, I’m taking your temp.” Duo whispered as he stroked Heero’s bangs back from his sweaty forehead. Heero opened his eyes and Duo noticed that the pupils were dilated so much, not much of the intense colbalt colored iris could bee seen. Heero tiredly closed his eyes and Duo waited impatiently as he took Heero’s temp. He swallowed when it read 106.

“Oh Christ, he’s burning up…” Duo whispered. He ran into the bathroom and turned on the tub. He was thankful that this safehouse tapped directly into the colony’s water supply, this way they didn’t have to worry about water rationing. He waited till the tub was full and he carried Heero into the bathroom. He sat the delirious pilot on the floor and pulled his clothes off, leaving only his underwear in place.

“This is gonna be a bit cold.” Duo wanred Heero as he sat the Japanese pilot in the tub. Heero whimpered as the ice cold water covered his feverish body and he weakly struggled against Duo. “Shhhh, hold on love, don’t fight me okay.” Heero shivvered and grasped Duo’s hand when he stood to leave. “I’ll be right back.” Duo assured Heero as he walked back into the main room. He grabbed the medical kit, the hypodermics and the bottle of vaccine. He opened an alcohol rub as he carried the items back into the bathroom. “Hand me your arm.” Duo instructed and Heero held out his right arm. ”I’m going to give you an injection that’ll help you get better, okay?” Heero looked at him, a slightly puzzled look on his face but he nodded slightly; his eyes drifting shut. Duo pulled a rubber string around Heero’s arm and waited for the veins to appear in relief against his skin. Duo sighed as he prepared the hypodermic and he read off the dosage from the label.

“Gomen.” Duo muttered as he pulled the rubber string from Heero’s arm and inserted the needle into Heero’s arm. The Japanese boy tensed up and Duo cooed softly too him. “It’s okay, Heero. Relax, love.” Duo pulled the needle from Heero’s arm and brushed the Japanese pilot’s bangs back from sweating forehead. “That wasn’t so bad, now was it?” Duo asked with forced cheer as he bandeged the small wound on Heero’s inner arm. Duo repeated the procedure on himself just to be certain that he too wouldn’t catch the Langrane Plauge. After that, Hh held onto Heero’s arm and monitered his condition; taking his temperature. After Heero’s fever had dropped a few degrees, Duo pulled the Japanese pilot from the tub and toweled him off. He changed Heero out of his wet underwear and replaced them with fresh dry ones, all the while blushing birhgtly. Once that was done, Duo carried Heero into the main room and bundled him up in covers. Soon the Japanese pilot started to shiver and he tossed restlessly in his sleep. Duo continued to watch him anxiously even as he continuously kept rethinking about how Solo had deteriated and finally died. It had been so quick, Duo hadn’t expected Langrane to work so quickly, but Solo had gotten sick and had been dead less then 48 hours later. “I won’t let you die.” Duo whispered fiercly as he held onto Heero’s hand tightly. “I won’t.”

 

Heero was dreaming, he had to be. There was no other way to describe the strange and sureal world he found himself in. A world where everything was darker then the deppest regions of space and the only light seemed to be emmited from his own body.

“What is a dream?” A husky voice asked softly and Heero whirled around only to find himself faced with Duo. Or at least a creature that /looked/ like Duo.

Last time Heero had checked, Duo didn’t come equipped with startlingly glossy black-violet feathered wings. They trully were magnificent wings, seemingly glossy and black as obsidian until the light shown upon them, then they shimmered with violet highlights. Surely no mortal bird had ever sported such exotic plumage? So where had Duo gotten the feathers!? “I should think that’s obvious.” The Duo-Angel said smiling pleasently. “I’m not Duo. But I do thank you for the compliments on my wings.” The Duo look-a-like idly grabbed a pinion and stroked it lovingly. “They are my pride and joy, aside from my hair perhaps.” Heero noted that this Duo left his impossibly long chestnut hair free and it billowed in a breeze that seemed to come from no where. This creature seemed to emit light as well, but it was a softer white-violet light rather then the pure white that surrounded Heero.

“Where am I?” Heero asked shortly.

“This place has many names, the Astral Plane, the Void, the Barrier, Plane between Planes, take you pick.”

“Am I dead?” Heero asked softly, appearing to not be too upset about such a concept. The Duo-Angel laughed hearitly.

“Not quiet yet my friend.” Heero’s eyes narrowed at the mention of the word ‘friend’.

“Who are you?” The Duo-Angel cocked his head to the side and all too familier manic grin settled onto his sweet face. Something akin to lightning flashed and Heero could have sworn he saw bat-like wings superimposed over the midnight colored angel-like wings.

“I am Death.”

 

Chapter Three

Duo sniffled as he watched Heero toss and turn once again in his sleep.

“Ne, Heero. Are you listening you me? Can you even hear me I wonder?” Duo said softly, his voice even more husky then usual because of unshed tears. “Well even if you can’t, I’m gonna talk to you because to be honest, I’m going crazy here.” Duo wiped at his nose with his arm in an eerily cat-like gesture. “When I was a kid living on the streets of this colony, there was this boy named Solo. He kinda took me under his wing and he became kinda like a big brother to me. I probably wouldn’t have made it if it hadn’t been for Solo, I had no idea how to survive on the streets. I was starving and nearly to the point of having to turn tricks in order to get some food.” Duo laughed self-depricatingly. “You probably would look down on me for that, but I was /that/ hungry, and when no one gives a shit about you, you gotta do what you gotta do.” Duo closed his eyes as a pair of michievous and dancing blue eyes seemed to appear in his mind’s eye. Solo….”But then…then Solo found me and he helped me to learn how to survive on the streets. We were a scraggly pair, little terrors actually.” A small smile lit upon Duo’s lips briefly. “Always getting into trouble, the terrible duo is what they called us. That’s how I got my name. Solo, he’d been alone for a long time so he started calling himself Solo. But then when he took me in there were two of us so I decided to call myself Duo. Heh, betcha never thought I’d get my name like that, huh?” Duo sagged against the bed and he laid his head against Heero’s hand. “Please, don’t leave me.” He whispered brokenly and tiny dropplets of moisture splashed against Heero’s skin unheeded.

 

“You’re what!?” Heero growled and the Duo-Angel smiled enigmatically.

“Actually, that’s not completely true.” He said softy.

“I’m both Life and Death.”

“How can you be both?” Heero asked suspitiously.

“There is a thin line between Life and Death just as there is one for a lot of things in life. Like say, pleasure and pain, love and hate. You walk that thin line every day. But on this day, the line has gotten a lot thinner and now, you have to choose.”

“Choose?” Heero asked, his cobalt blue eyes confused and unsettled while his face remained impassive as ever.

“Yes, choose. Even as we speak, you’re physical body languishes away at the hands of a plague you caught when you came to L2.”

“Honto?” Heero asked, surprise registering on his face.

“Aa.” The Duo-Angel murmured as he gestured and Heero suddenly saw himself lying, sweating and feverish in a bed. Duo was knelt down next to him, leaning his head against his hand and…crying….

“Duo….” Pain and regret clearly registered on Heero’s face for once when he saw the small teardrops falling from beneath Duo’s long, sooty lashes. The American was sayinng something but Heero couldn’t hear what it was he said.

“So that’s the one who is so precious to you.” The Duo-Angel’s voice broke into Heero’s stunned thoughts.

“What do you mean? Aren’t you a part of Duo or something? A projection?” The Angel like creature shook his head.

“No, you’re the one who gave me this form. You gave me the form of the person you cared about the most, it’s an instinctive thing that humans do when in an unfamilier situation like this. You turn to the one’s you relie upon to help protect you and to ease your fears. That person for you, happens to be this boy.”

“Uso….” Heero said, deadly soft.

“It’s not lie, I assure you. You may not be aware of it yet, but he /is/ the most important person to you.”

“Who are you to tell me how I do and do not feel??” Heero shouted in a burst of sudden anger.

“Who are you to deny what you feel?” The Angel –like creature shot back. “I know you aren’t very familier with emotions, but even you should be able to see that what you feel for this Duo is a lot stronger then mere friendship or comraderie.” Heero scowled darkly and glared at the one standing before him.

“So what am I supposed to do?” Heero asked grudgingly. “How am I supposed to choose?”

“You have to choose between Life or Death.” Heero cocked an eyebrow at that.

“Heh, depends on what’s on the other side of Death.” He muttered and the Angel chuckled. “Oi, what am I supposed to call you?”

“Whatever you like.”

“You look like an Angel of Death.”

“I’m flattered, but to be fair, I’m also what you would call an Angel of Life.” The Duo look-a-like fluttered his wings and his chestnut hair blew in the breeze once again.

“Shinigami.” Heero said suddenly. “I’ll call you that.”

“God of Death and Darkness…also what the one called Duo is called. A nickname…”

“Yeah, well since you have those black wings, you look like what I would imagine Death to look like.”

“What, no grim reaper with bones instead of flesh?” The newly named Shinigami asked.

“No, that’s a ridiculous fairy tale made up by people who were too terrified to face the fact that Death could easily come to them in the form of their own beloved ones.” Shinigami looked slightly impressed and nodded his head.

“Close enough, closer then most mortals get that’s for sure.”

“Thank you.” Heero said dryly as he looked around, he caught something out of the corner of his eyes and spun around. He could have sworn he saw a feather….

“What are you looking for?” Shinigami asked.

“Another one like you.” Heeor said as he looked around.

“Oh? No one else should be assigned to Guild you…”
Shinigami frowned as he too looked around.

“I saw the tip of another pair of wings.” Heero muttered but he could see nothing but the inky blackness outside of the light coming from he and Shinigami. The chestnut haired Shinigami suddenly broke into laughter and he walked over to Heero.

“Wings….” Amusement shown brightly in his eyes as he touched Heero’s shoulder and pulled a feathered apendange around for the Japanese boy’s inspection. Heero’s eyes widened to an impossible size as he stared at the wings that seemed to have suddenly sprouted from his back. Now where the hell had /they/ come from!?

 

Chapter Four

Duo wrung out the washcloth he’d been using to wipe at Heero’s face once again. He laid it upon the Japanese boy’s forehead and stared at the relaxed face of the other pilot. How long had he been nursing Heero? 24 hours? 30? The American massesged his forehead where a headache that he couldn’t seem to shake continued to pound. The Japanese pilot had ceased to sweat, but now he was shivering and struggling in his sleep.

“Heero no baka.” Duo whispered affectionatly as he grasped the Japanese boy’s fingers. He was so tired, why couldn’t he just sleep? Duo’s body screamed at him to sleep and the American found he was having a harder and harder time keeping his eyes open. “Maybe I’ll just lay down for a few minutes.” Duo whispered as he crawled into the bed next to Heero. He tossed the washcloth into the basin and pulled Heero into his arms. Maybe his body heat would help to chase away the shivers that constantly racked Heero’s thin frame.

Within minutes, Duo’s exhausted body won out and he fell into an exhausted sleep. He never noticed when Heero’s breathing got shallower and shallower, or felt his heartrate gradually slow down.

 

“Surprise.” Shinigami said with a cheerful grin.

“Where….”

“Where did that come from?” Heero nodded shortly and reached out a trembling hand to touch the feathers.

They were a dirty shade of off-white, no where near as attractive as Shinigami's wings. They wer actually quiet dingy looking…. “Well I’ll be honest with you, that’s not a good sign. It means you’re leaning closer towards the Death side, so you are now changing on this plane even as your body shuts down back on the Mortal plane.

“I’m dying?” Heero asked.

“Almost, you’re going to have to choose, and choose quickly.”

“Choose….Either face what’s on the Otherside or go back to Life where I have to kill and live in pain….”

“Aa, it’s a shitty decision.” Shinigami said bluntly.

“Judging from the appearance of your wings, you’ll probably go to a pretty nice place, the only thing that’s stopping you from reaching true paradice is yourself.”

“What? I don’t understand.” Heero frowned, confused

“This,” Shinigami geastured at Heero. “It’s how you percieve yourself.” Shinigami fingered one of Heero’s pinions. “You see yourself as tainted and unclean. You think you’re damned for eterinity so you will be. Only you can save youself from yourself, if that makes any sense.”

“Aa.” Heero muttered as he glanced down at his wings.

“What about Duo?”

“What about him?” Shinigami asked.

“Will he..will he be alright if I die?”

“That’s not something I can say.”

“Don’t give me that!” Heero grabbed Shinigami’s shoulders.

“You have to choose!” Shinigami narrowed his now violet eyes. “What do you think would happen to him?” Heero backed away and sank to his knees.

“Duo…” Heero whispered. How could he choose between Pain and Love or Paradise and Peace? What kind of choice was that!?! Heero didn’t know what to do, did he wish to continue his pitiful existence or did he wish to brave what was on the Otherside and flee from all the pain and sorrows that permited his everyday life. If he was dead, he wouldn’t have to be a Gundam pilot anymore. He wouldn’t have to /kill/ anymore; no more little girls and her puppies, no more senseless slaughter. He’d be at peace….alone… With an odd certainly, Heero was sure that if he died right now, Duo wouldn’t be joining him in Eternity. Could that mean the American would do something sutpid like killing himself and thus sentancing himself to whatever existed as Hell?

“It’s a possibility.” Shinigami interupted. “I can’t tell you the future because I don’t know it myself. I am merely a Guild, Heero. I can only show you the path, it’s up to you to walk it however.” Shinigami knelt down next to Heero. “Now, you must choose.” Heero looked up and the world around him slowly melted into a beautiful light that radiated love and happiness.

 

Duo awoke with a start and he looked over at Heero who was still, too still.

“No!!!” Duo cried as he felt for Heero’s pulse. “The Japanese pilot’s pulse was thready and weak, and he wasn’t breathing. “No!!!” Duo raged against his panic as he performed artifical respiration on Heero. The Japanese boy still didn’t breath and Duo laid his head on Heero’s chest and sobbed like a lost child. His tears fell hot on Heero’s skin even as Duo’s fingers dug into the matress. “Don’t leave me, please.” He begged as he listened to the slowing beat of Heero’s heart. “Please, don’t leave me alone. I can’t live like this again, onegai Heero. Don’t die….Heero!!!!!” Duo cried harder as Heero’s heart finally stopped. “No!!!!!!”

 

“What is that?”

“The Otherside.” Shinigami said sadly and his beatufil black/violet wings were replaced by the bat-like ones Heero had seen before. “You’ve made your choice? If you don’t do it quickly, you won’t have a say in the matter.” Heero looked at Shinigami then he looked at the portal of Light that appeared before him. Heero took one step towards the portal and Shinigami shook his head sadly, grief and regret written across his features.

“No!!!” Heero’s head jerked around when he heard Duo scream. He glanced around wildly and Shinigami looked up in surprise as well. “No!!!”

“Duo….” Heero couldn’t see Duo but he could plainly hear Duo’s choked voice.

“I’ll be damned.” Shinigami whispered as Heero looked for Duo. The Light beckoned to Heero, softly whispering his name and promising happiness and peace, a world devoid of pain and suffering. Heero closed his eyes, torn between Life and Death.

“Don’t leave me, please.” Duo’s voice again…Heero turned back from the life and looked around

“Duo!! Where is he!?!?” Heero grabbed Shinigami’s shoulders and shook him.

“Only you can find him.” Shinigami said calmly.

“How do I find him?” Heero asked confused and Shinigami smiled beautifically.

“By spreading your wings and flying. By choosing Life over Death.” Heero swallowed and glanced at his dingy white wings. He concentrated and they fluttered, unused muscles protesting. Heero gritted his teeth as pain flaired between his shoulder-blades.

“It hurts because you’ve never used them before. Can you withstand the pain, I wonder…” Shinigami said conversationally as he flapped his own wings. They had transformed back into the black/violet feathered wings instead of the leathery bat-like ones he’d sported before. “Trust in yourself, Heero. Believe in yourself, otherwise you’ll never fly. Never Live.”

“Ryoukai.” Heero muttered as he gathered all of the happy memoreis in his life and tried to gain the strength he needed from them. Not suprisingly, most if not all of them centered around Duo. With a strong beat of his wings, Heero felt himself lift off of the ground. He flapped his unsure wings and ignored the pain from his protesting muscles. “You said you were a Guild, so guild me to Duo!” Heero growled as he fought to stay afloat.

“Please don’t leave me alone. I can’t live like this again,” Duo’s voice reached Heero’s ears and he heard the tears in the American’s voice even if he couldn’t see them. “Onegai Heero. Don’t die….” Shinigami nodded his head and flew off in the oppisite direction of the Light. Heero glanced over his shoulder and that Light grew dimmer and farther away. “Heero!!!!!” Heero flapped his wings harder and Shinigami finally swooped down and landed at the edge of a black pool. He reached out his hand and touched the surface, breaking its mirror-like appearance. Heero’s winced as a light suddenly flashed and Shinigami stood before him with pure white wings.

“I am the Guild, both Death and Life, Light and Darkness.” Heero blinked and fell to the ground as a sudden pain racked through his chest. “You’re choice….” The Guild asked softly and Heero felt that Light creep around him. The pain faded away and a langorous peace settled into him.

“No!!!!” It was Duo’s tortured cry that awoke Heero from his lethargy and Heero crawled forward until he was at the edge of the pool. He saw Duo crying on his chest and saw the tears streaming down the American’s cheeks as he sobbed loudly.

“Duo….” Heero whispered as he reached out his hand to touch the water. The moment his fingertips came in contract with the water, the Light receded and Heero felt as if he was melting into the water itself.

“The Choice has been made.” Heero heard the Guild intone. “Live Well, Heero Yuy.” Heero looked up at the Guild even as he sank into the water and he saw that the familier blue-violet eyes were smiling and he smiled back before the darkness claimed him.

 

Chapter Five

Duo continued to cry on Heero’s chest and at first, he missed the restart of Heero’s heart. But when the Japanese boy breathed in, Duo’s eyes flew open and he stared at Heero, a mixture of hope and surprise warring on his face. “H..Heero….” Duo whispered not quiet believing what he was seeing as he laid head ear against Heero’s chest and listened to the steadier beat of Heero’s heart. “Yokatta…” Duo whispered, tears totally unlike the one’s he cried before slipping down his cheeks and he closed his eyes and thanked whatever Gods were listening.

Duo lay like that for a long time, just reassuring himself that Heero was indeed alive and that his heart was beating stronger and stronger. Duo finally forced himself out of bed and took Heero’s tempurature. His fever was down to 101, it looked like that Perfect Solider had once again survived another battle, only this time, on a totally unfamilier battlefield. Duo smiled happily and lay down next to Heero again. The shivers had mostly resided and only every once in a while did Heero’s body quiver with another shudder. Duo suddenly remember something and lept out of bed. He rumaged around in his bag until he found a penlight. He pried open Heero’s eyelids and shined the light into his eyes. The pupils contracted and Duo closed his eyes relieved. He stopped shining the light in Heero’s eye and the pupil dilated back to its normal size. Duo tested Heero’s other eyes and when it too porved to be normal, Duo laid his head against the crook of Heero’s neck and allowed himself a few minutes to breath in the familier scent of Heero’s skin.

He must have fallen asleep however because the next time he opened his eyes, he was being held close to Heero’s body by a arm wrapped tightly around his waist. Duo blinked and tried to extract himself from Heero’s embrace but the movement awoke the Japanese boy and he looked at Duo with clear but confused eyes.

“Whaa.” Heero croaked and Duo pushed away from Heero so he could get him some water.

“You’ve been sick.” Duo murmured as he held a glass of water to Heero’s lips. The cobalt blue eyed boy looked at Duo as he sipped at the water.. Once the water had moistened his throat; and his thirst had been quenched, Heero tried to speak again.

“What happened?” Heero asked, his voice still scratchy.

“You caught something called Langrane Plague.” Duo said as he busied himself with straitening up. “Are you hungry?” Without waiting for an answer, Duo walked over to the cooler and pulled out a cup of self-heating soup. Once the soup was done, Duo carried it back over to Heero. “Careful, it’s hot.” Duo wanred as he held out a spoonful for Heero. The Japanese boy scowled and refused to eat. “Eat it.” Duo ordered; his voice broking no argument. Heero frowned but allowed Duo to feed him. “There, that wasn’t too bad now was it.” Duo said with a sunny grin as he finished feeding Heero the soup.

“How long was I sick?” Duo’s eyes darkened with some unreadable expression.

“Two days.” Heero nodded and attempted to sit up. “Lay back down!” Duo cried as he forced Heero to lay back. “Dammit Heero! You can’t just force yourself out of bed after what you’ve been through!” Duo growled as he locked gazes with Heero. Tha Japanese boy was none too happy about the fact that due to his current state, Duo was stronger then he. Heero didn’t like anyone forcing him to do anything.

“I’m fine.” Heero said in clipped tones.

“No you’re not.” Duo was obviously fighting for control. “You /died/ Heero. You catching my drift here? You /died/! That is far from ‘fine’!!” Heero froze and he stared at Duo, not comprehending. “Yes, your heart stopped beating and you stopped breathing for nearly five minutes.” Duo mistook Heero’s silence as confusion, but the Japanese pilot was mentally reviewing the dream he’d had while being sick. “Now just sit back and relax. The Gundams are stowed and I contacted Doctor J. and told him what was going on. I can handle this mission alone, you just recover okay?” Duo asked, concern coloring his tone and Heero nodded. “Good. Well I’m personally bushed so I’m going to catch up on some sleep.” Duo yawned hugely and he lay down in the bed next to Heero. “Oyasumi.” Duo muttered as he rolled over and faced away from Heero. The Japanese pilot lay on his back and stared up at the ceiling for a long time, simlpy mulling over his thoughts.

“Duo.” Heero murmured, not looking away from the ceiling.

“Hmmm?” Duo asked sleepily.

“I’m sorry for worrying you.” Heero said softly and Duo rolled over so that his head was cushioned against his arm.

“Oi, it’s okay.” Duo reached out his free hand and squeezed Heero’s shoulder. “I’m just happy you’re alright man.” Duo yawned sleepily and blinked owlishly. “Saa, lets talk about all this in the morning, right now I’m bushed.” Duo gave a sleepy smile and closed his eyes.

Heero glanced out of the corner of his eye till he was certain Duo was fast asleep before he too rolled onto his side and faced the American pilot. Maybe the Guild from his dream was right. But wheter he was or not, it made no difference. Heero lacked the confidence to express how he felt to Duo. The risk of rejection was too high, it was a risk he wasn’t willing to take. At least not until he had further proof that the American felt more towards him then mere friendship. Maybe…maybe someday Heero could tell Duo what was in his heart. Maybe in a world where there was no war, no killing or suffering. A world where Heero wasn’t forced to wear the façade of the Perfect Soldier and Duo wasn’t forced to wear the mask of Shinigami. Because Heero had seen Death and Duo was far from it. Maybe someday he could tell Duo what he had dreamt about, and maybe he would understand.

Maybe, someday…..

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That be it! :::gryns:::: Hope ya liked it, this fic really helped me, I notice I usually write what's going on with my own life into my fics, hen, ne?