Written: November, 2000
RATING (this section only): R
Pairings: (1+2)
CATEGORY: Angst, Yaoi, Character Death, AU
[re: CATEGORY---Future parts may change this to possibly include: death (Lemon/Lime/PWP) ]

WARNING:Character Death! Gruesome! Sap present, Kleenex?
WARNINGS: Angst, yaoi, graphic violence, death, language, sap, AU
[re: WARNINGS---Future parts may change this to possibly include: death, language, lemon, PWP, fluff, etc.]

Disclaimers: The Gundam Wing Universe still doesn't belong to me. I'm not making any money off this story. It's written out of love, so please don't sue me.

// thoughts //

Ninmu shippai (Mission Failure)
Part 6

When the others had left, Duo moved over on the bed to make room for Heero to sit beside him. Heero pushed the unwieldy crutches away that he'd been forced to use mainly because of the weight of the cast on his foot even though he hated the way they slowed him down.

The injured pilot pulled his lover down with his left arm and kissed him long and hard.

"What was that for, Duo?" Heero asked, shocked by the sudden need he felt in the demanding kiss.

"I need to know I'm still me and that you still care, koi." Duo's tears had slid free silently and Heero was hurt even more seeing them flow before anything had even been revealed. He leaned down and kissed his lover again; deeply and passionately, refusing to stop until the need to breathe overcame them both. Gasping for air, they separated and Duo seemed more at ease.

"Does that answer your question?" Heero asked seriously, tilting his head down to stare into his lover's eyes searching for hope in the amethyst depths.

Duo chuckled and pulled Heero closer so that they lay together on the bed. "Well, it wasn't exactly a question, Heero, but you answered it, that's for sure!" He smiled as his lover gently unbound his hair and caressed it. The mass of chestnut waves had been cleaned several times since the shooting and it shone clean and pure once more, yet Heero could not banish the image of it encrusted with blood and bits of flesh and bone. "Think you could answer a real question for me, Heero?"

Suspicion grew that the time for the truth was upon him, but Heero still tried to avoid bringing up the subject. "Depends on if I know the answer, koi," he responded evasively.

"Hmph. Heero Yuy, don't you always know the answers, even before I ask the questions? Honestly!" Duo laughed softly and leaned against his lover's chest feeling the rapid heartbeat there and wondering what was bothering him. "Care to explain why your heart is racing like a runaway train?"

"Not really," Heero hedged. "Maybe it's just getting to hold you again."

"Yeah, right! Liar!" Duo chuckled. "You never could lie worth a damn, Heero. Tell me what's bothering you, and no evasion this time."

Heero sighed, finally forced to tell Duo that he had wrecked his life and nearly killed him a week previously at an OZ base he'd been lead to by his mentor. "It's a long story, Duo. I really hate to go into it, but you deserve to know the truth. However," he looked his lover in the eyes hoping to find eventual forgiveness but wanting one last look of love in case there was no forgiveness to be had. "let me tell you a few things I've learned lately."

Suspicion clearly mixed with dread filled Duo's senses at Heero's tone; Duo accepted this as not an evasion, but as a prelude. "Go ahead then, koi. What have you learned?"

Happy to get a chance to say these things first, Heero kissed him again and sat so he could watch Duo's reactions. "First, Duo, I, well," he looked at his hands as if he could find the answers there that he needed, "I've learned there is something that I've failed to do. Something that is far more important than all of the missions I've ever been assigned and it's something I should have done sooner. I have never told you how I really feel about you and about us. You probably won't believe me, but frankly, I was scared. Scared you'd reject me, then scared that saying something would ruin what we did have, but now I know it needs to be said."

He took a deep breath and said the one thing that was harder to say than anything he'd ever said in his life. "Duo, I've loved you for a long time but couldn't say it. You were always so free with your feelings, yet I had been trained to suppress mine. So, the most important thing that I've learned is to tell you that I love you and always will."

Duo was at first shocked then infinitely pleased. "Baka!" He pulled Heero forward until their foreheads touched and he stared into the cobalt-blue eyes he adored. "Why did *that* scare you, koi? That's the most beautiful thing anyone can say to someone else. Thank you, Heero, for telling me. I love you, too, you know."

"Well," Heero stammered, "you've always been braver in such things than I have, koi. You don't mind if I call you that, do you?"

"Are you joking?" Duo laughed, rubbing the tip of his nose against Heero's cheek. "I love it! But, I think I've known that you love me; it's as if I've known for a long time. Of course you couldn't say it before, I always understood that, but why say it now?"

The gentle laughter stopped as Duo detected worry and fear in the depths of the blue eyes so close to his violet ones. "But there's something wrong, isn't there? What is it, Heero? What is so bad that you're finally able to admit this not just to me but apparently also to yourself?"

Shocked, Heero was taken aback. How did everyone else seem to know how he felt when he had been unwilling to admit to it himself? His mind a blur of confusion, he let the ultimate deception finally free to reveal the truth.

"I am the one who shot you, Duo." He stated flatly, cold fear clenching his heart.

"That's not funny, Heero!" Duo scolded. "Come off it! Some OZ dude fucked up the rest of my life, I've accepted that. But at least I've still got a life, so I guess that I keep going, but lying to me doesn't help!" His voice held pain deep and strong.

"No, Duo," Heero pleaded, "I'm not lying. It's true, I really did shoot you. It was an accident, a horrible, unforgivable accident, but it was me. I'm the one who destroyed your life this way." Heero looked forlornly at his love. "I understand if you hate me for it, but I couldn't let you go on without knowing the truth."

"That's absurd!" Duo exclaimed becoming agitated. "There's no way in Hell you could have done this to me! You'd never shoot me like this, not this badly! Even the day we met, when I shot you I wasn't going for a killing shot and whoever did this to me obviously was! Don't lie to me!!!" Duo was slightly hysterical. It made no sense for Heero to try to take the blame of some unknown shooter. Why was he doing this?

Clearly disgusted with himself, Heero stood up and left Duo alone on the bed. "I'm sorry, Duo, truly I am, but I'm telling you the truth. It was a set-up by Dr. J to get me so tired I'd screw up on an assassination attempt on Lady Une. I had no idea you were there."

"You're lying to me! Stop this, Heero!!!" Duo's agitation grew as did his denial that his lover might possibly be telling him the truth.

The suffering Wing pilot took a deep breath yet felt his chest constricting just the same; he'd decided to clear the air and he wasn't stopping until he was finished. "You were pushed into my line of fire and my reaction time was pathetic. I never even realized I'd hit you instead of the bitch until it was too late."

Duo was sobbing dejectedly, trying to understand why his lover was deceiving him, but Heero never knew that was what he was thinking. He assumed Duo hated him now and felt it was justified.

"Duo, I can't ask you to forgive me for this, I've caused too much damage," he sighed heavily. "My own life should be forfeit for this error. I once gave Wufei the right to end it, now I give you that same right should you so chose. This is unforgivable. I'm sorry, really I am."

Turning, Heero limped from the room ignoring the screaming pain of his fractured foot which had barely begun to heal. He knew he was under medical orders not to walk on it without the crutches, but he didn't have patience for them now and only wanted to leave quickly. As he vanished, he heard strangled sobs continuing behind him.

//Well, Yuy, now you've done it. I guess he believes it now and there's no turning back. He'll never want you again, but at least the truth is out in the open.//

//Suicide is a coward's way out, but if he chooses my death, I will do it. I can not ask him to execute me or any of the others, they have already carried too much of the responsibility for this. When he decides, then I'll handle it. Hmph. Not much of a way to say good-bye to the one I love, but it's better than nothing.//

//By the gods, how could this have ever gone so wrong?//

Wandering as far as he could, Heero reached the music room, not a place he frequently visited. It was empty and it suited him fine. He stumbled in, shut the door and locked it behind him, then went to collapse on a divan by the piano. While he didn't cry himself to sleep, he wanted to yet felt unworthy, he did fall into a deep disturbed sleep.

His dreams were slow-motion replays of the hideous day he had destroyed his partner's life and Heero didn't even try to escape them. He felt he deserved the mental torment far more than any peaceful sleep he might have had otherwise.

It never even occurred to him to wonder why he had gone there of all places in the mansion.

Duo, however, found himself near his tolerance for weirdness and reached out for help.

He used the in-house system to reach Quatre but ended up with Wufei instead.

"What is wrong, Maxwell?" the ShenLong pilot had a fairly good idea, Quatre had relayed the unfortunate news about the neurologist's findings, and he feared that Duo was having as hard a time accepting the prognosis as he would have were it him instead.

"Everything, Fei," Duo groaned, unconsciously referring to his best friend by a nickname long forgotten. "Do you have some time? I don't think I want to be by myself right now."

"You're alone?" He asked, surprised that Heero had left his side. Obviously something was amiss. "I'll be right there. Wait for me."

"No problem, Fei," Duo responded sadly. "Take your time. I'm not going anywhere."

"Hmph. Be there soon. Out." The line severed, Wufei decided to take Duo something to eat and drink, hoping it might ease things to take his friend's mind off the crisis of the moment. He called the kitchen requesting some sandwiches, then went searching for Trowa since Quatre had failed to pick up the inside line when it had rung.

Wufei soon realized he could find neither Trowa nor Quatre and decided to face Duo without advanced warning of what he was walking into.

Carrying a tray of food and beverages, Wufei went to see Duo and was surprised to find his friend more composed than he anticipated. "So, Maxwell," he greeted him, "are you hungry? Thought you could use a bite to eat."

"Hmm?" Distracted, Duo had failed to note the food entirely. "Yeah, sure, Wufei, that's great, thanks." His voice belied the positive words, but Wufei didn't press. They sat and ate quietly and Wufei observed his friend closely. Strangely, Duo picked at his food, not eating with his usual enthusiasm, yet another indication of problems. Also, he had noted the fresh bandages where the shoulder had been so grievously wounded, yet assumed this was about something far more. He wondered to himself where Heero was, but decided to let Duo tell him what was bothering him on his own.

After ten minutes of silence, a seeming eternity under the circumstances, Wufei asked, "Where's Yuy? I thought he shared this room with you."

A dark cloud seemed to pass over Duo's face and Wufei realized that, for whatever reason, the truth had become known and this was the real problem. "He left." Duo remarked quietly.

"Really?" Wufei answered sarcastically, trying to get his friend to rise to the bait of some nominal teasing. A sulking Shinigami was a dangerous one to deal with; it made Duo too unpredictable. "I never would have noticed save for the lack of witty banter in the room."

Duo snorted back a laugh. "Nani? Are you nuts? 'Witty banter' out of Heero? What's the matter, Wufei? Forget just who were talking about here? Mr. Perfect Soldier? Mr. I-Never-Say-Much-Because-You're-Supposed-to-Read-My-Mind Yuy? Geez!"

"Really? I had no idea Heero had earned the second title, Duo. Now do you wish to tell me what's on *your* mind, or am I, too, expected to read minds?"

"Yeah, sure," Duo fell back into a more serious tone. "You're never going to believe this, Wufei, but the guy tried to convince me that he's the one who shot me instead of OZ! What a load of bullshit! But why would he lie to me like that?"

"He didn't," Wufei responded softly knowing that it was up to him to finish the job Heero had tried to do before Duo's denial obviously stopped him.

"What?" Duo looked shocked.

Sighing, Wufei undertook the task and explained in detail everything he knew about what had lead up to the incident. Then he went on to explain what they'd been able to piece together about J's betrayal and how Heero had risked his own life to rescue Duo. Apparently, the braided boy had never even asked what had happened to Heero's fist or foot and he seemed utterly amazed at the truth. Wufei pressed on to explain the extreme measures which had been taken not only by Heero but by all of them to save his life and avenge the act of barbarism which had lead up to the shooting. At hearing of the trap and final fate of J, Duo began to nod his head in understanding.

"So, you see, Duo, things were not what you expected, but no one ever mislead you."

Duo looked deeply concerned. "He said something else weird, too. He told me he offered to let you kill him, why did he do that? Then he told me now I had the same choice. What the Hell is that supposed to mean?"

Now, Wufei looked worried. The Wing pilot did not joke about such matters and it occurred to him that perhaps Heero actually had decided to forego the clemency granted previously. However he was not going to lie to Duo regardless. "When you were first brought here, I was under the impression that the shooting was not accidental. For this, I promised him justice. However, I personally researched the events which I told you about and found he had done far more to preserve your life than what anyone else could have achieved. There was no reason for him to die then. If he has now given you that choice as well, it is clear he feels strongly that he is unworthy of forgiveness for this transgression. We should locate him before he decides to make your decision his own."

"Dear God, Wufei! He can't do that. Not now, not after what he told me!" Duo looked depressed as he realized there was so much more here then his own confusion and Heero's guilt. "Do you know where he went? I think we'd better talk about this before it gets any more out of control than it already is!" Anger and fear now carried his friend past the point of anger or tears, two things Duo had experienced during the recitation of events, and he sadly answered, "I agree, but I have no idea where Heero went, Duo. He could not have gone far, though. Do you wish me to find him for you?"

Duo nodded grimly. "Yes, I think someone better and quickly. It's past time to straighten this mess out."

"Then I shall try to locate him for you. But remember," he stood picking up the stale leftovers on the tray, "when he wishes to vanish he can be very hard to find. Give me time. Injured or not, he is crafty."

Duo smirked, "Oh, I don't know about that, Wufei. I've discovered a trick of his. Just think of the last place you'd expect him to go willingly and that's often where you'll find him hiding when he doesn't want us to find him."

Wufei chuckled. "So that is how you are always able to locate him so easily, ne? I'll not reveal your secret, but still, give me time. His preferences are not as well understood by myself as by you. That is, unless you have a suggestion?"

"Actually, I do," Duo grinned remembering the room he'd trapped Heero in the last time they were there when the other had caught him sitting playing piano and singing soft French love songs alone. The evening that followed had been spectacular, but Wufei didn't need the details of their sex life. "Try the music room first. He generally has little patience for it, but that makes it a good place to start!"

"The music room? I can well imagine he would avoid it, too cultured for one such as him," Wufei deliberately irritated his friend who immediately started to defend his lover then laughed knowing he'd been conned again.

As Wufei left the room, he hoped it would indeed be that easy. The mansion was huge and there were too many places a trained spy could conceal himself quite easily if he so chose.

And it was all too possible that time was running out already. Heero Yuy's suicidal tendencies were not limited to an over-use of self-destruct mechanisms.

on to part 7

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