5-13-2000

Disclaimers:
I own nothing. Not even the computer I'm using to type this is mine. I certainly don't own the Gundam boys (damn!).

Warnings:
Shounen ai, mayhaps even a touch of Yaoi. Pairings include 1x2/2x1 (not sure quite yet which way that's gonna swing) and some 3+4 mentioned.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
'All that Matters'
Chapter 1
Amy-chan (Kikotei)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

It's finally over. The pain, the death, the killing. It's all over. The others and I can really begin to construct lives for ourselves. We can be ... normal.

Well, as normal as some of us can be. Is going to take quite a bit of time before we can all adjust ourselves to the fact that the war is over. We've been entangled in this war for so long, that even I find myself up before dawn checking the net for any new missions

I'll probably start to relax sooner than the others do, I just have to figure out how to deal with 'tousan's death. In all this time since he was killed I have never truly grieved. I shed tears for him once. I need time to cry again.

Heero will probably be the hardest one to get to relax. Despite the fact he fought so hard to end the conflict, Heero was born and bred to fight. That's all he 'really' knows. But Duo keeps reassuring me that Heero will open up to this hard-earned peace, one day.

Trowa. Dear Trowa. I'm willing to wait as long as it takes for him to open up. I know very little about his past, other than it was truly painful and something best forgotten. I have not and never will press him to tell me. I just hope that he realizes that I'm always here for him.

Wufei, or as Duo jokingly put one night, Mr. Justice. Even though Duo was incredibly drunk at the time, he was quite accurate. Once Wufei gets past his rather obsessive behavior, I think he will find his place in life.

And Duo. The light of our little group, who reminds us all of our humanity. Or in some cases that we still are very human and capable of erring as all humans do. But there is something that I've noticed over the few days since I invited the others to stay with me until they can get settled. Something in Duo seems ... off balance. He seems to be the same person mentally, but something in his actions doesn't seem right.

Maybe it's just me but my uchuu no kokoro keeps telling me that something is wrong. Something that I'm missing. But it's not my place to ask Duo about it. I'm simply not close enough to him as an individual to bring up my thoughts concerning his well being.

I've come to the decision that asking Heero may be a less intrusive option. Out of all of us, I think he knows and understands Duo the best.

That's why I find myself standing outside Heero's closed door so late at night, dredging up the courage to talk to him about this. Taking a deep breath I lift my hand.

*~*~*

I can't relax. I don't think I've ever known how. My body is tense and tightly strung, as if I'm preparing for another battle. But there aren't any. And there won't be for a long time if we did our job right. If we truly completed the mission that we created for ourselves out of the remains of Operation M.

Quatre has made every effort to get all of us to relax. His efforts seem to be lost on me however. After all, here I am typing away on my laptop, searching for a mission ... any mission. Something that I can do. That I have control over. Something that keeps 'me' in control.

I suppose ... who the hell is knocking on my door at this time of night? It's certainly not Duo. That baka never bothers to knock. He barges in as if he owns the room. But all in all, I like it when he visits me. He makes me feel human and I think ... Whoever is there is still knocking. Grunting slightly, I lift myself out of my chair and pad on bare feet toward the door.
Opening the door I see a face on the other side I wasn't quite expecting.

"Heero. Do you have a few minutes to spare? I need to talk to you about something important." Quatre mumbled.

"Hn. Come in." I turn back to my desk. Leaving Quatre with plenty of space to get in the room. Sitting on the edge of the desk. I notice that Quatre seems nervous and almost flustered as he shuts the door behind himself.

"Heero, I need to talk to you about Duo."

"What about Duo?" If anything, Quatre starts to look more flustered.

"I think he's hiding something from us. Something very important." Quatre was eyeing me. Waiting for a reaction I suppose. He'll have long wait if that's what he wants. All of my muscles are under my control. All of my expressions can be hidden if I want them to be. My silence seems to be a cue for him to continue.

"Heero ... I think something is wrong with Duo's sight."

Of all the things ... "Quatre ... why do you think that is what's wrong?"

Quatre looks a little more confident as he starts to explain his reasoning. "My uchuu no kokoro has been telling me for a while now that something was wrong. But I never noticed anything until these last few days. I've been watching him and I've been noticing actions suggesting that I'm right. He trips over any piece of furniture that's been moved recently, " He give me a look, asking me to keep silent for a moment. "But it's more that clumsiness. And he always tries to walk along the wall, putting his hand out as he walks to always stay in contact with the wall. If there is something wrong you're the only one who knows him well enough to find out."
I'm angry now. If Quatre is right, then just how long has Duo been having vision problems? "So what do you want me to do?"

"Heero! He needs help. We're his friends and we should get him to a doctor if something is wrong!" Quatre is getting agitated. Fair skin makes it difficult to hide such complex emotions. But he is right. And I need to know what Duo's hiding from me. Pushing off my desk I shoulder past Quatre and head toward the door.

"Heero ... where are you going?" Quatre sounds puzzled, and perhaps a little worried. Pausing in the now open doorway I give him the best response I can.

"To find the truth."

*~*~*

My reflection is winking back at me. At least that's what it's supposed to be doing. And it should be. Despite my ... disability ... I have control. I can move about almost freely, if you discount the occasional wall or door to teenage clumsiness. And the sensory deprivation has allowed my other senses their moment of glory.

Even with my blindness I'm happy, or at least I was. Even in the midst of a war, I was content. There was no more scrounging for food, and I finally had trustworthy friends that I could depend on should the need arise. But... but something is still wrong with this picture. I never counted on falling in love. Least of all with him. Heero. The perfect soldier who hates any show of weakness.

My pining away isn't going to improve things. That sort of behavior never does. It makes others worry about you and stick their noses where they don't belong. And I'm afraid that if someone like Quatre were to try and help me, all of my secrets would be shot to hell. Mentally smacking myself, I promise to either tell that hardhead how I feel or get as far away from him as possible. Either option works for me.

But now is not the time to worry about small things like that. Now is my short hour to pamper myself. A long soak in a hot tub is the fastest way to my heart. After all those years of only having enough water for a quick rubdown once a month ... having enough water to soak yourself wrinkly is a small piece of heaven.

Quickly I unroll the sleeves of my over shirt. Now I must really look like a priest, I giggle to myself. Grabbing the hem of my shirt I tug it over my head, ouch ... and as usual my braid got stuck. One of these days I swear the hair is going to get a good trim. Once I get untangled the rest of my clothing follows quickly. Reaching back I tug the elastic out of my hair, shaking my head until I can feel a soft, silky cloud against my backside.

Running my hand through the hair on the right side of my face, my fingers brush against the scar. Long and thin, it runs from my ear to the backside of my skull. Dr. G told me it was my only option, the only thing saving me from a lifetime of darkness. But the one thing that would condemn me to my place in history as Shinigami. The least the stupid bastard could have done was use a better battery. But what's done is done, and I have to live with my choice.

I pad my way on bare feet to the bathroom, pausing only to grab the ever so convenient towel on the chair by the door. And now for a well deserved bath and a chance to let all my senses rest for once.

*~*~*

What am I doing here? What the hell was I thinking when I left my room? I was angry. The observation Quatre shared with me made me angry and betrayed. Duo was hiding something from me. But why does that make me so mad?

Now here I am, trying to break into Duo's room because he didn't answer. If he's not going to be here to give me what I want, I'll find it myself. There, the lock finally clicked. Furtively glancing down the hall I check to make sure no one is watching me.

On stealthy feet I slip into the darkened room. There's no one around. Wait. A pile of cloth. Picking up the topmost piece I find myself holding Duo's familiar overshirt. From the closed bathroom door I can faintly here the sound of splashing water. Crossing the room I put my ear to the door, trying to listen to the noises. I would have to guess he's trying to take a bath.

Easing the door open, I slip into the bathroom, only to be met by a sight straight out of a dream. My breath catches deep in my throat, as I stare dazedly.

Duo. Napping in the bathtub. His hair is loose and floating, weaving in and out of sight around piles of bubbles. The bubbles clinging to hard planes that my own hands had wished to touch for so long. A vision straight out of any number of dreams I've had since meeting the longhaired boy.

A vision which is abruptly shattered as a sound that seems to be a cross between a snore and a giggle leaves Duo's partially open lips.

So much for that. Mentally smacking myself, I take a few deep breaths to calm the raging hormones. Once I feel like my usual self, I know that interrupting Duo's nap is the only way to get the answers I need.

"Duo." He doesn't wake up, but the snoring has stopped. Much to my ears' delight. Duo shifts slightly in the tub, revealing more of his sleek soapy chest. If I don't wake him up now, I don't think I can be held accountable for my actions. "Duo!"

Duo bolts into a sitting position, staring wildly in my direction. "Who the hell is in here!?" His voice carries a panicked edge. Could Quatre be right? Duo really can't see me; he's staring right at me with hands held in a loose defensive posture.

"Baka."

"Heero?" His hands drop back into the tub, splashing the floor with soapy water.

"Finish up and get dressed." I hand Duo the towel I spotted at the foot of the bathtub. Closing his eyes again, he clutches the towel under his chin. "Then you have some questions to answer."
*~*~*

I'm starting to pace around the room. Why? 'Stop that, don't be so anxious,' my inner soldier snaps. 'You try walking in on something like that and I'll get back to you.' I'm not in the mood to listen to my inner voice. Right now I need to get control of my hormones again. Before Duo comes into the room. After all, I seriously doubt that he thinks of me in the same way.

Duo stepped out of the bathroom, wearing nothing but an old, worn, thin bathrobe. His hair in damp, curled tendrils slung over one shoulder. Mentally shaking myself I try to sound as normal as possible.

"I told you to get dressed." Damn, my voice wasn't as steady as normal. I can only hope that Duo didn't notice.

Duo looks at me like I just said that the sky was green, the grass was blue, and water is red. I guess he picked up on my tone of voice. Then he chuckles, shaking his head.

"Heero. All my clothes are out here. I couldn't get dressed no matter what you say."

Well, I guess that makes some sense. 'I know, you'd rather have seen him not bother with the bathrobe, ne?' My hormones aren't helping matters any. I need to get out of this room, before I do something I'll regret. I turn my glare up a notch; Duo must be indestructible, because it doesn't faze him. "I still want some answers Duo. You've been lying, and hiding information from me. I need to know how long you've been hiding this."

Duo hangs his head. "If I have to explain this, I think I should tell all of you at once. Save me some time."

"You have ten minutes to get in the TV room, then you're going to explain everything."

"Even the meaning of life?" Duo tries to smile, but it's only half-hearted. Maybe I shouldn't be yelling at him. "Never mind."

I turn to leave his room, when Duo suddenly latches onto my shoulder. "What?" I growl. But that too is only halfhearted. I know that whatever Duo tells us all, is probably going to change all of our lives. And ... it makes me sad, that all of this may cost me my one true friend.

"Oi, Heero. Seeing how you interrupted me from my nice bath, and gave me an ultimatum, could I possibly ask a favor." Shaking Duo's arm loose, I wait for the question. If he asks me to do something stupid, best friend or not, I'm going to hit him. I watch Duo carefully, as he bounces over to his bed, grabs something off the pillow and holds to out to me.

"Would you brush my hair?"

*~*~*

When I came out of the bathroom, I could feel something wasn't right with Heero. Something in his posture was off. I couldn't figure out why though. That's just one of those things about Heero that always made me so interested in him, that I could never completely understand him. He is a puzzle that leaves me confused, with more questions and answers. He leaves me feeling things I thought I would never feel again after … I lost Father Maxwell and Sister Helen.

And now here I am being more audacious than even I would have given myself credit for. "Would you brush my hair?" Waiting expectantly, I watch Heero eye the hairbrush warily. Eyeing it as if it were some kind of venomous snake about to bite him. Sighing softly, I start to bring my hand down. I should have known better to think that he would do something this personal for me, that would mean the Perfect Soldier would have to get close to me. And we all know that soldiers cannot form attachments or they lose their edge. Who ever thought that up should be drug out into the street and shot. But before I can get my hand all the way down, Heero catches my wrist in a grip that I find awfully gentle and comforting.

"Sit on the bed."

Well that was something entirely unexpected. I must be in shock. Heero takes the brush out of my limp fingers and steers me toward the foot of the bed. I sort of fall onto foot of the bed, I'm nervous. Why? My hands are sweaty. Heero? I feel the bed shift as he sits behind me. My hands are trembling. Stop it, stop it please! Don't make me so weak. Heero, why, why am I so weak now? Please tell me!

Suddenly I feel the bristles catch in my hair. Slowly dragging along, untangling all the knots, smoothing it out. And as the brush hits the bottom, all of my tension is gone.

*~*~*

Taking the hairbrush from Duo's hand, I can tell that I shocked him a bit. I have to wonder why though. Is it because he cares for me and wasn't expecting a positive response? Yeah right, keep dreaming. More like he thinks I'm plotting something, and he knows that this is something I would never do for him.

Sitting carefully behind him on the bed, so as not to get tangled in the damp hair. I start at the spot right in front of me. I can even tell from the back, that Duo has tensed up, he's even shaking a little. Doushite? Are you afraid of me?

But that all changes when I get to the bottom of that section of hair. All of Duo's tension is gone, as he melts into a more relaxed position. Starting again from the top I go all the way to the bottom. Time seems to slow as I carefully and gently brush out the long hair in front of me. Even Duo seems to be under the sway of what ever spell this simple action is weaving. A small sigh escapes his throat as he leans back, leaning even closer to me.
Time holds no meaning anymore. There is no sound, other than the sounds of the brush moving soft chestnut strands and the occasional contented sigh from Duo. Before I realize it, Duo's hair is completely untangled and almost completely dry.

But the spell has not been broken. I'm still sitting here with my hand tangled in his hair. It feels just like I thought I would, a waterfall of silk. Leaning forward I bring my face closer to try and catch Duo's scent. I've lost control, lost completely in this spell. All I want now is to stay, forever, just like this.

Suddenly Duo shifts, whipping his upper body around to face me. One hand still tangled in his hair, practically nose to nose with the beautiful boy as his warm breath washes softly over my face.

"Heero…" Duo's voice has dropped to a husky whisper, "… thank you."

I may never know what prompted me, but the hand still tangling in that long mane slowly moved to hold the back of his head. Staring into those endless eyes, I came to a decision, one I might regret later. But I can not let an opportunity like this pass me by. Reaching out with my other hand, I reach for Duo's face. Holding my hand to his cheek, I caress his slightly parted lips with my thumb. And with the last bit of courage gently press him forward.

His lips are just as sweet as I had dreamed. But he is stiff and unyielding, and my actions have cost me the only one I have ever truly cared about. I begin to pull away, when Duo suddenly melts into the kiss. He's kissing me back!

My world revolves around this sensation; all I can feel is Duo. All I can breathe and taste is him. And I don't want it to end.

After several long minutes, I slowly pull away from Duo. Slowing taking my hands from his face, I smooth down the hair that my hands disturbed. I watch his eyes carefully the whole time. And he's watching me, waiting for an answer. An answer that I don't have. Not yet anyway.

"Come to the TV room when you're ready Duo. I … we'll be waiting there."

Quietly I turn to leave, slipping out the door as silently as I had enter no more and an hour ago. Leaving behind the broken remains of my friendship.

 

*~*~*

End Chapter 1