After the second war, most of the world went on with their lives just as they
had before. Children went to school, doctors treated the sick, businessmen
went about their business, and so on and so forth. It was fairly easy to get
back into the daily grind when one was isolated from the carnage, after all.
However, for the few who had actually participated in the war, those who had
done the deeds that others could not, readjustment was not as easy, even more
so for those who had also fought the previous year.
For Heero Yuy, the boy-soldier who had known nothing but violence in his
short existence, normal life was anything but, and finding peace for himself
would take much longer than creating peace for the rest of the world.
Heero had been taken to the nearest hospital shortly after his collapse at
the presidential compound in Brussels. He remained unconscious for nearly a
week, but that fact did not deter the few visitors that rotated in and out of
his room day after day.
He finally woke up in the early hours on New Years' Eve. Opening his eyes,
he found that he was alone in the room except for one motionless figure
asleep in a chair at the foot of the bed. The character was immediately
recognizable, if not for the long rope of hair that fell down his back or the
characteristically black attire, then for the light snore that accompanied
With a light kick, Duo Maxwell was awake, and then the commotion began.
Nurses and doctors were swarming around Heero, presumably checking vital
statistics and the like. Duo had wasted no time in contacting the other
Gundam pilots, half of the Preventers team, and even Relena Dorlian, and
within fifteen minutes, all of the above were piled into Heero's small room,
smiling and cheering that he had regained consciousness.
The next several days included much of the same, too many visitors and too
much smiling, and a week after his awakening, Heero decided to check himself
out of the hospital. He waited until there was a break in his stream of
well-wishers to change out of his hospital gown and to pack his clothes, but
before he could get out of the room, another guest dropped in.
"Hey, buddy, I got - Heero, what are you doing?"
Startled, the Japanese boy looked up from his packing to find Duo standing in
the doorway, a large bag of fast food in his hands and a questioning look in
"I'm packing," replied Heero, a hint of guilt in his voice. "I'm checking
myself out of here."
Duo did not seem amused. "And you're doing that because. . .?"
Sighing, Heero stopped folding his clothes and sat on the edge of the bed.
"I can't stay here anymore. This place is driving me crazy. Besides, I'm
perfectly healthy. The doctors said I could leave, so that's what I'm
"Why didn't you tell me this before? I could have busted you out of here, no
problem. Considering that I've done it once before. . ." He grinned at the
memory. "Hey, you can come stay with me. It'll be great, just like old
times. How about it, Heero?"
Heero winced at the hopeful look on Duo's face. "I'm sorry, but no. I know
you mean well, but I need to be by myself for a while, to find some answers.
It's not that I don't want to be around you or the others, but I just want
some time alone. I need to find out who I am and what I'm going to do with
the rest of my life."
The American slowly nodded his head. "Yeah, I understand. I mean, you don't
really know what it's like to be a civilian, so you do need some time to
figure that shit out. That's cool with me. But. . .do you have to leave so
"The sooner, the better."
"What about all this food? You won't stay and eat lunch with me?" Duo held
out the bag and shook it, hoping to appeal to Heero's stomach, but the other
boy just shook his head. With a disappointed sigh, Duo put the bag down on a
nearby table. "How long?"
Heero shrugged, and resumed packing his bags. "I don't really know. It
might be a few months, maybe a few years. I'm not sure. But I'll be back
The braided boy sadly nodded and sat down in the chair by the bed; it was the
same chair that he had spent several nights sitting in, waiting for Heero to
wake up. He tapped his fingers on the armrest a few times and leaned back in
the seat, resting his head against the wall.
"Do you need any help?"
"Not really," replied Heero, zipping up his suitcase. He looked around the
room to be sure he hadn't left anything behind before hefting the bag off the
bed by the strap and putting it over his shoulder. "I think I have
everything. I should be going now."
Heero headed for the door, but Duo quickly jumped up and blocked his path.
"Do you need a ride somewhere? To the airport? Bus station?"
The former Wing pilot stifled a smile at Duo's desperation. "No, I've already
arranged for a taxi to pick me up. They're probably already here," he added
looking at his watch.
Duo wrung his hands, trying to think of a way to stall Heero further. "What
about money? Do you need any money?"
"I have money, baka. Now, if you don't mind, I need to get going." He tried
to step around the boy in front of him, but Duo saw this and moved in front
of Heero again. Before Heero could push him out of the way, Duo wrapped his
arms around him in a warm embrace.
"Take care of yourself, Heero. Don't go doing anything stupid, trying to get
yourself killed, okay? I've had enough of that shit from you," whispered
Duo, still holding onto his friend. "And if you ever need anything, look me
up, and I'll be on the next flight to wherever you are." Finally releasing
him, Duo looked at Heero, wiping away the moisture that leaked from his eyes
with the back of his hand. "Everybody's gonna miss you, buddy, and they'll
probably be pissed as hell, but I'll handle the damage control for you."
Heero couldn't help but be moved by his friend's words. "Thank you. I'm
glad you understand."
Duo nodded, swallowing the lump in his throat. "No problem. Now go," he
demanded, pushing Heero toward the door, "before I change my mind and make
With a smile, Heero pulled a baseball cap onto his head and walked a few
steps toward the door, but before he reached the threshold, he stopped and
turned back to his friend. "Goodbye, Duo."
"No. Not 'goodbye.' I'll see you later."
"Right." At that, he turned and walked out of the room, and out of the lives
of everyone he had ever known.
Moments after Heero had gone, Relena walked into the room, but stopped short
when she saw Duo sitting on the bed, not Heero.
"Duo," she asked, a puzzled expression on her face, "where is Heero?"
"Heewo's gawn," replied the American around a mouthful of hamburger.
Relena wrinkled her nose. "Excuse me? I couldn't understand you."
Swallowing his food with a blush, Duo repeated himself. "Heero's gone. He
checked himself out about ten minutes ago. You just missed him."
The former queen was stunned. "What?! Where did he go? Why didn't you stop
"I don't know where he went, but I don't think he knows either. And it
wasn't my place to stop him. He said he needed to be alone for a while to
figure things out, stuff like that. I'm not gonna try to keep him here if he
wants to go, and I doubt that anything short of a two-by four to the head
could prevent him from leaving once he put his mind to it." As an
afterthought, he added, "Actually, a two-by-four probably wouldn't stop him
Relena half-stumbled over to the bed and sat next to Duo, almost in a daze.
"I. . . I can't believe he's gone."
Putting a comforting hand on the girl's shoulder, Duo concurred. "I know; I
couldn't believe he was leaving either. But he'll be back. He told he that
much. Don't know when, but he'll be back."
"He said that?" she sniffled.
"Yep," he replied, handing Relena a box of tissues, which she readily
"So. . . would you like some french fries?"
(Ten Years Later)
". . .and the six moral duties are. . .?"
"Good, good. That's just three, I need three more."
"Responsibility, compassion, respect, equity, beneficence, and. . .? Come
on, you people forget this one so much, you think you'd remember it."
"Very good, Mr. Mudou. Next time, don't be so shy. Okay, now that we have
them on the board, what do they mean? Keep in mind that you'll see this
stuff again on the your mid-term, so you might want to write this down."