I Love You, I Need You
Fourth and Final Part of the 'I Love You' series
by Dev-Aki Basaa
I don't know why I ran. Not really. I suppose it was
fear, yet I don't recall ever fearing anything in my
life. Not pain, not death.
Not my own, anyway.
I don't know what I thought I'd gain by leaving. I
knew in my heart that I'd desperately miss Duo while I
was gone. And I did. It was a constant ache deep in
my chest that never waned, never subsided.
I thought that once I had figured things out, I could
rush back to him, pull him into my arms again and
never let go. I wanted that so badly, searching
desperately for the peace that could send me back to
him. But I didn't make any headway; nothing more of
my emotions made sense to me. I'd considered dialing
him too many times to count, but stopped with my
finger on the connect button, anticipating the
questions I knew I couldn't answer.
When are you coming home? Have you sorted things out?
Why did you leave?
If he'd asked me if I loved him, I could have answered
him that with an emphatic yes. And, perhaps, I should
have just called to say that much, but under the
circumstances, I didn't think he would have wanted to
hear it. What good are all the declarations of love
in the world when I'd *chosen* to leave his side?
He surely would have asked where I was, but I couldn't
have answered him that either. Only because I knew
he'd come looking for me. Hell, I knew he was looking
for me from the start - I know my Duo - but I didn't
think that's what I wanted. I thought I wanted the
space and distance. I thought that constant ache in
my chest could somehow bring me clarity, help me sort
through the intense emotions I felt deluged with: the
grief from Relena's death, my fear of Duo's. Yes, I
suppose it was indeed fear that sent me running.
However, by no means a reflection of my love for Duo.
It is imperative to me that I make him understand
Ironically, it was Duo I thought of when I followed
that woman into her burning home looking for missing
children. It was something I imagined he would do.
My recollection of that day is disjointed, at best.
Mostly flashes of sensory memory. For example, I know
I will never forget the extreme blackness or the
stifling, intense heat. I do remember catching up
with the woman in the hallway, seeing her stumble as
she coughed. I'd sent her back outside to wait with
the other children already out of harm's way. She'd
given me a few directions - a room in the back, two
rooms upstairs. I'd gotten out fine with the children
she had sent me after, all of us unharmed, just as the
fire engines roared up the street. I had been more
than ready to slip away from the now collected crowd
and find some solitude to rest and cough my brains
out. Yet, as I had turned my back from the ensuing
drama, I heard her wail.
There was still a child unaccounted for. Yes, the
fire personnel were there, unloading hoses. They
could have gone in after the child.
But I was closer.
I'd shot back into the house, my mind's eye capturing
a vivid image of a door I'd passed as I'd headed
towards the back room previously. However, before I
was able to reach it, I met a wall of fire, as
blinding as the sun and even hotter than the searing
air I'd already gulped down into my lungs. I'd
hesitated before it too long and I swear I could feel
the skin of my arms char right off.
Then I'd bolted - the old mission-bent soldier of the
past kicking in. After that, the only distinct memory
I have is of the heat and the strangled way I'd
coughed. I don't even really remember finding the
child. Instead, I recall trying to rush back out and
almost falling with the child cradled in my arms.
Only, I was grabbed and the child lifted from my arms.
A fireman then hefted me up and carried me from the
I remember thinking how bright the outdoors suddenly
seemed and then, settled in the back of the ambulance,
I noted the strange tang of the oxygen they pumped
into me through the mask over my face. I know I
finally passed out because I don't remember much after
that. Not even sensory memory. Later on, if I woke,
there was pain or discomfort, so I would just close my
eyes and drift away again.
I dreamt of Duo a lot. Of Relena and Dr. J. I don't
really recall much of the dreams, just the knowledge
that they were there. I think Trowa, Quatre and Wufei
drifted into my unconsciousness a time or two as well.
Oddly, I even saw Zechs Marquise. But mostly, it was
Duo in my dreams.
When I woke that one time, to find him there, I really
thought I was still dreaming. When I woke again and
he was still there, I realized it wasn't a dream. He
was really there with me.
And I felt such horrible guilt.
Though it was hard to keep my eyes open, I was
probably awake far more than they realized. I swear I
heard every conversation that went on in my room. I
heard Sally speak at length to Duo about my recovery
and what it would entail. The extended hospital stay,
the skin grafts, the infection risk, the immune
deficiency. She was trying to prepare him, I know,
but I never really heard him acknowledge her. It was
as if she were merely talking at him. To drive home
that impression, these talks often ended with her
exhaling loudly before she left the room. Duo wasn't
listening, and that's when I knew. The moment I could
speak; the moment I was able, I would tell him.
I'd tell him that he could leave me too.
I could have strangled him, if I hadn't been so damn
worried about his throat. Those words, barely spoken
but rasped out sent my stomach dropping to my knees.
"Duo, there's something I need to tell you."
It was everything I could do to keep holding his hand
and not drop it in horror and back out of the room
before he could even finish what he was going to say.
But then he continued and I realized what this was all
"I don't want you to feel obligated to take care of
He coughed, wincing, before he went on. I should have
stopped him, let him save his voice, but my own was
trapped in my chest, blocked by the knot forming in my
"I'm sorry that I've done nothing but cause you
trouble for.... too long. Please don't think you have
to be here on my account." He looked away from me.
"You certainly don't owe me anything after what I've
done to you."
Frankly, I couldn't take it anymore.
"Heero Yuy!" I pretty much spat out his name. "Do
you love me?"
He turned back to face me, his eyes wide, almost
looking panicked. However, there was no mistaking the
intensity in his, albeit weak, voice. "Yes. Yes, I
do. More than... anything."
I sighed, deeply. I know there was a huge part of me
that thought he'd say, "yes, but like a friend," or,
"no, not as much as I once thought," or something of
the like. The relief was almost overwhelming.
"Well, then stop being a bastard and let me hold you."
He inhaled sharply, wincing again and I almost
apologized for being so damn blunt. But then he
pulled his arm in, bringing me near him and I shifted
to sit on the edge of his bed. It was awkward, but I
leaned down and gently drew him into my arms. He rose
up a little to meet me and pressed his face against my
Christ, it felt so good to hold him. Even for as
careful and gentle I was trying to be. His hold on me
was as clumsy anyway, what with his bandaged hands.
But still, with all that, it felt so...wonderful.
He tried talking again but only coughed, gagging a
little. I whispered that it could wait - whatever
else he had to say, but he shook his head. He rasped
out an "I'm sorry," and I could tell he'd already used
up what little voice he had. I could also tell he
wasn't ready to be silenced yet.
"Duo..." he tried again, croaking even more.
"It can wait," I told him and laid him back down on
his bed even as he shook his head again. I was back
to pointlessly shushing him.
"Don't worry about it," I said, brushing my fingers
through his bangs. "I'm not going anywhere, I already
promised you that."
"That's why I have to talk!" he managed with some
volume and a glare.
I paused for a moment, looking down at him and taking
in his oxygen tubing, his IV lines, and the heart
monitor telemetry. Then I told him to scoot towards
me. He gave me a strange look, but did as I bid. I
walked around to the other side of his bed - the side
with the fewest lines - and laid down next to him. I
thought I might fall right back out, but I curled
towards him as best I could, bringing my center of
gravity safely onto the bed. I tugged aside his
oxygen tubing and placed my head on his pillow, our
faces almost touching.
"Tell me now, whisper, I'll hear you." Then I turned
so my ear was near his mouth. I felt his sigh against
my neck and shuddered in response. It felt familiar
and oh, so welcome.
While I stared at the stark white ceiling, Heero
whispered so soft that even with him this close, I
could just barely hear him. He filled my head with
enough sentiments of love and devotion and begged
forgiveness to assuage every doubt or fear I ever had.
I'd known he loved me. Dammit, I *knew* it. I'd
just let my fears run away with my mind.
"What if something had happened," he was saying at one
point. "What if I'd died without telling you how much
you mean to me? What if I never got another chance to
say how much I love you?" He leaned his head closer,
pressing his forehead to the side of my head and I
could feel the rhythm of his breath against my ear, in
time with his whispered words. It sent constant
shivers down my spine.
"But then," he continued, "when I saw you here, I
thought you might only be here out of some sense of
obligation and I didn't want to burden you anymore
than I already have. I did to you what I feared you'd
do to me. I left you, and you have every right to
leave me too. Why should you have to take care of me
when I walked out on you?"
I'd had enough of this. His worries were futile and I
would not let him dwell on them.
"Stop," I said, before he even had paused for a
breath, turning my head to face his, my forehead
brushing in place against his. "Just stop," I added
with a sigh. "I'm here because there's no other place
I want to be than by your side - healthy or hurt."
Heero shook his head against me. "My recovery," he
gasped out. "I could hire a nurse or assistance of
some kind, you don't have to..."
This time I drew back, propping myself up on my bent
arm and resting my head against my fist to look down
"What did I just say? You're mine, Heero. I'm not
letting you go, ever again." I shook my head for
emphasis. "Forget the visiting nurse idea, okay?
We're going to get through this. Together."
He began as if to speak again, but I raised my free
hand to press a finger against his lips and won myself
a scowl for the effort.
"Now you really do need to rest your voice," I told
He closed his eyes and turned his head away from me.
I couldn't help but sigh and smile. My stubborn
little asshole. But then he sighed too and I read his
lips, not hearing his voice actually engage.
"Okay," he said.
I shimmied back out of his bed, speaking as I stood.
"I love you, Heero Yuy. Don't you ever think
otherwise." I turned around expecting to find his
eyes on me, but I realized he was already asleep and I
wondered if he heard me.
It didn't matter. I'd tell him again when he woke and
every day after that for the rest of our lives.
I'd never doubt my place by his side again.
The one distinct thing I recall of the dreams was a
sense of frustration because though I could see Duo,
he was always out of my reach. I could never touch
him and I wanted to so badly.
When I woke that one time, to find him there, I really
thought I was still dreaming, but I'd reached him! I
could finally touch him as I'd wanted to so
desperately. There was such an overwhelming sense of
relief and joy, just to be able to reach out and touch
him. When I woke again and he was still there, I
realized it wasn't a dream. He was really there with
I didn't feel worthy.
He's so beautiful to me in so many ways and it pains
me to know how much I've hurt him, the doubts I
brought to his mind.
I realize now that he is my source of all things:
friendship, support, understanding, comfort, desire,
and, most of all, love. It is through him that I will
find my balance. It is with him that I will continue
to sort through my emotions.
I have a long way to go still.
My recovery will continue soon at a hospital close to
our home, but I know now that this is something that
we as partners must work through together. Not that I
won't take my solitude when I need it, but that's a
far cry from running away from him.
I often withheld the words from him before, but I
won't let that happen ever again. I will hold him and
kiss him and tell him, everyday, what he means to me.
"I love you too, Duo Maxwell. Don't you ever think