4-4-2004

Title: Lost and Found
Author: Sony_Mouse
Pairings: 1+2+1
Warnings: VERY, VERY, VERY DARK. A certain character here is pretty messed up at first, now although technically speaking this story is a romance, it's an angsty one (and yet sometimes I thought it was ultra-sappy. Darkness mostly in reference to extremely bad treatment of children (it gets better though). You have been warned.
Archives: www.gwaddiction.com , if you want to archive me you can, just tell me in advance.
Thanks goes out to Alexis and Lucid Nightmare for all their wonderful help with this story. I asked for beta's and got them right away.
Summary: I wish I could give one, but I don't know how without spoiling it.

 

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The warm blood was quickly beginning to mingle with the cold rain that had been pouring down from the relentless skies for days, forcing the starving young man to constantly wipe the blood and water from his eyes in order to see where he was going. Despite his best efforts, the blood continued to seep down his face, hair and clothes as he stubbornly made his way through the muddy woodland, knowing that the chances of his success decreased with every second of his journey.

There was a limp to his weakening stride, although it remained a constant one none the less, and the cold wind chilled his already wet and weary body to its very core. There was no going back at this point, he either arrived at his destination in one piece, or he died, there were no other options he had the luxury of considering.

The dark sky was randomly being interrupted by the constant attack of lightning, and the much too loud onslaught of thunder caused the young man to wince despite himself. The darkness surrounding him made the young man careless at times, and he let out an exhausted moan as he felt himself fall hard down into the mud, he'd accidentally tripped over some roots from a tree. The thought of just staying there in the semi warm mud traitorously crossed his mind, how simple it would be to just simply give up, drown in the rain or die of exposure. Anything would be better than the pain of walking even one more step in the condition he was currently in. Another round of thunder hit the sky, and for whatever reason, it was enough to force the young man to stand once more and push on in much the same way he'd been doing for days now.

He tried not to think of the newly reopened wound that lay near his gut, or the blood that would just not stop flowing freely from some gash he'd yet to see on his forehead. In the end, he tried not to think much of anything at all, anything to keep him from stalling; he had to keep moving forward.

Had he been forced to walk even one more hour, the young man might not have made it, but then there it was; standing like a very dark beacon in the even darker night, a single pale light that could be seen emanating from somewhere up ahead. It had to be the house, for his sake, it better be.

Gathering up the last of his courage, the lone figure struggled onwards toward the light that now grew brighter with ever step. In the back of his mind, he registered that the light seemed to be flickering, as if someone was repeatedly moving across the room in a hurry, but the only person who could possible be in a hurry was himself, and even he was having an increasingly harder time in remembering just why that was so.

The cabin in the woods had finally come close enough for him to see where the door was, and he hastily rapped his bitterly numb and weakened hands against the door. Seeing that no reply was coming forth, the cold miserable figure went ahead and decided to push itself against the door, letting out a strangled noise that was both pleasure and pain when he realized that the door was thankfully unlocked.

Once inside, he immediately decided against searching the darkened kitchen and living area, and went straight for the daring task of dragging himself up the imposing stairs. No other option had been left open to him, there was no way his voice could manage even a whisper, let alone a cry for help. With that thought in mind, the young man noticed that there were a variety of loud noises emanating from the top floor, yet nothing he could yet make out in his altered state. The only thing he was sure of was that the light he saw from outside could be seen seeping from one of the doors into the upstairs hallway. His mind also noted sourly that there seemed to be a trail of blood much too large for his liking following behind his every step.

The young man managed to grab the top banister and pulled the rest of himself up with all his dwindling might, catapulting himself towards the partially open doorway where all that blasted noise was now emanating from. He slammed open the door with his body and began to pant heavily as he clung to it with all his might and looked steadily upon the chaos being presented before him.

There were two men standing before him and in front of a bed, one he knew, and the other he'd never seen before in his life, either way, both seemed to be attending to the needs of a black woman who looked to be in great pain and lay upon the bed, her knees high up in the air as she let out another scream of agony. He definitely hadn't met her before either.

The bewildered young man realized in a daze that she appeared to be giving birth. Once he realized this, it was only then that he took the time to notice the shocked expressions on both the faces of the two other men standing in the room, the older man with gray hair had a look of horror and disgust at what could only be the site of him, and the other younger man looked afraid to move, perhaps afraid he'd startle the half-wild creature barely standing before them.

The wave of adrenalin that had carried him this far finally gave out, and the world spun before him as the weary traveler felt himself fall harshly to the ground for the second time that night. His last thoughts were only of the screaming that could still be heard, and a new sharper sound that emerged from it all, a young man yelling his name.

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Duo drifted in and out of sleep for days on end, for how long exactly, he had no way of knowing. Time had no relevance for him anymore. His whole world consisted of sleep, muffled noises in the background, the feeling of being cold and hot all at the same time, and pain. There was lots of pain.

However, the pain didn't always last, and there was suddenly a time when the pain wasn't so very great at all. Duo could now make out the noises a bit better, could hear the sound of a hammer banging against a wall, a baby crying in the distance, and of course hushed voices over his bed. But what those voices were saying were still very much a mystery to him. The cold had been one of the first things to leave him besides the pain that he could recall, although his body still had a soreness to it that was unpleasant to say the least. Over time, the immense heat he constantly felt around him also slowly dissipated, leaving him now only with the dull ache of someone who'd been sick for far too long.

And then as if by magic, one day he woke up, that is to say, he "really" woke up for the first time. It wasn't as if he just leapt out of bed and decided to go for a run, but he knew he was now fully conscious and could clearly feel a damp cloth being gently pressed to his forehead, that and the sound of a baby wailing much too close to his ears. Duo tried to speak at first but all that came out was a coughing fit that temporarily brought back some of the pain he'd been feeling before. Once it was over, he slowly cracked open his eyelids and peered into the blank stare of a man he'd not seen in a very, very long time.

"Heero…" Duo struggled a second time to say, "… how long?"

The man in question, looked down at him with what seemed to be some relief in his eyes before he quickly looked away for a second, peering at the dark screaming bundle that lay in one of his arms. He then returned his attention to Duo while he once again pressed the cold compress to Duo's forehead repeatedly.

"Two weeks at the least." He finally answered, his voice an unwavering tone that was pleasant, calm, and most importantly, familiar, at least to Duo's mind.

Duo seemed to ponder Heero's answer for a few seconds before asking another question that seemed almost mundane with all that must have been going on. "You don't know how long exactly? That's unlike you."

Heero's cool features seemed to waiver for a moment before resuming his work. "It's been… a trying couple of weeks, keeping track of time had not been my top priority."

Duo nodded as if he understood completely, while the exactly opposite could only be said to be true. He took a good look at his friend from long ago and smiled inwardly, he had missed the sight before him. Heero hadn't changed too much, only growing a bit to match his age, an improvement if that had been possible. His dark hair still looked as untidy as ever, his toned body had filled out even more over the years, and his hands still looked like they could kill you without warning… except that one of them was now holding the most unlikely of creatures, a small baby. Duo looked over at the baby as if for the first time, and took note of its dark brown colour turned almost an ugly dark red and brown tone due to its screaming, and the way its wails seemed to contort its face. Duo had never before seen a newborn baby before, and wasn't quite sure he much liked the sight of one.

"Heero?" Duo asked again trying to control his voice, and trying at the same time for all the world to sound neutral and knowing that he was failing miserably.

"Yes, Duo?" Heero replied in his quite monotone.

"Why is there a baby here?"

All pretense of normality quickly ended right there as Heero pulled back from Duo and started to pace around the room nervously while he tried to hush the baby in his arms. It was only then that Duo could truly appreciate the look of pure misery that washed over Heero's stoic features. Throughout all the time he'd ever known Heero, not a single time could he ever admit to having seen Heero with anything less than having it `all together'. But now… he looked exhausted, more than exhausted, he looked miserable.

"She's…" Heero strangely seemed to also be at a loss for words. "She's staying with me now. Why are you here Duo? Where have you been? Why did you leave? What's happened since?"

Duo tensed up, quickly changing the subject back to the mysterious baby. He wasn't about to start that conversation for all the money in the world. Years ago, when he'd still just been a teenager he'd actually lived with Heero for awhile. They had been friends, or at least as much of friends you could be when Heero Yuy was concerned. Even then Duo had showed signs of starting to… well to `not have it all together', not that anyone had really cared back then, or now for that matter. In one of his weaker moments he'd done something he still couldn't quite believe to this very day, he'd slept with his best friend. He'd had sex with Heero fucking Yuy, and he'd spent the next six years regretting every second of it. Duo had had an `anxiety' attack or something like it the next morning after he'd figured out what he'd done; he then fled without a trace. Even so many years after the fact, he still wasn't sure why he'd done it, why he'd suddenly felt the need to release all that locked up tension, and just why he had decided to do that with Heero of all people. But he knew leaving had been for the best. Duo also knew that Heero could not possibly be happy about the situation either; it had been a situation that had gotten out of hand quickly, they had both lost control, and Heero hated losing control more than anything else. So Duo had fled, and he'd spent the next six years falling into a cycle that he'd been going through long before the war had ever started. The cycle had finally led him back to Heero; although that was one of the last things he had ever wanted to happen.

"Heero, why is a baby staying with you?" Duo asked to avoid the questions Heero so desperately wanted answer to. "And what about its mother? And the man I saw you with, where's he?"

Pacing even quicker now than before, and looking twice as tense due to both the line of questioning and Duo's avoidance, Heero resumed his attempts to hush the baby. "The doctor left a few days after the birth, after he was sure I could handle the baby and you at the same time. It's a small location; he's needed elsewhere, I was lucky to have him as long as I did."

"And the mother?" Duo asked, surprising himself with the interest he was genuinely showing.

"She left a week after the birth."

"She just left." Duo said in a tone that showed he didn't quite believe that was the normal thing for a mother to do, but then again, if his mother was anything to look to at, maybe it was.

"Yes!" Heero growled angrily. "She just up and left, she was out of her mind, she came here months ago, trying repeatedly to either kill herself, or somehow have a miscarriage. I wouldn't let her. But she managed to sneak away while I was busy fixing the walls in this room."

"Fixing the walls? Kinda an odd thing to do considering the circumstances, couldn't home repair wait until later?"

Heero glared at him coldly, telling him to let him finish before interrupting again. "You already had a bad fever from the night you arrived unannounced, but it was made worse without my knowing due to a heavy draft in the walls. It was while I was fixing this that she managed to leave unnoticed. I would have gone after her…" Heero's voiced suddenly wavered ever so slightly. "…but you were so pale… so near death, I couldn't just leave you like that."

The baby's wails were now growing greater by the second, and it was clear that Heero was speaking louder just to be heard over the seemingly desperate cries. Duo tried painfully to sit up against the backboard of the bed, and was met with a certain amount of success. He watched as Heero grew more agitated by the second, Duo was at a loss of what else to say, trying hard to think of something that would keep the subject of his own mysterious disappearance and sudden reappearance out of the conversation entirely.

"Do you think it's wise to have a baby in the same room as someone as sick as me?"

"Yes, no… I don't know. I don't know anything about babies." Heero was reaching the pinnacle of his patience. The past few weeks had obviously played with him more than Duo had previously thought. Duo started to ask another question when the screaming must have finally gotten to Heero, he looked down at the baby and screamed in frustration.

"Duo, would you just shut up for one second!"

Duo immediately clamped his mouth shut and stared wide eyed at his former friend. Although Heero had constantly teased him in their younger days about being quiet, he'd never yelled at him about it before. Duo slowly sank back into the sheets and turned over onto his side, noticing in the back of his mind that the wailing had ceased the moment Heero had yelled.

"I'm sorry Heero," Duo replied softly, "I know you've had a hard time, and that I shouldn't be asking stupid questions like this. I need some sleep anyways, so you don't need to watch over me anymore, I'm fine now."

Duo turned his head back towards Heero when he heard an audible sigh from the other man. "No Duo, I wasn't yelling at you. I…" And there he was, once again at a loss for words. "I'm still finding it hard to deal with having a baby around. I don't think I was ever meant to even be near one."

"S'ok, Heero, I know you didn't mean it."

Heero suddenly sounded frustrated again. "No Duo, you don't understand, I wasn't yelling at you at all, I was yelling at the baby."

Duo froze at the implication and his face hardened considerably. "Heero, I know you've probably been through hell and back in the last few weeks, but if you're about to tell me right now that that ugly little crying thing, a FEMALE one might I add, now shares my name, I swear to god you had better change it fast."

"I'm sorry Duo." Heero replied, making no appearances to be changing his mind on the subject as he sat down gingerly next to the angry young man before him. "I didn't mean to name her that at all, the doctor even gave me a name book that I was going to look through when I had the time, but the baby wouldn't stop crying, she never stops crying. It was the night her mother had left, and you were so near death, you must have been on my mind when I yelled without thinking for her to shut up, I accidentally used your name and it worked. It's worked a few times since, but I don't like doing it."

This was too much, Duo began to roll out of bed, eager to just get out of this place, it had been a mistake to come here, he didn't even remember why it was Heero he'd come looking for in the first place. All he had wanted was another escape maybe, a safe heaven for a few nights till certain… things cooled down, but he'd ended up with having his perfect vision of an indestructible Heero collapse before his eyes. And worse yet, he got to see his name, his very meaningful and masculine name that he'd made especially for himself in honour of a dead friend, stolen from under his very nose because Heero was too busy to look in a damn book.

"It probably stopped crying because like every other living creature in the known world, you scared it shitless when you threatened it." Duo yelled angrily back at Heero as he tried to get out of bed, but Heero's strong grip pinned him back down, and as much as he would have liked to struggle, and even with Heero holding a baby in one hand, Heero could easily have kept him held down even if Duo had been at 100%.

And just like that, all the tension in him drained away, for the moment at least.

"Whatever, just leave me alone now… I need some sleep, so I can wake up from this stupid nightmare."

Heero nodded his head in acknowledgement and began to walk away with a now quiet baby still tucked safely in his arms. Duo couldn't help but sadly admit that even when Heero had insulted him in the highest form by stealing a name he had no right to take, he still had the power to make him calm with only hand on his shoulder and a calculated look in his direction. It really pissed him off.

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For days after, and then when a few weeks had flown by, Duo had slowly begun his recovery while trying hard not to get in Heero's way with the baby. He would naturally do as much as he could around the house, make meals when he had the energy, or clean when he was feeling well, he even occasionally would make a bottle for that damn baby, the one, as Heero had put it, `that wouldn't stop crying'. Of course, Duo refused to call it by its given name, and would always have some sort of insult ready for the thing whenever it was anywhere near him, which was basically whenever Heero was anywhere near him.

The air between them was tense at the best of times, but more so whenever Duo would get a bit down, or whenever he'd hear Heero calling that horrible little baby by his name. No matter how much he yelled at Heero that `Duo' was nobody's name but his own, Heero would remain extremely stubborn on that particular fact, refusing to change it for anything. Nonetheless, by the evening tempers had drained a bit, usually only after the baby was asleep and had stopped crying. It was then that Heero would find Duo lost in thought sitting on the living room couch all by himself. Heero would sit down next to his former friend and make contemplative small talk that would most of the time heal whatever small wounds had been forged that day. As much as Duo hated to admit it, these were the times he looked forward to most in the day. Years ago they had talked like this all the time, and a hidden part of him had missed it more than anything else in the world.

The evening would end with Duo saying he was tired and more than ready to hit the sack, where Heero would then always ask the same damn question.

"Will I be seeing you tomorrow morning?"

Duo would just look sadly at his friend and walk off to bed with a slump to his shoulders, how could he promise something he had no idea of himself?

Despite the daily routine that was becoming increasingly familiar to both Heero and Duo, it wasn't long before the food and other such stuff began to run low and Heero was forced to go into town to get a new set of baby supplies. Naturally he was met with complications; there was yet another loud thunderstorm, much like the one that had brought Duo to his cabin. It was just that time of year for rainstorms.

Unfortunately it only helped to make Duo even more depressed then usual and even less likely to do what Heero was now asking of him. Memories of why he had come seeking Heero's help were flooding back to him, not to mention the reason why he was hiding began to resurface. Those facts had never really been forgotten, just momentarily put aside. Needless to say the rain also meant that Heero couldn't take the baby with him into town, not that Duo was sure that was a very good idea to begin with, but he still didn't want to be stuck with the damn thing all afternoon. To be honest… he still didn't feel `stable' enough to be left alone with it, there was a lot of unreleased anger coming from him, and he wasn't sure what he'd do if he was put into such a situation.

Duo could feel that no good would come of this, and was finally forced to uncharacteristically beg Heero to not leave him with the baby. Although even to his own ears the pleas sounded weak, he just didn't trust himself to be alone, with or without a baby. Maybe that was one of the reasons he'd come looking for Heero, he knew the other man could handle him until he felt a bit more `normal' again. Not that he was about to admit that to him in any way. But no matter how much he insisted, Heero was adamant, he needed to get the food, he needed supplies, and the rain was supposed to last for a few days more. So Heero left, and Duo wondered if he should just leave as well right away, and save them all the trouble the could bring. In the end the rain was enough to keep him inside, leaving the house would only bring back more unwanted thoughts if he stepped into that rain.

It was probably only about four hours after Heero had left that Duo slowly began to feel his worst fears come to life. He tried to lock the baby in Heero's room, and then just hide out in his own room, but with the loud sound of thunder, and the constant crying of the baby, Duo was only reminded of his own misery. He could feel that small part of him that was just not right begin to slip into his conscious mind, along with the memories of what he'd left behind, both very much connected to one another. He could feel the familiar headache begin to form, the one that told him he was close to losing it, and Duo began to pace around the room, hoping to god he would just forget everything or that Heero would return soon enough. It was a fool's hope.

The memories were merciless; bringing back the smell of blood from that night not so long ago, most of it not his own. The screams he could still hear, mingling now with the screams of that damn baby, and in the back of his mind was that constant laughing, he hated that laughing sound the most, almost as much as he hated the person who had made that sound.

Duo screamed loudly, holding his head tightly between his hands and rocking back and forth. He didn't need this, he didn't want this. He just wanted to forget it all. He wanted to forget his crappy life, the one that nothing good had ever come out of, even the war had just added to so many things. The misery he saw, the misery he felt. No one deserved that, no one, not even that blasted baby.

And then it was as if everything went quiet. Duo straightened up and looked over at the wall facing Heero's bedroom, and thought about his own messed up life, and the many ruined lives he'd seen, or in some cases, caused. That's all the baby could expect to know, that's all she would ever get to know. She would grow up and become unstable like him, and that was it, life finished, gave over.

He would be doing her a favour, wouldn't he? He'd be acting as a true God of Death, or more so, as an Angel of Death so to speak. It would be like an act of redemption. Yes, he knew what he had to do now, it was all so clear.

With those thoughts in mind, Duo walked out of his own room and into Heero's with a sense of purpose as he picked up the baby in his arms for the first time since he'd seen it and carried it out of the room without a second thought. Before long Duo was walking outside in the rain with the baby huddled under his clothes. He failed to notice the falling rain that quickly drenched his long hair in a matter of mere seconds, and continued on till he saw Heero's dock up ahead. The lightning struck in the air, but Duo was completely oblivious to that and to the thunder that followed it or even the sound of rain on the lake as he neared the water.

He simply stood there quietly at the end of the dock and held out the wiggling baby in his arms, held it out in front of himself and waited a few heartbeats.

He would spare her all the pain and trouble and that could be hers, the hardships of life, all the evil in the world… evil like him, Duo thought darkly.

"Good bye Duo, sorry I've been such a bastard, I hope this makes up for it all." And with those sad words he dropped the unsuspecting baby into the dark waters below him. Lightning flashed again in the sky and the loud thunder that followed it this time shook him to his very core.

He suddenly looked up from the water with a start and wondered to himself what the hell had he been thinking. The baby… he'd just killed a baby. "No", he'd said aloud, he hadn't just killed any baby, he'd just killed Heero's baby. The one that despite crying all the time, Heero clearly wanted to keep around or else he would have just it given away. Heero had wanted that baby, and now he had just killed it.

Although there was no way to be sure in all the rain, Duo was felt that there were tears in his eyes as he looked around the water frantically for any signs of the small child.

Nothing, the dark waters were as empty as a graveyard…

Without another thought Duo jumped in after the baby, well aware of the strong pull the water had on his heavy clothes. Duo was a weak swimmer the best of times, in fact he could barely swim at all, but now in his still recovering state and his heavy clothes, he flailed his hands wildly in the water trying hard to search the murky waters in a controlled manner and failing miserably. He searched for anything that even remotely resembled a human baby. But all too soon Duo's lungs felt like they were going to burst, and he could feel himself growing lightheaded, still he refused to resurface. He would either find that baby, dead or alive, or die with it; he'd have no reason to live after this act.

It was as if those thoughts carried him to the prize he sought, because Duo then felt the feel of a cotton blanket flowing in the water. He pulled at it, and was greeted with the heavy bundle that he'd been looking for. Duo quickly resurfaced and tried to swim for the dock, but he couldn't keep himself above the water due to his non existent swimming skills, and kept sinking back down. It was another miracle that saved him at last, his one free arm in its attempt to keep him surfaced smashed against a wooden object, he was right next to the dock ladder.

Duo climbed up onto it as quickly as he could, and laid the eerily quiet baby down onto the dock while the rain still poured around him. He tried his best to remember any or all mouth to mouth recitation he had long ago been taught. It was hard, very hard to do it on a baby, especially one so young, but the memory of how to do it on an infant slowly came back as he worked to save something he knew in his heart was already dead.

And by all accounts that baby should have been dead; Duo had barely been able to keep his own breath, why should a baby survive. So it came as a huge shock when at last Duo felt some movement, it had only been a few seconds or so since he'd surfaced, but to Duo it had seemed like ages. And then Duo heard a sound he never thought he'd ever be happy to hear in his life, the all too familiar sound of a baby crying.

He grabbed the shivering bundle into his arms and ran back into the house, slamming the door behind him, he was about to begin to rip all the clothing from the baby with his own shaking hands, when suddenly he saw a second pair of hands begin to do the task for him.

Duo sank to the ground with a startled expression as he watched Heero wrap the baby girl up in a warm blanket, all the while rubbing it to gain temperature. Duo didn't know what to do; Heero must have seen what had happened, he had even had a blanket all ready for the baby. This was no way Heero would ever forgive him for this, and this was just one more thing in a long list of stuff he'd never forgive himself for either.

Duo began to stand up, and for the second time that month, walk away from Heero and the baby, but this time he'd be walking back into that cold rain he despised so much. In truth he honestly couldn't care at that moment whether or not he ever came out of it.

Before he could get very far he suddenly lost his sight as a large blanket was thrown over his head. Peeking out from underneath the blanket, Duo could see Heero casting a worried glance at him.

"Duo, what are you thinking? Take off your clothes already!" Heero said in that commanding voice of his. "You're soaked and still sick from before."

Duo began to strip out of his wet jeans and sweater, wrapping the warm blanket around himself, yet he still felt numb inside. Not knowing what else to do, he sat down on the floor again and began to shake. He felt rather than saw Heero sit down beside him, holding a quiet, but otherwise very alive baby in his arms.

"Are you ok Duo?"

As if the words broke something inside him, the numbness was suddenly gone, replaced by an unspeakable anger.

"Of course I'm not alright Heero, I'm fucking nuts, and you don't seem to understand that I almost killed your baby. I'm a bastard, some stupid asshole who thought he could just waltz back into your life with no more than a hello and expect you to help him, and then the first moment you turn your back I tried to kill the only thing you have in your life right now. I tried to kill your baby." Duo kept repeating those hateful words, almost not believing them himself. He looked torn, vulnerable and so completely alone as he uttered his last sentence. "You almost lost your precious Duo."

Heero sighed with a look of pure misery while he slowly wrapped the blanket tighter around Duo's quivering body. Almost hesitantly, he carefully wiped the wet bangs that had fallen onto Duo's cheek. "I lost him years ago, I've only just got him back, and have been having a hell of a time trying to keep him with me."

Once again with only a few words and a touch, Heero was able to drain away all the anger that had built up inside him. Tears sprang up and Duo shuddered as he was slowly dragged into Heero's free arm. He tried to yell again, but the words only came out as broken sobs.

"My god Heero, can't you see I'm not alright. I've lost it. I… I need help."

Heero quietly began to stroke Duo's cold arm, he seemed unsure of what to say himself, as if he was afraid to only make matters worse than they had been for a long time.

"I've been trying to give you all the help I can Duo, I've really tried. I'm sorry if it hasn't been enough. Please don't give up on me yet, I've never given up on you."

Duo tried to pull out of the embrace; using the truth as his one last resort to make Heero understand. "Listen Heero, a few days before I came here I had had it, I was miserable, my life was going downhill like you wouldn't believe. I may have had a few drinks, but they weren't nearly enough to cause what I did. I just cracked, like just before, and I lost it. It wasn't the first time this had happened either. But this time I went looking for a fight. I found a nice one too, and it left me nearly dead and five other men very dead. I wasn't fighting to stay alive, or for any war effort, I did it because I was angry and I don't know why. The worst part is I was laughing the whole through, I thought it was a joke… some joke, looks like it was on me. You can't help me, and if I stay, I don't know if I won't just snap again. Don't you realize, I almost killed that baby, I did kill it, I dropped it into the lake, and I KILLED IT!"

The last few words were spoken harshly, but still Heero refused to back down.

"All I saw today Duo was you jumping in the lake to save this baby, even though you can barely swim and despite the fact you had almost no chance of finding it. And then I saw you doing everything in your power to save her. She's not dead, she's right here in my arms, and you're not dead either, you're also right here in my arms, and I'm not going to let either of you die. I may not have ever wanted a child, but I've always wanted you, and I got you the same night she came, so maybe I can be greedy for once in my life and have both."

"God Heero, you can't really mean that." Duo tried lamely, desperate for Heero to understand for once.

"I'm not stupid Duo, I know you're not well, and I know what happened tonight, but I'm not letting you leave because if you do, you'll never get help, you'll never get better and worst of all, you'll never come back. And I'm never going to lose my Duo again. I lost you once and you know what, that's what nearly made me go crazy. I know what you thought, I know you think I didn't know what I was doing when I slept with you, but I did, it had been something I'd wanted to do for a long time. I tried looking for you, I tried for a long time, but you were nowhere to be found. How do you think I could possibly be happy if I can't help the one person I have ever loved! So don't you dare go around pretending like I don't know what the hell I'm doing, because I'm doing it all for you."

"Besides…" Heero reluctantly went on, calmer than a few seconds before. "I killed a young girl once myself, I wanted her dead with every fiber of my being."

Still surprised from Heero's earlier admission, Duo responded without thinking. "But you never succeeded in killing Mariemaia. You never got the chance."

Heero leveled his gaze at Duo and admitted the truth very few people knew. "That may have been what Relena told the world, but I aimed that gun and I pulled that trigger. I was so sure she was dead, I was positive I'd killed that girl, all in the name of peace. But… the gun was empty. You may feel like you are a horrible monster for doing what you did, but you had your reasons, and I had mine. What ever you may be thinking, you are not alone. If there's one person in this world who can understand what you are going through Duo Maxwell, it's me! Never forget that, I won't let you."

Duo wanted to feel some sort of raging emotion, whether it was anger again, or hatred, or sadness, but all he felt at the moment was a calmness and a sort of warmth in his body that he'd long since forgotten he could feel. The hand at his side held tight, although at the moment there was no chance of Duo trying to get away at all.

The only response Duo could think to give at the time was a small nod of his head and some words spoken quietly. "All right Heero, we'll try it your way, but I'm only doing it for you, and I'm scared, really scared, so you better be there to watch out for me." Heero gave no response at all, although Duo felt him place a gentle kiss on the top of his forehead, near where a knife had left a gash only a few weeks before.

Duo was reminded of why he'd come here in the first place; sanctuary. He knew Heero wouldn't judge him, or call the police on him if he found out what he'd done, but he'd certainly never expected this kind of reception. Still… it was the first real step in the right direction he would be taking if he stayed, the first real attempt at help that he'd ever tried, and it would be with Heero, someone he'd missed more than words in the past few years. He must have been really messed up to have ever left this man for any reason in the first place.

The small baby began to cry miserably in Heero's arms, and Duo straightened up a bit as he carefully took the baby from Heero's arms and held her in his own. He could feel Heero's grip around him strengthen as he felt himself pulled into Heero's lap. Ok, so maybe he'd never wanted a family either, and certainly never wanted a kid, but this wasn't so bad. Heck, little Duo was kinda cute really… when you ignored the infant red face she got when crying. And her stealing his name wasn't so bad after all, she'd sure earned it, proved she was tougher stuff then he would have ever have thought. He could do this, sure why not.

Duo felt Heero softly kiss his jaw and cheek from behind before lightly resting his chin on Duo's shoulder. And as Duo leaned back into the embrace and he finally began to truly warm up for the first time since he'd left the other man so many years ago, he thought about where he'd come from, and where he'd been heading just a few short weeks ago. Looking down at the baby in his arms, Duo couldn't help but smile; happy that she was still alive, that she'd managed to survive him. Maybe there was another way he could save this baby from a horrible future, just by being there for her. It was something he'd never tried doing before for anyone else. Heero would be there for him, and he'd be there for both of them. Yeah, thought Duo, maybe he could do this after all.

 

 

The End.

 

Well let's hope that I didn't scare away, offend, or bore anyone. Well either way, that's officially my favourite story I've ever written, it turned out better than I thought it would, and I know I must have come along as a writer because for the first time I didn't rush to get this out, or wonder `what will they all think'. I'm just happy and content it was written. Thanks for reading, and PLEASE send your comments, despite the fact I wasn't obsessed over what you all thought, doesn't mean I'm still not curious ;)

So please send them away, constructive or non, it's all good :)

Sony_Mouse@hotmail.com