Disclaimers: Don't own it. If I did, it wouldn't have been suitable to air on US television.

Pairing: 1+2+1
Rating: PG
Warnings: Fluffy angst? Angsty fluff? Fluff either way...

Notes: Written in about two hours. Was bored. For KwyckSylver and Bloodywingz, just because.

Worth Fighting For
by Caroline

They huddled together against the back wall of the shack, the only place in the structure that didn't have a leak in the roof. The torrential spring rain had begun when they'd landed in the forest behind the building. They'd struggled for nearly an hour, trying to get the camouflage netting over their Gundams, the rain hindering their progress. They were both cold and soaked to the bone by the time they found the shelter, the closest safehouse nearest them.

The last mission had been bad. It had only been the two of them to do the job that should have required four pilots, but the others had been too far out of range to make it within the allotted time limit. The battle had been fast and furious. It wasn't the first time they'd come up against the new mobile doll technology, but each time the dolls' reaction time had improved, their targeting systems more spot on... almost as if they were learning with each battle they fought.

This time, the battle had spilled over into a nearby village, nearly decimating it in their relentless, mechanical fury. They'd done their best to draw the dolls away from the populated area, but they hadn't been very successful. They could only hope the general populace had had some warning and had been able to flee.

The sight of the burning, bombed--out shell of a church had hit Duo particularly hard.

The pilots themselves had not escaped unscathed. Heero supported a nasty cut over his right eye and he'd had to make a make--shift sling out of an old shirt after he'd wrenched his shoulder nearly out of its socket while trying to shrug off a particularly stubborn mobile doll. Duo had fared little better. A wicked--looking electrical burn raced from elbow to shoulder, and he'd nearly broken his ankle while trying to rig up the netting in the rain. Heero had had to help him through the woods to the shack.

There had been nothing with which to start a fire, and even they had been able to scrounge up something dry enough to burn, there was a steady stream of water tumbling through down through the half-- crumbling chimney. The chilly spring air wasn't enough to cause concern for hypothermia, but it was enough to keep them miserable.

Duo sniffed and edged as close to Heero as he dared. He was exhausted. Hell, they all were. Too many missions, not enough down time. At the moment, they were only waiting long enough for any possible search teams to give up and head back to their base. Hopefully the rain would stop before they had to head back out. Duo didn't relish the thought of trying to limp his way through the mud and the wet a second time.

"Are you all right?" Heero asked, so softly Duo at first thought he'd imagined it.

He grunted and shrugged his good shoulder. "I'll live." He glanced at Heero out of the corner of his eye. "You?"

"I've... been better." Perhaps it was the way Heero had said it, but Duo couldn't help but laugh.

"We've all been better, buddy," he said through clattering teeth. "I just can't remember when right now..."


They sat in silence, the only sound the rain pounding on the roof, demanding entrance. Duo looked up at the ceiling. "Think it'll hold?"

"Looks dubious, but I think that section will stay sound long enough for our stay," Heero replied, shivering slightly. He looked at Duo. "Come here."

"Huh?" Duo turned his head to face Heero, confused. Had he just heard Heero say...

"Come here. I'm cold, and you're shivering so badly, I'm afraid you'll crack a tooth."

"Sharing body heat, eh?" Duo said, trying not to blush like a silly schoolgirl as he moved to touch shoulders with his partner--of--the-- moment. He nearly stopped breathing when Heero wrapped his good arm around him, drawing him close.


Duo sucked in a breath. He was still cold and wet, but yes, it was better. "Yeah."


More silence. Duo took a chance and leaned his head against Heero's shoulder. He blinked drowsily, knowing he should stay awake, keep alert in case they had to move quickly, but leaning against Heero stirred something in him. Something he hadn't felt in a long time. Something he'd yearned for, without realizing it. For the first time in months he felt... at peace. His worries seemed to drain away through that simply contact, and he knew, if he allowed himself to sleep, that there would be no dreams, no nightmares...

No burned out churches like the one they'd left behind.

God, he was tired. Tired of the war, of the fighting, of the constant need to be watching your back, not knowing who to trust. Solo and Maxwell Church seemed like a distant, foggy dream ---- like someone else's memory. Those had been happier times, before the plague, before the Alliance. Father Maxwell and Sister Helen had given him hope, that one day he could be happy and loved -- part of a family.

That had ended in a nightmare of fire and death. And like the phoenix, he'd risen from those ashes a changed man, reborn with a new purpose. But damned if he was too tired to remember what that purpose had been...

He sniffed and reached up to wipe his nose with the back of his hand, realizing to his horror that he was crying. He tried to bury his face against his knees, hoping Heero wouldn't notice...

"Duo? Are you all right?"


Duo nodded, not looking up. "I'm fine. Just... tired. Always tired."

"Aa. I think... I know the feeling." And he pulled Duo closer.

And to his horror, he began crying harder.


"Heero..." he said, his voice barely above a whisper. "Why do you fight?"

"What do you mean?"

"I think... I can't remember why I'm fighting. I don't know why I go out there, day after day. I thought I knew, once, but now..." His voice broke, and he struggled to get himself under control. "I don't know anymore." He turned desperate, pleading eyes to his friend. "Tell me why you fight. Remind me why I have to keep doing this."

Heero was silent for a long moment, so long Duo was afraid he'd offended him in some way. He tried to pull away, but Heero pulled him back, keeping him close.

"I never had a reason to fight," he said softly. "I was just given orders and I followed them."

"But why..."

"I was just a tool, a weapon to be used. I never had a reason or a purpose."

"Oh." Duo went still. He suddenly felt cold inside, colder than his damp skin and wet clothes should have made him feel. If *Heero* didn't have a purpose...

"Until I met you."

Duo blinked. "Huh?"

Heero shifted until he was facing Duo, half curled around him with his injured arm tucked between their bodies. "Duo, I..." He swallowed and blushed. Duo couldn't breathe. Heero never blushed.


"Duo... you're my purpose now. The reason I fight. I... want to make the world a better place, a peaceful place, for you to live in. You deserve that. And even... even if neither one of us survive this war, I want to make the world a place where no child has to go through what you went through." He hesitated, then leaned forward, resting his forehead against Duo's. "But I want to survive. I want you to survive. Because I don't have any other purpose for my life and... when this is over, I'd like you to teach me how to live. It's that hope that makes it all worth fighting for."

Duo had to remind himself to breathe. The tears still fell from his eyes, but they felt oddly cleansing. The cold feeling inside him melted away, leaving a gentle warmth along with something he hadn't felt in a long time... hope.

"I... I'd like to help you," he said, almost shyly. "I used to dream about... about that. The future. But I lost that dream somewhere along the way." Gathering his courage and wrapping that small spark of hope around him like a warm blanket, he leaned in and brushed his lips gently over Heero's. "Thank you for helping me find it."

Perhaps there were things worth fighting for after all.


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