March, AC 197
Duo whispered the word as he entered the place he once called home. Back then, this one word would produce a smiling Japanese youth out of the kitchen where the boy liked to spend his time. Back then when he still called this place his home... no... their home, he would get a welcome kiss and often some nice hand made snacks and a delicious black coffee. But now .. now... the word only reminded him of how empty he felt for no one greeted him home anymore.
It had been two months since he came home and found out Heero was gone.
Two months since the Japanese boy left the cream envelope on the empty bed.
It was only two months for other people, but it seemed like two hundred years for Duo....
Funny that humans always made the same mistake for centuries. A stupid mistake where they only realized what they had been missing once it had left them.
Duo looked around the living room with dull eyes. There was a black couch with white fluffy pillows where he and Heero used to cuddle while watching TV, a bookshelf where they put their pictures together on the top shelf, and a fireplace with furred carpet in front of it, where they used to lie on cold nights. Those were the past. Now the cold black couch reminded him he had no one to cuddle, the empty bookshelf told him he had no life mate to share his joy and grief, and the dusty fireplace expressed the coldness he had felt for two months. There was no fire lit from the fireplace anymore, there was no one to share the heat it gave......
/Hee-chan........ *purrs* I'm cold... /
[*snorts* That's a fireplace in front of us Duo. This is the warmest area in our house so you can't be cold.]
/But I am cold. And you're wrong about the warmest place.... I know a place warmer than this. /
/Yeah! *grins* Inside you! *tackles*/
[Na..nani? Duo! You're insane...... ah.... We just did it ten minutes ago..... Uhn.... Ahh ... ]
Letting his jacket pool on the floor, Duo walked toward the bathroom. After the war ended, he had turned into a bastard, he realized it now. It took him one week after Heero left him to realize his big mistake. On the first day, Duo didn't believe Heero would leave him and went out with his friends. On the second day after finding the leftover of expensive Japanese food Heero had made for him in the garbage disposal, Duo realized he would have to do the cooking by himself if he wasn't out eating with his friends. On the third day, he realized he couldn't be with his friends all the time since he had a home to be maintained and cleaned by himself. On fourth day, he felt very guilty when he realized how tiring it was to tidy up the whole house and to think that Heero had done the housework all by himself while he was out there, having fun with his friends.
On the fifth day, he accepted Ian, one of his friends, to be his new roommate, but then he acknowledged how Ian always went out partying all day, not caring about the housework and leaving Duo to do all the work. It was as if Duo had taken Heero's role and Ian played Duo's part. He felt guiltier as he found himself angry, lonely, and abandoned, the feelings he was sure Heero had been having while he was partying with his friends. At the end of the week, Duo kicked Ian out and since that time he lived alone. During that week, he also had realized how selfish his friends were. They only could be called friends in his happy time. When Duo was in trouble or a bad mood, they seemed to disappear. The pleasant and joyful feeling of partying with them slowly faded as Duo realized the people he had called *friends* for some time only cared for their own amusement and didn't care about the responsibilities they had.
Duo had shed his clothes and stepped into the shower. His hand reached for his shower gel and stopped in mid air as his eyes felt on the empty spot where Heero had kept his ivory soap and vanilla shampoo. He used to smell vanilla mingled with ivory when he hugged Heero or nuzzled his chocolate hair. The softness of Heero's body, the silky feeling when he ran his fingers through Heero's hair, and the delighted purr he liked to hear from Heero when he nuzzled Heero's neck quickly flashed before his eyes.
[Ne Duo, are you done nuzzling my hair?]
/Not yet. You feel so soft, Hee-chan *purrs* /
[*chuckles* Don't you ever get bored with your feelings? Ah.....]
/Bored? Hah! You're an addiction I can't miss! This is the proof/
[*gasps* again so soon Duo? You just had me in the shower.... You're an insatiable baka.... Ah...]
Duo growled and roughly grabbed his shower gel, pushing the past images away from his mind. Heero wasn't here anymore!
After showering, Duo walked into the bedroom and glanced his bed. He saw Heero sleeping there and curling like a child, hugging the ugly Mokona plushie Duo once won for him. Duo blinked in disbelief and shook his head. When he opened his eyes again and looked at his bed. An empty bed was the only one who greeted his sight. Heero was never there. It was only a flash of a moment he used to love to see before he had been busy with his *friends*.
/Morning, koi *kiss*/
/Where are you going? You're not leaving the bed./
[Duo, you have kept me in bed for three days! As much as I like you in me, I still need to do some chores, cook, and .... Hmpphh.... Aah....]
/Let's make it into a week, Hee-baby. *pounces*/
[*gasps* Don't you ever get bored with me?]
[Why do you like me so much? *pants* Why not a girl.... Ah... ]
/No girl can outshine your beauty. You're mine, Hee-baby. Mine! /
Duo quickly put on his pajama's pants and went to the kitchen to make dinner for himself. Scowling, Duo quickly grabbed anything edible, put it in the oven, and then went out to eat it on the couch. He didn't' want to be in the kitchen if wasn't necessary. It used to be Heero's private place. Everything in the kitchen seemed to remind him of Heero. Heero cutting vegetables, Heero stirring the wonderful smelling soup, Heero bending to check the oven. Duo used to like watching Heero cooking before he met his *friends*. He liked to watch how Heero hummed soft melodies as the Japanese boy worked on the food and often they had ended up making love in the kitchen because Duo couldn't resist the temptation to grab the cute boy wearing a nice white apron.
[Duo, not now! I'm baking a cake! Ah.....]
/*turns off the switch* Let me bake you first, Hee-chan. You are soooo irresistible with that white apron./
[Ah... *gasps* ..... uhnnn........ oh...... ah...... Duo! ]
/*purrs* You feel so wonderful, baby/
[You stained my apron!]
/I'll buy a pink one for you later/
[Omae o korosu!]
Finished with his dinner, Duo lay down on the couch. He had been sleeping on the couch for the past two months, feeling uncomfortable to sleep in his bed alone. He ran his eyes over the empty shelf. There were no pictures of Heero or both of them together left. Duo had tried looking for them when he missed Heero so much. He had tried to search the pile of the books where he was sure he had left a picture of Heero and under them, but dust was all he found. Heero obviously had found the picture and Duo had been punching the wall with his bloody hands for hours during that night, punishing himself for being a bastard for ever removing their picture from his wallet. Now he got the punishment. He was left with nothing solid to see, touch, or hold as a reminder of their happy days.
[What did Tommy do that you made him your punching bag this morning?]
/*growls* He saw our picture in my wallet and laughed mockingly, trying to get into my pants as well./
[...... ne Duo?]
[You don't have to .. *swallows* ... to bring the picture if it gives you trouble.]
/Hee-chan! I'll walk through fire of purgatory for you. The trouble with this picture is nothing!/
[Duo... *snuggles* I'm happy you want to keep it in your wallet. No one ever cares for me like you do, koi. Aishiteru....]
Duo closed his eyes wearily, feeling the guilty chew on his heart again. How could he think his new *friends* were more important and pleasant than Heero? How could he think Heero as a nuisance at a party? Since when did he care for the others' thoughst and sacrificed Heero to keep himself in society? How could he leave Heero alone and go clubbing with the new friends? How?
Duo had had so many 'how' regrets for these two months that his tears rolled out almost everyday. Since the day he kicked Ian out, he had been trying to find Heero again. He wanted Heero back with him and wanted to start making up with the Japanese boy. He knew he had been a bastard to Heero but he didn't want to be a bastard forever. He wanted to be Heero's lover again. He wanted to be Heero's friend and also family, not the stranger Heero had said he was in his letter. That stranger had died the moment Heero walked away from his life.
With that determination, Duo quit school, left his only-there-when-happy-friends and started searching for a certain Japanese boy. He also had asked the other ex Gundam pilot's help and also Preventer's but appeared to have no result. When Heero said that he would disappear, he really did disappear. Not only from London, but also from the earth and colonies. No one knew where Heero was and Duo, despite being the best hacker after the Japanese boy, couldn't find any records about Heero. The only record of Heero Yuy he could find was the pacifist Heero Yuy who had died long ago, the real Heero Yuy whose name was used as his once friend, mate, and lover's code name. The Heero Yuy he once knew very well now seemed never existed.
Today's hacking into the L1 colony's secret records also resulted nothing. Duo let out a tired yawn and curled in the couch, grabbing the blanket to cover his tired body. He would try searching all colonies' records tomorrow. It would take months to trace every record but he would do it.
He would do anything to get his Hee-chan back.
/Gotcha! You lost, Hee-chan!/
[*pouts* You're good at hide and seek.]
/Hah! Do you really think I won't be able to find you, koi?/
[I'm pretty sure I'm good at hiding.]
/Not from me, baby./
[*snorts* Don't be to sure, Mr. God of Death.]
/*chuckles* Count on it, Hee-baby. Wherever you hide, I'll find you./
( Song interlude * )
I was a fool
I was a stupid fool played with your
Emotions and devotions
I was a fool
I was a fool
Give me chance
One more chance, a second chance, another chance
Just give me a chance, chance
I need a chance
Don't walk away
Oh baby please don't walk away from me
Because I need you to stay
Oh stay another day and you will see
That I will make it up to you
All the hurt I put you through
Oh with the games I play
Please don't walk away
Made a mistake
Oh my first mistake, only mistake, last mistake
A really bad mistake
I'm sorry now
So sorry now, made you cry, told a lie
Give one more try
I'm sorry now, so sorry now.
Don't walk away
Oh baby please don't walk away from me
Because I need you to stay
Oh stay another day and you will see
That I will make it up to you
All the hurt I put you through
Oh with the games I play.........
.............. Please don't walk away
December, AC 199
Finally. Finally he got a hint to where Heero was. It had been two years and he was on the verge of losing hope when the computer found a record of Dr J's secret lab. Duo had flown immediately to the said lab and now was walking on the small path that headed to the lake where the said lab was, hugging his trembling body to resist the cold. Where did that crazy doctor get an idea to build a lab at the north pole and inside a lake as well? It was a brilliant idea he had to admit since no one ever thought there would be a lab down at the bottom of the lake.
Duo arrived at the edge of the lake. The surface was frozen so he used a laser beam to make a hole there. Without slightly hesitation, Duo shed his jacket and jumped into the lake, wearing skin-tight clothes divers liked to wear. The water was cold and freezing but Duo felt none of that. He had been cold since Heero left him. He hadn't felt any warmth since Heero walked away from his life. The lab was seen in his vision and Duo dove faster, somehow feeling Heero was there.
After configuring some buttons to let himself in, Duo finally managed to get into the lab. He stepped out from the arrival room and looked around. There were computers, cables, and other machines around him, processing and blinking. "Heero?" Duo called hesitatedly, suddenly afraid that Heero didn't want to meet him. He waited for some seconds but no reply was heard. He called again, a little louder, but the only answer he got was the echo of his voice.
Where was Heero? Duo walked further into the room and studied the machines. A pink object on the desk caught his attention. He walked closer to the desk and recognized the object as the ragged Mokona plushie he gave to Heero.
/Heero, why do you keep this doll on your bed? Look, one of its eyes had fallen out./
[....... I like it, Duo. It reminds me of you.]
/Hey, how can an egg shaped doll like this remind you of me?/
[The shape doesn't matter. You're the only one who ever gave me a present....]
Duo hugged the pink doll tightly. He remembered how wide Heero's smile was on the day he gave him the doll and vowed that he would make Heero smile like that once more. He looked around, trying to find his Japanese lover. Heero was here. He was sure of it now.
His eyes fell on a metal tube that was as tall as him. As he approached the tube, he saw a small glass window on the upper tube to peek inside and some inscriptions below it. He narrowed his eyes to read the inscription and turned pale. He couldn't believe it. He couldn't believe what his eyes had read on the inscription.
Species Type : Altered Human Soldier
Code Number : DMHY01
Code Name : Heero Yuy
Date of Living : 01 January AC 180 - 01 January AC 197
01 January AC 197???? What the hell did the date mean!!!??? Duo dropped the Mokona doll in his arms subconsciously and pasted himself to the tube, reading the inscription once again. 01 January AC 197..... it was two years ago. The day when Heero left him...... This had to be a sick joke. Heero hadn't died yet!!! Heero couldn't mean the sentence 'It's time for the old Heero Yuy to dissappear as well' in his last letter literally!! This was so not happening. It couldn't be... It couldn't be!!!
Duo trembled as he tore his eyes from the inscription and looked up into the small glass window. He felt his world frozen before breaking down into pieces when he saw what lie behind the glass.
In green tank top and blue jeans.
The Heero Yuy he knew.
The Japanese boy was in there with his eyes closed, blue lips, expressionless face and white skin. Duo felt his body shake wildly as he ran his fingers over the glassy window. The boy's hair was as messy as he ever remembered. The cheek.... Duo moved his fingers over the glass surface, wanting to caress the cheek he had remembered so well. There was no doubt anymore.... It was his Heero in there, dead.... Dead.... DEAD!!!
[Ne Duo... you know something?]
/What's Hee-chan? *hugs*/
[I'm glad you asked me to live with you. I never know living could be this great ....]
/Aww...you got sentimental, huh?/
[*glares* I'm serious. Before his death, Dr. J had ordered me to discontinue my life when the war was over. I won't have continued living if you weren't with me.]
/*chuckles* I know, Hee-chan. I know *smooch*/
Duo couldn't keep his tears any longer. Sobbing, he hugged the tube and pasted his face on the glassy window. Two years..... He had been keeping his hope for two years to fix his mistake, to make up with Heero again. And now, all the efforts he did only got him a dead body of his beloved. He never could make Heero smile again, never could see Heero blush when he teased him, and never could hear the rare laugh Heero unconsciously had when he was near him. He never could feel Heero's soft and warm body in his arms anymore.
The lab was as silent as a tomb. Heero's tomb. The only sound was heard wass the sound of teardrops as they fell onto the floor and soft sobs from the boy who once had been Shinigami. The boy who now felt half of his soul had been ripped apart. "Heero..." Duo leant his forehead against the tube and looked straight into the lifeless face of his Japanese lover. "I'm sorry, Heero. I'm so sorry..." Tears kept running down, making Duo's vision blur.
[Ano ... Duo? Don't you think your clothes are a bit ... um ... out of place for dinner?]
/Sure, but I'm not just eating I'm going clubbing./
[But Duo, you were just out this morning!]
/What? Now I can't have fun with my friends?/
[No, that's not it, Quatre and the others are coming tonight, I've prepared a special meal and I was hoping to greet the New Year with you.]
/*Sigh* I promised Trish that I'd be at the dinner at her place before we go clubbing. She's having a good ol pizza party! I'm sure I can grab some of your stuff tomorrow and the guys won't miss me tonight./
/Look I'm in a hurry. I promise you Hee-Chan; I'll be here in time to ring in the New Year with you. And you know Duo Maxwell. I run, I hide, I never lie./
"I'm a bastard." Duo spat as he brought his hand down on the tube. "I'm really a bastard to ever forget how much I mean to you.... .." He sat down in front of the tube and buried his head in his hands, whispering the words he should have two years sooner. ".. and to forget how much you mean to me.... "
/I love you, Hee-chan. I don't think my life can be this good if you aren't at my side./
[You know I won't leave you, Duo. As long as you still need me, I'll never leave you.....]
Duo broke down and cried loudly into his hands. He didn't know how long he cried. It seemed he had been crying for forever when a loud beeping sound caught his attention. Duo looked up with his red eyes and turned to the sound's direction. His eyes widened as he stared at the large monitor, which was showing a close up face of Heero on the screen. The Japanese boy's eyes were slightly red and he looked tired. From the length of the hair that covered the back of Heero's neck and the broken expression Heero had on his face, Duo knew this was a picture of Heero after the war, after he abandoned the Japanese boy to be exact.
He heard a broken but familiar voice booming through speakers as the boy inside monitor started speaking. "Hello intruder. Since you managed to enter this lab without interrupting the security system, I assume you aren't an ordinary person. If you're looking for a sort of destruction weapon to start a war, then you'll be disappointed. There's nothing valuable to be taken or stolen here without activating the lab's self destructing system. But if you're looking for help to end the war, you can find it here. I once stopped two wars and I'll help you in stopping another war..." Duo saw Heero's face on the monitor saddened. "..though I prefer to just stay here forever. But if you really need me, push the red button on the left panel. It'll deactivate the freezing state I'm in. Please think about how important it is for you to have my help before defreezing me. Press the button only if you really need me."
The monitor's screen went blank after Heero's last statement. Duo just stared at the now blank monitor, trying to process what he just heard. Heero was still alive. That was the first realization that came into his mind. His Heero was alive! He still had a chance to make up with him once more. Without a second thought, Duo reached for the red button on the left panel. What did Heero say.... Press the button only if you really need me? Hah! He needed Heero as much as a fish needed water. He wouldn't want to live if Heero wasn't with him.
Fingers finally reached the button, Duo held his breath and pressed it down as hard as he could. For one second, nothing happened, but then at the next second, the tube where Heero was was opened. Duo moved, picking up the ugly Mokono plushie, and stood in front of the tube, ready for whatever would come out from the tube.
As the warmth slipped into the tube, Heero slowly regained consciousness. He needed only some seconds to go through his memory to acknowledge that someone had defrozen him. What he didn't know was how long he had been in the tube, a century? A thousand years? Or more? However long he slept, his awakening told him that he was needed once more. How long had the peace he had helped to create last? Did he have to help whoever awakened him to create another peace again? Why couldn't someone leave him frozen here? Why couldn't they let him be an ordinary human in here instead of asking him to once again become a cold killing machine out there? He was so happy in the tube. All his hurt and sadness were gone once he was frozen. Now as his blood started flowing through his veins, Heero could feel the throbbing pain in his heart once again.
"Heero?" A masculine voice called him slowly, hesitantly.
That voice..... It sounded so familiar. Heero frowned and slowly opened his eyes. A wet young man with long chesnut hair came into his vision. He was hugging a pink object that Heero recognized as his plushie. The young man looked hesitant but hopeful. Heero blinked as he stared at the young man's face. The delicate lips, the pointed nose, the slightly red violet eyes and the unique face. Heero knew the young man. Heero knew him too well for he was his lover back then. He was ........
"Duo...?" Heero whispered in confusion and surprise. How could Duo be here? Why was Duo here? Before his thought could stray further, Heero felt a pair of hands pull him out of his tube and embrace him. One of the hands pushed his head to snuggle under Duo's chin while the other hand released the pink plushie and encircled his waist tightly, pressing his body against Duo's. Heero was surprised when he realized his feet didn't touch the ground. A proof that Duo was now much taller than him, if he was really Duo. How much time had time passed? Was this the same Duo that he knew or was this one of Duo's descendants? He was surprised when he felt Duo trembling. "Duo?"
"Yes it's me, Heero. It's Duo, your Duo.... " Duo murmured while he buried his face on Heero's hair.
"My Duo?" Heero wanted to pull away from Duo's embrace to see Duo's face, but Duo tightened his embrace, holding Heero still.
"Yes, your Duo.." Duo nuzzled Heero's hair with his nose and kissed his way down to Heero's forehead. "Not the bastard." A kiss on Heero's nose. "Not the stranger. That bastard stranger died once you left me." Duo looked straight at Heero's Prussian eyes, whispering "I'm only your Duo since then." and sealed Heero's lips with his.
Heero felt dazzled with the feelings Duo gave him upon the kisses. Duo treated him like he was the only one Duo cared for, liked the first time when Duo told he loved Heero. The kiss felt good, making him kiss Duo back subconsciously.
But suddenly the memories of his loneliness, abandonment, and sadness flashed in Heero's mind, causing him to jerk up and withdraw from the kiss. He tried to struggle out of Duo's arms but Duo held him tight, having already predicted his reaction. Duo was stronger than him now that he was still weak from his defreezing process. Panting from his useless effort, Heero sagged into Duo's arms. "Let me go...."
"No...." Duo shook his head. "No way I'm gonna let you go. I miss you so much. I'll never let you go again, Hee-chan."
Heero looked away. "Why did you defreeze me?"
"Like you said. I defroze you because I need you." Duo caught Heero's chin and turned the Japanese boy's face to him. "It has been two years since you disappeared from my life. I felt like dying after I realized how much you meant to me. I have been searching for you from that time. I need you, Heero. I need you in my life."
Something like joy flashed in Heero's eyes before they became sad once more. "How long?"
"How long till you don't need me anymore, Duo?"
Duo was taken aback with Heero's question. The last question had told him how depth Heero's wound was and how big the damage he had made was. Heero believed him when he said he needed Heero, but Heero didn't believe his needs would last long. Heero thought Duo would leave him once his needs were satisfied and Heero would left alone again.
At that moment, Duo knew that his answer would determine the rest of his life, whether it would be with Heero or without Heero. He ran his eyes from up to down and up again, studying Heero's pale figure. The Japanese boy looked so fragile and vulnerable while waiting for Duo to answer his question. Duo knew that one wrong word from him would cause irreparable damage to their already broken relationship. He couldn't say he needed Heero for forever. He couldn't say that he needed Heero till death. He had said those words before and yet he had abandoned Heero. The Japanese boy obviously wouldn't buy those sentences anymore.
What was longer than 'forever'?
What was more eternal than 'death'?
Heero waited for Duo's answer. He could feel Duo's eyes tracing his body slowly up and down and started to do the same. He could see a few changes on Duo than the last time he saw him. Duo's chest felt firmer and full of muscles, so were his arms. His face had become longer, losing the boyish curve on his chin. Heero realized he was looking at a nineteen year old Duo. Duo had grown up while Heero was frozen. That made him two years younger than Duo now. Sure, Duo's body had grown up, but had his personality grown up too? Heero wanted to believe that Duo would keep him forever this time, but he didn't have any encouraging reasons to hold up his belief. He was very afraid Duo would slowly leave him again. He didn't want to be alone and abandoned once again.
Heero was pulled out from his thought when Duo suddenly moved. The longhaired boy walked toward the desk and sat Heero down on it. "Duo?" Heero asked in confusion when he felt Duo step back. He watched in trepidation as Duo pulled out the knife at his waist. "Duo, what do you want to do ...DUO!" Heero stared in horror as Duo swung the knife and cut off his long hair, leaving his hair shorter than Heero's. The Japanese boy was so shocked that he just watched Duo cut his long hair into shorter parts, chopping the hair like chopping vegetables until they were a half inch in length before throwing them into the disposal tunnel that connected straight into the lake.
How could Duo do such thing like that? He knew how much Duo's hair meant for the American boy. It held his childhood memories and was a very valuable treasure for Duo. And now.... For Duo to chop his hair like that was very shocking. Heero didn't realize his jaw has dropped until Duo lifted it up with his two fingers. He blinked and looked at the now short haired Duo in disbelief.
Heero opened his mouth to ask but Duo put his fingers on the Japanese boy's lips, silencing him. "Till I get all the pieces of hair I had cut earlier." Duo murmured softly. "That's how long I need you, Heero."
Heero was shocked. Very very shocked. He couldn't say anything. He never thought Duo would answer him like that. "Your hair..." Heero croaked, still not believing Duo had cut his own hair. He clutched Duo's front shirt tightly and pulled Duo closer so that the American boy had to put his arms on the desk to get balanced. "Why?..... You don't have to...."
"I'll cut my hands and feet if that could make you come back to me." Duo stated seriously. However, seeing Heero turned paled, Duo's eyes softened. "But that would make me unable to hold and carry you. Moreover, I don't need my hair as much as I need you, Hee-chan." He put his arms around Heero's waist and pulled the Japanese boy closer so that their faces only an inch apart. "Let's go home, koi. Give me a second chance to get us happy together." Duo kissed Heero, pouring all his feelings into the kiss and then whispered near Heero's ear. "Please, let me love you, once more Hee-chan....."
Tears started rolling down silently on Heero's cheeks. He could feel how much Duo love him by sacrificing his precious hair.
"Don't cry." Duo kissed Heero's wet cheeks and hugged him tighter. "Don't cry, Hee-chan."
But Heero couldn't stop crying. He let Duo kiss his tears away, vaguely aware that Duo pushed him backward so that he was lying on the desk with Duo on top of him. The American boy's lips became wilder, roaming over his face and neck, while his hands caressed Heero gently. "I missed you. I missed you so much, Hee-chan." A tear escaped Duo's eyes and Heero found himself raising his head to lick the tear.
Duo didn't realize he was crying until he felt Heero's tongue on his cheek. He pulled back a little and looked at the Japanese boy beneath him. Heero gave him a faint smile and raised his slender hands to caress Duo's cheeks. He had decided to follow his feelings once more, trusting Duo not to let him down.
"You're wet and cold. Let's go home to warm you up, Duo baka."
For the first time in two years, Duo Maxwell smiled. "I'm home now, Hee-chan. I'm finally home."
( * ) Lyrics taken from the song Don't Walk Away by Tommy Page