Written: December, 2000
Rating: R
Pairings: 1+2
Category: Yaoi/Shonen Ai, Dark, Angst, ref. to Torture/Rape/Suicide
Enigma Story Category: Gundam Nightmares
Warnings: Dark, angst, yaoi/shonen ai, references to: suicide, rape, torture
Disclaimers: I don't own any of the Gundam Wing Universe. This unauthorized work of fiction is intended for entertainment only; kindly do not sue me.

NOTES:Heero couldn't bring himself to admit his feelings to Duo, but a tragedy at an OZ base leaves him little choice. Can he help the boy he loves return from the overwhelming silence he has fallen into? This story is told from Heero's point of view, and the flashbacks are his memories as they occur to him.

//Heero's Thoughts//

{{flashback with time reference}}

<<sound effect>>

Low Tide

They say time and tide wait for no man, but there were times when Heero Yuy desperately wished that he could change that.

He walked towards the lone figure perched at the edge of the sea facing the East and awaiting the dawn. In the distance, he noticed the tide was sinking farther out to sea and he wondered if it was low tide yet or not, and whether he could keep the other young man alive until it turned.

//Your silence is maddening, Duo. Am I too late?//

He feared for his friend's life on a dark cold morning after a horrifying turn of events at an OZ base the day before.

//What really happened to Duo in that hell-hole? Why won't he talk anymore? I knew something was wrong when he didn't speak to me the entire way back from the base, but this silence is killing both of us.//

{{flashback: the day before}}

"No more! Please! STOP!!" A voice he knew better than his own sent shivers up the Japanese boy's spine.

"I beg you! Pl-pl-please, don't do this any more! Just kill me instead!" Panting pleas rang through the cold hallway.

"NO! STOP!! NOOO!!!" Heero heard Duo's voice carry outside a prison cell where he was apparently being held and possibly tortured in. The fear was unmistakable.


Suddenly the hideous sound of a heavy object impacting flesh rang loudly in his ears. It was followed by a low moan, "nooo!.. please!.. stop!.. " Terror clutched Heero's heart as he heard his friend's voice breaking under the strain of whatever assault he was being subjected to.

"Hold on, Duo!" He whispered to himself as he planted the last bomb he was carrying to destroy the facility. Once he set the timers, he could rescue his partner and make good their escape; he just needed Duo to stay strong a little while longer.

After placing the explosives a new sound tore through him, silence.

The agonized voice of the boy he secretly loved was now gone.

It was replaced by a strangely disquieting silence.

Dead cold empty silence.

It terrified him.

//Nani?!? What's going on?//

Heero ducked out of sight as three burly guards exited Duo's cell door, the last one grinning maliciously as he straightened his clothes. "That was fun, wasn't it, boys?"

"Sure was, Smitty!" One leered bringing Heero's blood to a boil. "Glad you shared him before ya' beat him senseless, tho'! He was a lot more fun while he was awake!"

Unable to control his temper any longer, a pair of pistols appeared in his hands and stepping out of the shadows, Heero Yuy confronted them.

"Who are you?" Smitty demanded.

Heero refused to answer. He simply shot each man in the forehead and watched through anger-hazed eyes as they went down. Moving past the dead men, he cautiously entered the small dank room. What he found there made his blood run cold.

Laying on the bloody floor, his partner looked as if he had been dragged behind a moving vehicle. Blood hid most of the once beautiful face and the tattered remnants of his clothing left nothing to the imagination. Urgently, he moved to his friend's side, wondering if he was too late.

Heero had often dreamed of one day seeing the braided pilot naked and in his arms, but he had never expected the first time to be under such horrifying circumstances. After finding a surprisingly strong pulse in the unconscious boy, he gathered the broken body gently into his arms and held him close.

//Gods! What have they *done* to him?!?//

The sound of bombs exploding brought him out of his thoughts and sent him running for freedom, clutching Duo tightly against his chest, shooting rarely preferring speed to revenge at this point.

He had brought Duo back to the safehouse by the sea enduring the long journey in silence. Chillingly, Heero had noticed that even though Duo's eyes eventually came open, he seemed lost to another world and wouldn't answer Heero's questions or speak in any fashion.

{{end flashback}}

Across the sand, he watched the dark figure rock quietly in place seemingly to some unheard tune, but he knew better. It was the unconscious movements of a tortured soul seeking solace through long-lost memories of childhood.

"Duo?" He called across the open ground walking closer yet not wishing to surprise the other boy or frighten him.

Unless he was mistaken, the American had somehow found a pistol while he was inside the safehouse and had come out with the intention of killing himself even though it would never solve anything. Heero understood the desire to end one's own life, he had felt it himself plenty of times, but feared that unless he broke through the shell surrounding Duo he'd be lost to madness regardless.

"It's cold out here, Duo, aren't you cold?" He had actually thought to bring a blanket with him, but unless he was sure Duo knew who he was before he got closer in the dark, he would not crowd the frightened boy.

Getting himself shot at this point wouldn't do the suffering youth any good and it was past time to pay for his failure to guard him.

{{flashback: a week before}}

"Oh, please, Heero!" His friend had teased. "You know I can handle myself in there! Infiltration is my specialty!"

"I don't know about it this time, baka, they seem to be expecting us." Heero glanced at the computer screen looking over their mission objective again. There was something wrong with the set-up of the OZ base they had been assigned to demolish, but he just wasn't certain what it was.

Duo had given him an odd look before saying, "Well, Heero Yuy, I never knew you cared!" He'd grinned then did something unexpected, he bent over and kissed Heero on the cheek soundly. Heero reacted automatically and placed a single powerful blow to his roommate's stomach.

"ITAE!!!" Duo had yelled, landing in an undignified heap on the floor. He lay there in pain, not making any effort to get up.

//No! I didn't mean to hurt him! But I can't just pick him up off the floor, he'd never understand why I can't return his affections. But why does he insist on baiting me that way? Is he suicidal or something?!?//

Instead, he just said, "What the hell did you think you were doing? Trying to get yourself killed?"

Duo struggled to sit up, "No, Heero," he sighed, "just doing what my heart told me to, that's all. Stupid heart! I need to stop listening to it."

"Yeah, you do, baka," Heero had dismissed his friend yet ached as he watched the other get to his feet slowly and leave the room.

//At least he doesn't cry. Gods, I don't think I could handle seeing him cry.//

Heero relaxed a little as he heard the door to their safehouse close behind Duo's retreating form.

//I really couldn't handle seeing pain on his face that I could have kept him from. Now, what is it that makes me uneasy about this base? Hmm!//

He forgot his concerns about hurting the boy he secretly cared for until he heard the sound of a stolen motorcycle start up. Duo had left that afternoon and failed to return until shortly before their mission. When he had returned, however, the joking grin had returned and only his eyes revealed the fact that he was still suffering.

{{end flashback}}

Deciding he had no choice, Heero began walking closer again.

"Duo? Can you hear me? Come on, Duo, it's me, can't you speak to me at least?" Heero's voice carried clearly across the sands, but there was no reaction from the figure that continued to rock in place silently.

Speaking to the silent figure seemed so strange. The entire situation seemed backwards, after all, *he* was the quiet one, not Duo.

{{flashback: ten days before}}

The endless noise was getting to him.

//Can't he do *anything* quietly? Whether he's in the shower or working on Deathscythe, he has to have noise! Constant annoying noise!!!//

"Kuso, Duo! Why do you have to have this on?" He reached down and shut off the radio that was blaring while Duo folded his laundry on his bed in the dorm room they'd shared.

"I dunno," he'd grinned in return, "it keeps me company, I guess." Shrugging at the apparent irrelevance of the question, Duo went on about his chores, then flung himself down on the floor to stretch. He groaned softly as he worked the knots out of his spine.

//Oh, gods, Duo! Do you have to make such sweet noises when you are laying there doing that? Are you trying to drive me insane here? Probably.//

Heero wouldn't admit to anything but he couldn't stay in the room watching Duo undulate on the floor doing various yoga stretches and making that softly erotic sound.

"Baka!" He growled then stormed from the room, seeking peace to deal with his raging emotions as well as his traitorous body which wanted him to do nothing more than to drop on the floor and make Duo keep on making those same noises but only louder and only for him.

{{end flashback}}

The first rays of light spilled over the horizon as Heero realized he was within 20 feet of his objective. Sadly, his objective seemed oblivious of his presence.

"This is getting old, Duo," he tried again. He felt this was one time he could not afford to give up no matter what the cost was to his pride or his own heart.


"Look, you have every right to be angry with me," Heero was never good at admitting errors, but he would if it might help. "I failed you at the base, I know that. I should have realized it was a trap and not let you go in alone, that was my job as field leader. But at least talk to me about it! Tell me how angry you are!"

//Just tell me *anything*, Duo! Gods, please talk to me! Make noise again, show me you're going to be all right.//

"Don't shut me out, Duo."

{{flashback: two weeks before}}

"Damn it all, Heero! Don't shut me out!" Duo was angry beyond words. "You come back banged up and bleeding, I patch you up, but you never tell me what happened! Talk to me here!"

"There's nothing to talk about. The mission was a success, what happened to me is irrelevant," Heero didn't see any reason for reliving what had happened. The target had been neutralized, that was all that mattered, wasn't it?

"The mission?" Duo had shouted, "The *mission*?!? You are a human being, Heero! Doesn't the fact that I just put 174 sutures into your hide mean something went wrong? Don't you need to talk about it?"

His arms outstretched in supplication, Duo begged his friend to open up about what had obviously been an assignment gone wrong.

"Not everyone needs to talk about everything the way you do, baka," he remarked coldly, trying to mask his overwhelming desire to curl up in the outstretched arms and seek simple reassurance that he was indeed human as his friend stated.

"I just do *not* understand you, man!" Duo pronounced angrily.

//I don't understand you, either. I don't know how to show you that I care, but I still want to be with you. Why do you shout at me for this? I came back, didn't I? Isn't that all that matters?//

Somehow, Duo seemed to sense the ambivalence and walked over to him. Glaring at him defiantly, Duo suddenly threw his arms around Heero for a brief hug before backing away.

"Damn you, Heero Yuy! Why can't you just accept that I care about you!" He spun around and left the dorm room in a flurry of chestnut hair since his braid had come apart while sewing Heero shut once more.

//Nani?!? *He* cares about *me*? When did that happen? No, I can't think about him that way! He's a comrade, a fellow pilot, that is all we can be to each other, nothing more!//

Later, Heero had finished typing the mission report before he allowed the thoughts to return.

//Why can't we be something more? It felt so right when he held me, both when he stitched my wounds and in that one brief embrace. Why can't I give him more?//

Deciding it was a foolish thought, Heero had laid down and fell into a dreamless sleep unaware of sad violet eyes watching his every breath.

{{end flashback}}

Frustration overcame common sense as dawn began to break and the tide nearly reached its lowest point.

//Ebb tide, that's appropriate. I feel pretty low right now. But he feels even worse than I do, I think. Did he really bring a gun out here or am I just being paranoid?//

"Damn it, Duo, I'm just going to go ahead and come over to you." Heero's attempts to sound gruff were belied by his words. "Look. I brought you a blanket and you're probably freezing, let me give it to you, okay?"

He walked closer making sure he kept a running stream of commentary as he went.

"Duo, I'm just going to sit down now, got it? No reason to panic or anything," the Japanese youth felt his blood run cold as he realized it was already too late to prevent panic in his own heart. "Do you even hear me or am I just talking to myself here?"

As he settled into the cold sand near his friend, Heero watched him out of the corner of one eye.

"Nice piece of beach you've got here, Duo." He tried to say conversationally as he searched for ways to bridge the gap the silence caused. "Come here often?"

//What is wrong with me? That sounded imbecilic, but he doesn't seem to hear a word I'm saying anyway. What the hell do I do---OOPS!//

Heero became acutely aware of cold steel pressed into his cheek bone. A single cobalt eye regarded his companion now staring wild-eyed and breathing rapidly facing him.

//Well, I got a reaction finally. Now if I can defuse it.. //

"Duo, put the gun down, I'm not going to hurt you. It's just me, Heero. Come on, put the gun down, all right?"



{{flashback: three days before}}

"I'm tired of practicing! Let's do something else!" Duo had complained after yet another round of bruising lessons in self-defense, held only days before the mission began.

Heero had decided that if Duo knew more about protecting himself during missions just maybe he wouldn't worry so much about him anymore. A faint hope, but it was better than nothing.

"No, we're going to keep at this until you can disarm me without looking, now try again!" He commanded, shoving the barrel of his empty pistol into the boy's ribs.

"Ouch, Heero, be a little more gentle, would ya?" Duo rubbed the sore spot where the barrel had bruised his side.

"Baka! Do you think OZ will be gentle with you if they do this to you? Now try to disarm me!" Heero growled angrily.

Without warning, the braided boy had both hands on his wrist and had not only disarmed him but had also flipped him onto his back and dropped down to pin him to the floor. "There now!" Duo seethed angrily. "Happy now?"

"Yes," Heero admitted with a smile, wondering if it was the fact that Duo had successfully accomplished the task or the fact that the other boy's body felt warm and good on top of him, "that was exactly what you need to do. Now we'll try it again and I'll resist you more than the last time."

"Ha! You didn't 'resist' me at all, buddy," Duo suddenly grinned down at his friend. "Your mind was wandering, Heero, that's the only explanation possible."

"The 'only explanation' for what, Duo?" Heero was confused and afraid that Duo had seen behind his mask of indifference.

"The only explanation for my being able to disarm you at all, much less do it so easily. Besides, Heero, I'm not going to hurt you doing this! Training is all well and good, but if either of us gets hurt doing it then it's a bad idea." He stood and offered his hand to help Heero to his feet.

Heero grabbed onto the hand and pulled himself up, pausing to stare into the violet eyes in front of him.

//If only we never got hurt, ne, Duo? In a perfect world maybe, but this is not a perfect world and we're both at risk.//

"Do it again, baka," Heero commanded, shoving the barrel back into the sore ribs.

"No, damn it!" Duo's grin had vanished. "I said 'no', Heero. We have mission in a few days and I think it would be damned stupid to get hurt now practicing!" With that he walked away.

//But what if you need those skills, Duo? What then?//

{{end flashback}}

All the skills in the world had done no good when the American was captured.

Staring into the fearful gaze of the boy beside him, Heero knew he had to do something quickly. He could have easily disarmed him, but it would hurt them both and possibly tear free what little connection Duo had with reality, so he chose speaking instead.

"Duo? Put the gun down, you don't want to shoot me. I'm not whoever you think I am here," Heero tried to sound reassuring yet felt a total lack of confidence. Scaring the boy off from his advances of friendship was what Heero excelled at, not trying to break across barriers like this one.

//Who does he think I am anyway? One of the bastards who abused him? Damn it all! Unless he talks to me, I don't even know what all happened to him! I think he was raped, but he ran out of the safehouse almost the minute I tried to get him inside last night. It looked like someone pistol whipped him, but what else happened? How can I get through to him?!?//

Guilt and panic tore through him, both emotions racing with his thoughts.

//What can I do here?!?//

Inspiration hit him, and ignoring the weapon in his face, he pulled the blanket open offering it silently to the boy who held his life in his hands at that moment, much as he had already held his heart for months. A slight shiver went through Duo's body as he reacted to the sight of the blanket offering him warmth and safety.

Slowly, the fear began to retreat from the wide violet eyes and the gun trembled before falling from nerveless fingers. Watching in a mixture of awe and fear, Heero saw the heavy eyelids slide shut as Duo suddenly pitched forward to land against Heero's chest.

Moving quickly, he tossed the gun out of reach for either of them and wrapped the blanket tightly around the young man who was sprawled against his chest.

"Easy, now, Duo, I've got you," he soothed, automatically stroking the long hair trailing in the early morning breeze.

"heero?" a soft voice asked, the sound of sobs coming from deep in his throat.

"Yes, Duo, it's just me, you can relax now." Heero never even noticed that he had picked up the same gentle rocking motion Duo had been following earlier. "You aren't alone anymore, Duo. Let it out now, we can talk about all of this later."

No words came in response, but a floodgate of pain had been broached and tears ran freely down the injured pilot's cheeks. Now the silence had been broken and the only sound was soft moans of remembered fear and overwhelming pain. It was pain that Heero desperately wanted to do something about but knew that his friend needed to grieve first.

"I'm here for you, now and always," a promise meant for both of them, he felt free simply letting himself speak it openly for the first time. "I'll never let you face that kind of thing alone again, I swear it!"

Duo shuddered in the blanket and buried himself deeper into Heero's arms which tightened protectively around him. They sat that way for some time.

A ray of light caught Heero's eye and he looked up to see that the rhythm of the sea had changed and was on its way back in. High tide was hours away, but for himself and the boy he swore to protect, the tide had turned. There was hope after all.

Author's Notes:

1. This fic is dedicated to my daughter Lauren. Her silly sweet games of pretend with her neko-Tro and neko-Q are enough to keep a smile on my face when there seems little to smile about. I love you, Pumpkin!

2. Muse Credit Union: The Greek Muse of tragedy, Melpomene rules my life once more. Oddly enough, I missed her writing all of those "happy stories". I guess I'm just an ANGST junkie after all, oh well.

3. I've been asked by several folks to set up an alert system when something of mine is available, so please feel free to sign up at EnigmaFanficUpdates-subscribe@egroups.com!


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