Disclaimers: I don't own the charaters… blah blah blah… I'm not making any money with this fic… blah blah blah… SO THERE!!!
Warnings: Yaoi, AU (I guess), angst, umm… If I think of anything else I'll add it later. My brain… shutting… down!! Ah! ^_^
Pairings: 1+2, 3+4, 5+…. um… god knows who. Guess Wu-man isn't gonna have a love in this fic…
Wufei: Thank god.
Kitana: … so I guess that means I can have him!!! *glomps Wufei*
Wufei: *struggles violently to free himself~ to no avail.* INJUSTICE!!!!!!!

 

Mirror Image
Kitana Bradford

Chapter 1
Visions in the Night

Wind whistled across a long and desolate plain, carrying with it the desperate screams of agony from those trapped in the unyielding grips of the darkness. Dead husks of grass clung to the damp ground, as though loosing their battle for survival in this frozen land. Black sinister smoke held the clearing choked in its dark grip, suppressing all signs of life and refusing to be lifted even in the slight tremor of wind.

Abruptly, a long howl split through the night, and a slender boy stumbled from the leafless surrounding forest, into the clearing. He didn't pause, but, with a desperate glance behind him, dashed across the cracked and dry earth, filled with the strong and primitive instinct of survival. As he reached the center of the clearing, he slid to a halt and raised a long metal pole almost as large as himself. He pressed a small button on the underside of the pole, and, from the far end, a beam sprouted into a long, deadly curve. The boy held the scythe ready against the unseen danger threatening and drawing closer with each breath of the acrid air.
The muted, soft blue light of the scythe seemed to give the boy inner strength as he stood his ground, violet eyes filled with suppressed fear. Another howl shattered the stillness of the air, and the boy tensed.

From the twisted branches of the trees burst the formless evil, heading unerringly for the boy. He gripped the handle of his scythe tighter in his sweaty palms as the darkness came for him. As it reached him, he swung the blue blade of the scythe through it and diving out of its path, landing on his stomach and quickly shoving himself from the hard ground, spinning to face the demon above him. The darkness fell back for a second, and the boy reversed his swing and sliced a path upward through the dark evil energy before him.

As the scythe passed through the entity once again, the soft blue light of the beam sputtered and died. Violet eyes widened desperately and he dropped the useless pole with a soft curse, and turned to flee again.

With a roar, the darkness threw a ball of black lightning at the boy, knocking him to the hard earth as the lightning spread and enveloped him. The boy struggled and gasped for breath against the pain of the dark energy, and fought its unbreakable hold on him. He shifted his violet gaze to the evil entity, cringing away from the reek of death exuding from the shadowy figure. He gasped softly as it slowly formed into a shape, and all too familiar profile of a slender boy with a rope of long, chestnut hair that reached his hips, and a blank blue-violet gaze. The boy watched it warily as it stepped forward and spoke to him in a hauntingly recognizable tone.

"Duo Maxwell." It drawled. "After all these years you cannot escape me any longer. Your time is running out and you will soon belong to me. You belong in the darkness… to Shinigami." It reached for the boy with sinister tentacles of writhing smoke….

***
"NOOOO!!!" Duo awoke abruptly, sitting upright in his bed, wide violet eyes darting around the tiny dorm room he shared with one other person. Duo relaxed as his eyes came to rest upon Heero's sleeping form. Duo sighed and drew the thin blankets tighter around his slight body.

His eyes returned to Heero and Duo pulled his legs to his chest and rested his chin on his knees. Duo couldn't decide whether he should be jealous or glad, that he wasn't able to suppress his emotions as Heero did. There were some times that Duo wished Heero weren't so… perfect.

Duo had felt his emotions for the stony pilot of Wing grow as he spent more and more time with Heero. Even though he knew Heero probably felt nothing for him, that didn't keep Duo from wishing there were something more between them then friendship. The only thing that kept Duo from expressing his feelings for the Perfect Soldier was that, first, Heero would kill him, but more importantly, Heero wouldn't let Duo near him ever again. Duo had worked too hard, persistently and tirelessly earning Heero's trust and friendship, to just throw it away with his inability to control his mouth.

Duo found his thoughts slowly returning to the dream. He'd been having it for almost a week now, trapped in a land which reeked of torture, and running from some inexplicable evil. Finding himself unwilling to return to sleep and face the dream again, Duo shoved himself off his bed, dressed, and slipped out the door as quietly as possible, so he didn't disturb his resting companion. There were so many emotions running rampant in Duo right then, that he knew if he had to face Heero now, he would crack and do something he would regret.

Duo aimlessly wandered the grounds of the high school the five, undercover Gundam pilots were currently enrolled in. He didn't really pay any attention to where he was going, and was mildly surprised when he realized his legs had taken him to the campus gardens.

The Garden was the one thing that small Emerson High School had going for it. The school was convinced that the natural rules of matter didn't apply to them, and they persisted on attempting to squeeze two people into a tiny, midget room from Hell, which couldn't even comfortably accommodate one.

But the Gardens were extensive, amazing, and well-tended. If Duo had been awed by its majesty in the day, at night it was like stepping into another world, where nothing else mattered except the flowers. A safe-haven from unwanted intrusions and problems. A protected glade, a sanctuary.

Duo sank down onto a white patterned bench, feeling the aroma of the exotic flowers soothing his churning soul. Under the calming influence of the blossoms, Duo began to sort out all the disturbing images brought to him in his sleep.

Duo was so deep in thought that it took him a few seconds to notice a sweet melody, played upon a flute, was echoing through the cool night air. Duo rose, and followed the song to the west side of the Garden, but paused as he was about to step out of the safety of the garden to the dark forest beyond. Something didn't seem right about the music, and Duo debated whether or not to follow the sounds and further without notifying any of his other friends where he was going.

Abruptly, the music ceased. Duo shrugged and turned to make his way back through the Garden. It was about time he return to his room, anyway. He had classes to go to in the morning.

Notes from Kitana: This fic is somewhat disturbing to me. I always pictured Shinigami as, while possessive, never evil, as I am portraying him here. This is for just the sake of the fanfic. I LIKE Shinigami, except I'm feeling vaguely evil today and it had to fit the plotline… and besides, I couldn't help it. The psychotic chipmunks and chimlins… (Chipmunk/gremlin crossbreeds~ don't ask. You're safer not knowing ^_^) that live within the tree in the dimensional rift outside my window told me to. ~_^
Status: To be continued. What is the meaning of these dreams? Where is the haunting melody coming from? Is Duo really running out of time? Next chapter: Reunited.

 

Disclaimers: Ya know… I'm really beginning to hate these things. NOT MINE!!! GOT IT!?!? ^_~
Warnings: Shouen-ai, Yaoi, AU, OOC, angst and whatever else I unexpectedly throw in later.
Pairings: Same as they were the last time you looked.

Mirror Image
Kitana Bradford

Chapter 2
Reunited

"Hey, guys, wait up willya? You are walking waaaayyy too fast! Hey! HEY! I KNOW YOU CAN HEAR ME," Duo called, as Wufei, Heero, Trowa, and Quatre strolled on without so much as a backward glance. "OH HA HA. VERY FUNNY. I'M SERIOUS! DON'T IGNORE ME!! IT'S RUDE!!!!!!" Duo gathered his books tighter to his chest as he hurried after his companions, desperately trying to juggle the stubborn textbooks and his homework at the same time. Quatre turned to yell back to Duo,

"Come on, Duo! We're late as it is!"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah." Duo growled good naturally to himself as he finally got his load into some manageable semblance of order. "There!"

Just at that second, someone crashed into him, and Duo crashed to the ground beneath the person, his breath leaving his lungs in a soft 'whoosh'. Duo watched forlornly as his books and homework assignments were scattered to the wind, as he lay breathless upon the pavement, before turning to the offender. It was a girl, and Duo thought there was something faintly familiar about her fiery red hair and bright green eyes.

"I'm sooo sorry," the girl said, blushing furiously and rolling off Duo. Duo stood and offered her a hand up.

"It's okay. It happens all the time. Daijoubu ka?" The girl flushed as red as her hair and took Duo's hand.

"Hai, I'm okay. Gomen, I'm new here," she apologized again. "I should have been more careful."

"It's okay." He said again. Duo brushed himself off then began to chase after his strewn papers. The girl helped him gather up his books again, apologized once more, then headed off in the other direction as Duo, with a parting wave. Duo stared at her departing back, unable to shake off the vague feeling he had seen her before. He shrugged, then turned and sprinted after his vanished companions.

***

Duo dashed through the doors of his class thirty seconds after the ring of the bell signified the start of class. The teacher sent a disapproving glare his way.

"Gomen." Duo muttered.

"Duo, take your seat, and give me your homework, please."

Duo made his way up to his desk, and dumped his things on it, before plopping into his seat, and rifling through his stack for his homework. He didn't find it on the first inspection, and went through his stack again. He realized, as he began to go through his textbooks a third time, that he must have lost it when that girl had barreled into him. Duo groaned and handed his heavy math book to the startled boy sitting next to him.

"Do me a really big favor and kill me," Duo said, laying his head down on the remainder of his books. "Come on, just slam the math book down on my head, really hard." The boy holding his math book giggled.

"Mr. Maxwell, is there a problem?" The teacher's voice reached Duo and he raised his head from his books.

"Yeah, I think I lost my homework on my way to class, when I got…"

"That is enough, Mr. Maxwell. Stay after at the end of class, please."

Duo groaned and slumped in his seat, quietly humming the first verses of the well-known funeral parody, 'Pray for the dead and the dead will pray for you…." All the students within hearing range muffled giggles, with the exception of Heero, who's look told Duo he was being an idiot, in no uncertain terms.

"Mr. Maxwell!" The teacher's voice punctuated the giggles. Duo sighed. This just wasn't his day.

***

Heero arrived at the classroom and silently took his seat, ignoring the other students filing in, and retrieved his homework from his textbook so he would have it ready to hand in to the teacher.

The desks filled as time slowly elapsed, nearing the start of class. The bell rang, and Heero was acutely aware of the absence of a certain braided baka. Heero watched the door as he passed his homework forward, wondering where Duo was, and what was keeping him.

As he expected, Duo came stumbling into the room, his face slightly flushed from his evident headlong rush. Heero's eyes followed Duo as he took his seat and began to search for something in his books. Heero raised an eyebrow when Duo handed one of his books to the boy beside him and mumbled something intelligible, resting his head on the top of the rest of his stack of textbooks.

Heero learned why a few seconds later when the teacher inquired about Duo's behavior. Heero snorted softly when the teacher told Duo to stay after without listening to Duo's explanation, then he heard Duo's softly sung words. The side of Heero's mouth quirked with amusement at Duo's antics. He saw Duo glance at him, and treated the braided boy to a stony glare.

Heero turned his attention to taking notes, but soon found his eyes drawn back to Duo, who was pretending to pay attention to the teacher's lecture, but Heero could tell by his absent fingering of the bottom of his braid, and the distant look in his violet eyes, that Duo was deep in thought about something else.

Heero knew Duo was being plagued by dreams recently, he had woken on more then one occasion, due to Duo's soft, unconscious cries and moans as he slept. Last night seemed to be the worst, and Heero had risen to stand silently beside Duo for long moments before gently running his hand through Duo's soft bangs, over his hot forehead. Duo's cries had ceased and Heero had stood to watch Duo for long seconds before slipping back under his own covers.

He had just been drifting off, when Duo had cried out 'No!" and woken. Heero kept his breathing soft and rhythmic, and after a while, Duo had risen, dressed, and left the room, not returning for an hour afterwards.

Heero was disturbed from his thoughts by the class bell, and he rose and headed over to Duo.

"I'll tell the others where you are."

"Thanks." Duo said smiling, "Save me a seat at lunch."

"Hn." Heero said, leaving Duo to head for the cafeteria.

***

Duo finally escaped from the grasp of his teacher and turned to stick his tongue out at the door, before skipping to the lunch room. He bought his lunch, then paused to look for his friends. When he didn't see them, he headed to the outside cafeteria, and spotted them at a nearby table. He strode over and plunked his tray down on the table next to Heero.

"Oi, guys!"

"Hi Duo." Quatre replied with a cheerful grin. Trowa nodded silently at him, and Duo grinned back. Wufei mumbled something softly about loosing the peace and quiet, and Duo grinned wider.

"Hi to you too, Wu-man!" Wufei snorted. Heero just looked at Duo and said nothing. Duo sucked in a deep breath and searched for a chair to sit in.

"Sooo, what'd I miss?"

"Nothing." Quatre answered, when none of the others seemed inclined to.

"Figures." Duo said. He was about to add another comment, when he caught a group of girls giggling nervously and heading towards their table. He turned to them as they stopped a short distance away and the girl he remembered from this morning separated herself from the group, taking a few tentative steps toward Duo, her eyes searching Duo's.

"Duo..? You're Duo Maxwell, right?" She asked, her eyes filled with barely restrained excitement.

"Yeah…" Duo said, "I'm Duo. Who…"

Suddenly she was in his arms, squeezing him tight, her head tucked beneath his chin. Stunned, Duo stood dumbly, for once in his life lacking something to say. He had no clue why this girl from this morning should lay claim to him. Duo could feel both the gazes of the group of girls' and his four friends' on him.

She pulled back slightly, but didn't let go, her eyes shining with tears but her lips were smiling.

"You don't remember me, but I remember you. Because of your hair." Duo still gazed at her in confusion, yet the aura of familiarity was strong now, and Duo was sure he had seen her somewhere before, but he couldn't recall where…. Her smile brightened.

"You took such good care of us, after Solo died. And then you found the Father and Sister for us. And you were as much of a child as we were."

Duo drew in a sharp breath. He knew then. His mind drew up images of a little girl found huddled under the remains of her bombed out apartment building. Her red hair dirty and escaped from its ponytail, her eyes dilated with horror. She had cried when Duo had crawled into the rubble to draw her out, but afterwards has clung to him like a burr.

"Duo's got a girlfriend!" A voice from the past taunted.

"Do not!" The annoyed 6-year-old had retorted, but he hadn't pushed the tiny girl away. She was just a baby, after all.

Duo gasped, incredulous, and, grabbing her shoulders, pushed her far enough back to that he could see her. Really see her; her bright happy eyes, the healthy tone of her skin.

"Meri…" He whispered, because he couldn't force anything louder out his emotion-constricted throat. Her whole countenance lit up at his soft whisper, and she threw her arms around his neck and kissed his cheek, leaving a trace of petal pink lipstick. Duo let out a soft cry, and his arms encircled her, clutching her tightly to him, as he buried his face in her soft hair.

They stood like that for a while, completely oblivious of anyone else but each other, and laughing happily. She buried her face in Duo's shoulder and whispered,

"I'm so glad to see you alive and well! I was just a little girl but I remember when the news came on and they said that the Maxwell Church had been destroyed. I cried and cried. I thought of you, and Sister Helen, and Father Maxwell… and the other children… all dead." She peeked up at Duo again, her joy practically bubbling from her. "I prayed every night for your souls, just like they taught us, and prayed that I would see all of you again in heaven." She stepped away from him to see him better.

"But I get to see you here on earth! It worked! I thought your name, just like you said, and here you are!"

She had been one of the first orphans the Father and Sister had found a home for. When her new parents came for her, she clung to Duo with all the strength in her little 4-year-old body, screaming for all she was worth. Duo had pulled her into his lap and kissed her tear streaked little cheeks and told her he would always look out for her. If she wanted him, she just had to close her eyes really, really tight, and think his name really, really hard, and he would be there. She had left with her new parents, waving back at him with a smile.

"I always wanted to tell you thank you. Thank you, Duo. Not just from me, but from the other kids as well." She self-consciously wiped moisture away from her face, an action made futile as tears continued to run down her cheeks. "I never thought I'd get a chance to say it in person."

Duo was speechless. Here was a little girl who hadn't died. A girl who had been the closest thing he had ever had to a sister. Who, from all appearances, had grown up happy, healthy and secure; surrounded by people who loved her. And all this time, she had been praying for him. He wanted to cry, but boys didn't cry. He gave a soft hiccup, and blinked rapidly to clear his eyes of a suspicious moisture.

"Meri." He said softly, tracing the curve of her jaw. "Little Meri."

She sniffed and giggled softly. Her shoulder made a gentle shrugging motion. "Not so little anymore."

He smiled. "No, you're not."

At that moment, Quatre cleared his throat, and the two jerked apart, a deep red blush painting both their cheeks.

"Umm, sorry guys. This is my childhood friend, Meri Graceton." Duo turned to Meri, and grinned, motioning to his friends.

"Meri, this is Trowa, Quatre, Wufei, and Heero."

"Nice to meet you all," Meri said, bowing traditionally in greeting, before turning back to Duo. She introduced him to her new group of friends, and Duo nodded pleasantly to each girl, barely noting the fact that the girls giggled shyly at him when they were introduced. Most of them he had already known, but the majority of his attention was focused upon his long lost friend.

"Duo…" Meri said, "Would you mind spending this lunch period with me? That is, if you want to and your friends don't mind…."

Duo sent a quick glance at the other four, his eyes scanned over them and met Heero's cobalt ones. For a split second, Duo thought he detected a flash of disappointment in those bottomless blue depths before Heero turned away. Duo decided it must be his own wistful imagination and turned to Meri.

"Sure. Come on, I'll show you the gardens, and we can eat there… you'll love it!" Meri laughed happily, and hooked her arm through Duo's, gently leading Duo away.

***

As Meri led Duo from the table, Heero turned to watch them with detached eyes. Though there was no evident emotion displayed outwardly, inwardly Heero's feelings were like a whirlwind. Heero felt emotions he had never experienced before trying to burst through his erected barriers, and he didn't like the feeling one bit.

Heero knew that, in this school, like so many others, Duo was adored by the entire female student body. Until now, he had never seen Duo display interest in any of them. But now…. this girl had just waltzed onto the scene and jumped into Duo's arms… and Duo had held her! Duo had almost cried a little, he had been so happy to see the girl. Duo never cried.

Heero felt his heart speed up as he watched the two stride away together, too close together for comfort. Duo was his, damn it! Then Heero paused. Or had the growing kinship he had felt between himself and the braided pilot been only his imagination? Heero's heart twisted at this thought, and he firmly shoved it away, but it kept sneaking back up on him. The happy couple turned a corner on the far side of the Cafeteria and vanished from sight. Heero forced himself to concentrate on his meal and not on the braided baka who was driving him crazy….

***

"Don't peek!" Duo said, as he led Meri through the Garden to his favorite spot.

"Hmmm! Duo, it smells heavenly!" Meri laughed.

"Yeah…" Duo stopped and positioned Meri so that she would have the best view possible of the marvelous beauty which surrounded her. "Okay! Open them!"

Meri slowly opened her eyes and gasped with pleasure. "Oh wow! Duo, it's… it's… perfect!"

"Uh-huh," Duo said. "I wanted you to see it, because I knew you loved flowers."

"Yeah…" Meri said softly, gazing fondly at Duo. "It's been to long. Far too long." Duo sprawled on one of the fancy benches and patted the spot beside him. Meri took it and leaned against Duo's side, resting her head on Duo's shoulder.

"What I said before… about wanting to thank you… well, there's more to it, I just didn't want to say it in front of such a large crowd. Duo, I… I've lived a happy rich life, though it can get kind of lonely at times… and I wished constantly that you could be with me. There were times where, when I thought I couldn't stand it anymore, but all I had to do was think of you. I think it was because I missed you. Duo…" Meri sat up and looked Duo straight in the eyes. "I owe you so much. You made me so happy… you called me 'Little Sister Meri' back then… and… I just wanted to know… will you be a brother to me again? I have missed having you watch over me so much. Can I be your little sister again?"

Duo laughed, and drew Meri into a tight hug. "Meri, you have always been my little sister, and you always will be, you little goofball."

Meri laughed softly. "Thanks, hairball." Duo laughed at the old nickname. And stuck his tongue out at Meri.

"Watch it, squirt. You may have grown, but I'm still taller then you are. I could trounce you, no problem." It was Meri's turn to stick her tongue out at Duo. Abruptly she asked,

"Duo… your friends, are you close?"

"Huh? Well, yeah, I guess so." Duo said, startled at the question. "Why?"

"You love Heero, don't you?"

"What?!" Duo shrieked, falling off the bench.

"I can see it in your eyes when you look at him. Admit it." Meri pushed persistently. Duo tried to slide under the bench, his face going from red to deep purple.

"I… uh… well…." Duo stuttered.

"You really are a hairball! Just admit you like the guy!"

Duo sighed. "I like him. There. You happy?"

"Immensely."

"A lot of good that did me." Duo muttered softly, pulling himself out from under the bench. "He hates me."

"Oh." Meri said softly. Duo stood and brushed himself off, glancing at his watch.

"It's about time we headed back. Lunch is almost over." Duo extended a hand to Meri. She took it and stood. Duo suddenly cocked his head gently. His ears had caught a soft strain of music. It was the same haunting tune he had heard last night while he had wandered through the garden, in the wake of his nightmares. It was a haunting tune, despite the fact that it was played with a flute's usually cheerful notes. The hairs on the back of Duo's neck prickled.

"What is it?" Duo turned to see Meri watching him curiously.

"Do you hear that?"

"Hear what?"

"Music." Meri stopped and listened hard.

"I don't hear anything." At that moment, the music stopped, just as it had the other night. Duo shuddered, and mentally decided he needed to tell the others about the music.

"Nevermind. Let's go," Duo said cheerfully. "If I'm late one more time, my teacher will probably have me scrubbing the school down with a toothbrush."

Meri giggled and followed Duo out of the maze of flowers.

As they reached the open cafeteria again, Duo saw that the other four pilots were just getting up to leave, and he gave Meri a parting hug and a wave, before running to catch up to his companions.

As soon as Duo left her, the group of girls she had previously made friends with descended upon her, demanding details and cooing over how lucky she was, Duo being the hottest guy in the school. Meri listened to them with half and ear as she watched Duo hurry to intercept his friends before they left the cafeteria, and saw him slide to a stop between Heero and the blonde, draping an arm over each of their shoulders with a goofy grin on his face. She noticed Duo seemed to lean a little toward Heero as they walked, and Meri smiled as a brilliant idea hit her. Finally. The perfect way to repay Duo for all the kindness he had shown her. She turned and headed for her next class with the gossiping group of girls, the first beginnings of a plan forming in her mind. She was going to play a little subtle matchmaking. But, unknown to her, a sinister figure waited in the shadows, watching with a cold, calculating gaze.

Note from Kitana: Ha ha! I did so have you! You thought I was going to make Duo fall in love with Meri, didn't you? Admit it! You were getting all set to hate the poor redhead! Hoo, hoo, hoo! *calms down for a few seconds* Nah, I wouldn't do that. I'm a yaoi-er through and through. Meri loves Duo as the brother she never had, but that's all. She's really a sweetie, as you will find out in the chapters to come. And now that I have all that boring intro stuff done… on to the action and… *wiggles her eyebrows suggestively* the other fun stuff! ^_~ I'd keep writing now, but it's raining outside and I wanna go play in it! =P
Status: TBC. Heero resents these new attentions to his love though he refuses to acknowledge his feelings. But can Heero's love save Duo from Shinigami's grasp? Next Chapter: Possession of the Demon.

 

Ah ha! Finally! Free time!!!! ^_^ Well, since you have been sooo patiently waiting for me to update, I decided to be nice and do so… (it's not like I have anything else to do… for once.) ^_~
*New* This is dedicated to Nancy, who was the person who wrote the hilariously goofy e-mail that finally got me to move my sorry butt and write this. ^_^ Thanks for the support Nancy! And all you others who wrote me too! Sankyuu soooo much!!! Now, *spits on her hands and rubs them together* on with the fic!!

Disclaimers: I don't own Gundam Wing, and I'm not about to go and anger a whole corporation of rich people by claiming I do. ^_^
Warnings: Yaoi, AU, Bastard Shinigami, Shouen-ai, um… can you think of anything else? Aww… forget it! All the important stuff (YAOI) is in there. *devilish grin*
Pairings: Give it up. No matter how many times you look, they're not going to change.
<….> means thoughts, okay?

Mirror Image
Kitana Bradford

Chapter 3
Possession of the Demon

Duo cracked open the door to his shared dorm room and peeked in, hoping against all hope that Heero was already asleep.

The computer was off and it was too dark in the room to see anything. That was a good sign… he hoped.

Duo slipped into the room, turning quietly to ensure the door shut silently behind him. Tiptoeing over to the lamp, Duo grouped for the switch in the darkness, and flicked the dim light on.

And came face to face with the pair of accusing icy orbs belonging to his partner.

Duo let out a high yelp and lurched backwards.

"Holy crap, Heero," he said, trying to play it nonchalant. "You just scared me out of a few years of life! I mean you could've done some serious damage--"

"What were you doing out until twelve at night? You should be back promptly after classes to do your homework and get some sleep. You're no good to the mission if exhaustion interferes with your performance."

Duo winced internally.

<All Heero ever thinks about is the mission! Everything just has to be perfect for the mission, no matter who he walks over!> Externally, Duo turned away from Heero, hunching his shoulders defensively and grumbled,

"Yes, mom." He stressed that last, unwilling to let Heero have the final word.

"Hn." Was Heero's only reply.

"Just chill, Heero. I was only getting something to eat with a friend."

Fatigue suddenly descended on Duo, and he was suddenly aware of how tired he felt. Maybe Heero was right -- just this once. Though it had been great to take Meri out to that restaurant and reminisce, the long outing had taken it's toil on Duo's sleep-deprived body.

Duo yawned and stretched, noting absently that Heero was booting up his infernal laptop. Padding across the floor, kicking off his shoes and shedding his clothes as he went, Duo didn't notice the cobalt gaze that followed his every movement from the cover of the open laptop.
Duo said absently to no one, "What a looong day. I'm bushed."

"Then get some rest." Duo jumped. He hadn't been expecting an answer to that one. He turned to catch Heero's stoic gaze.

"I… um…" Duo started, unable to explain the strange dreams he had, or how much they disturbed him. Then Duo remembered he had meant to inform the others about the disconcerting music he had heard. "I…"

<Yeah, Duo, what are you going to tell Heero? 'Heero, I'm having bad dreams and hearing creepy music. Make it go away. I'm scared. Can I sleep in your bed?' He could just imagine Heero's reaction to that.>

"What is it?" Heero asked, his eyes blank.

"Um, n-nothing. Nevermind." Duo plastered a fake smile on his face and bounded into the bathroom to "answer the call of nature" and brush his teeth, forgoing any questions Heero could ask him.

When he returned, Heero was logged off his laptop and already in bed, obviously done with… whatever Heero did on that evil machine. Duo grinned and climbed into the adjoining bed, making sure to bounce the bed just enough to make the old springs squeak and disturb his roommate.

He heard the annoyed grunt from Heero's direction and grinned. Dressed only in his black boxers, he slipped beneath the thin covers and lay tense on the lumpy mattress, waiting apprehensively for sleep to claim him.

For with sleep, came the dream.

The dreams were always the same, starting out with him running through that deathly landscape. Fleeing an unknown evil, one that made Duo's very soul tremble with dread. One that made his stomach clench and his chest burn. One that raised in Duo a feeling he had only felt twice before, during his brushes with that same dream: once in his last months before Solo's death, and the other a few weeks before the Maxwell Church massacre.

Then the dream would end with him arriving at the clearing, scythe in hand, to make his last attempt at freedom, and to be captured by the tentacles of smoke.

The dream had been going on for a couple weeks now -- ever since they entered the school -- But in all those times he had ever had the dream, he had always been running. Never had he faced the terror which pursued him through the night. It always ended with it's promise that one day, Duo would be his.

Long after the Perfect Soldier had dropped off to sleep, Duo lay in the darkness. Eyes wide open and staring blankly at the spiderweb-patterned designs on the molding of the ceiling and clutching the blanket tightly in both fists, he battled fervently against sleep's iron grasp.

Several times he caught himself drifting off, only to be snapped awake again by the fear dwelling deep within him. He squeezed his eyes tightly shut.

<Please!>

He wasn't sure who he was praying to or what he was praying for, but he did so with all his might.

<Please don't let it get me!>

Not at all comforted by his last prayers, Duo surrendered his exhausted body to the insistent coils of slumber.

***

Duo gradually became aware that he was dashing through the forest. Between the dead knarled trees that clawed and tore at his skin, drawing blood and slowing his desperate escape. A growl echoed from not far behind him, confirming what Duo already knew:

He was being hunted.

He gasped in despair as he ran, recognizing that he was in the dream, and knowing where it would end.

Just as he expected, soon he burst into the clearing, feeling the scythe in his hand. He slid to a stop in the center, scanning the suddenly silent woods, raising the scythe, thumb already moving to press the button that would summon the blade.

Abruptly, Duo's thumb froze, and he shook his head violently. He wouldn't let it end that way! Duo whirled and dashed into the scarred forest at his right clutching his scythe to him, his heart in his throat. Maybe if he ran for long enough, he would wake up before the thing caught him!!

For a moment, the only noise was that of Duo, crashing through the dry undergrowth, then the sounds of pursuit started up again, closer then ever.

Duo ran for what seemed like forever, the barren woods parting before him, only to reveal more skeleton trees; making no progress but almost feeling the hot breath of his stalker on the back of his neck.

Just as Duo was beginning to loose hope, the trees split to reveal another clearing. A bright light issued from the center of this clearing, and instinctively, Duo angled toward it, sensing it would be safe there. Within the light he could vaguely see the figures of Heero and Meri waiting for him -- hands outstretched -- calling out frantically for him to run to them and not look back.
Duo put on a burst of speed, stretching out his hand desperately for theirs, when he felt something cold wrap itself around his feet and trip him. He hit the dirt hard, the scythe flying from his grasp and vanishing in the bushes. Abruptly, the light, and Heero and Meri vanished.

Duo cried out in panic, struggling feverishly against the tentacles. He froze when that soft, entrancing voice echoed from behind him, piercing his senses.

"Didn't I tell you that I'd come to claim you, Duo Maxwell, my Little Death? You belong forever to Shinigami. Body and soul. You think this is a dream? Oh no, my Little Death. It is real. All too real. And you belong to me. You always have. And you cannot escape, no matter how you try."

"NO!!" Unable to move, his whole body held immobile by the tentacles, Duo turned his head to face the low voice and found himself face to face with a familiar, yet alien set of violet eyes.

"I will NEVER belong to you!!" He spat, panic and anger rising in him.

"But you already do… and now you will be with me… an event which has only been postponed as you escaped me in those times now past."

A strong tentacle tore Duo's dark shirt from his body. Duo uttered a fierce cry of anger and protest, and renewed his struggles.

Shinigami slowly circled Duo as he talked, vanishing behind the braided American. Duo ceased struggling, straining his eyes, uselessly trying to keep the dark mockery of himself in sight. Then, cold hands trailed over the bare skin of his back, branding his skin. Duo grit his teeth and strained away from those hands.

"Get your stinking hands off of me. I'm not your fucking playtoy!!" Duo lashed out with words that belayed the fear beneath. The hands never left his back, but dipped downwards to caress his backside before tracing up and over his shoulder, even as Shinigami finished his circle and came to stand before the furious pilot once again.

Duo watched, horror in his eyes, as those icy hands followed the line of his muscles down his chest, stopping to rake the long nails gently over his nipples.

Duo felt his traitorous body reacting and lurched violently.

"No… NO… STOP!!!" He screamed, trying to arch away. These were things he only wanted to do with perhaps one person: Heero.

Shinigami chuckled and slid a hand down Duo's pants, curling around Duo's length.

"Oh god… let go… please let me go." Duo whispered, squeezing his eyes tightly shut and clenching his teeth together to prevent a moan as dark pleasure flooded the slight pilot. He trembled in the grasp of the tentacles, panting.

"Please…" But he wasn't sure what he was pleading for anymore. And that scared him more then anything else. Shinigami chuckled, leaning forward to press his body tightly against Duo's, to claim Duo's parted lips in a deep kiss.

Just as Duo was about to surrender to the pleasure invading him, to the dark figure before him, an image of Heero's face flashed through his mind.

"Ughh--!" Duo gathered up enough of his rapidly draining energy to struggle weakly.

"No you don't!" Shinigami growled, intensifying the kiss until the pressure was bruising, clenching tightly around Duo's manhood with one hand, while the other slid around Duo's back, long nails digging furrows into his skin.

Duo lashed out in one last desperate attempt to escape, but Shinigami refused to be moved. Duo cried out as he felt something slip from Shinigami's mouth into his and vanish down his throat. Then there was only darkness….

 

Notes from Kitana: Don't worry. There will be more yaoi… I'm just working up to it… making it good. ~_^
Umm… sorry about all the grammar mistakes… they're all my own. ^_^; I have no beta reader and am too impatient to slowly pick back through my work more then once. ^_^
Status: TBC. What just happened? Was it all just a dream? And how does Meri fit into all of this? Next Chapter: The Countdown Begins.

 

Note: Two in one day! Damn, you guys are lucky.
Disclaimer: I don't own Gundam Wing. I dunno why you guys are so freaking adamant about putting this on the beginning of every chapter.
Warnings: Yaoi, AU, angst, shouen-ai, Shinigami-bashing…. Oh whatever. Read it and find out. ~_^
Pairings: You don't get it, do you? No matter how many times you look, they're not changing. ^_^ (Don't mind me, I'm just jokin' with ya. I've just had a liiittle too much sugar.) ~_^ No, really. 1+2, maybe a teeny bit of 3+4 -- but the story is focused on Heero and Duo, gomen all you Trowa and Quatre lovers -- and also a little bit of Shinigami+2. Um… I don't know how to put that… Shinigami wants Duo, but Duo doesn't love Shinigami… Aww ta hell with it! I'm just gonna shut up and write.
Note: I don't have a beta reader, so you know that the grammer ß Damn! See what I mean?! mistakes that are bound to happen, will be my own.

Mirror Image
Kitana Bradford
Chapter 4
The Countdown Begins

-- I feel it's presence, icy fingers upon my throat.
I hear it's eerie sounds, unsettling my every thought.
I try in vain to slumber, my reveries gripped by violent terror.
My only salvation, the shock of awakening.
Something is very, very wrong here. -- Phantasmagoria

Duo's eyes snapped open. Seeing only darkness, he panicked for a second, before he realized where he was. He sat up quickly on his bed, panting, eyes wide and sightless.

<Calm down Duo, it was just a dream. Thank god, it was just a dream.>

Duo calmed at the thought. Taking one last deep breath, he went limp on the bed, wiping the sweat from his brow with the back of his trembling hand. He carefully inspected his chest and arms.

Yes, it really was a dream. The scratches he had gotten, both the shallow ones from the bushes and the deeper abrasions from Shinigami were both gone. He was fine. Duo breathed a sigh of relief and stood, heading for the bathroom to take a shower. He was careful to make just enough noise that Heero wouldn't think he was an intruder sneaking around in their room. Heero woke up, gun in hand, ready to kill at any suspicious sound… or any suspicious lack of sound.

Duo grinned. He remembered the time he had tested his partner's abilities in that area; hiding beneath the bed and poking the sleeping soldier. Heero had jumped about seven feet in the air, snapping awake. Then he had grabbed his gun, cocked it, and dove off the bed to crouch in a defensive posture across the room. It would have worked if Duo hadn't grabbed Heero's foot as he leapt off the bed.

Oh, Heero had landed across the room all right. But just not in the crouch that he planned. Instead, Heero had hit the ground on his stomach, rolled a couple feet before skidding to a stop, and ended up in an undignified position on his back with his legs over his head, attractive butt sticking up in the air.

Duo, of course, had been howling with laughter. And the end result? Duo chuckled.

<Let's just say that Heero wasn't happy.>

Shutting the bathroom door so that he wouldn't wake Heero, Duo flipped the shower on, adjusting the spray to the temperature he liked it. Just slightly warm. Soon, vapor began to fill the bathroom, leaving moisture everywhere and fogging the mirrors.

It was because of this, as he slid out of his boxers and stepped into the gentle spray, that Duo failed to see the black designs -- like intricate tattoos -- creeping up his spine.

Note from Kitana: Hey, sorry that was so short. Didn't have much time. ^_^; *grumble, grumble* Dumb tennis… but I can't let my team down, so I gotta go! Chow!
Status: TBC. I don't really have a summery for you, because I myself have no clue what's gonna happen. ^_^ Well, maybe a little, but I'm not giving it away.

 

I'm baaa~aacck! Yay!! Tennis is over! Now I have more free time… for about a month…. grumble. ^_^V <Aaeth just showed me this. Isn't it kawaii?
Disclaimers: I own none but Meri and maybe Shinigami… *shivers* ewww. ~_^
Umm… what else? Oh yeah!
Warnings: Yaoi, shouen-ai, Shinigami-bashing, sap
Pairings: 1+2, 2+1, 3+4, 4+3, S+2, x1+5x31258+721x136+x521… @ . @ (falls over with little swirly eyes) *twitch… twitch… twitch, twitch* <a little confusing, ne?

Mirror Image
The Awakening

Kitana Bradford

Heero awoke the next morning to the sun shining in his eyes. As his internal clock calmly reminded him that he day was Saturday, Heero pushed back the blankets and rose, his eyes automatically searching for the sleeping for of his partner. But, to Heero's surprise, Duo's bed was empty, the covers thrown carelessly over the bed in typical Duo style. And that meant that not only was Duo up, but he had been gone for quite some time.

Heero wondered how he hadn't heard the braided American leave.

Heero turned to his trusty laptop, hoping for a mission to distract him from the dirty thoughts about his baka partner.

Unfortunately, there was to be no help from that quarter. As of this morning a cease-fire had been officially declared.

Heero gave an irritated grunt and settled down to get ahead and complete the mission reports he owed in a week.

He typed quickly and effectively with one hand while his thoughts stubbornly returned to the disturbing picture of Duo… HIS Duo and that girl warmly embracing.

Hold it. HIS Duo? Where had that thought come from?

Heero forced his attention back to his typing and realized with irritation, that he had gotten sidetrack and had been typing his thoughts.

Heero decided the best way to rid himself of all these annoying emotions was to find Duo and bring him back to the dorm. With that, Heero stood, shut his laptop with a click. He dressed and went into the bathroom to finish getting ready. Forgoing brushing his hair - not like it made a difference anyway - Heero was quickly out the door.

***

Duo smiled happily as he strode along the garden path, one arm resting companionably over Meri's shoulders.

After his shower, Duo had cringed at the thought of returning to sleep, so he had dressed and slipped out for a short walk. As usual, he had eventually ended up in the Garden.

Who'd have figured he'd run into Meri on his stroll?

He had joined up with his little "sis" and lost track of time. It was now 11:00 A.M. and that meant his little walk was well into it's third hour.

"Oh, Duo," Meri sighed, her arm slung tenderly around Duo's waist as they walked. As her hand rested on his right hip, her slender finger threaded through she silken hairs at the bottom of Duo's braid, which she clasped gently in her loosely clenched fist; a habit from when they were just children.

One time, when she was about four, before she had learned to protect herself from some of the nastier gangs and men who wandered the alleys of the homeless, Meri had been seized by a rouge group of punks. They were going to make her do things. Bad things.

She had cowered as their captive for nearly two hours before Duo and Solo had burst into their warehouse base to rescue her.

After that, Duo had granted her permission to hold his braid when she walked with them, so he could watch over her and no one could steal her again. Meri had jumped on the chance, awed that Duo would let her do this, because Solo was the only person allowed to touch Duo's hair.

A few days later, the same gang tried to reclaim her - sneaking up behind her as she walked and snatching her away - but, as they grabbed her, she had clung to Duo's braid tightly, and Duo had turned around and sent the punks running home with their tails between their legs.

Meri had been very grateful and Duo's braid had become her lifeline to her gang. The habit had stuck, even after she had learned a little about how to defend herself.

Meri hesitantly lifted her cheek off Duo's shoulder. "Duo?"

"Yeah?" He turned his head and looked down at her.

"I have to go. I promised my friends that I'd meet them at the library today."

"Okay, bookworm!" Duo teased.

"Pansey!"

"Goofball!"

"Hairball!"

"Imp!"

Meri looked at him slyly and grinned. "… Fairy Princess!!!"

"Oooh!! Now that was hitting below the belt!" Duo laughed. She was referring to the time he had dressed up as a fairy to sneak into a costume party and steal his gang some food. Glittery wings and all. They hadn't let him live it down.

"Okay, Imp. Go meet your friends. Go on. Shoo! But be warned. I'm gonna get you." Meri laughed, grinning triumphantly. She gave Duo a peck on the cheek, and dashed back the way they had come.

Duo watched her leave, the grin fading from his face. Now that Meri wasn't here, the hypnotic flute music couldn't be ignored. Duo tried to shake it off even as his legs began to carry him toward the source of the eerie tune.

***

Heero watched, concealed in the garden shrubbery as Duo and the girl walked through the Garden, chatting amiably.

Heero's stomach clenched and he gritted his teeth when he caught sight of Meri's hand stroking Duo's braid. The same braid he longed to run his hands through, to bury his face in and inhale deeply of Duo's unique scent; flower petals and the tangy odor of Duo's shampoo, lingering around the baby-soft strands of chestnut.

Heero was so deep in his visions that he almost missed their parting. Almost. He felt his heart pang with jealously and anger as Meri quickly pressed her lips to Duo's cheek, then ran past Heero's hiding spot, toward the Garden entrance.

Heero saw Duo cock his head, as though listening for something, though Heero couldn't hear anything but the soft cries of birds in the afternoon air. Just as Heero was about to emerge and reveal himself, Duo whirled around on his heel and strode quickly into the maze of flowers and ivy.

"Hn." Heero grunted and followed, curious as to what that braided baka was up to now. Heero was careful to stay far enough behind that Duo wouldn't detect him. Knowing that, though Deathscythe's pilot could be a klutz, he had excellent skills and one of his best skills was being able to mysteriously detect when someone was following him.

Notes from Kitana: Myahaha!! I'm so evil. ~_^ *blows you a kiss* =P (don't blame me. Blame the sugar or my psychic chipmunks! They made me do it!) Anyway, I know that chapter was pretty boring. Gomen, I was still laying down the groundwork. But I think I'm done now…. I swear the next chapter will be better! I'm serious! No laughing! I have it all written, It just needs to be typed up! ^_^ Sankyuu!!
Status: Tbc. I can't write a summery without giving anything away soooo… you only get the name of the next chapter. Gomen. Next Chapter: Kiss of Evil