DISCLAIMER: Bandai and Sunrise own all. Iím just borrowing the boys and their world. The story, however, is mine.

PAIRING: 1x2
RATING: PG-13
CATEGORY: yaoi, angst, sap
FEEDBACK: Always ^_^ dev_aki_jediknight@yahoo.com
WARNING: none

SUMMARY: Heero has a secret he's keeping from Duo, causing Duo to worry over the future of their relationship.

NOTES: Takes place after EW

AUTHOR NOTES: The poetry is by yours truly. Thanks be to Sakti and Sharon for the beta. This idea came from a conversation with Sharon - she unwittingly unleashed this bunny on me and I wasn't going to succumb at first, but then the damn thing bit me and that was that ^_^ Hope you enjoy it!

*blah* - indicates italics


The Secret
by Dev-Aki Basaa
Part 1


Duo sighed, his bangs ruffling and then falling still again against his forehead. Dropping his chin in the palm of his hand, he watched Heero retrieve his coat off the entryway hook, that mysterious tote-bag in his hand. He didn't even let go of it as he pulled on his jacket, passing it from one hand to the other, keeping it in his steady grip. The bag's contents had weight to them - that much Duo could tell by how it swung from Heero's hand. But what was actually in there?

He really wished he knew.

"Will you be gone long?" he asked as Heero opened the front door to the apartment they shared. An icy breeze swirled in, blowing the long black drapes Hilde had made for them as a home-warming gift. A shiver raced down Duo's spine.

Heero turned around, hand still gripping the doorknob. He only shook his head in response and shrugged slightly, then he turned away and closed the door behind him as he left. Duo sighed again, running his hand across his face, massaging, wishing that alone could wipe away the sorrow and stress from his features and his burdened mind.

He rose from his place at the kitchen table and walked over to the vid-phone desk, sat down and hovered his hand over the 'receive' button.

The call should come through any...

*BUZZ*

Duo let his finger drop on the button and Quatre's face flickered into view.

"Hey Cat."

Quatre's image looked as world-weary and stressed as his own probably did. Duo managed a small grin. At least with Quatre, you never felt like you were ever experiencing anything alone.

"Well?" Quatre asked, impatient. His fingers were steepled just below his chin.

Duo let his gaze dart to the door, as if perhaps what he'd witnessed had been some kind of a mistake and Heero's coat would still be hanging there on its hook.


No such luck.

He looked back to Quatre's image on the vid-screen and shrugged.

"He left again," he said

Quatre's expression crumbled and he bit his lip. "I'm sorry," he said, after a pause.

Duo winced. He hated pity.

"Have you gone looking for the bag?"

Duo wanted to say 'no', that he had more confidence in his relationship with Heero than to resort to snooping through his things, that this was just some bizarre communication problem as all their other problems had been. With patience on his side and effort on Heero's, they'd resolve this issue as they had all the others. But, so far, no explanation was forthcoming from Heero, and today would mark the six-month anniversary since these weekly 'night-out alone' things began. If Heero would just explain things better... Duo shook his head at himself. But Heero hadn't explained, would get angry about it if pushed and so, yes, Duo had gone looking for the bag.

It wasn't something he felt proud of.

"I don't know what he does with it, but he hides it damn well. I couldn't find a thing."

Quatre sighed, chewing on his lip and peering at Duo with the clearest pity. Duo had to look away, his fists clenching against his thighs. Christ, he didn't want his pity! He wanted to punch something, wanted to rip that damned tote-bag to shreds and demand Heero tell him what's inside. He wanted to steal and hide Heero's coat from him as if that might keep him from taking off, his little 'leaving Duo' routine disrupted. But that was absurd. Duo shook his head. Why would his coat have any bearing on whether he walked out that door or not? Why wasn't it enough that Duo didn't want him to leave? And, dammit, it's not like he meant to hold him prisoner, why couldn't he just explain himself? What was his goddamned secret!?

"Duo, have you considered just following him?"

Duo looked up to see Trowa peeking over Quatre's shoulder, his eyes looking starkly green on the vid screen. It caught Duo off-guard to see Trowa's interest. He didn't doubt that Quatre had told him what was going on, giving him regular updates on the ups and downs of his and Heero's relationship, but since Duo'd brought his concerns about these nights out to Quatre two months ago, Trowa had not been directly involved. But there he was, settling in next to Quatre, sharing his seat in front of the vid screen. This did not bode well. Duo felt himself quiver, trembling. If Trowa was concerned enough to involve himself then things were very, very bad, weren't they. Duo closed his eyes. Fuck.

"I..." He began to answer Trowa's question, but his voice choked off. Where had he gone wrong? What had happened that he found himself considering taking a trail on his own damned boyfriend!?

"Listen, Duo." Trowa's voice was at once his familiar soft tone, but also commanding and stern. Duo opened his eyes and took a deep breath. Trowa had a way of cutting across even the most distracting of elements. Quatre probably knew that better than any one of them. "There's something going on. You have a right to know. It shouldn't have had to come to this, but we all know how the two of you together has been an adjustment for him."

"Like I had any standing knowledge of how a relationship's supposed to work." Duo folded his arms across his chest, pulling them tight against him. He could feel his heartbeat and then the answering throb of his pulse in the crook of his arms. He hadn't meant to sound so bitter, but he and Heero as a couple were like the blind leading the blind, groping around in darkness and trying to hold on to each other through one misunderstanding after another. He felt just as confused and unsure as Heero did, yet he always ended up being the sane one in all of this, the one who played the patient-compassionate role while Heero adjusted and coped and, sometimes, didn't cope very well at all. Duo learned quickly he wasn't staying with Heero for his health. If he desired stability, he'd heard good things about the priesthood for that. But what it all came down to was how much he loved Heero. Goddamned, he loved him and he'd be as patient and compassionate as he had to be to make this all work out. There was hope, that'd never changed, he just wished he didn't have to be the strong one every time.

Just once.

Just once he'd like to have Heero assuage him of *his* doubts.

"I think Trowa's right," Quatre's voice broke through Duo's thoughts. "Do you want me to hire someone?"

Duo let the tension in his arms relax, his fingers slipping along the sleeves of his shirt. He shook his head, feeling his resolve firm. "No. If there's trailing to be done, it'll be done by me." He raised his hand and rubbed his face again, hard, letting his fingers thread up into his hair until they hit the beginning of his braid. He felt weary and it had nothing to do with the lateness of the hour, but it did make a good excuse.

He stretched his arms high above his head, feeling the stress in his back pop and crack down his spine. "I gotta hit the hay, guys," he said as he settled back down in his seat.

Quatre cocked his head to one side. "You don't wait up for him?"

Duo gave a little snort, devoid of any real humor. "I gave up on that four months ago," he said, shrugging one shoulder. "Goodnight, Quatre, Trowa."

He hit the 'release' button before Quatre could say anything more. He didn't want to see the pity in his eyes again.

~*~

Duo could sense it, Heero's presence beside him in bed, and he could hear it, a soft sigh escaping his lips. He was watching him sleep again. Duo didn't wake fully, his dream still swirled around him, a red mist that haunted his mind often, but he knew that Heero was home and, per his ritual, propped up on one arm, looking down on him, watching him sleep. It gave Duo such a sense of peace, the red whorls receded from the fore of his mind, the tension in his body bled away with the mist, leaving him relaxed enough to realize he'd been tense before.

That's when he knew. He couldn't lose this. He had to know where Heero was going on those weekly nights out. As sleep drew back around him, darkening the edges of his mind, he saw himself already, dressed in black, trailing his lover. Heero was unaware and didn't even seem to sense him, walking slowly sometimes, jogging ahead others. They traveled through the center of town. Heero turned a corner, out of sight and with a flash of understanding, Duo knew the answers he sought laid just around that bend. His heart pounded, his breath quickening. What would he find around that corner? He took a step like a man stepping off a cliff, pivoting to turn around the building. He gasped. It was a vast nothing. Pure white, like an untouched canvas, spread as far as he could see. Not illuminated, just white. Just nothing. He didn't even see Heero, he was lost in the whiteness or he had simply vanished. What did it mean? If this meant there was nothing to fear then why did his heart still pound in his throat? The panic pulsing through his veins roused him out of the dream.

Duo opened his eyes and tried to slow his breath. His vision was filled with a head of dark mussed hair and the sleep-slackened features of his lover, the details lost in the cover of the darkened room. He watched him for a moment, seeing his shallow breaths and his eyes twitching just slightly, the beginnings of his own dream. He looked so peaceful and so beautiful. With a sigh, Duo shifted and moved to rest his forehead against Heero's, sharing his pillow, sharing his breath. He closed his eyes

What the fuck was he going to find? What kind of secret did Heero hold?

The questions didn't leave him, even as he lost himself to sleep once more.

~*~

He lowered his book to his lap, letting it close with his finger holding his page. Heero had just come down the stairs, tote-bag in hand - right on time.

"Will you be gone long?" he asked, keeping his tone as exasperated and worried as he always did. He didn't need to rouse Heero's suspicion, just stay with the ritual. Heero shrugged into his coat, keeping his precious cargo ever in hand. He turned and reached for the door and paused. Lifting his head a little, his gaze caught Duo's. He was hesitating. Duo saw the unsure glimmer in Heero's eyes, the one he'd come to know far too well these past several months. Months? No, try a year and a half. Oh, Heero. Why couldn't he just talk to him?

The routine already broken, Heero didn't just shake his head in response to Duo's question, he opened his mouth and actually spoke, soft, but firm.

"No. Not long."

And then, like a breeze caught the door and whisked it shut, he was gone.

Duo folded the page corner in his book and set it aside. What did that mean, anything? Heero had never deviated from his routine before and it made him wonder if that was perhaps a flash of conscience, if maybe Heero would come around himself and he wouldn't have to resort to stalking him.

But even as he thought that, he was already in motion, pulling on his boots and rushing forward to grab his jacket. He didn't want to lose Heero.

Guess he'd lost patience for even seeming flashes of conscience.

~*~

He'd kept a very long distance. With the streets clear and the blocks long, he didn't have any trouble keeping him in sight. Heero walked to the edge of town, leaving the cluster of the downtown. Just before Duo thought he might be heading onto the empty road out of town, he turned and marched into a run-down old diner that sat back from the road just enough to make room for a parking lot.

They'd never even eaten there before.

Duo stopped and waited, still several yards from where Heero turned in. He allowed Heero the chance to settle into whatever it was that he did when out on these nights. He wanted to catch him in the act, not get caught before he even saw anything. After a few very long, agonizing minutes, Duo walked up to the building and saw Heero though one of the windows, sitting in a booth with a woman. Duo froze at the sight for a second and then snapped to attention, looking around quickly for a place to both hide and be able to watch. There were bushes at the edge of the parking lot that still gave him a perfect view between the cars. Crouched down, Duo watched Heero talk with the woman, sitting across from him in the booth. Duo didn't recognize her; she was blonde, busty, older. Duo frowned. He knew Heero well enough to know that this woman was not any kind of competition and he didn't feel any answering pangs of jealousy seeing her sitting and talking with Heero.

Already Duo felt exasperated. Who was she?

As if to answer his question, the woman stood and nodded at Heero, scribbling on a small pad of paper as she did. Duo let out a breath of air. The waitress. She was the waitress, complete with a dingy brown uniform and paper half-apron!

Duo dropped his forehead into the palm of his hand and realized what a sense of relief he felt. He didn't know what he expected to find, but the potential of *anything* made his heart beat in a Morse-code type rhythm that spelled out 'fear' over and over again. Duo looked up and settled on his haunches for this newest, somewhat twisted, pastime of Heero-watching.

Thirty minutes passed and Duo knew nothing more. Heero had been reading the entire time, occasionally nibbling on his salad like a rabbit, distracted by the book in his hands. Far less frequently, Heero would pick up a pen and scribble something in the book, but nothing more went on. He never even spoke to the waitress again. Was this it? Did he just want to get away and read alone for a little while? Duo's hand clenched, snapping a branch of the bush he'd steadied himself with. What the Hell!? This was nothing, why couldn't he tell him about this? He still didn't understand.

And there was only one way he was ever going to understand.

Duo stood, brushed the leaves and twigs off his jeans and strode up to the diner's entrance.

on to part 2

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