<vaguely sleepy smile> Here's my shot at manga-fiable fics...

Hope this was what you were thinking of, Hime-san!

Warnings and such: Post EW, therefore AU, sap and angst and shounen ai, and ... death. (It was a request! Hime asked for death! It isn't my fault for once!)

I'll Catch Up

Heero coughed a little, clearing some of the dust out of his lungs, and pushed his way free of the niche that had protected him from the explosion. Metal clanged against metal as he moved, and he winced at the noise that echoed through the darkness.

~Well, this mission isn't going too very well.~

He took stock of the situation: he was half-standing, half-crouched in a completely dark space. Said space was probably full of debris and twisted deck plates, the result of the explosion that had destroyed the space station's generator and had disabled even the emergency lights... and, probably, the life support systems. Furthermore, he was probably sharing the space with other individuals, possibly hostile.

~Where is Duo?~

Thinking of Duo was like a summons: a quiet voice drifted to Heero's ears. "Is somebody there?"

"Aa. It's me."

"Good." Duo paused. "Is there anyone else out there?"

They both waited, but there was no response.

"I don't think so, Duo," Heero finally said, after listening carefully.

"Me neither. I think I have a flashlight in my pocket... Let me find it and see if it still works."

Heero stood still, listening to the soft rustles. A tiny star burst into life, and he started moving toward it purposefully.

Duo spoke, sounding rueful. "It must be busted."

"Eh? What are you talking about?" He clambered over a bent steel frame, heading for the soft glow.

"It's not putting out any light; that means it's broken, Heero," Duo said patiently.

Heero circled around another twisted frame. "Duo, I can see the light. It's working."

"Oh... oh. I see."

"You can't." Heero cursed inwardly, navigating the last stretch.

"No. I think I hit my head pretty hard, going down."

Heero stopped short, finally able to see Duo. ~...damn...~ His partner lay supine, his lower body caught in a twist of metal. Blood matted his hair and slicked the surface beneath his head.

"How bad is it?" Duo asked quietly, continuing to point the slender penlight at the ceiling.

"I've seen worse--"

"Heero, don't lie to me. How bad?"

He continued smoothly, "--but it looks pretty bad."

Duo sighed a little as Heero settled on the floor by his head. "I figured as much, when I couldn't feel my legs."

"Other injuries?"

"My ribs aren't real happy with me. How about you?"

"I'm fine."

Duo smiled a little. "The perfect soldier wins again."

Heero shook his head. "I'm not perfect. If I were, the charges wouldn't have gone off till everyone was clear of the station."

"I guess not. It's cold in here." Duo shivered a little, wincing at the pain.

"Life support systems are down."

"Damn... is there any way for you to get out of here?" Duo asked?

"Let me see the light."

Duo surrendered it. "Be my guest. It's not doing me any good anyway."

Heero stood, venturing a few steps away and shining the light around, conscious of the blood on the flashlight that was making his fingers sticky. A dark hole--the passageway--yawned to his left. Realigning himself with his mental map of the station, Heero figured it probably led to the shuttle bay.

He looked back at Duo's mangled, trapped lower body.

"No. There's no way out." He returned to his seat, and tucked the light back into Duo's fingers.

"Well, isn't this just a stupid way to die." Duo scowled faintly. "I always sort of hoped to go out in the middle of a fight."

"There could be a rescue operation," Heero suggested, the words hollow even as he said them.

"Yeah, right. Keep telling yourself that." Duo coughed. "I think this is It, Heero."

"Aa." Heero watched the shallow, careful rise and fall of Duo's chest, and the swiftly-changing statement on Duo's face. "Maybe it is."

"Man, after all the other shit we've survived... a half-baked group of terrorists on an old space station finally take us down. As Wu would say it, there is no justice." Duo grinned.

Heero snorted.

They were quiet for a while.

"Oi, it's getting damn cold on this floor."

Heero had to agree, drawing his knees in to his chest and wrapping his arms around them. "The heat's going fast."

"Are you sure there's no way out of here for you?"

"I'm not leaving any time soon, let's put it that way."

"Damn... sorry. You deserve a chance to get out of here... instead you get to babysit me." Duo smirked. "Sucks to be you."

"Duo no baka."

"The one and only..."

They were quiet again. The battery in Duo's flashlight was beginning to die; the beam was slowly fading. Heero didn't say anything about it.



"Do you... have any regrets?"

He could barely see Duo's face and his quiet statement anymore. "Yes. I have my regrets."

"So do I... so do I." Duo's free hand reached up, fumbling in the direction of Heero's voice. Heero caught the hand, squeezing it gently. "You know... I love you."

Heero sighed. "I know. I love you too."

"I wish we could have done something about that."

"Me too."


"Yes, Duo?"

"You make a damn lousy liar."

Heero blinked. "I don't understand..."

"You should take the chance to get out of here... but thanks for staying with me anyway."

Heero closed his eyes at the stinging sensation behind them. "How did you know?"

"I heard the echoes of your voice."

"I see... I'm not going."

"And they say I'm the idiot."

Heero leaned over, brushing a kiss over Duo's forehead. "I'm not going to leave you behind."

"What if I leave you behind first, Heero?"

Heero smiled faintly. "Then I'll catch up soon enough."

"Fair enough..."

The penlight flickered one last time and expired. Listening in the dark, Heero counted Duo's breaths.

One... two... three...


Heero closed his eyes and rested his forehead on his knees, still holding Duo's hand and feeling the cold creeping closer.

~I'll catch up... I promise.~


Wow... six a.m.... wow...