pairings: 1X2
warnings: yaoi, lemon, AU
note: all of the other pilots are dead.

Part 23
by Nazarri

Relena stood her ground. Grim determination settled on her face. "Heero, you did not answer my question. I deserve to know. Do you love me?"

Heero turned his back to the gathered crowd. "This is not the place, Relena." He slid into the car next to Duo and shut the door.

She watched the car pull away, leaving her to stand alone on the sidewalk. Relena's hand slowly rose to the retreating car as if she could some how draw it back to her. It felt so final; the symbolism was not lost on her. She felt numb and void of emotion as she turned toward her awaiting car and guests. Duty before self.


Tensions in the car had been thick as jell-o all the way back to the palace. Hilde had a smug smirk of her face and she seemed to take some sort of decadent pleasure in Duo's silence. The children were silent too, as if somehow understanding that there was something terribly wrong. Duo stared down at his lap not uttering a single sound.

Heero could feel Duo withdrawing into himself with each passing moment. A sense of dread fear washed over him when he could see that Duo was not going to look up at him. Even when he shifted so that their thighs were touching, Duo did not respond in any way. No cheeky grin or knowing smile, he just stared at his hands in his lap.

Knowing that seeing their mother killed would cause Duo's children permanent emotional harm; Heero refrained from looking at Hilde. His control was quickly flying out of the window and seeing her smug expression would most likely be the end of her.

When they came to a stop in the tunnels under the palace, Duo bolted from the car. He was so fast that the security detail was not prepared for him. They were about to go after him when Heero stopped them. "No, I'll deal with him. You take the children and their luggage to their room."

Hilde started to follow but was grabbed by the front of her shirt and slammed against the cement wall of the garage. She quickly looked around hoping for some help. All but one person still remained within sight and she knew that one to be Heero's personal bodyguard, she would not get any help from him.

Heero tightened his grip on her shirt to gain her attention. "The only reason that you still breath is because Duo wants it that way, you treat him accordingly!" He released her, disgust written on his face. Heero looked at his bodyguard and nodded.

The man took Hilde's arm and escorted her to her room as Heero ran toward his suite hoping to find Duo there. He passed by several people, but he just brushed them aside, Duo was in pain and that was all that mattered to him.

Heero burst into his suite looking around for signs of Duo. He saw his military overcoat draped carefully over the back of the chair. "Duo!"

A noise from the bedroom informed him of his spouse's whereabouts.

He walked in to find Duo standing near the closet dressed only in a dress shirt. Heero watched helplessly as Duo threw his bag on the bed an unzipped it. His breath stopped, Duo was leaving! "No!"

He rushed over to Duo, grabbed and spun him around to face him. Heero put his hands on Duo's shoulders, forcing the young man to look directly at him. "Tell me what is wrong. I can feel your pain." Seeing Duo like this caused Heero confusion. Frustration bubbled to the surface and then anger took over. "Did that bitch say something to you?" His mind going over the many different ways that he could end the woman's life.

Duo just stood there looking into Heero's eyes. His sadness was so deep, he wasn't truly sure whether he could express it or not. He wanted the pain in his heart to stop; he wanted to go be with his friends.

Heero waited, hoping that Duo was just to say what was in his heart. He hadn't seen his spouse that sad since he picked him up that night when Duo declared that he wanted to die. If Heero were to be honest with himself, he would admit that he was a little frightened. "Duo, please, just tell me."

For a moment, Duo just looked into Heero's eyes, the puzzlement clear on his face. As intelligent as Heero was, Duo could see that the whole picture was unclear to him. He yanked his shoulders from Heero's grip as he backed away.

Duo's hands worked in the air as if trying to elicit help from unseen source. "The world hates us together! Do you know that? How do you think your loyal subjects would view what we do in this room together? Would they see the love? Would they see the joy in what we are, what we share? No they wouldn't! They see you and Relena together and they see this perfect couple, something to be revered. A shining example of what is romantic!" Duo bent at the waist, grabbing his stomach. "Oh God, I am gonna puke!"

Heero reached for Duo, but the young man stepped back out of his reach, still clutching his stomach.

"No! Don't touch me!" Duo screamed. He took a few deep breaths and tried to control the shakes that trembled through his body. He moved aimlessly around the room, not looking at anything as his mind and heart screamed for something unknown to him. "You just don't get it! This will never work! Never!!! We belong together, but they will always be placing her in your life to create a living fairy tale!"

"When they see the two of us together, it doesn't even occur to them that WE could possibly belong together! Or that WE could be the perfect couple! Oh no! Men don't love other men! We are scorned as a product of sick and twisted minds! Turning to each other only because we could not get what we needed from a "normal" relationship. Because our love cannot be real! They are more concerned about how good you two look together than what is true! It doesn't matter how you and I feel about each other."

Duo turned to face Heero with a sigh, tears threatening to finally spill as his eyes pleaded for understanding. "All I am or ever will be is the third wheel, the one who broke up the perfect couple, consort of the Crown Prince. I love you too much to allow you to be dragged through the mud because of me."

Horrified by Duo's words, Heero could only stare in disbelief. He shook his head silently, but his beloved was too lost in his ranting to notice.

Duo snorted and wiped the wetness from his eyes as he looked up at the ceiling. "Maybe some would allow me to be the secret thrill that you and Relena share in your wilder passionate moments. But I will still be on the outside! A few openhearted people might even imagine that the three of us loved each other. But they will never allow me to be with you, they cannot see the truth in us. Because they can't comprehend that you love me and not her. You are the prince who fell from the sky for Princess Relena and I am just a whore."

Duo found himself suddenly wrapped in Heero's arms. He struggled in vain to free himself, pushing his hands against the rock hard chest. "Heero! Let me go! I would rather die than let them destroy you over someone like me."

"Stop!" Heero hissed at his struggling spouse. "NOW!"

Duo ceased all failing and relaxed within the circle of his love's iron hold. He slowly raised his eyes to meet Heero's gaze. A shiver coursed through his body as he saw the unbridled anger in those cobalt eyes. Heero almost spit out the words, "I never want to hear that word out of your mouth ever again!"

There was no need to ask what word he was referring to. Heero had always hated when he would call himself a whore. Swallowing the large lump in his throat, Duo simply nodded his consent.

The intensity of Heero's eyes touched his soul, he felt himself being drawn in.

"Now you listen to me!" Heero hissed through clenched teeth. "I am not some fucking prince that fell from the sky! I am a Gundam pilot, a soldier, and a terrorist who was sent here for the mission of peace, not for her." Heero's expression softened as he looked over Duo's face, he was in total awe of the creature that he held in his arms. "No. I am Heero Yuy, mated body, heart, and soul to you, Duo Maxwell. For all time."

A warm smile washed over Heero's face as he looked at Duo. "No one can change that fact. Let them have their little fantasies; they mean nothing to us. We know the truth and that is all that matters."

on to part 24

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