Disclaimer: See all the others; status unchanged.

This is a sequel to 'Pinocchio's Blessing'
Rating: R
656 words
Warnings: Shounen Ai, Alcohol abuse, some angst, Heero POV

AN: Part #55 of the 'Road to Recovery' microseries. Written for [ gw500 ] challenge #115 - 'come/smile'.

Rising Twilight
by kebzero

It took a while before I realized Duo wasn't following me anymore. I slowed down to a brisk walk and turned down another alleyway for good measure.

It was stupid - drinking, running, kissing, take your pick. I just didn't want to stay and watch the tiny world I'd built there crumble. Time to start all over again, I guessed. Find some new dump to crash in. Try to land a job - maybe even a steady one.

I dismissed the thought of going back to the house, even if most of my stuff was left there. It was too late for that. Maybe I could have talked my way out of it if I'd stayed, come clean - it wasn't as if I would have told Duo anything he didn't already know.

But I just couldn't. Duo had set down one condition - just one - for me living at the yard - the place which for each step I took felt more and more like the lost paradise I didn't know about until I kicked myself out for doing the one sin there was.

Like some cranky kid, I just had to go and break the rule. Sure, I was still short of twenty, but I'd thought my phase as a rebel teen was over.

Even more infuriating was the fact I'd been so close to my goal, and still managed to blow it at the last minute. Duo had kissed me, fercrissakes. He kissed me, and there was no gun to his head. I'd felt his tongue down my damn throat, and it had to happen just too late. I was pissed at myself for my failures, but still harbored an angry thought or five for Duo, too. Why did he have to choose then to-

I kicked the empty can of soda that got in my way, ricocheting it off a garbage can, sending the alley cats screaming for cover. Emerging from the alleyway, I looked up at the flickering streetlight. It wasn't as if the colonies ever grew really dark at 'night' - but the big lamps high above serving as both light and heat dimmed in the old pattern of Earth for purposes of familiarity and finance, and some streets would be left grey to charcoal if it weren't for supplementary lights like this one.

I had to get off this place. Hitch a ride with a waste barge, maybe. Money crossed my mind, and I hurriedly checked my pockets. My wallet met my fingertips, and I made inventory. Not that much cash, but enough to get me by for a while. There was always my bank account, which, courtesy of working at the yard, showed a positive balance - but I figured a withdrawal could be traced easily. I'd leave the colony first, run and hide somewhere.

The smirk came without me wanting to. Was I so obsessed with the guy I'd even gone and adopted his motto? Running away rather than face the truth?

Halfway down the street, a neon sign short a few letters flashed at me; an open invitation to a watering hole holding liberal hours. I smiled to myself, taking a fancy to the place already.

In my defense, I was getting thirsty, and as the lights high above dimmed, a slight chill entered the air. Three mildly to overly inebriated patrons staggered out the door as I entered, the thin smoke irritating my eyes for a moment. At least it was warm, I thought - and it wasn't as if I was having anything. Just a cola on crushed ice, maybe with a twist of lime... Then, I'd go find a hot dog stand or something, grab something to eat on my way to the spacedock.

...but it could turn into a cool night. If the bartender would accidentally slip a drop of rum in the glass for a quick heater, I wouldn't complain.


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