Disclaimer: I donít own Gundam Wing because if I did, I wouldnít be a rapidly-going-broke college student!

Pairings: 1x2, 3x4
Rating: R
Warnings: yaoi, angst, pain, sap, Duo pov

Summary: Duo is faced with demons, whom he canít overcome alone. But Heero has found the way. Will Duo let him help him?


The Blanket
by Persephone


I canít sleep. It seems I never can, not anymore. Sleep eludes me; teases me; more often torments me as I toss and turn until, finally, I accept defeat and wearily rise from my bed to spend the night at my window, waiting to greet the sun.

Itís cold here where I wait and I always bring a blanket with me to my vigil. Once it was purposefully, more because I was cold than because I needed comfort. It eventually grew until I could no longer wait peacefully without it... it was my companion in the dark and it watched over me, kept the demons at bay.

But now? The blanket looks as I feel; old; tattered, shredded at the seams, and patches half-heartedly covering holes. I really should throw the damn thing away but I never can seem to make it to the trash can. It seems rather hypocritical. After all, the blanket and I are one and the same; the only difference is that my shreds and tears are on the inside, locked away from prying eyes whereas the blanket is bared to the world.

You see, the blanket and I have been to hell and back again. Iíve had it for what seems like forever. A childís forever. It was a gift from a dear friend; the first thing that belonged to me, that couldnít be stolen and Iíve never let it go. During my training it was there, waiting for me at night when I crawled into bed, aching to the bone, feeling decades older than my twelve years... twelve long years. It curled against me in my Gundam at night, when the dreams crowded and the corpses screamed their agony; their hatred towards me and my machine...it held me when others ran from me; from the God of Death. Cowering beneath it like the small child I was, it forced my demons into the shadows away from the light of the glowing screens so that what little sleep my weary body got was free of memories if not restful.

But now, the demons creep through the holes and I find my blanketís power has dwindled. The nightmares claw at me night after night; drive me from my bed and the horrors of my dreams. I still wrap it around me in the hope that while I sit, awake by my window, they wonít find me. But I can feel them creeping closer, closing in on me. And I am defenseless.

I rest my head against the window pane, press my palm against itís icy surface and shudder as they creep towards me.

"You canít have me." I whisper fiercely to the darkness. They mock me in return.

"You are powerless... weak! You are alone, always alone, because no one wants you. No one cares about you. Worthless!" They hiss back at me.

I shake my head vehemently, "no... No.... NO!" I curl tightly into myself, covering my ears with my hands and cannot hold back a whimper as they come closer...

A hand descends on my shoulder and I jerk upwards, fall off the small windowsill to land on the floor with a thump. Iím up immediately, my hands thrown up in fists, my body crouched and ready to pounce. My heart races and fear claws at my throat.

"Duo?" Heero looks at me, eyes wide, fallen back into a defensive stance. I can see the confusion in his face and I shake my head sharply to clear my thoughts and quickly straighten, falling into the security of the image Iíve made for myself; the clown, the carefree jester whom everyone likes. But Iím so shaken that the facade wavers and my voice shakes.

"Ch, Heero! Geez, you shouldnít sneak up on a man, ya know? Itís dangerous on this side of town." I chuckle, and itís forced, and he can see it. Iíve never met a man like Heero. The only one who can see right through me...past my defenses and into the cowering child hidden beneath. Scares the hell out of me.

His eyes narrow as he eases out of his crouch, "Hn. Shouldnít you be in bed?" I scratch my head sheepishly and play innocent.

"I... ah... thought it was my turn for watch..." Nice one, Maxwell, I sighed inwardly.

"Youíre on the wrong side of the building, baka. Besides, itís my turn and Wu Fei just took over. We just discussed this last night. Werenít you listening?" Shit. When Heero speaks (which isnít often) I just wish heíd shut up.

"Yeah, well, who made you God?" I mentally kick myself. Just get out of the room, Maxwell, donít keep him here, watching you like that. But the comment slid past my lips before I knew what I was saying. Heís just the kinda guy that makes you act and then think. Heís so damn perfect that he gets me nervous, angry at myself and him because I canít be what he is.

He raises an eyebrow and I just swear under my breath and turn around on my heel and stomp away. I canít deal with him at night. I have too many things on my mind without watching myself around him. He picks at something inside me... makes me want to throw my arms around him; bawl out my sorrows like the child I stopped being so long ago.

And sometimes, in my dreams, where my will is weakest and susceptible to worthless things like hope, I pretend. So, when I fall to pieces heís there to pick me back up; to hold me and love me. When the demons claw at me, heís there to fight them back and to destroy them the way I cannot. But dreams are meant to be only dreams because they donít come true. Cinderella was a fluke; a fairytale. Notice how you never know what happens to Cinderella and her prince after they get married? Thatís because they got to know each other, shared stuff that you donít share with just anyone. Ten bucks says they divorced within four months and Cinderella went back to cleaning and the prince married four other women before finally getting one pregnant and, in the end, had affairs every other week. Happily Ever After is for people hyped on drugs, only because theyíre in LaLa Land twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Too bad you canít operate heavy machinery when drugged, but I wouldnít give up Deathscythe for a couple of shots or sniffs of something.

I head back to my room and slamm the door. I look around, wanting something to throw, when I remember Trowa and Quatre are asleep in the room next to me. I settle for chucking my pillow across the room.

"He probably thinks he is God, the bastard! Damn perfect soldier." I grumble under my breath as I pick up my discarded pillow. What was I thinking? I silently berate myself. Wishing for Heero to fall in love with me is ridiculous, a waste of time! Of course he canít be gay...heís perfect, I remind myself. And being gay is just one other fault I can add to my list.

"Iím not, you know." I jump a foot off the ground and whirl around to see Heero leaning against my door frame, his arms crossed defensively across his chest.

I place a hand against my heart to keep it in my chest and try to bring my breathing back to normal. "I swear to God, Heero, if you donít stop sneaking up on me..." I angrily let the threat hang in the air because I donít think that I could hurt him even if I want to. Heís the closest thing to a friend that I have besides Tro and Quat who are, needless to say, a little distracted with their newfound love.

He just stands there, waiting for me to continue the conversation where he left off from.

I sigh in defeat, realizing he wonít leave until I humor his newfound liking of talking, "Not what?"

He looks at me, his eyes filled with... sadness? "Perfect." I must have stared at him blankly because he elaborates. "I heard you talking to yourself and I just wanted you to know that Iím not perfect and I make mistakes and I feel things I shouldnít," he paused for a deep, sighing breath, "And I get scared sometimes...just like you. We all have demons, Duo. Wu Fei, Quatre, Trowa, they fight them, just as you and I do. We help each other oppose them and we continually beat them back because we have each other. So, if you ever need to talk about yours or just need someone standing guard beside you..." he lets it hang in the air and turns and walks away. Heís gone from the hall by the time my mouth catches up with by brain and I am left alone.

After that night, things changed. I think I finally began to see Heero as a person and he began to let me see that I was right. He had seen through me, saw me as something more than a chattering, mindless idiot. On the surface, Heero seemed unbreakable, impenetrable. But if you looked closer, which I couldnít seem to stop doing, I could see the cracks in his armor. The sadness and pain in his eyes, hidden behind cold indifference. My blanket tried to hold back my fears and his shield of uncaring fought against his. But unlike me and my blanket, when his shield shattered, he turned to his friends for support.

Here I am, again. Sitting in my window... a different one in a different safe house. But it is a window and I am wrapped in my blanket. Itís much worse for wear than the last time Heero and I were together in a safe house. My futile attempts at sewing it back together have made it worse, I think.

I canít stop shaking. Every time I close my eyes I see it. I see them. Screaming and crying, hysterical in the face of their death. And it was my face they saw. My face imprinted on their minds as the breath was stolen from their bodies, the live from their souls.

We had orders to take out a military base. When we got the order, I got nervous. My mission of choice is to infiltrate and take information because I despise missions that involve only killing and destruction. Thatís not what we came down to Earth to do. But the base was making mobile dolls, so we were told to take it out. An order is still an order, even if we donít like it.

I drop my head into my hands, curl up with my knees close to my chest. "Damn those scientists! They didnít tell us... they never let on." I choke the words out through a throat too tight and too dry. I canít stand to keep my eyes closed anymore because all I see is them. I lift my head to look at myself in the window in front of me. I raise one trembling hand to touch it. Is this my face, so haggard and desolate? My eyes...I canít even recognize them. Theyíre empty.

"Children" I whisper to myself... almost in contemplation and not in horror. Almost. "Who the hell keeps children on a military base during a war?" Yeah, you heard right. I killed hundreds of families tonight...children, moms, dads, pets, friends. I feel the burn of tears behind my eyes and I blink, watch the drops fall silently onto my grey blanket where they make little, dark spots, almost like blood, "Fuck. I... I canít do this anymore... how many more kids am I gonna have to kill? How many more families to destroy?"

I stuff a corner of my blanket into my mouth to silence the sobs but they wonít stay quiet and instead rise up in my throat, threatening to rip me in half. Pain, so strong it makes me sick, washes over me. Iím so lost in my memories that I donít notice when the door to my room opens and soft footsteps land against the carpet.

I barely acknowledge the hands that gently rest on my shoulders, waving one hand at them to feebly push them away. But in the state that Iím in, I yearn for human touch and so Heero turns my unresistant body towards his solid chest. Somehow I know it is Heero, I can feel him. But I canít make myself care that I am welcoming him into my hell. I need him to ground me, to hold me steady in a world filled with blood and pain.

He sits behind me and tugs gently on my shoulder, pulling me towards him. I crawl into his lap, which was slightly difficult because weíre virtually the same size. But he adjusts and helps me until my face is resting on his shoulder. I curl into him, around his body, my arms clinging to his waist. I bury my face into his skin, inhaling his clean smell. He is so alive, so warm and I am so cold. I try to talk, tell him what is wrong but my lips refuse to work. But I try anyway, because he has to know what he is getting himself into

"He.. heer... I... ssssooo m-many fa-f-faces..."

"Shhhh," he wraps his arms tight around me, presses his lips to my hair, "I know, baby, I know." He knows. He understands, and still he stays. My self-inflicted loneliness is gone and in place of my blanket, I have Heero Yuy. The not so perfect soldier. A soldier, like me. He understands, I repeat it in my mind like a mantra, he understands.

I feel myself shatter in his arms, feel him hold onto the pieces as tears course down my face, unstoppable. He holds onto me as I sob, he cries with me as we mourn those that we killed. Together.

Tonight, Iím not alone.

The next morning finds me waking up in my bedroom, still curled against Heero. Heat flares in my cheeks. God, Iím so humiliated. Just one more thing for him to hold against me, to help prove to the scientists how unfit I am to fight with a Gundam. No, I stop myself, the Heero hidden beneath the soldier would never exploit my weakness. Because when I lift my head to look at his face, I know his weakness are the same as mine. We are the same.

His eyes are as puffy and swollen as mine, dried tears grace a trail down his cheeks. And I canít help it. Iím relieved that we are finally on even ground. He must feel my movements because his eyes flutter open and I am locked into the most incredible indigo gaze that I have ever seen. His eyes are unguarded, sharing in turn what I had shared with him last night. His eyes, how could I have ever thought of them as cold, stilted? I see old pain, resurfaced from our mission last night, and warmth, caring. Beautiful, wonderful, perfect. Maybe not the perfect soldier, my mouth quirks slightly, but certainly the perfect man.

I start to drift towards him, towards that gaze. My eyes drift lower to catch a glimpse of his lips; soft and full. Iím unashamedly hypnotized and I want to kiss him. His eyes drift closed and I lean in further. I can almost feel his lips against mine, taste them.

"Duo? Heero? Are you ok?" I jerked back to look towards the voice in the doorway and nearly fall off Heeroís lap. I would have, had his arms not tightened around me, held me in place. Wu Fei watches us from the doorway and my cheeks burn as I struggle futilely to release myself from Heeroís grasp. The stupid man seems content to have me in his lap. I donít think he realizes how this looks to Wu Fei. I glare at him stop scrambling for a foot hold, realizing Iím being ridiculous. I cross my arms, stubbornly against my chest and continue to glare at him. Fine, no skin of my back if Heero isnít gay and gets grief from Wu Fei later. A little voice chirps in the back of my mind, reminding me that Heero was going to kiss me a second ago. He wouldnít kiss me unless he was gay, right?

"Duo and I are fine, Wu Fei. Thank you. Did you want something?" Without blinking an eye, Heero hauls me back into a more comfortable position in his lap one that makes me put a hand behind his neck to keep from slipping. I know my face is still beet red but Wu Fei takes it all in stride. After all, he survived Trowa and Quatreís hook up, which was quite a feat in itself.

He snorts at our antics. The bastard must find this incredibly funny to even acknowledge it and leans against the door jam in resignation.

He heaves a sigh, "A decent breakfast." my brow creases in confusion. Wu Fei couldnít cook worth a damn and neither could I. And then it dawned on me. A glass shatters and we all wince as a loud clatter from downstairs and an exclaimed, "Oh, Allah!" proclaim the breakfast maker. Wu Fei rolls his eyes and Heero chuckles. I feel an answering pull in my stomach as his laugh reverberates through his body. God, what a man.

I studiously ignore my position on Heeroís laugh and I grin as more sounds float up the stairs, "And where is Trowa?" Wherever Quatre is making a mess, Trowa can be found running behind, cleaning it up without his boyfriend noticing. Itís a strange relationship, but it works. I count down mentally in my head, waiting for Trowa to run past my door.

5... 4... 3... 2...

Trowa pops his head into the door (1...) and glances around, "Do you guys have any laundry? Iím trying to distract Quatre so I can save breakfast but he already did all of our laundry yesterday." He looks down at his too small shirt and we all share a chuckle. Quatre loves to help us out even if he doesnít know what heís doing. We all take turns helping explain it to him but he never wants us to be bothered with it. Itís a vicious cycle.

I point to my dirty laundry. He blanches.

"Ahhh... Duo... I think clean clothes would be better. Heíll just throw away your dirty ones and buy you new ones to replace them. This way he can iron stuff." I wave my hand towards my duffel bag on the floor and he grabs it and races downstairs just as the smoke alarm starts to go off.

Wu Fei tilts his head down to hide a smile (Quatre is everyoneís favorite), tosses us a wave and pushes himself off of the door jam to walk downstairs and help Trowa. Iím left alone with Heero. I try to pretend that the sense of comfort Iím feeling isnít from him and the fact that in his arms, last night, my sleep was dreamless.

I re-cross my arms and tense up. I donít want to think about him like that. Smarten up, Maxwell. Perfect soldier boy doesnít like other boys.

"Let me go, Heero."

I feel him sigh against me and he dips his head to look at me, " Are you sure you want to get up?" I scowl up at him.

Annoyed with myself because all I want him to do is grab me and never let go, I get defensive. Coward. "What the hell does that mean? If you donít let go of me now, youíll find yourself unable to procreate little soldier babies."

I swear to God, his lips turn upward, he is smirking at me as he releases me. As I sit up and out of his lap, his smile increases a millimeter, "Wouldnít that be a pity, hmm?"

I stand, brush off my wrinkled pants and look down at him, "Oh yeah, the worldís female population will weep."

Heeroís smile deepens and he rubs at his tingling shoulder where I had lain all last night, "I imagine they already do." I snort in disbelief and bound out of the room to scrounge up some breakfast. By now, Trowa had to have put out the fire in the kitchen.

My rest of my day, thankfully, is spent uneventfully in the hanger repairing my gundam. I avoid Heero like the Bubonic Plague, determined to build back my walls before letting him close to me. The man is dangerous. He makes me want things, things that I canít want now. Iím branded, marked by the demons haunting me. Even in daylight they watch me. I can feel them, their excitement growing as daylight crept towards darkness, as the sun dipped below the trees. I work diligently until the lights in the hangar need to be turned on to see. I drop down from the cockpit to do just that when the lights flicker and turn on.

I glance towards the door and tense, expecting to see Heero. But itís Quatre and my guarded expression turns into a smile of greeting as he jogs towards me. I wipe my sweaty forehead with a towel hanging from my belt as he stops in front of me.

He smiles at me, "Hey Duo! I brought you some dinner," he hands me a basket brimming with food and a cool thermos. I take them warily. He laughs, "No, relax. Trowa cooked dinner tonight." I opened my mouth to deny that I was even thinking of being worried about the food when he waves a hand, breezily. "Iím not stupid, Duo. I know Iím awful at household chores. But I enjoy them because it makes you guys think of things other than war and destruction," which is true, when Quatre cooks, war is the last thing on our minds. He leans towards me, "Plus, I like to watch Trowa when he tries to make excuses for not eating my cooking or following me around all day during chores. Heís the sweetest guy ever." we chuckle and he leaves me to my meal.

After I finish eating and clean up the work area, I head inside to take a shower. Itís late, but the stars are covered by thick, fierce clouds. Thereíll be a storm tonight. Good, it suits my mood perfectly.

I canít sleep again tonight. So I plant myself at the window but the blanket lands in a heap at my feet. Itís useless and it makes me angry that I am now so defenseless. I sit in the window seat and wait. I can feel them, the demons, coming closer and closer. Iím tired of being hunted; tormented. The fury rises inside me and I jump up to face them. They lurk around my feet as they hunt me.

I whirl in a circle, to encompass them all in my hate-filled glare, "Go away, damn you! Why do you haunt me?"

They hiss at me, no more than a breathless chanting, "Because you are worthless, soulless. You kill for pleasure, laugh in the face of death, but you fear us. It is fitting."

I clench my fists, "I kill for pleasure? You think I enjoy knowing my hands drip with the blood of those I murder, that Iím proud of what I do? Iím supposed to fight for a cause but the only cause I see staring at me when my scythe flies is little children clinging to their parentsí pants! I laugh in the face of death because if I fear it then I will succumb to it. I canít betray my comrades by failing. I wonít!" the demons fell back during my enraged speech but swarmed even closer. They could feel I was breaking, coming closer to letting them overtake me, to win.

"When you see us, know we represent everyone youíve killed, every horrible thing youíve ever done. We haunt you because you deserve to be haunted, no one cares, no one wants you, youíre nothing. Nothing."

"You canít have me! Ever!" I drop to my knees, guilt, self-hatred, pain warring for greater space in my body. Tears well in my eyes, drip to the ground. I hear the door slam open and look up to see Heero hurrying to me. The demons scatter as he enters, but he canít see my personal torturers, for they are only mine to see.

He reaches me, hauls me off the floor and into his arms. He cradles me against his chest as he carries me to the bed. Iím weak and Iím ashamed. Not of being seen crying in front of Heero but of what I am inside. A murderer.

He lays me under the covers and crawls in after me. He wraps an arm tightly around my waist and pulls me against him. I clutch at him and he lets me latch onto him and hold on like Iíll never let go. He doesnít say anything, he doesnít need to. He just holds me, rests his cheek against my hair as I press my face into the crook of his neck. Exhausted, I fall asleep.

I wake up the next morning, half under Heero. Heís warm and his weight feels like heaven on top of me. I know I love him. I have forever. I canít resist placing a soft kiss on his jaw, inhaling the scent of him, memorizing it.

I rest my head back down on the pillow, daring to wrap my arms around him. He moves slightly and I freeze. I peek up at him and meet sleepy blue eyes. He smiles at me and brushes my bangs out of my eyes.

"Morning." my voice is slightly stilted and I wish that it wasnít.

"Mmmm, good morning." Heero stretches a little and my arms drop to my sides. They itch to wrap around him again but I pretend they donít.

He stays where he is and I wait for him to get up so that I can get up as well. He snuggles back down against me and closes his eyes as he rests his head on my chest. He looks adorable, beautiful.

My mouth opens and closes as I struggle for something to say, "Ne...Heero?" Okay, I know, not the most profound thing to say but itís early in the morning!

He makes a noncommital sound to let me know he is listening so I continue, "Heero, are you going to let me up?" He shakes his head mutely and his hair tickles my chin. "Why not?" I ask, trying to not get frustrated. Maybe he just isnít that awake yet.

"Because youíre safe." he mumbles into my shirt and I bend my head to make sure Iím hearing this correctly.

"Excuse me?" I croak out of my too-tight throat. If he means what I think he means, then he is the most amazingly wonderful man I have ever known.

He repeats it and I think my jaw dropped because he pushes it up with one finger and lifts his head to meet my gaze, "Duo, you slept better the last two nights than you have in months. So did I. You feel safe with me and I feel safe with you. So I thought we could just stay here like this until we have to get up. Is that ok with you?" He sounds almost irritated with me.

"I make you feel safe? Do you mean you canít sleep like I canít?" My mind races. Can he possibly be going through what Iím going through? Does he know? My heart thuds painfully in my chest. He said before that he understood. But you canít understand stuff like this unless you go through it. I want him to know, oh God, just to understand, to feel what I feel and to know Iím not alone. I nudge him up a little so I can scoot down and be face to face with him, "Do you...do you see what I see?" His eyes are soft, warm, and they seem to glow in the dim light of morning. He takes my hand where it rests on my stomach and tangles his fingers with mine.

He presses our intertwined hands to his chest and locks eyes with me, "Not when youíre in my arms." My eyes close and I let out one trembling breath. Yes, oh yes, he does. He understands.

I open my eyes to see him smiling gently at me. I smile back, to be honest, I must be grinning like an idiot. Understanding is a powerful, wonderful thing. But there is just one more thing I need to find out, to declare out in the open, need for him to know and share.

I decide to be blunt because he seems to prefer bluntness to skirting issues.

"Heero, Iím homosexual. Do you know what that means?" He raises an eyebrow and his tongue slides out to pull my finger into his mouth. "Oooh..." I clear my throat. Focus Duo, you need to focus, "Okay, that clears that up. Guess that answers question number two?" He suckles my finger and I try to ignore the burst of feelings pooling in my stomach and forge on, "if we decided to have a relationship..."his eyes light up and I was nearly dazzled by the emotions in them as the indigo seemed to glow and darken at the same time, "then it has to be equal. You canít do everything and I canít either. I refuse to use you as a crutch to get sleep, to not really have an emotional relationship and just have a physical..." he nibbles on my finger with his teeth and I nearly lose my train of thought. But Duo Maxwell is a pro at talking and I continue after a moment, "I need to know if you feel anything for me besides safeness and attraction. Because if not, then Iím going to get up from this bed," It hurts to even think about it but I force myself to say it, "and forget we ever talked about this." He lets my finger go and the blow is crushing, to know what Iíve just lost as I wait for him to help me out the door. My hand flops back onto my stomach and curls tightly into a ball. But he doesnít move to get up only slides closer to me so we touch from shoulder to toe and he looks at the ceiling, thinking.

"I donít know where to begin." he says, quietly, "From the moment we met, youíve made me feel things that Iíve never felt before. Things that Doctor J told me was wrong and useless but I liked them anyway. You joked with me, teased me, worried about me, saved me...you were the first friend Iíve ever had. Hell, you even shot me. It was everything rolled into one perfect person. But I never acted like I needed you or wanted you or told you how amazing you are. It was a battle to even admit to everyone just that we were friends. So I retreated into myself to work through my training to try and reach you." he pauses to retreive my hand and slide his fingers between mine, forming a solid bond between us, "I waited up for you after every assignment, I watched over you until you came back to me only to watch as you slowly fell apart more and more. Just like me. I heard you talk to your demons the way that I talked to mine. An endless battle that I knew I couldnít win by myself. And then that night when I walked in on you and you looked," He paused, searching, "defeated, frightened, lost. I couldnít stand it anymore! Screw Doctor J, screw the rest of them, screw Oz and screw the rest of the world." He sits up, turns to face me as I follow suit, "You need me, Duo Maxwell. And I need you, more than anything. You forced me to live, forced me to feel. You, even thinking of you, knowing you were in the next room feeling what I was feeling, helped me to battle against the guilt and the demons. I know you felt something that night in my arms because as soon as I touched you, it helped you, it broke through the demons and the memories just as touching you stopped mine in their tracks. You opened up my heart, Duo. It belongs to you, Duo. No," he shakes his head roughly, "not just my heart, I belong with you. We belong together." his voice drops to a gruff whisper; a plea and it nearly breaks my own heart, "donít hurt me; donít hurt us. Donít be afraid to love me. Let me save you the same way you saved me."

My heart stops and starts again as he speaks and I open my mouth to answer him when I pause. I listen in the back of my mind, all around me, waiting to hear the demons. But they are silent. I clear my throat, make sure I can speak, "You already have." I wrap my arms around him tightly and he embraces me, holds me just as tightly, "Iíve loved you forever." he pulls back for a second, opens his mouth to say something when the door slams open.

"Breakfast!! Come and get it boys!" Quatreís excited call echoes loudly in the silent room as he finds us on the bed, wrapped around each other. His face breaks out into a huge smile and thrusts his head back out the door, "Trowa! Wu Fei! Come here!" I groan and Heero chuckles as the two come racing down the hallway.

Trowa and Wu Fei push their way in the door, looking frantically for the problem before Wu Fei spies us on the bed. He nudges Trowa who turns and stares at us blankly. Poor guy, I think heís a little stressed.

Wu Fei bursts out laughing at Trowaís expression and, shaking his head, turns to walk out the door. Trowa continues to stare at us so I smile and wave jauntily. He blinks, heaves a sigh, and grabs Quatreís hand. He throws us a wink as he tugs Quatre out the door. "Wu Fei? Grab the car keys, weíre getting donuts."

Quatre continues to smile at us as he is pulled out the door, "Itís about time you two got together. Iíll be right back with break-wait a second! Trowa! We canít go get donuts! I made pancakes!"

Trowa stops at the distressed noises Quatre is making and turns to look at him, "No, love, you made weapons. Weíre getting donuts."

And we wait for them to leave, chuckling as Quatreís voice floats up the stairs, "My breakfast, Tro! They need sustenance! I can give it to them, really!"

I turn back to Heero, snuggle against him as we lay back down for a few minutes before the guys get back. We lay quietly, basking in the silence. The complete silence.

Ten years later...

"Daddy! Daddy, catch me! Iím flying!" with a startled yelp, Heero frantically fumbles to catch his four year-old daughter as Hannah jumps from the swing set in the backyard. With a relieved sigh, he sets her on the ground and watches as she races to catch up to her older brother. He shares a smile with me, the kind that can only be shared by parents.

He walks over to my station, where Iím currently engaged in grilling hamburgers. Summer picnics, you know. Gotta love Ďem.

I flip the patties over with ease and grab a platter to start piling them on. He slides an arm and my waist and I lean against him. We chuckle as Matt struggles to show his sister how to build a sand castle in the sand pit and groan in unison as our dog, Merry, short for Merry Christmas (Hannah named him) dug throw the flowers in pursuit of a small animal.

Heero watches me and I turn to him as I scoop the last patty off the grill and shut it off with a practiced twist of the wrist. I quirk an eyebrow at him as he pulls me into a hug.

He eases back and smiles at me, all the love he feels for me and our family shining in his eyes. The now-familiar tug answers him and I press a kiss to his lips.

He pulls away from me and takes the platter of hamburgers to bring it to the table. I grab his hand, stop him and press one more kiss to his mouth, "My name is Duo Maxwell and I used to see demons." his eyes darken in memory and I smile at him, loving this man so much it fills me to overflowing. A movement catches my eye and my smile widens, "But now, the only demons I see are them." I point behind Heero and he turns to look. His eyes widen and I snatch the platter of hamburgers out of his hand as Matt, Hannah, and Merry tackle him with lots of shouting and barking. The four land on the soft grass with a whoosh and I burst out laughing. I love my family.

I love my life.

owari

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