momentary lapse of reason
Looking over at the clock, Quatre sighed, causing his lover to turn toward him. "What is it, angel? Worried about Duo?"
Quatre nodded. "It's late and he's not back yet. It wouldn't bother me so much if he wasn't on that damn bike."
"Sure it would.." Trowa began, stopping abruptly as he heard the front door open. "See, he's home now and everything is fine. Go to sleep now?" he asked, pulling the small blonde into his arms.
"Yeah, Trowa." he smiled.
The two curled up against one another, listening as light footsteps made their way past their bedroom; they could both hear the sound of Duo softly singing an upbeat tune as he made his way toward his room. Quatre couldn't recall the last time he had heard their braided friend's melodic voice. "He's really happy, isn't he, Trowa?"
"Yes, Quatre, I think he finally is."
Rising the next morning, Duo hurried through his shower opting not to wash his hair as the lengthy process would cause him to be late for his meeting with Heero. Facing his reflection in the mirror, he made the decision not to forego breakfast. Once again dressed from head to toe in slightly less than form-fitting leather he exited the house and made his way to the hotel Heero was staying at. Ever punctual, as was expected, the dark haired young man leaned against the brick fašade of the huge building as he awaited his ride; only several minutes passing before the distinct engine noise of Duo's huge bike filled the air.
"I'd like to pack some stuff up to send home, if that's okay with you." Heero spoke as the two entered the large house through the front door.
"Want some help?" Duo asked, smiling toward Heero. "I've got nothing else to do."
Heero nodded and followed Duo through the kitchen and into the garage. Several small cardboard boxes in hand, the two made their way upstairs and into Heero's room. Setting the boxes down as he entered, Heero looked around the room. "I guess we should start with the clothes." Walking to stand in front of his dresser, Heero reached down to pick up the photo that was lying atop it. He smiled as he looked down at the image of himself and Duo. It was the same picture that Duo had found several months earlier.
"It's been a while since I've seen this picture." he smiled.
Extending his arm to pull Duo toward him, the two stood in front of the mirror and Heero looked down at the picture, arranging himself so that the two were able to imitate the pose.
Duo smiled as he viewed the photo again. "We look like kids."
"We were kids."
Heero glanced down at the picture. "Look at your grin, Duo. I wonder what you were smiling about?"
"I remember exactly what I was thinking about when Quatre took that picture." Duo smiled. His smile turned into a chuckle as he looked up at the surprise on Heero's face in the mirror.
"You do?" he questioned. "This picture must have been taken almost 6 years ago?"
"It was... and I do..... wanna know what it was?" Duo asked.
"Sure." Heero smiled.
Sliding his arm that was already draped on Heero's shoulder around to lie flat against the curve of his back, Duo turned to face a slightly confused Heero. "Promise you won't get angry?" he asked.
Closing his eyes, Duo moved his head forward and tilted it to the side, letting his mouth lightly brush against Heero's. He could feel Heero's body tense as his tongue slid between his slightly open lips, nevertheless parting them to allow the intrusion. Duo slipped his tongue inside to meet with Heero's for just a second before pulling back.
Smiling at the dumbfounded expression on Heero's face, Duo pressed his lips to Heero's again, stealing a quick kiss.
"That's what you were thinking about?" Heero asked, his lips still tingling from Duo's unexpected kiss.
"Yup. It's all I *ever* thought about. 15.... raging hormones..... you..... I think you get the picture." He winked, making his way across the room. "So what do you want to pack up to send back?" Duo asked, sitting on the edge of the bed.
Heero looked down at the picture in his hands and back up at Duo. "Don't try to change the subject."
"I wasn't. Being that close to you always had that affect on me, Heero. I've nothing further to say in my own defense." Duo smiled.
Heero sat beside Duo on the bed. "We should talk about that some more, Duo."
"What about it, Heero? I thought we covered most of it already."
Heero shook his head. "No. I mean why this was picture out? I'm pretty sure I didn't leave it there."
"I found it a while back.... when I was starting to clean out your room."
Heero raised one eyebrow. "Duo?"
"Hmmm?" he asked innocently.
"Talk..... about the weight loss and about the picture.... and why it's crumbled."
Duo sighed. "There really isn't too much to say, Heero." he began. "I think it's pretty obvious that last year wasn't one of my best."
Taking Duo's hand in his, Heero looked into his violet eyes and nodded his understanding, prompting Duo to continue.
"After the link was severed I became pretty depressed. I'm not even sure why. I didn't even know what I wanted from you after I first found you. I thought that after the way I dismissed you after you invited me to lunch, that perhaps you had done something foolish. I knew I had hurt you that day, I could see it in your eyes." Duo softly told him.
"I deserved it, Duo. I was never angry at you for the reaction you had..... or the way you treated me." Heero replied, lowering his head. "It was very painful for me. I was hurting... for a long time."
"Then why didn't talk to me when I contacted you?" Duo asked confused. "So many months had passed.... I thought that it was time to see if we could both start to put it behind us."
Heero nodded at Duo's reasoning. "I was finally having some success in getting over what had happened here. Your contact sent it all back to the forefront, all the guilt, all the sorrow and the emptiness.... I couldn't handle it again. I'm sorry, Duo." he finished, squeezing Duo's hand tightly.
"I can understand that." Duo smiled. "I thought that I could get over it too, Heero."
"It's not as easy as it sounds." Heero responded.
"No... there was nothing easy about it at all. I struggled with it for months. That is when I found myself in here..." Duo continued, looking around the room "... I wanted pack up all your things. I needed to try to move past what had happened between us and try to get on with my life.... and that is when I found that picture of us.." he paused, looking down at the photograph in Heero's hand. "It fell out from in between some paperbacks up on the top shelf of your bookcase."
Heero nodded slowly.
Duo saddened as he recalled the day he found it. "I realized then that I didn't really want to get on with my life..... it just wasn't worth the effort...." Closing his eyes, he continued softly. ".... it just went downhill from there."
"Which is where my head was at when I decided to reopen the link two night's ago....... it didn't even matter to me if we ever spoke again.... I just needed to know that you were there." Duo paused, looking up at Heero to gauge his reaction. "I know, I'm pathetic." he smiled weakly.
"I don't think you're pathetic, Duo." Heero gently told him.
"You wouldn't be the greatest judge of character here, Heero, considering some of the things YOU'VE done." Duo returned, the serious look on his face soon turning to somewhat of a smile.
Heero laughed lowly and shook his head, "Hai. Maybe we're both pathetic." He started, turning toward Duo, "Or maybe it's that we're in love with each other."
Heero looked nervously over at Duo, searching his face for some indication of how his words were received. He hadn't planned on bringing up the topic, though he thought about constantly. He had resigned himself to wait for Duo to broach the subject, but the timing just seemed right.... now he had never been more unsure of himself.
Duo sat motionless for a moment, before turning toward Heero. "Perhaps it's both." he smiled.
Ten o'clock found Duo hungry and given the amount of weight he had lost, he dared not ignore his body's request. "You wanna go downstairs and get a quick snack? I'm starved." he smiled toward Heero.
Heero nodded and followed Duo downstairs and into the kitchen, seating himself at the table. Watching Duo searching through the refrigerator and cabinets, he couldn't help but smile. "Can't find anything interesting?" Heero asked.
Still searching, Duo rose up onto his tiptoes, stretching up to see what was on the uppermost shelf of the small cabinet. "I think it's gonna be peanut butter and jelly." he replied, resting back down onto the soles of his feet as he closed the cabinet door. "Want one?" he asked.
"No thanks." Heero replied, his eyes following Duo around the room as he gathered everything he needed.
Seating himself beside Heero, Duo took two slices of bread and set them on his plate.
"I don't suppose you had a chance to talk with anyone last night or this morning. Did you?" Heero questioned.
"Everyone one was asleep last night when I got home and they had left already by the time I got up this morning." Duo returned. "What is it that I'm supposed be talking with them about anyway, Heero?"
"I thought that if you told them a little about what we talked about that they might not be as hostile toward me next time... especially Quatre. It's really something I should do myself.. if he would give me the chance."
Duo looked sternly over at Heero. "Quatre isn't liable to listen to me any more than he is you. He just doesn't get it, Heero. I'm not going to bother wasting my time and neither should you."
Heero's confusion was obvious as he stared at the young man seated next to him.
// how could he think it's a waste of time? //
"I don't understand, Duo." he told him softly.
Duo slammed the knife he was holding down onto the table. "I am fucking tired of being manipulated... first by you and then by him!!" Duo yelled.
Heero looked over at Duo, confused by his words and by the anger with which he spoke them. "Duo.... I thought you wanted to try and work things out between all of us?" Heero asked, his voice tinged with sadness at Duo's hurtful words.
"I do, Heero..." Duo spoke, his voice not nearly as angry as it had been just moments ago. "...but how can we get anywhere when he won't even acknowledge that what he did was *far* worse than what you did. How am I supposed to begin to forgive either one of you?"
Heero rose and turned to cross the room.
"Where are you going, Heero?"
"Back to my hotel. I need to call a cab first. Is it okay if I use the phone?" he asked, unable to turn to face Duo.
"Please don't go, Heero..." Duo choked out.
Heero closed his eyes as he stood in the center of the large room listening to the tearful pleas of the man he loved. Duo was right... what he had done was not something he had expected Duo to forgive him so easily for....despite all outward appearances, apparently he had not.
Duo put his hands on the table and pushed his chair back before rising to stand. "I told you yesterday, Heero." he started, taking several steps toward the motionless form in the center of the room. "I have no intention of ever letting you go again." he whispered, wrapping his arms around Heero.
"What do you want from me, Duo?" Heero asked softly as he settled back into Duo's embrace. "I've poured my heart out to you..... left myself completely open.... and vulnerable. Do you know how difficult it was for me to do that? It was my only option...." Heero paused, biting his lower lip as he choked back his tears. "..... I don't know what else I can do to show you how much I regret what I did...... " Heero lowered his head and let his voice drop off to barely a whisper. "....or how much I love you."
Duo tightened his grasp on Heero, resting his head on his shoulder. "I know, Heero.." Duo whispered through his tears, "I just can't seem to get over it..... when is it going to stop hurting so much?"
Turning within the tight circle of Duo's arms that surrounded him, Heero placed the fingertips of his right hand under Duo's chin and pushed upward until shimmering violet eyes were forced to meet his own. "I can't make it stop hurting, Duo... but I promise I'll still be here when it does."