Confusion of the Heart
Clack click clack click clack click Duo stirred at the persistent noise. He opened his eyes blearily and looked at the other bed across the room. "Heero, you are back. How was the mission?"
"Hn." The typing sound never stopped.
"I take it as a success then." Duo sat up lazily and looked at his companion. Heero was wearing his usual tank top and black spandex. Duo frowned as he noticed a bruise on Heero's shoulder. "Heero, you're injured."
Duo sighed and bent down to retrieve the first aid kit under his bed. He was used to Heero's behavior and often took the liberty to dress the boy's wound. He went to Heero's bed and sat next to the Japanese boy. "Stop typing for a minute and let me tend the bruise."
Heero stopped typing, letting Duo tend his shoulder. Duo often wondered why the Japanese pilot didn't try to dress his small wounds or injuries by himself. If he didn't know better, he would have sworn Heero did it on purpose, like he actually wanted Duo to be tending his wounds. As time went by, he learned it was moments like this that Heero would listen to him and stop his typing to let Duo tend his injuries.
"Okay, done." Duo said as he put the salve on the bruise. "May I know what had caused this?"
"Hn, got into a fight." Heero continued his typing.
Duo made a face. "I shouldn't have asked you that question." He ran his eyes over the laptop and read the report Heero was writing.
Needed a disguise to enter the target
place but there was no trouble in keeping
the disguise. Mission accomplished with
minor damage. At the end, the pilot was
drugged by enemies to weaken him, but the
other pilot came to his aid in tying up
the loose ends.
So the Perfect Soldier needed help? Duo grinned then was surprised as his eyes fell upon the clock on the laptop. 12:10 PM. He had promised the girl to meet at 01:00 PM. "Goddamnit, I will be late!" Duo leaped out and dashed to the bathroom. He didn't notice his fellow Japanese pilot eyeing him carefully. After some moments staring at the closed bathroom door, Heero turned off his laptop and walked out, carrying a bag with him.
Breaking his own record for taking a bath, Duo walked out of the bathroom with a towel around his waist and looked at the alarm clock. 12.21 PM. Damn, a trip by foot to the city would take 40 minutes. He would be late if he walked there. "Heero, could you lend me your motor..." Duo stopped his words as he realized Heero was not in the room. Where was he when Duo needed him? Duo cursed and quickly dressed. He went down and found Quatre, Trowa, and Wufei sitting in the living room.
"Good afternoon, Duo." Quatre smiled.
"Good afternoon, Quatre. Do you know where Heero is?" Duo looked around for his Japanese companion.
"I saw Yuy leaving with his motorcycle some minutes ago. He said he had a mission." Wufei spoke up.
Since they just settled to this new safe house, Heero's motorcycle was the only transport they had at the moment. "Damn, I will be late! I hope she will wait for me!" Duo quickly left, leaving his three friends looking puzzledly at one another.
"She?" Trowa quirked an eyebrow
"Remind me to ask him about that when he gets back." Quatre grinned.
"I will!" Wufei snorted. He got a feeling that he would enjoy the story.
As Duo approached the city, he looked at his watch. 01:12 PM. Shit, the girl must be gone by now. Despite his thoughts, Duo quickened his pace and ran to the rendezvous point. To his surprise, he could see the girl was still waiting for him, sitting on the bench.
Duo stopped in front of the girl, panting and sweating. He bent down and rested his hands on his knees, trying to steady his breath. "Sorry, I am late."
"It's okay." A hand with a handkerchief reached up and wiped away the sweat on Duo's face. Duo was surprised and lifted his head to see the girl. At daylight, Duo found the girl's beauty was even more intoxicating. The girl was wearing a yellow pastel shirt and a green pastel skirt. She didn't wear any accessories save a pair of small earrings.
The girl finished wiping away his sweat and stood up. She handed the black jacket that was resting on her lap to Duo. "This is your jacket, thank you for lending it to me."
Duo smiled but didn't make a move to take the jacket from the girl. "You are welcome. Don't you feel cold just wearing one shirt in this temperature?" Although the seasons changed and it was the afternoon, the temperature was still a little cold. Duo himself, was wearing two shirts.
The girl frowned, "A little."
"Well, wear the jacket then. I will take it when I go back later." Duo beamed happily and took the jacket to put it on the girl.
"Don't you want to go home, now?" The girl quirked one of her eyebrows.
"Since I haven't eaten today, I want to eat first. Have you had your lunch?"
The girl shook her head.
"Well, let's have lunch together then." Without waiting for her answer, Duo took her hand and pulled her to the nearest restaurant. He smiled in satisfaction as the girl followed him reluctantly and he didn't let go of the girl's hand until they had to sit to order their food.
"So, what is your last name, Hitoe?" Duo began the conversation while they were waiting for their food. They were sitting at a small table, designed for two people. Duo sat at one end while the girl sat across from him.
"Huh?" The girl looked at him.
"Hitoe is your first name, isn't it? What is your last name?"
The girl shook her head. "I don't have a last name; it's just Hitoe."
Duo frowned. He thought every Japanese name consisted of two words. "Didn't your parents give one of their last names to you?"
"I don't have any parents." The girl shrugged.
Duo frowned deeper. Usually people would say, "My parents are gone." Or "They are dead." But this girl phrased it differently. And she didn't explain any further than that, indicating her reluctance to talk about it.
"How about you?" Duo was surprised when the girl inquired back.
"Ah, I never knew my parents. As long as I remembered, I have always been an orphan." Duo smiled
"I am sorry."
"It's okay. I don't feel anything for them."
"Who raised you, then?"
"Well, I have been a street urchin for a couple of years before Father Maxwell and Sister Helen took me in."
"Father Maxwell and Sister Helen?"
"Yeah, they ran a church and took care of many orphans like myself." Duo was surprised with himself for talking about his past; a past he never told anyone about before. The girl seemed to have an influence over him, making him feel at ease to speak openly. He decided to change the subject. "How is your shoulder?"
"The bruised one. Does it still hurt?"
The girl looked at her injured shoulder. "I am fine."
Duo wanted to ask another question but their food had arrived. Since his stomach had been protesting, Duo decided to set the question aside and enjoyed his lunch. While finishing his meal, Duo watched the girl eat. She ate fast and efficiently, reminding Duo of his Japanese companion.
"You know, you look like him."
The girl stopped eating and looked at him. "Him?"
"A Japanese boy, he eats just like you. Does every Japanese eat like that?"
The girl shrugged. "I don't know. Who is this Japanese boy? Is he your friend?"
"Well, sort of." Of course he could not tell the girl that they were Gundam pilots.
"Sort of? Do you hate him?"
"Uhm...no ....but sometimes he can really irritate me."
"He often dismisses me, he doesn't like to talk a lot, and he never smiles. Hey, come to think of it, you don't talk a lot and I've never seen you smile either. I wonder if it has to do with your Japanese heritage that causes the similarities between you two." Duo pointed his fork at the girl.
"I don't have something to smile about." The girl shrugged. "Let's eat, our food is getting cold."
Duo pouted but resumed eating anyway. This girl was very similar to Heero. She was so much like him that Duo thought she was the female version of Heero Yuy. Well, except that Heero was not as beautiful as her. Even when she didn't smile, she looked stunning. Duo wondered what she looks like when she smiled. Maybe he should do something to get her smile.
They soon finished eating and walked out the door. Still not wanting to part with the beauty beside him, Duo took her hand. The girl looked at him in confusion. "I am so full. Let's take a walk for while, ne?" Duo felt the girl stare at him and he smiled. "Just a walk, it will not hurt."
The girl stared at him for some seconds before nodding. "Okay, let's walk."
Duo smiled happily and led the way. He didn't let go of the girl's hand and held it tighter instead. The girl didn't seem to mind, which made Duo more confident. They talked as they walked, discussing some common things. Duo found out the girl was very knowledgeable and smart. He could talk with her for hours without feeling bored or forced. She's very different compared to the other girls he had met. More mature and wiser.
The other girls liked to talk about themselves, how they looked, how nice their dresses were, but but Duo didn't hear a vain word about herself from the girl. Usually by now, he would feel bored and be forced to smile or talk to the girls accompanying him, but not with this girl; he could talk freely about almost anything. And also, the girls around him liked to praise and dote on him, but again, this girl talked differently or showed none of those things. She spoke matter-of-factly and Duo felt himself fall for her deeper and deeper as they talked.
They came upon a park where many children were playing with the obstacles and equipments of the playground. Duo led the girl to a bench. "Wait here, I will buy some hot chocolates for us."
"I am not thirsty."
"I know." Duo held up the girl's hand. He had felt the girl trembling slightly for some minutes as the weather became colder. "But you are cold. You need something to warm your body. Wait here, okay?" He kissed the girl's hand and walked away before hearing her answer.
Duo found a small counter at the corner of the park and bought two cups of hot chocolate. He returned and stopped a couple of meters when he saw what the girl was doing. Instead of sitting on the bench, she was squatting in front of a five year old boy. The boy was crying loudly. Duo noticed she was holding a ball. She patted the little boy and lifted the ball in front of him. The boy stopped crying at once and snatched the ball. Without a word he ran back to where his friends were still playing.
The Deathscythe pilot felt a pang of pain as he watched the girl look at the retreating boy longingly. He had known it was often on his own face. It was a look of envy and loneliness. Silently he approached the girl but the girl noticed his presence and stood up. "Hi."
"Hi, this is your chocolate." Duo smiled and handed one cup to the girl.
"Thank you." The girl took it and sipped it slowly.
Duo sipped his chocolate too. "Feeling any warmer?"
The girl nodded and sipped her chocolate again while glancing towards to the kids.
Duo followed her gaze and smiled. "They reminded you of your childhood?"
The girl shook her head. "No. I just thought they are lucky."
"They are still untouched by war. They could still play, laugh, and cry like children are supposed to..." The girl trailed off as she kept watching the children.
" We were like that too when we were their age " Duo watched the children as well.
Duo frowned when the girl didn't reply. He looked at the girl who kept her gaze on the children. "You never played like them when you were a child?"
The girl shook her head.
"Why? Did your friends never ask you to join them?"
"I don't have any friends."
Duo frowned deeper. Her childhood might have been destroyed by the war, leaving her to defend and survive the cruel war by herself. No wonder she was so mature despite her young age.
"Don't you have any friends right now?"
"Well, there are some I consider as friends......."
Duo sensed a "but" at the end of the girl's sentence. "Why don't you ask them to play with you?"
"First, I am too old to play like this. Second, I don't know if all of them considered me as their friend."
Duo frowned again. How could anyone not want to befriend this beautiful girl? "I think they are stupid for not considering you as their friend."
"There are many reasons for them not to consider me as a friend, Duo. I am also to be blamed because I don't treat them well."
"What did you do to them?" Duo wondered what this girl could possibly do to make them angry with her.
The girl only shook her head. "I don't want to talk about it. It was my mistake, not theirs."
Duo was disappointed but he didn't push the girl. "Okay then, but Hitoe..?"
The girl looked at him. "Yeah?"
Duo grinned. "You are not too old to play." The braided pilot took her hand and dragged her to a swing, which was abandoned by the children because it was situated a little too far from the other playground equipments. The swing set had only one chair and was based on a pool of sand.
"C'mon, it's just a swing. Have you ever tried it?"
"No, but it's for children."
"You are a child, Hitoe. C'mon! Sit here and let me handle it." Duo pushed her to sit on the swing.
Reluctantly, the girl sat and Duo asked her to put her hand on either sides of the swing. "Ready?"
Duo chuckled. "Don't be so nervous. This is just a swing." He gave a little pressure to the swing, causing it to rock back and forth a little. Noticing the girl beginning to relax, Duo slowly added more pressure to the swing. "See, it's safe. Do you like it?"
The girl nodded. "Feels like flying."
Duo chuckled louder. "How do you know what flying feels like? Humans can't fly, well except when you are an angel."
"I am not an angel, but I have flown a lot."
"Oh yeah? Try this." Duo pushed the swing harder, till the chair reached 45 degrees. The girl squawked, surprised, as she flew higher. Duo laughed and kept pushing for some minutes, then he pushed one last time, as hard as he could. As the girl squawked again at how high she was swung, Duo quickly positioned himself behind the swing and spread his arms apart as the girl swung back to him. "Welcome back to daddy."
The Deathscythe pilot hugged the girl from the back and pulled her from the swing when she reached the maximum height. He spun the girl a little and then stopped, steadying the girl on the ground but not letting go of the embrace.
"Not funny." The girl grunted.
"Uh hu, but it's exciting, ne?" Duo was really happy to be able to hug the girl and he nuzzled her neck. He felt the girl nod. "Like it?" The girl nodded again. "Let's try the other playthings then." Duo pulled the girl with him. They tried almost all the toys there were and sometimes the other children joined them, like on the seesaw, on the slide, and in a game of croquet.
Duo watched the girl all the time. She didn't laugh but she smiled sometimes and it was enough to make Duo fly for she looked like an angel when she smiled. But as snow began to fall, they were forced to stop the game. The children had been fetched by their parents, leaving Duo and the girl alone in the park.
"I have to go home now." Duo bit his lips. He didn't want to go but he had to or the snow would be too thick to walk through. He needed 45 minutes to reach the safe house and it would be hard with the snow falling like this.
The girl looked at Duo. "Thank you very much. I have never been this happy before."
Duo smiled. He felt the same as the girl; it had been a long time since he felt this happy. "You are welcome."
"Here, your jacket." The girl raised her hand to remove the jacket but Duo quickly held her hand to stop her.
"It would be impolite for me to take the jacket and let you tremble in the cold."
"I will be okay."
"I don't think so. Keep it for now, I will get it back tomorrow."
"Tomorrow?" The girl looked at Duo questioningly.
Duo smiled, this was his chance to meet the girl again. "Yeah, tomorrow at the same time and same place. Can you come?"
"I guess so."
"Good, do you want me to walk you home?"
The girl shook her head. "No need, I can make it."
"Okay, see ya tomorrow then." Acting on impulse, Duo leant forward and kissed the girl's cheek, then quickly walked away, bouncing happily.
The girl watched as Duo walked away until he was out of her sight and she slowly raised her hand, touching the cheek Duo just kissed now. "See ya, Duo...."