Well, I'm really lousy at drawing pictures, so I slapped together a quick (i.e., riddled with typos) little Xmas present for you guys.

It's a 1x2/2x1, as usual for me. A little angst, a lot of mush. Possibly OOC, but what the hell. <shrug> Enjoy and Happy Holidays! ^_^

===============================================================
PASSION PLAY
A Gundam Wing songfic/vidfic trilogy by Madamhydra
===============================================================
Short Disclaimer: (Full Disclaimers at the end) Gundam Wing copyrighted by their respective creators and all distributors of their work. Used without permission.

===============================================================
Act I: Shadows of the Night (by Pat Benatar)
===============================================================

Duo hopped out of the cockpit of Shinigami and slid to the ground at a breakneck pace. Skidding to a halt at the foot of Gundam Wing, he fidgeted impatiently as he waited for Heero to descend.

"C'mon! You're going to miss it!"

"Duo, what the hell are we doing stopping out here for?"

The Deathscythe pilot laughed as he did a playful little pirouette.

"Chill out, Heero! This spot's just as good a hiding place as the other spot you chose! Better actually, since we have this neat cave system where we can stash Shinigami and Wing for the night."

"Hn."

Duo grabbed Heero's hand and started to drag the Wing pilot deeper into the cave.

"Where are you...?"

"I wanna show you something! But if we don't hurry, we'll miss it!"

"You keep saying that. Miss what?" Heero snapped irritably.

"That's a secret," Duo said with a sly wink as he continued to tug on Heero's hand.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
We're runnin' with the shadows of the night
So baby, take my hand, it'll be all right
Surrender all your dreams to me tonight
They'll come true in the end
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Grumbling, the dark-haired pilot found himself jogging half-blind through a very dimly lit tunnel.

"Duo, I swear, if you get us lost or drop us into a hole...."

"I know, I know. 'Omae o korosu,' and all that jazz," the braided teenager said, rolling his eyes and making a shooting gesture with his free hand. "I know what I'm doing. I've been here a couple of time before. Trust me."

Surprisingly, Heero didn't say anything else, but merely trotted beside Duo. But he was very conscious of the other pilot's warm fingers snugly wrapped around his own as the dimness turn into pitch black darkness.

A few minutes later, they rounded a corner and stepped into what felt like a large, open area. Heero could smell the moisture in the air and hear the splash of falling water, but the darkness prevented him from making out any more details.

"Duo...."

"Sshhhhh! Just watch, Heero."

A minute or two passed as two Gundam pilots waited. Just as Heero was about to turn to leave, he felt Duo's grip on his hand tighten suddenly.

At that moment, a shaft of silvery moonlight flooded the area. The Wing pilot found himself staring at a beautiful rocky grotto that opened to the cloudless night sky. The very air shimmered as the mist from the water cascading down one wall caught and reflected the bright light from the full moon.

But the moonlight seemed dim compared to the brilliance of Duo's violet eyes as the braided teenager stared raptly at the stunning scenery in front of them. Then he turned his beautiful indigo gaze turned toward Heero and smiled hopefully.

(Duo brought me here just for this. He wanted to share this special place with me.)

Without any warning, Heero suddenly found himself reaching for Duo's shoulders. He pulled the other pilot toward him and kissed him.

Duo's eyes widened and he stiffened in surprise, but before Heero could react, the Deathscythe pilot relaxed and wrapped his arms around the other teenager, returning his kiss with an odd mixture of caution and enthusiasm. But when the kiss ended, the embrace did not.

As they stood there, Heero wondered how often he had dreamed of this exact moment, holding Duo in his arms, of being able to rub his cheek against that silky soft chestnut hair, and inhale Duo's unique scent. He briefly puzzled over the soft rumble he both felt and heard, then realized that it was Duo quietly purring like a contented cat.

Finally, cold, hard reality set in. Heero abruptly pushed Duo away from him and tried to ignore the painful, wrenching sensation, almost as if he was ripping something out of his own body. As Duo stared at him in bewilderment, Heero took a deep breath and turned to walk away.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You said it won't work
It's a cold world when you keep it all to yourself
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Heero...."

"What?"

"What's wrong?"

"Duo, I...." The Wing pilot abruptly shook his head. "Never mind."

"What were you going to say?" Duo asked with a curious little cock of his head.

"Nothing."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I said you can't hide on the inside
All the pain you've ever felt
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Nothing!?"

Heero frowned and said impatiently, "Duo, we've got more important things to do beside go sightseeing."

"Sightseeing!? Now wait a damn minute. Stop acting like these last few minutes didn't even happen!"

"All right. It happened. Satisfied? But it was a monumentally stupid thing to do and I don't want to discuss it any more."

"Why do you consider it stupid? I felt something and I know you did, too!"

Wordlessly, he pulled free of Duo's grasp and stalked back into the murky darkness of the cave tunnel. But just before he rounded the corner, Heero couldn't resist taking one last look behind him at the slim, black-clad figure silhouetted against a shimmering silvery curtain of mist.

It took every ounce of willpower Heero had to leave the grotto -- and the brief moment of a dream fulfilled -- behind.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Run from my heart, but baby don't look back
'Cos we got nobody else
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

(Idiot, idiot, idiot, idiot! I don't have time for this! I've got more important things to concentrate on.)

Heero halted abruptly in the darkness when he realized that he was totally lost. Caught up in his mental and emotional turmoil, he had completely lost track of where he was, where he needed to go... and where he wanted to go. He stood there in the silence, thinking long and hard.

Suddenly, he felt a warm hand take his and a familiar voice sigh quietly.

"C'mon, man. I'll take you back...."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
We're runnin' with the shadows of the night
So baby, take my hand, it'll be all right
Surrender all your dreams to me tonight
They'll come true in the end
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"....to the grotto, Duo."

"What?"

"Take me back to the grotto," Heero blurted out before his courage failed him.

There was a long pause, then Duo said softly, "Okay. If that's what you want."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You know sometimes
It feels like it's all movin' way too fast
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

With every step he took, Heero wondered what sort of mess he was getting himself into. In uncommon silence, Duo walked beside him. When they arrived back at the brightly lit grotto, Heero reluctantly let go of the other pilot's hand and walked forward until he could feel the cool mist on his bare skin.

"I... I forgot to say... thank you. For sharing this place with me. I know it's special to you."

Duo walked up behind him and put a hand on his shoulder. He said softly, "I knew you would appreciate it. God knows you try your damnest to hide it with that tough act of yours, but I know that stuff like this means something to you... like it does to me."

The Wing pilot whirled around and snapped angrily, "It's not an act!"

"Heero, why does it bother you so much to admit that you care?"

"Because it's a weakness. It leaves you vulnerable, damn it, and people like us can't afford to be vulnerable. You know that, Duo!"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Use every alibi, in words you deny
That love ain't meant to last
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Do you really believe that?"

"...." Finally, Heero whispered, "Yes. No. I don't know."

The Wing pilot turned his back to Duo and stared up at the night sky.

"Tell me, Duo. Is it worth it? Does the benefit outweigh the cost?"

"You're asking me?"

"I don't have anyone else I can ask."

"Heero, emotions... love doesn't follow logic. You can't plug it into an equation and get a black and white answer."

"I'll settle for an honest answer."

"I'm not sure I can give you one. I do know that if you don't dream, if you don't try for more, you'll never be disappointed... but you'll also never find out what you're truly capable of achieving. But I'm sure you already know that. You wouldn't be a Gundam pilot if you weren't willing to take great risks in order to make a dream come true. Why should love be any different?"

"It... it just IS. Besides, I'm just following orders...."

"Can it, Heero! I know you better than that! You care about people, that's why you're a friggin' Gundam pilot! That's why people like you, I, Trowa, Quatre, and Wufei are willing to wade neck-deep in guts and gore. It's because we believe that all people we kill and the blood we shed will ultimately lead to a better world for everyone, not just for some elite group!"

When the dark-haired pilot declined to answer, the braided pilot sighed wearily. "I think I'd have better luck arguing with a brick wall," he said mournfully.

Heero snorted as he recognized a touch of Duo's usual humor returning to his voice.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You can cry tough baby, it's all right
You can let me down easy, but not tonight
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"You can pretend all you want, Heero. If it makes you feel better to act as if you don't give a damn about anyone or anything, that's okay. I don't want to force you into doing something that frightens you. But I can't live that way."

"I know." Heero's shoulders twitched slightly. "I know you care. That's one of the things...." His voice trailed off uncertainly.

Duo walked up behind Heero and slowly slid his arms around the Wing pilot. As he gently hugged Heero, he rested his cheek against the other's teenager's back.

"Duo... I...."

"I'm not asking you for any promises, Heero. What you feel... if you feel anything... is your business. I just wanted to let you know that I care about you. I care a lot."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
We're runnin' with the shadows of the night
So baby, take my hand, it'll be all right
Surrender all your dreams to me tonight
They'll come true in the end
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Heero reached up to touch Duo's hands as they rested lightly on his stomach. Almost unconsciously, their fingers intertwined as the Wing pilot said, "I think I feel... something, but...."

"But you don't know whether it's a good thing or bad thing, huh?"

The dark-haired pilot nodded. It was unnerving how well Duo could see inside him, but it was also comforting. It made things so much easier for him. He didn't have to grope around and struggle to explain things he barely understood.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
We're runnin' with the shadows of the night
So baby, take my hand, it'll be all right
Surrender all your dreams to me tonight
They'll come true in the end
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"If you want me, you can have me."

"Duo, I don't want to hurt you if I can't feel as you do."

"That's a gamble I'm willing to take. My offer, my risk, my responsibility. Like I said, I'm not asking you for any promises. No strings, Heero. How about it?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
And now the hands of time are standin' still
Midnight angel won't you say you will
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Duo held his breath, then sighed in relief as he felt Heero give a tentative nod.

"Like you said, if I don't try, I'll never know."

And with those words, Heero turned around, pulled Duo's face toward him and gave him a long, slow kiss just as the last of the moonlight faded, plunging the grotto into darkness.

But neither Heero, nor Duo, noticed or cared.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
We're runnin' with the shadows of the night
So baby, take my hand, it'll be all right
Surrender all your dreams to me tonight
They'll come true in the end
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

===============================================================
Act II: "The One Thing" (by INXS)
===============================================================

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Well you know just what you do to me
The way you move soft and slippery
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[ At a loud, chaotic party full of Duo and Heero's classmates, Duo gives Heero a quick, flirtatious wink, before heading for the food table. Heero stares fixedly at Duo's rear as the Deathscythe pilot saunters off. ]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Cut the night just like a razor
Rarely talk and that's the danger
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[ Leaning against a wall, partially concealed by a large potted plant, Heero sips his drink and scowls as he watches Duo weaving through the crowd, sprinkling grins and cheerful greetings right and left. ]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It's the one thing
You are my thing
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[ Lurking like a predator in ambush, Heero watches Duo chatting animatedly and swapping jokes with a group of girls. The Wing pilot grits his teeth as he sees the girls burst into loud giggles and one of them flings her arms around Duo. ]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You know your voice is a love song
It's a catcall from the past
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[ Heero slowly prowls through the fringes of the party, constantly observing Duo's actions. Even through the loud chatter and the booming dance music, he can pick out Duo's husky, lively voice instantly. ]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
There's no ice in your lover's walk
You don't look twice 'cause you move so fast
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[ A brooding Heero catches several people, both boys and girls, blatantly admiring Duo as he shimmies and sways to the loud, pulsing music. Duo freely roams the dance floor, wandering from one group of dancers to another. Everywhere Duo goes, there's laughter and admiring looks. ]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It's the one thing
You are my thing
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[ The Wing pilot continues to drink and his expression steadily becomes colder and more dangerous as he continues to observe Duo. ]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You've got a dozen men behind you
You've got dead flowers on the floor
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[ Flashback to Valentine's Day at school. Duo staggers back to the house they're renting with a massive armload of flowers and chocolates from various admirers. Working at his laptop, Heero scowls at the mess as the flowers end up strewn all over the room and Duo gleefully pigs out on all the candy. ]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You're too pretty in the daylight
It keeps them coming back for more
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[ Flashback to several days before the party. Heero slowly simmers as he and Duo are constantly being pestered by giggling school girls. The Wing pilot also notices with growing annoyance the speculative looks in some of the male students' eyes as they watch Duo. ]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It's the one thing
You are my thing
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[ At the party, Heero can see those same girls and boys constantly hovering around Duo. The Wing pilot doesn't look obviously intoxicated, but there's an ominous glitter in his blue eyes. ]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It's the one thing
You are my thing
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[ Heero gets steadily more angry because it appears that Duo is making no effort to chase the pests away. More infuriatingly, it seems that Duo is actually encouraging them by flirting outrageously with everyone he encounters. ]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It's the one thing
You are my thing
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[ Heero finally snaps. He stalks across the room, grabs a hold of Duo's arm and braid, and with a chilly smile, nearly drags the Deathscythe pilot out of the party. Once out of sight, a puzzled and concerned Duo turns to ask Heero what's going on, apparently thinking that some emergency's come up. To his surprise, Heero slams Duo against the wall, ties his arms and legs, stuffs a gag in his mouth, then dumps the stunned Duo in the back seat of a jeep.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It's the one thing
You are my thing
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After a wild ride back to their quarters, Heero roughly hauls Duo into the house and carries the struggling pilot into their bedroom. When Heero removes the gag, a furious Duo yells at him. Heero snarls something back and punches him. While the braided teenager is still dazed, Heero slices the ropes off Duo, then starts to yank off his clothes. ]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It's the one thing
You are my thing
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

===============================================================
Act III: "We Belong" (by Pat Benatar)
===============================================================

The next morning, Duo walked into the kitchen to find Heero sitting at the table. The Wing pilot had the blank, stoic look of a prisoner awaiting execution.

The violet-eyed teenager said nothing. He simply sat down and began to braid his hair.

"I'm... I'm sorry."

Duo sighed heavily, tied off his braid, and tossed it over his shoulder. Finally, he said quietly, "Apology accepted."

Heero nodded once, then started to get to his feet.

"Sit down, Heero."

The Wing pilot froze. His cobalt blue eyes took a long hard look at the other teenager, noting with dismay the dark purple bruise along one cheekbone and the equally severe bruises and rope burns around Duo's wrists. Undoubtedly there were other, equally painful marks hidden by the oversized t-shirt Duo wore.

Heero slowly sank back down into his chair. Another long silence ensued, broken again by the Wing pilot.

"I had no right to say those things to you... or to hurt you."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Many times I've tried to tell you
Many times I've cried alone
Always I'm surprised how well
You cut my feelings to the bone
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"No, you didn't. Because I didn't do anything wrong." Duo put his arms on the table, making no effort either to hide or flaunt the bruises on his wrists and forearms.

"Heero, I know that you don't like talking about your feelings and all that, but we need to discuss our relationship and get a few things straight before anything worse happens to either of us."

The dark-haired teenager took a deep breath and nodded.

The Deathscythe pilot said, "I grew up on the street. I've seen the whole vicious cycle close-up and personal -- the jealousy, the fighting, the injuries... then come the apologies and the promises. But those promises almost always end up getting broken."

With an uncharacteristically somber look in his indigo eyes, Duo said evenly, "Heero, this is your first and only strike. I won't... I *can't* give you a second."

".... Understood."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Don't wanna leave you really
I've invested too much time
To give you up that easy
To the doubts that complicate your mind
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Okay. Heero, I love you. I love you for who you are. It's that simple. I didn't sleep with you just because I wanted to get fucked and I'm not staying with you just because of the terrific sex. Got it? I CHOSE to be with you. And despite what you and everyone else seems to think, I AM pretty damn trustworthy when dealing with people I care about!"

"I... know that."

Duo's hand slammed down on the tabletop with an explosive bang.

"Then why don't you act like you know it!? I was just chatting with a couple of schoolmates at a party, for god's sake! I was just being FRIENDLY, but last night you acted as if I was a whore out to score with every damn person in the place! And even a whore doesn't deserve to be dragged out by the hair, tied up and gagged, dumped into the back of a jeep, carted back to your room, and nearly raped by yours truly!"

Heero visibly flinched at Duo's last few words.

"Nearly...?"

Duo sank back in his chair and sighed. "No, you didn't actually rape me... but it was THIS close," holding thumb and forefinger a tiny fraction of an inch apart. "And while I don't mind occasionally playing rough, you certainly hurt me last night."

"I'm... sorry," the Wing pilot whispered, curling in on himself.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
We belong to the light
We belong to the thunder
We belong to the sound
Of the words we've both fallen under
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Duo leaned forward. "Heero, you mean more to me than anyone else in this crazy, mixed up world. You're the only person I want to be with. So tell me. What can I do to make you understand that? What can I possibly to do make you trust me?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Whatever we deny or embrace
For worse or for better
We belong, we belong
We belong together
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"No. None of it was your fault. It's mine. Mine alone." Heero lifted his head to gaze at Duo. "I care about you so much... I want you so badly, I can't help thinking that everyone who sees you, talks to you, knows you... how can they NOT feel the same way as I do?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Maybe it's a sign of weakness
When I don't know what to say
Maybe I just wouldn't know
What to do with my strength anyway
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Wing pilot looked away. "I... I know I'm not an easy person to get along with. Everything I've learned tells me that caring is a weakness... love, a liability. Before I met you, I never knew I could feel this way about a person. All my life, I've been taught to stay in control. But I can't control my feelings for you... and... and that terrifies me."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Have we become a habit
Do we distort the facts
Now there's no looking forward
Now there's no turning back, when you say
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Duo, this thing between us... it's like a wonderful dream... a dream that could vanish at any moment. I'm... I'm afraid that you'll wake up one day and think, 'Why am I staying with this bastard?' and... and leave. So every time I see you talking to someone else, I can't help thinking, 'Will Duo like him or her better?'"

"You afraid of losing me? Is that it?" Duo asked gently.

"Who could blame you? After what I did last night...."

Duo's lips quirked upward in a little smile. "So you've got a few rough edges. Everyone's got their own flaws. God knows, I have my own share. It's part of being human. That's why people developed the concept of forgiveness. If human society didn't have that sort of 'give', it would crumble into dust in no time flat."

"Am I? Human, that is?"

The Deathscythe pilot scowled. "Of all the damned.... Heero, you're one of the best humans I know, no matter how much Dr. J or anyone else tried to convince you otherwise."

Heero muttered, "So says the guy who call himself the God of Death."

"Well, to really understand death and its significance, one needs to have a pretty through understanding of life and how it works. It's a yin-yang sort of thing, as Wufei might say," Duo retorted with a chuckle.

"So yeah, I have a pretty good idea of how people think. You'll just have to trust me when I tell you that you're one hell of a human being, Heero Yuy. You might not be the easiest person to get close to, but I can say from first hand experience that it's been well worth the effort. A few rocky patches aren't enough to make me give up on you."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
We belong to the light
We belong to the thunder
We belong to the sound
Of the words we've both fallen under
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Heero blinked, then said in a tentative voice, "But you said that... if I made another mistake...."

Duo rolled his eyes in exasperation. "There you go again, blowing things way out of proportion and jumping to conclusions!" He shook a finger at the dark-haired teenager.

"Mistakes are one thing. Everyone makes them. I expect that you and I will make plenty of them. Like I said, that's what forgiveness is for. Accidents happen." His expression turned somber. "But last night was a hell of lot more than just a 'mistake' or a mere screwup."

The Deathscythe pilot waited until Heero reluctantly met his eyes.

"You were deliberately trying to hurt me and you know it."

Heero nodded slowly.

In a much gentler voice, Duo said, "I know what sort of life you've had, Heero. I can guess how hard all this must be for you and I don't expect our relationship to play out like some pretty fairytale or cheesy romance. I can deal with problems, hardships, and misunderstandings. I *won't* put up with cruelty and malice from you."

The Wing pilot opened his mouth to say something, but Duo held up his hand and said, "I know that sounds bossy and condescending, but try to understand why I'm making such a big deal out of it." He took a deep breath before continuing.

"You mean so much to me. The very last thing I want is to have my feelings for you destroyed or tainted by hatred, fear, or disgust. More than anything, I WANT to be here with you and for you. ONLY you. Please don't drive me away...," Duo quietly pleaded, as he knelt beside Heero's chair.

Heero reached out and pulled Duo close. With the braided teenager's head resting against his leg, he whispered, "Teach me. Please."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Whatever we deny or embrace
For worse or for better
We belong, we belong
We belong together
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Duo gracefully rose to his feet. Holding out his hands, he reached out and gently pulled Heero into the living room. Sinking down on the sofa, he coaxed the Wing pilot into sitting beside him. Patting his lap, the braided teenager said, "C'mon. Put your feet up."

With a doubtful expression on his face, Heero said, "Duo, are you...?"

"I don't think either of us got much sleep last night. Stretch out and relax, okay?"

Heero cautiously lay back and rested his head on Duo's lap.

As the Deathscythe pilot slowly ran his fingers through the other's unruly mop of hair and massaged his tense shoulders, Duo said, "This isn't going to be an one-way street, you know. I have to learn, too. If something I do bothers or upsets you, don't bottle it up inside until it explodes. Tell me, huh?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Close your eyes and try to sleep now
Close your eyes and try to dream
Clear your mind and do your best
To try and wash the palette clean
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The enormous tension burdening Heero gradually disappeared under Duo's firm, but gentle touch, leaving behind a sense of profound exhaustion and relief. Soon Heero was dozing contentedly, sung to sleep by a quietly hummed lullaby Duo remembered from Sister Helen.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
We can't begin to know it
How much we really care
I hear your voice inside me
I see your face everywhere, still you say
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Duo smiled down at Heero. Sleep stripped away the coldness, muted the fierce intensity, and left behind a teenager who was both experienced beyond his years, yet painfully vulnerable in matters of the heart. And with Heero resting in his arms, he knew that there was no place in the world he would rather be.

A few minutes later, Duo, his hand lightly caressing Heero's cheek, followed his lover into a peaceful sleep.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
We belong to the light
We belong to the thunder
We belong to the sound
Of the words we've both fallen under
Whatever we deny or embrace
For worse or for better
We belong, we belong
We belong together
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

===============================================================