My response to Spade's challenge. Since I don't happen to actually have a Queen recording of this, I'm relying on my Sarah Brightman rendition of the song, which, imo, is rather more... ethereal. [Damn, but that woman knows the meaning of vocal pyrotechnics...]


Angst. Yaoi. AU by *my* rules. ...and sap, since I'm absolutely hopeless... And rapid, unannounced shifts in the timeline and perspective.

Lyrics in //....//

Neither song nor bishounen are mine. I just love torturing them. So please don't sue me.

Who Wants To Live Forever? by Lys ap Adin


//There's no time for us//


"Ninmu... kanryou." Heero lifted his hand to eye level, face expressionless, and pressed the detonator's button.

Time paused, standing still and holding its breath in awe of the perfect soldier's steely calm. The moment drew out, stretching thin and fragile like a soap bubble, and then broke into reeling shards as a muffled roar reverberated from Wing's mechanical bowels. Fire raced along the clean lines of the gundam, glowing brightly at seams in the metal and joints in the appendages. Then, with an explosion that seemed deferentially quiet in honor of the moment's gravity, Wing self-destructed, sending scraps of itself spinning out into the darkness.

The blast also sent the much more frail body of Heero Yuy tumbling through the air, buffeted by shrapnel and the unkind aftershocks of the detonation. In the sudden silence of the battlefield, the sound of his body's collision with unforgiving soil competed only with the rain of twisted and scorched pieces of his gundam. He bounced and rolled several times, finally coming to rest facing the sky. As blood slowly bloomed into a dark halo in the dirt beneath him, he stared at the sky with eyes wide and unseeing, an expression of curious surprise on his still, smudged features.


//There's no place for us//


With his hat pulled low over his face and his collar turned up as far as it would go--ostensibly for protection against the weather--Duo trudged along the streets, eyes never pausing as they roved to and fro, watching for danger.

Somehow--it really didn't matter at the moment--OZ had heard that he was in the city. He was lucky in that one of his traces on the 'net had picked up on the orders to find and apprehend a "boy, mid-teens, blue eyes, brown hair in a waist-length braid, probably armed, believed to be very dangerous." Duo smiled grimly to himself. Whenever they found the two goons who'd tried to grab him as he was leaving his motel room, they'd have to change that to "known to be very dangerous." If there was one thing he knew about, it was fighting.

Duo muttered a curse as he saw four soldiers turning on to the street. With his braid tucked underneath his jacket, it wasn't likely that they'd mark him right away. He paused at a shop window, pretending to examine the display, and then glanced back the way he'd come.

Shit. Two more soldiers coming from that direction. Not good. Duo swept his gaze across the street, searching for any possible escape route, but his search came up empty. Not even a convenient alleyway to duck into. There was only one possibility, as unpleasant as it might be...

Damn. They were coming closer, eyeing each passerby with suspicious gazes and peering into stores. Duo suddenly and very desperately wished that he had been given the time to don some sort of disguise before his flight.

*No time for regrets now... Think, Maxwell, think!* Nonchalantly, he turned away from the window and adjusted his hat confidently. Then, moving with forced calm, he ambled forward, moving towards the small church that appeared out of place on the commercialized street. He smiled and nodded at the soldiers as he sauntered past.

"Evening, Miss," said one of the politer ones.

Duo gritted his teeth to keep from either punching the guy or collapsing in helpless laughter as he slipped towards the church. He'd hide in there for a few minutes, or until the OZ idiots moved to another street, and then he'd try to get to the city limits. And once he got there... well, he'd figure out *some* way of getting past the military blockade.

/You should *always* have at least one viable escape route planned. Two is better./

Duo winced slightly as he recalled the nasal inflections of that comment. *Yeah, well, you had your way of doing things and I have mine... and pardon the hell out of me if my definition of viable doesn't include self-destruction.*

He scowled darkly at the unwelcome thought, automatically approaching the candles and lighting one. *This one's for you, you bastard. I ought to hate you for leaving me like that. Hope you're happy now.*

"Good evening, Miss." The priest had appeared suddenly, or maybe he'd just been too lost in his own thoughts to notice his approach. Duo jumped, and bit back the inappropriate curse.

He smiled ruefully. "Geez, do I look *that* girly, father?"

The priest looked embarrassed. "I apologize."

" 'Sokay." Duo waved a hand. "I'm sort of getting used to it by now."

"Is there anything I can do for you, my son?"

"Naw, I was just passing by and thought I'd step in for a few minutes. It's kind of been a while." Duo looked away from the priest, forced to remember just how very long it *had* been. "For old times' sake, you know?"

"I see. If you don't mind my saying so, isn't it a bit late for young folks such as yourself to be out and about?"

*Young... was I ever young?* Duo smiled cryptically. "Maybe it is, father. But I wasn't ever the sort to follow the rules."

The priest frowned. "Surely your parents worry for you."

"I'm sure they would, if they were still around." Oops, that came out before he'd thought about it. Duo grimaced at the look of pity that crossed the priest's face. Well, no fixing it now. "Don't worry about me, I can take care of myself. Been doin' it for a while now." *And if those damn Ozzies would just leave me be, I'd be fine.*

"If you need a place to stay--" the priest ventured.

Duo brushed him off quickly, probably too quickly. "No thanks. People like me don't have places to stay." *They should be off the street by now. I'd better get out of here now, while I have the chance.* He grinned up at the man. "Well, I've taken up enough of your time. See you around, father."


//What is this thing that builds our dreams yet slips away from us//


"Oi, Heero?" The sleepy mumble next to him assured Duo that the other boy was still awake. "You ever thought about what happens after this war ends?"

For a moment he thought he wasn't going to receive an answer--that Heero was either almost asleep, or unwilling to talk. Then Heero replied. "I try not to."

"Nani?" Duo rolled over, propping himself up on one elbow to look at the faintly outlined profile of his lover's face. From what he could see, Heero was staring up at the ceiling, barely blinking. "Why not?"

Again, Heero seemed reluctant to reply. Finally, in the face of Duo's expectant silence, he tried to explain. "We're soldiers."

"So? What's that got to do with it?" Duo leaned closer to Heero, trying to get a better look at the other's face to decipher what he was thinking. The science of reading Heero Yuy's emotions was new and still imperfect, but Duo was bound and determined that eventually he would master it.

Heero turned his face away from Duo's inquisitive one, seeming to search for words. "We shouldn't... expect to survive the war, Duo. Our lives aren't our own."

Duo drew back. "Man, you really believe that shit, don't you? All that perfect soldier, weapon of the colonies crap they fed you... So what if we're soldiers? Yeah, I know, we could die on the next mission. Hell, all of us are prepared for it to happen. That doesn't mean we can't try to hope for the best."

"Then that's where you and I differ." Heero rolled over, back completely to Duo.

Duo flopped down with a heavy sigh. "You know what I'd like to do someday? Live on Earth, maybe on a beach somewhere where I can watch the ocean... I like the thought of that much water, you know? And maybe I could have a dog--never had a chance to have a pet, growing up on L2. It could be fun. Could watch the sun go down over the water, and the moon coming up... Heh. Sounds kinda romantic, doesn't it? I've been watching too many sappy movies, I guess..." He lapsed into silence, figuring that Heero had ignored him and gone to sleep.

He nearly missed the quiet whisper. "You could walk up and down the beach... and sunbathe. That's supposed to be nice."

Duo smiled into the darkness. "Yeah, that's what I hear. Probably get a sunburn, though. You'd rub aloe onto my sunburn for me, wouldn't you?"

Heero sucked in a sharp breath. "What makes you think I'd be around?"

Duo reached over, running a finger over one sharply-defined shoulder blade. "Dunno. Kinda was hoping you'd at least drop by once in a while. I'd keep a spare bedroom for you."

"Only a spare bedroom?" Heero was beginning to get into the spirit of the moment. "Don't I rate more than that?"

Duo chuckled. "Maybe. As long as you're nice to the dog..."

"I like dogs."

"Well, that's good. I hear it's a terrible thing when a cat person and a dog person try to live together," Duo said lightly.

The muscles beneath his fingertips tensed. "Live... together?"

"What, an ocean-side house isn't your thing? You prefer mountains or something? 'Cause I'm really pretty flexible about the whole thing." Duo bit his lower lip, wondering if perhaps he hadn't pushed Heero too far.

"Baka... Duo no baka."

"Like I said, man, you gotta try and hope for the best," Duo mumbled.

There was a strained sound, like the cross between a bitter laugh and a snort. "Living with me is your idea of the best?"

*He runs, he hides, but he never lies...* "Well, the dog's important, too, but... yeah. I guess it is." *Shit, if he gets up and runs like hell now, who could blame him?*

And suddenly Heero rolled over, wrapping his arms around Duo tightly. "Tell me about the house again," he commanded, voice hoarse in Duo's ear.

Duo smiled faintly. "Okay... it'll be kinda small, but with lots of windows that face the ocean... maybe the Pacific, so we can watch the sun go down in the evenings..."


//Who wants to live forever//


God, it hurt... a lot. Damn them, anyway. Wasn't it good enough for them that he'd been captured? Had they *really* felt it necessary to rough him up, too?

Just when he thought he was going to be able to slip out of the damned city undetected, too. Duo laughed, hollowly, wincing as his split lip began to bleed again. "Guess it just wasn't in the cards tonight," he muttered. He looked around. "Ch. Prison cells never change."

*Guess there won't be any Heero to play the hero this time, eh, Maxwell? He's a little dead this time, ne?*

Duo banged his head against the wall, willing the hurtful thoughts away. "K'so. Gotta stop thinking about him. Gotta figure out how I'm gonna get out of here on my own."

It'd be easier, of course, if he could count on one of the other guys to infiltrate, if only for the purpose of eliminating the threat of his talking. With Quatre or even Trowa, he might have a chance of talking them out of it and helping him escape. Hell, even Wufei would probably lend a hand to a fellow pilot, all the while grumbling about being weak for having been captured. But the Ozzies had learned their lesson from the last time. They'd told him as much, that his capture was kept locked up tight, that the search for Gundam Pilot 02 was still official, and that it'd stay that way until after his extermination.

"They make it sound like I'm some sort of vermin," Duo said out loud. "Guess I probably am, in their eyes... Probably sounds better than murder, anyway."

Nope, no chance of a miraculous rescue this time. Either he let the Maxwell luck work its magic in getting him out of another tight spot, or the score became OZ 2, Colonies 0. And maybe that wouldn't be so bad; wherever he went, he'd have Heero for company, right?

Duo winced. "I *didn't* just think that... God, the day I look to the Spandex Psycho for good company is the day I should be locked into a padded cell." He looked around. "Well, I'm missing the padding. Guess a guy just can't get good service anymore."


//Who wants to live forever....?//


"Heero no sugoi," Duo grinned, watching the other wreaking a lot of havoc with OZ's computer systems. "Damn, who taught you computers, anyway?"

"I just picked it up here and there," Heero grunted. "You keeping an eye out for trouble?"

Duo sighed. "I may not be the perfect soldier, Heero, but I *am* capable of keeping watch while you do the dirty work."

"Good. Don't want to get killed because you were too busy ogling to do your job." Heero smirked slightly at Duo, obviously pleased by the progress he was making in his hacking.

"You, get killed? Shit, Heero, you're made of tougher stuff than Wing is... you're gonna live forever." Duo laughed. "It's us mere mortals who have to try and keep up with you, ne?"

"Just do yourself a favor and remember that dying hurts like hell."


//There's no chance for us//


As the dust from Wing's fiery death began to settle, Duo dimly became aware of a scream echoing through the cockpit and across the comlinks. Belatedly, he realized it was his own. He clamped his fingers over his mouth, shaking his head in frustrated denial. *Heero, you bastard--you _bastard_!* His eyes burned, fiercely, and he blinked furiously, denying the tears that wanted to come.

The moments passed, more and more quickly, until time resumed its normal course. The OZ troops, freshly encouraged by their good fortune, surged forward, more than eager to eliminate another gundam if possible. Wufei, over the comlink, yelled at Duo that they had no choice but to retreat. Shenlong, following its pilot's advice, turned, poised to escape.

Duo sat woodenly in his seat, still too shellshocked to act. Deathscythe rocked and shuddered under a volley of missiles, but he could do nothing. Wufei screamed at him. "Damn it, Maxwell, we can't afford to lose you too! Get out of here!"

"Masaka... he can't be dead... he's survived self-destruction before..." Duo whispered, slowly beginning to move. "Shit, Wufei, we have to get him out of there!" Deathscythe surged forward, seemingly intent on taking on all of OZ's forces to retrieve Wing's broken pilot.

"Maxwell!" Wufei roared in frustration, certain that he'd see another comrade fall.

Duo wielded his thermal scythe with a manic finesse, desperately trying to reach the spot where Heero had--where he'd--where Heero was waiting. The Ozzies seemed to pick up on his intent, moving to protect the blasted area. Then Duo screamed in frustration as he saw a mobile suit scoop up a tiny figure and escape. "Bastards!"

"Duo, *please*!" Wufei pleaded. "We can't beat them this time!"

"You're right... we'll have to get Heero back later," Duo muttered grimly, setting about hacking his way free of the OZ suits.


//It's all decided for us//


Duo let his head drop to his knees. *Gomen, Heero... we couldn't even get you back. They'd already "terminated" you... damn them. _Damn_ them...* The physical discomfort of his injuries faded before the anguish Duo felt, remembering the way a clinical announcement of the OZ 'net had slaughtered his desperate hopes for Heero's survival.

He'd cried, something that he hated doing... never did, in fact. When he'd realized that this time, Heero Yuy was well and truly gone... he'd cried like the lost soul he was. "Damn it, Yuy, how the hell did you do this to me, anyway?" he asked dully. "*Why* did you do this to me?"

His face twisted, and he banged his manacled hands against the floor. "Why?! Somebody, tell me *why* it had to be this way!"

As always, there was no answer.


//This world has only one sweet moment set aside for us//


Heero stared at his tray suspiciously. "What did you say this was again?"

Duo rolled his eyes. "It's *good*, Heero, just try it. Don't tell me you've never had a greasy burger and fries before."

"Then I won't." Heero took a bite and made a face. "People like this stuff?"

Duo couldn't answer verbally, since his mouth was full of his own hamburger, so he settle for nodding vigorously. He swallowed and slurped on his coke. "Pretty good, huh?"

"I've... eaten worse." Heero took another bite of the burger, then attempted the french fries.

Duo laughed at him. "You're adorable when you're trying to humor me, you know?"

Heero's eyes softened a fraction. "So, this is part of ... not being a soldier?"

"Sort of... You don't have to eat it if you don't like it. I just wanted you to see what regular guys our age do sometimes," Duo explained.

"Aa." Heero took another bite. "I guess I could get to like these." He paused, looking slightly wistful. "We're going to eat these when we live by the sea?"

Duo grinned. "Sure. Pizza, too."

Heero looked at him. "Tell me about it?"

"Of course. Some nights we'll drive into town and buy burgers with hot fries, and we'll sit on a bench in the park eating them... and sometimes we'll order pizza and make them deliver it to us..."


//Who wants to live forever//


Duo shied away from the door as it spilled bright light into the dim cell. "Oh, good, visitors, just what I wanted," he commented drily, seeing the base commander and some subordinates. "Forgive me for not standing to greet you, but my hands are a little tied up at the moment."


Duo beamed. "Thank you, I try... Do you think working out makes a difference?" He made a show of trying to glimpse his rear.

"You aren't going to be so cocky here in a little bit," the commander spat, indicating that the soldiers should escort Duo out of the room.

Duo's eyes grew round with delight. "Oh, are we going to play more bondage games? Can I be the dom this time, *please*? I know some really neat things that we can do with an eggbeater."

One of the soldiers hit him across the face, knocking Duo's head to the side. "Maybe next time, punk."

Duo shrugged as best as he could while being held upright by two burly men. "Well, I guess I was in a sub mood anyway."

The commander sneered at him. "One of these days, that mouth of yours is going to get you killed."

Duo's eyes went dark. "You don't say..."


//Who wants to live forever?//



Duo looked up from his gear. "Yeah?" He lifted an eyebrow at the sight of Heero, who looked uncomfortable as he sat in front of his laptop.

"I... you're getting ready for the mission, ne?"

Duo nodded. "Yep. I've nearly got it pulled together, why?"

Heero shook his head mutely, seemingly unable to come up with the right words. At length, he asked, "Got a back-up plan?"

"Uh-huh. Plan B is to scream like a girl and run." At the choked noise Heero made, Duo laughed. "Yeah, I've got a plan B that's better than that."

"Escape routes?"

Duo checked the buckles on his gear. "I remember the lecture you gave me about them. I've got three."

Heero nodded as Duo stood. "Good..."

"Well, I guess I'll be off, then. See you in a few, Heero."

"Aa." Duo was almost to the door before Heero spoke again. "Be careful, Duo."

Duo looked back and flashed him a huge grin. "I will be."


//Who dares to love forever?//


"Duo, do you really think we can make it?" Heero murmured softly, inhaling the soft fragrance of his lover's hair.

"Hmmmm?" Duo roused himself from his half-asleep snuggling daze. "What do you mean?"

"You and me. If we last through the war. What makes you think we'd be all right living in the house by the sea?"

Duo shrugged slightly. "I dunno. I just know we can do it."

"But *how*?" Heero sounded frustrated.

Duo hesitated. *Should I?* He raised himself up to look Heero in the eye. "I know, Heero, because I know how I feel about you. I ... love you." *And please, God, don't let the Maxwell curse take him away, too.*


//When love must die//


*I shouldn't have told him,* Duo decided, separating himself from his body and the interrogation that was happening to it. *I knew damned well what happens to people I l--care about.* "Baka... I'm such a baka," he muttered to himself, completely unaware that this was not the answer his captors were looking for. *Damn it, Heero, you were supposed to be strong enough to survive me... I thought for sure you were strong enough to survive me.*

"It's no good, sir," the lieutenant commented to his commander. "This kid shuts himself down just like the other one did."

"Well, keep working on him. Maybe he'll crack, you never know."


//But touch my tears with your lips//


Heero set his pen down and looked at Duo's desk. Duo was staring at a book, but it was obvious that his mind was elsewhere. Come to think of it, Duo had been remarkably quiet all day long. Heero left his desk, walking over to stand behind his lover. "What's wrong?" he asked Duo, rubbing his lover's shoulders gently, just the way Duo did for him sometimes.

"I don't want to talk about it, Heero."

Heero continued his ministrations for a while, noting that Duo was gradually relaxing. "When I say that, you don't let me get away with it."

Duo leaned his head back, looking up at Heero, the normally cheerful lights in his eyes gone. "Really, Heero, I don't want to talk about it."

"Why not?" Heero smoothed Duo's bangs back from his face.

Duo closed his eyes. "It's old, and it's painful, and I'm trying my best not to think about it."

"You always tell me that those kinds of things need to be told to someone." Heero began rubbing small circles at Duo's temples.

"You're not going to give up, are you?" Duo's sigh was weary and defeated. He opened his eyes to see Heero shake his head, no. "Fine. Today's an anniversary, of sorts. The day I gave myself my last name."

"Aa." Heero stroked Duo's bangs, gliding his fingers through the golden-brown strands.

"A long time ago on L2, there was a church with a priest named Father Maxwell and a nun named Sister Helen who took in a dirty little orphan and gave him a home. But he was nothing but trouble, and ended up getting them killed by the Federation when he stole a mobile suit for some rebels. And he hasn't stopped blaming himself since."

Heero leaned down, touching his forehead to Duo's. "A long time ago on L1, there was a little girl and a puppy who befriended a stranger and called him nii-san. But he was nothing but trouble, and ended up getting them killed when a mobile suit crashed into their apartment complex. And he hasn't stopped blaming himself since." Very carefully, he reached up and wiped away the moisture at the corner of Duo's eyes with his thumbs.


//Touch my world with your fingertips//


"Itai..." Duo didn't have the strength to lift his forehead from the floor. "Damn, you guys really know what you're doing..."

The soldiers laughed as they left the cell, one calling over his shoulder, "It's all in the practice."

"Oh, practice... that makes sense." Duo took stock of himself, and marshalled the strength to curl onto his side in a vaguely fetal position. *A few more sessions like that and... well, they might as well shoot me.* He chuckled wryly. "It'd have to be a pretty impressive rescue now, wouldn't it?"

He could practically hear Heero's snorted, "Hn. Baka."

"I've got to get out of here." Duo laughed at himself. "Oh, right, I forgot. There's no way out of this one. Oi, Heero, hurry up and come kill me already, huh? I could really stand to get rid of this headache."

*Yeah, Maxwell, you're really starting to lose it now. Some gundam pilot you are. Heero would be disgusted with you right now.*

Duo flopped onto his back, willing himself to ignore the pain, and to pretend he was someplace far away--maybe a nice safehouse, curled up in bed with Heero. Yeah, that would be nice. Heero would be watching him in that intense way of his, maybe every once in a while reaching out to brush his fingers across Duo's face... Duo smiled faintly. It was a nice sort of dream. "When this is all over, we'll have a nice house by the sea," he whispered to himself.


//And we can have forever//


"One more time, Duo, please?"

Duo grinned at Heero. "You never get tired of it, huh?"

Heero frowned. "I like to hear it before a mission. Besides, it'll pass the time till Wufei shows up."

"Good point. For a gundam pilot obsessed with being the strongest, he's pretty bad about showing up on time, isn't he?" Duo settled in next to Heero. "Someday, when this is all over, you and me are going to get a house on a beach that faces the sunset, and we can live there together, with no one to bother us ever again..."


//And we can love forever//


Duo groaned as light stabbed his sensitive eyes. "Geez, back so *soon*? Change your mind about letting me dom?"

"Maxwell, get up off that floor, we don't have time for your games," a wonderfully familiar voice snapped.

Duo struggled to sit up and focus on the figure in the door. "Wufei? You real?"

"Of course I'm real, you idiot! C'mon, we don't have much time. Quatre's outside, holding them off, and Trowa's gonna rendezvous with us in three minutes. Can you stand?" Wufei asked impatiently.

Duo grinned fuzzily. "For you, I can dance a jig. Geez, how did you know I was here?" He wobbled his way to his feet and staggered to the door.

"We didn't. We're here for another mission. You're just lucky," came the dry response.

"Luck like this I can live with," Duo decided, offering his shackled hands to Wufei for inspection. "Don't suppose you have the keys to these, hm?"

"Of all the--yes, I do." Wufei impatiently unlocked the manacles and put one of Duo's arms over his shoulder. "Now let's get the hell out of here."

*Gomen, Heero... it looks like you'll have to wait a while longer before I come tell you about the house by the sea...*


//Forever is our today//


"Duo? What happens if... one of us doesn't make it?"

Duo dropped his eyes. "I--well--we are soldiers for the colonies..."

"Aa... we'd have to keep going for the mission," Heero agreed. "But... what after?"

"I don't know... everything I want to do after the war... involves you. I guess... I'd have to do it all for the both of us." Duo's voice was very quiet. "I'd want you to do the same, I think. Live, I mean."

"Oh..." Heero picked up Duo's hand, squeezing it. "I hope it doesn't happen."

Duo sighed. "There aren't any guarantees ... especially for soldiers... I think the only thing we can do is live in the moment, you know?"

"Aa." Heero smiled faintly. "In that case..." He leaned forward and kissed Duo. "Let's make the most of this moment, ne?"


//Who wants to live forever//


"Ch..." Duo stumbled again, nearly dragging Wufei to the floor. "Leave me behind, Wufei, I'm not doing you any good on this mission. Hell, I'm not even part of this mission!"

"No way, Maxwell. I haven't dragged you this far through the base to abandon you now," Wufei growled. "You *are* going to live, if I have to drag you out of here by that braid."

"Not the braid, anything but the braid!" Duo replied automatically. "Only Heero ever got to use it as a leash."

Wufei's mouth twitched slightly. "Then cooperate with me and let's get out of here."

"What about Trowa?"

"We're past rendezvous, so he'll go to the back-up plan."

"Scream like a girl and run?" Duo snickered at his own joke and Wufei's befuddled expression. "Right... let's go. I have an urge to kick some OZ ass once I get to feeling better..."


//Who wants to live forever?//


"You *are* strong enough to ride a motorcycle, aren't you?" Wufei asked as they stumbled their way away from the base, where Quatre and Sandrock were doing their level best to instill panic among the soldiers stationed there.

"Oi! Gimme some credit here, I think I can manage to stay on a bike," Duo said indignantly. "I'm only a *little* punch drunk!"

"Good... it's a few hours to the safe house."

"Since when did you do safe houses, Wufei?" Duo asked as they arranged themselves on the bike.

"Since there were only three of us, and we were all needed for the one mission," Wufei told him. "We couldn't figure out where you were."

"I was vacationing in the French Riviera," Duo commented, yelling into Wufei's ear to be heard. "Can't this thing go any faster?"

Wufei grinned to himself, and applied the gas.

Duo sighed, and let the wind lift his braid off his neck. Free again. It was nice, and good to know that his friends had missed him. *Chalk up another miraculous rescue, ne Heero? Are you jealous that it was Wufei this time?*


//Forever is our today//


They stumbled into the safe house at dawn, both exhausted. Duo was barely standing, but he waved off Quatre's fussing arm. "'M fine, jus' wanna sleep," he muttered.

"Anou, Duo, about the beds... there aren't quite enough to go around," Quatre said gravely.

"Floor's fine, been sleepin' there 'nyway," Duo mumbled, weaving a little.

"No, you don't need to do that... Here." Quatre caught his arm and guided him down the hall. "This is your room."

"Mmmkay, thanks, Q..." Duo offered Quatre a weak grin. " 'Yasumi..." He opened the door and staggered into the tiny bedroom and its large, welcoming bed.

Its large, welcoming, and *occupied* bed.

Duo stopped short, staring stupidly. His mouth opened and closed a couple of times, soundlessly, before he could finally squeak a few syllables out. "He--Heero?"

The boy in the bed, who, truthfully, looked rather worse for the wear than did Duo, stirred slightly, muttering in his fitful sleep. "Duo..."

Duo hobbled to the bed, completely unaware of the audience in the doorway behind him. Supporting himself with one hand braced against the wall, he brushed his fingers across Heero's face.

Warm. Living. Soft breath brushed across his fingers.

Duo closed his eyes for a long minute, and then gravely administered a pinch to his arm. It was satisfyingly and painfully real. He sighed, and crawled into the bed beside Heero.

Heero sighed softly in his sleep, reaching out to touch Duo. "Tell me... again..."

Duo smiled. "Someday... when this is all over.... we'll have a house on a beach..."

"...with sunsets and a dog..."

"Right... and we'll go on walks in the surf..."

"Love you."

"Love you too."


//Who waits forever anyway?//



Shit. It's 1x2x2x7 (eeewww) a.m. and I HAVE TO BE UP AGAIN AT FIVE THIRTY!

If there are mistakes, I blame it on the time.

C&C, please????

(and no, it's *not* a deathfic, I couldn't make myself do it. ^_~)