momentary lapse of reason
Heero stood on the huge front porch of their home. It was 2 a.m. and he was tired in every sense of the word. Stepping out onto the sidewalk, he held his jacket closed around him and began his near mile walk to Austin Street. Sitting his bag down within the wind shelter of the bus stop, Heero looked back to where he had just came from.
Tall streetlamps dotted the road far into the distance, casting their yellowed hue on autumn colored leaves hanging tenuously from the huge trees that stood beside them. He had walked this road countless times over the past three years, developing a certain fondness for this particular view. Boarding the bus with suitcase in hand, Heero sat beside the window and looked out once more at the scene, etching it into his memory.
He checked himself into the first of the strip of hotels on Queens Boulevard just outside of Manhattan. There was nothing comforting about the small room. It was poorly lit and the mattress sagged as he crawled onto the bed, the steady glow of a neon sign outside his window lighting up the space with it's odd purple haze. Sleep eluded him for a time as he focused on what had happened earlier that night. The fear he'd witnessed behind those violet eyes as he reached out to the braided young man one last time stayed with him. In as much as he pitied himself, the greater part of his sorrow was for how his deception had affected Duo; once again violating the only one he ever loved.
Allowing himself several days to put what little there was left of his life back into order, Heero returned to work, having rented a furnished room on the Upper East Side. It was in stark contrast to his previous living arrangements, but the tiny room met all his basic requirements; as minimal as they now were.
It was only a matter of hours after his return to work that Heero had his first encounter with his three former friends. There was an awkward silence as the four stood inside the elevator. Wayward glances were exchanged and Heero averted his eyes from theirs, the anger clearly visible on each of their faces.
Several months had passed and Heero had fallen into his new routine. Training a new partner found him sufficiently distracted during working hours, leaving him little time to devote to anything else. Arriving early each morning, Heero had made his first task checking into Duo's condition, continually pleased as his health seemed to be steadily improving, the last entry seeming to indicate he had achieved a full recovery. It was one week after the day of that discovery that Heero found himself seated in Zech's office at the blonde's request.
The blonde's demeanor was more serious than usual as he addressed the young man. "Duo will be returning to his duties on Monday. I've assigned him to his former job." The blonde paused as he looked up at Heero. "I have been informed that there was some kind of disagreement between you and the others and I will understand if you wish to be reassigned, Heero."
"Does Duo know that we will be working together again?" he asked.
Zechs nodded. "He is fully aware of the situation."
Heero rose. "I have no problem with it."
Heero made his way back to his office, pleased that Duo was returning to work and once again willing to be his partner. The prospect brought with it renewed hope that Duo had been able to get past everything that had happened between them, perhaps allowing their relationship to pick up where it left off before his accident.
The weekend found him nervous and excited about seeing Duo again, the anticipation bringing forth a deluge of emotions he had tucked away. He was more than willing to accept him back into his life on whatever terms Duo offered, his thoughts never going beyond regaining the braided young man's friendship.
Arriving at work early on Monday morning, Heero was startled to find Quatre, Trowa and Wufei standing outside his office. Acknowledging the three with only a curteous nod, he continued inside, pausing slightly as he met with the sight of Duo seated behind his desk. Making his way across the room, Heero seated himself behind his desk and looked toward him. It had been several months since he had seen Duo; the vision of the braided young man nearly taking his breath away.
Briefly looking at Heero, Duo nodded to the three who remained perched in the doorway. Without looking up, Heero could hear their footsteps; alerting him they were making their way down the hall.
//were they waiting to see if i would hurt him?//
Heero inwardly frowned at the thought; they still didn't understand. How could they think that he would ever harm Duo? Heero lowered his eyes at the shame he still carried with him over his actions.... he already had hurt Duo, his poor decision still haunting him.
The two continued the day as it had started, with only work related exchanges passing between them. Heero found himself glancing up at his partner throughout the day, unable to gauge what could possibly be going through his mind. Seeing Duo so quiet unnerved him, the fact that he has caused the highly uncharacteristic behavior within him saddening Heero.
//does he despise me?//
//is he afraid of me?//
Duo's silence was resolute, offering Heero no opportunity to seek answers. He was unsure if he even wanted them.
Tuesday morning again found the three outside their office, Duo politely dismissing them shortly after Heero's arrival.
Heero looked up, somewhat surprised as Duo addressed him. "Morning, Duo.", he replied. Violet eyes immediately turned back down to focus on his work, nothing further spoken on a personal note for the balance of the day. The tension that hung thick in the air yesterday had lessened, the two now more at ease with the situation.
Once again finding the three young men outside the door at the end of his shift, Duo rose.
"See you in the morning." Heero responded, watching as the four made their way down the hallway. He sighed as he reclined back into his chair; savoring the long absent sound of his name on Duo's lips.
It had been a breakthrough of sorts, and the next day found the braided young man acting more like himself. Heero had caught several glimpses of Duo smiling as he spoke on the phone. While he would have enjoyed being on the receiving end of one of Duo's bright smiles, Heero nevertheless took comfort in them, pleased to see his friend returning to the happy person he once was.
By the second week, Quatre, Trowa and Wufei had stopped showing up to escort Duo from the office to the car. There was limited personal interaction between the them, yet Duo seemed relaxed as he spoke with Heero, though still visibly holding back.
Monday of the third week showed things between the two young men almost back to normal. The progress had been slower than Heero would have liked and the subject of what had transpired between them had still not been dealt with. Thinking the timing was right and his growing need to speak with Duo about what had happened, prompted Heero to ask Duo to join him for lunch.
The look in Duo's eyes immediately told him he had made a horrendous mistake.
"There is no chance in hell of there ever being something between us Heero.... ever!" he spat. Grabbing his jacket, Duo turned and exited the office, leaving Heero to contemplate his bitter words and what Heero could only describe as a cold violet stare.
It was a look he'd never seen before and he was certain he'd never want to see it again, especially cast in his direction. Heero shuddered. He hadn't intended for his invitation to lunch to be anything more than a friendly gesture. He fully understood that any possibility of having Duo as a lover were long gone, still hoping that there was an outside chance they could resume their friendship.
Heero needed to clarify his intentions. He needed to let Duo know that was what he meant and find out if Duo already knew that and if his warning covering that aspect of their lives as well. Waiting almost an hour to leave, knowing that Duo was about to return, Heero placed the carefully thought out note in the center of Duo's desk and left for lunch, giving Duo nearly an hour to read and hopefully respond to his letter.
Returning to the office nearly an hour later, Heero paused as he entered the room. Duo stood behind his desk with Heero's letter in hand. The anger in his stare seemed to grow as he watched Heero cross the room and he looked up at Duo once he had seated himself at his desk. Tapping the letter on the palm of his hand, Duo spoke. "Nothing Heero. I want nothing to do with you at all."
Unable to hide how wounded he was by Duo's words, Heero immediately lowered his head and nodded. The violet eyed young man made himself luminously clear, the venom his voice held more frightening than the words themselves. Continuing his charade of pretending to work, Heero packed up at 3:58; 4:00 finding him already out the door.
That was the last Duo saw of him.