sometimes you don't want to be found. .
It had been five years since the last fires of war had been snuffed out by one outstanding perfect soldier. The survivors lived full lives, forging their futures with a steely will born from hard lessons learned in the harshest of environments. They honored the dead who sacrificed themselves so that they could learn this lesson. And this day, on the fifth year anniversary of the end of the Eve War, they remembered, they commemorated. But all this seemed for naught to one person.
"I am Heero Yuy," the lone figure in the crowd muttered softly, "I am the one who has made this possible. I am the one you celebrate most of all."
Heero smirked grotesquely at his own litany as he walked through the celebrating throng. Five years of peace for some had been five years of absolute hell for him. His egotistical sounding litany was edged in self hatred and mockery, a cruel imitation of the truth.
"I am Heero Yuy," he began again, "I am the one who killed for you. I am the one who destroyed the one person who loved me. For you. All for you."
Happily celebrating people around him did not notice his pain or hatred. They were too absorbed in their moment of glory to notice a single man with his head down, walking too rapidly to make a decent impression.
Heero stood with his back straight and listened to Relena outline her agenda for the week. She was still too young for this vicious game of politics, but she had a flair and a talent for it. She would have wasted her talents going to college like all the other girls her age.
"Heero, are you listening to me?" Relena never sounded angry, just mildly annoyed. It was the way with politicians.
"Yes, Relena. I pay attention. It's part of the job description." Heero's voice was coldly amused, but it wasn't condescending. He and Relena had a certain understanding about their relationship. He treated her like a bratty little sister and she treated him like a half-witted brother.
"Well, then. This week is busy. I don't know why earth and space want to spend a whole week celebrating when there's work to be done. Ah well. You have to please the masses to stay alive in this game."
Relena was a realist now. The preaching about total pacifism, the passion filled speeches that had moved generations into communes of peace, were of days long gone. She was pragmatic now, running and handling two governments of earth and space with practiced ease and a small amount of frustration. She often said it was like babysitting a bunch of diaper clad thirty year olds, but she would not have traded her life for anything.
"Heero," Relena said almost hesitantly, "Duo is coming tomorrow."
Heero did not flinch, much to his credit. In fact, to an outsider, he seemed to have given no reaction at all. However, Relena noticed the pain in his cobalt eyes. The pain that only came with Duo.
"I know, Relena. He sent me an e-mail the other day. He's staying with me."
Sighing, Relena let the issue drop. If Heero wanted to be a damn masochist, so be it.
"Heero! It's been a while. What, three months?"
Duo's cheerful voice brought a tiny smile to Heero's thin lips. Even now, Duo was so damned cheerful. Damn him.
"Yeah. How was your trip?"
At Heero's bland inquiry, Duo rolled his eyes.
"All good. No big deal. It's not like it's my first shuttle ride, you know."
The sarcasm bit through the emotional armor Heero had carefully erected and caused pain in his heart. It was okay though. Duo could hurt him as much as he wanted to and it would be fine.
The car ride was eerily quiet. Not even the radio was on and Duo wasn't speaking. Heero tried to ignore the tension and breached the silence.
"So, how long are you staying this time?"
Duo mulled over the question in his head. How long, indeed? Seeing Heero was probably as painful for him as it was for Heero himself. But they were both still stuck, still stupid.
"Don't know. I don't really have a schedule to follow."
More silence followed. Only the gentle whirring of the car was heard. Finally, Heero drove up to his driveway and stopped the car. Heero put the car into park, pulled the emergency brake into place and straightened out the steering wheel. Then he turned his head toward Duo and leaned into him.
Duo passively allowed Heero to touch his mouth to his, letting the gentle pressure continue its silent quest. Then Duo opened his mouth and allowed Heero's tongue to enter, gently guiding Heero's tongue around with his own. Only their lips and tongues touched. Neither reached out to embrace the other.
Duo backed off from the kiss first and settled back into the car seat. Through narrowed eyes, Duo regarded Heero and grinned.
"Now that the formalities are out of the way, let's go inside. I'm hungry."
Not waiting for a response from Heero, Duo undid his seatbelt and got out of the car. He walked slowly toward the front door while Heero removed his luggage from the trunk. It was always the same. Brittle words, a kiss and pain. It was love.
Duo slowly undid his long braid and ran his fingers through the loose tresses. His eyes were glazed and staring out into space, not seeing the reflection in the mirror in front of him. It had been a long time since mirrors had held any fascination for him. Duo heard Heero call for him, telling him that the food was ready. Not bothering to rebraid his hair, Duo got up from the vanity and walked towards the simple but efficient kitchen.
Heero saw Duo enter the kitchen, the endless miles of his hair trailing behind him like a cape. He watched with veiled longing as the hair caressed Duo's arms and legs with sinuous sensuality, seemingly alive. Duo noticed Heero's staring, but did nothing to assuage the deep wanting visible in the cobalt eyes.
"Heero, looks good."
It took Heero a moment to realize that Duo was talking about the food. He had prepared some light lunch fare, just sandwiches and a small salad. It was nothing special, but Duo liked simple things.
Nodding at Duo's compliment, Heero motioned for him to sit at the table. They sat together and ate in silence, occasionally staring at each other over their meal like lost children.
Duo wiped his hands on the napkin and fully faced Heero. With a speculative gleam in his eyes, Duo asked the question. "Are we going tonight?"
"I'll be ready by seven."
Duo stood and left the table without a backward glance. Heero cleaned up in silence, not noticing the tear that escaped his vigilance.
Duo laughed and flirted outrageously with the L3 diplomat's daughter. The girl leaned into him and smiled seductively, offering him more than just a friendly conversation. As flirtatious as Duo was on the outside, he was bitterly angry inside. He was back on earth to see Heero, but he was being forced to handle dignitaries and their brood while Heero made the rounds with Relena. Duo liked Relena, that wasn't the problem. The problem was Heero. It had always been Heero.
Heero watched Duo from the corner of his eye, taking note of the large number of females giggling insanely around him. Duo looked unhappy, Heero noted. Duo's violet eyes were not laughing along with his mouth. They were shuttered, empty of emotions. Eventually, Heero broke away from Relena and made his way to Duo. The sea of girls parted reluctantly to let him into the inner circle where Duo was entertaining two girls with a wildly heroic story about the Eve Wars.
"And here's the man himself, the man who won the war! Heero Yuy."
Duo's announcement caused a few gasps in the crowd. To the women, it sounded like Duo was praising Heero. To Heero, it sounded as it was intended – a painful barb.
"You are Heero Yuy! You are the one who destroyed that evil girl, Mariemeia. You are a true hero!"
The women surrounding them gushed, each trying to top the other with outrageous flattery. Heero grimaced. He hated this kind of attention.
Duo noticed Heero's discomfort and decided to lend a helping hand. After all, if Heero was going to suffer, it shouldn't be at the hands of this bunch of shameless women.
"Heero, you wanna show me around the mansion?"
Taking the rescue line with both hands, Heero nodded and led Duo out of the ballroom. The excuse was a good one, but totally useless. Duo knew the layout of this mansion like he had known Deathscythe's controls.
The two walked in silence through the empty hallways, occasionally pausing to stare at each other. It seemed that there was nothing to say.
Heero turned off all the lights as he got ready for bed. Duo was already in bed, waiting for him. As soon as total darkness covered his room, Heero slid into bed next to Duo. It was a good and a bad thing that they both slept naked.
"We are always going to be like this, aren't we."
It was more of a statement than a question. Duo knew the answer, but he felt compelled to ask, hoping for a change, wishing for a new day.
Without answering, Heero reached out and held Duo in his arms, feeling Duo's naked chest pressed against his. Their heartbeats tattooed a steady beat in sync with each other, in accord with one another even if their owners were not.
Duo pressed his lips onto Heero's and gently pried his mouth open with his tongue. Soon, they were kissing with barely leashed passion, tongues clashing in a fearless battle for dominance. Their hands began their roaming journey over the planes and angles of each other's bodies, sometimes with tenderness, sometimes with bruising cruelty.
Duo felt Heero's erection press against his thigh, insistent in its desire yet hesitant to move onto the next level. With no preamble, Duo grasped Heero's erection firmly, slowly stroking and then increasing the rhythm to a maddening pace. He heard and felt Heero's breathing hitch and skip. A bitter smile crept onto Duo's face.
Not asking, Duo flipped Heero onto his stomach. Without lubricating himself for Heero, Duo entered him with a single swift thrust. The gasp of pain from Heero was echoed by Duo. It was painful for both not to use any lubrication, but they never did. Not anymore.
Both panted with the oncoming ecstasy and the present pain, neither able to separate one feeling from the other. With each thrust, the pain increased. With each penetration, they pushed the limits of the pleasure thresh hold. When the pain and the pleasure combined in a perfect medley and reached their peak, both orgasmed simultaneously, screaming each other's names in both love and hate.
Exhausted, bruised and sweaty, Duo and Heero collapsed next to each other. For a while, harsh breathing as they tried to regain their breath was the only sound. Then..
"We can do this forever. Be in pain, forever."
Duo heard Heero, but did not reply. Correct statements needed no rebuttal.
Relena sipped her coffee and gazed across the garden. Her eyes paused on the two young men sitting on a bench, not touching each other. One had a long braid, the other a mop of messy hair. They both radiated pain.
"Why do they do this to themselves?" Relena muttered under her breath, her question heard by no one, answered by no one. Ever since the end of the Eve War, they had been like this. Both longing for each other intensely, so obviously in love with each other, but compelled to hurt each other immeasurably. She still wondered what had changed so drastically between them. Before the Eve War, they had been so happy, nearly crazed by each other in delight and joy. Then they had become this cold and frozen thing bound together by threads of suffering and pain.
Sighing for the fourth time in this lovely afternoon, Relena literally stalked towards the young men sitting on the bench. Neither had spoken a word to each other in the past hour, despite the fact that she had left them alone. She was getting tired of this strange love they shared. It brought tears to her eyes, from sadness, pity and frustration.
They both looked up when her shadow fell across them, a set of impassive cobalt and deadly violet. Trying not to be intimidated, Relena sat on the grass at their feet and gazed up at their expressionless faces.
"Duo, I remember how you rescued me. Do you remember?"
Relena spoke for the sake of speaking. Someone had to say something.
"Relena-san, I'm not the type to forget rescuing pretty ladies from the clutches of death."
The humor and the good will were still present in his speech, but something was missing. Vitality.
"Well, I was telling that story to some diplomats at that party a couple of nights ago. Of course, there was no need for exaggeration since both you and Heero were so daring. I must have told you that I was more than impressed."
Duo laughed genuinely, the wonderful sound only slightly tinged with bitterness.
"Relena-san, Heero was the impressive one. He's the one who jumped into the middle and incapacitated all those guards around you."
Relena smiled and answered back. "Yes, Heero did take care of those guards. But it was you who dragged me out of danger. You were my hero that day."
Heero listened but did not participate in the conversation. Everyone had different memories of that time, but he knew his were the truth. There had been no heroics or daring. There had just been two desperate boys and more luck than either had counted on.
"If I recall correctly, there were eight guards around me. I was circled."
Heero heard Relena, but did not bother to correct her. There had been ten. Ten walking dead men.
"Heero really did a number on them though. He's a walking menace."
Duo remembered the bodies. They had been laid out at odd angles, some necks at the wrong angle to the head, some with blood seeping out of their nose. Duo had not minded the bodies. He had been an expert terrorist. He was Shinigami. Death had not bothered him.
"But you jumped in and shielded me from a spray of bullets. Not only that, you hauled me over your shoulder and zip corded down to the ground. It was just like in the books. The daring rescue, the girl carried around like a potato sack, the dashing hero making his escape with bravado."
Heero remembered the fear he had felt when the bullets flew too close to Duo. He remembered the relief as Duo escaped to safety with Relena. He remembered Mariemeia screaming, Dekim Barton dragging her to the helicopter. The two of them had made their way to that secured mansion and had awaited him and the others.
"Relena-san, you are making me blush. Why, I never."
Relena laughed at Duo's false modesty and his almost too accurate American southern accent. She sometimes forgot that he was a naturally cheerful, funny man. It was easy to forget, really. He hardly ever smiled around Heero.
That night, Heero lay awake next to Duo. His lover's breathing had evened out, signaling that Duo was fast asleep. Heero stared at the ceiling, recalling past memories. Specifically, he recalled the last day of the war. The last moments of sanity.
Heero aimed his buster rifle at the mansion below with deadly accuracy. Wing Zero was nearly finished with its final mission. It was barely functioning, disintegrated to the point that it was a miracle that it held together. A final check and Heero fired upon Mariemeia's mansion. A flash of intense light blinded his vision for a moment, his ears nearly deaf with Wing Zero's screaming systems crying bloody murder. When it was all silent, he saw that his rifle had only penetrated half way down the steeled shaft. Mariemeia was still alive.
"Heero! Stop it! You don't need to kill her!"
Heero glanced at his side monitor. Duo's face was plastered onto it, his beautiful violet eyes pleading with him.
"We already rescued Relena, remember? She's safe! Peace has a real chance! For God's sake, Heero, Mariemeia is only a little girl!"
Duo always had had that soft spot for children.
"Duo, Mariemeia must be destroyed. She cannot be allowed to live. She is a danger to everything we have fought for. It is my mission to stop her permanently."
Heero's dead voice seemed to have an effect on Duo. His pale face became colorless and his expressive eyes betrayed sorrow.
"No, Heero. Death is not always the answer. Take it from me. I am Shinigami. You already proved to her that you are stronger. She is just a little girl, Heero. Give her a chance to live."
Heero shook his head at Duo's request. He loved Duo more than anything. He would have done anything for him, except this. His mission was to protect the peace. He had to destroy Mariemeia.
Duo saw Heero's head shake in denial of his request. With determination and daring, Duo guided Deathscythe up near Wing Zero. He placed himself between the mansion and Wing Zero.
"I am not going to let you do this, Heero. I will not have you kill a child. You will have to go through me."
Duo knew Heero loved him. Heero would come to his senses now. Heero would not hurt him.
"I'm sorry, Duo."
Duo heard the static laden apology only moments before Wing Zero's buster rifle fired. His unbelieving violet eyes saw the intense light heading directly at him seconds before the world faded to black.
"Damn you, Heero."
Heero saw his buster rifle's beam shear through Deathscythe. He had heard Duo's last utterance. It hadn't been love or forgiveness. It had been a curse. Heero felt no satisfaction as the beam annihilated Mariemeia's base and everyone inside. He had destroyed Duo.
Heero clenched his hands into fists at his side. No one knew about the truth behind the end of the war. Everyone thought that Heero had destroyed the dire threat to peace named Mariemeia. No one, not even Relena, knew that he had destroyed his true love in the process.
Duo moaned in his sleep. Heero carefully touched Duo's chest and stomach, tracing the ugly burn marks that he had inflicted that day. It had been a miracle that Duo had survived and even more of a miracle that Duo had not killed him immediately after regaining consciousness. So Heero lived on, waiting for the day when Duo would finally put him out of his misery, his hell. Heero only lived to die at Duo's hands.
Heero and Duo stared at each other. Outside, people were celebrating the tenth anniversary of the end of the Eve Wars. Relena was somewhere in that crowd, rejoicing with the people she governed. But in this house that Heero called his, there was silence. There was pain.
"Duo, are you ever going to forgive me? Are you ever going to kill me?"
It had taken him ten years to ask, but he had finally garnered enough courage to do so. Now all he had to do was wait for the answer.
"Heero, will you ever forgive yourself? Will you stop wishing for death by my hands?"
Duo had known for a long time what Heero wanted from him. But he would not give Heero the satisfaction of wishes fulfilled.
"Duo, if you forgive me, you will no longer feel pain. You will be free from all of this. Why are you still suffering?"
Heero's voice was filled with tears unshed, his eyes radiating a plea that came directly from his heart. He no longer wanted to see Duo's eyes fill with pain. He wanted Duo to be happy again.
"I can't forgive you, Heero. Not until you forgive yourself."
"I can't do it, my love. Duo, look at what I did to you. Look at what I did to us."
The smile that graced Duo's face was sad. But it was the only smile that was not colored by bitterness in ten years.
"I don't look, Heero. I haven't looked at a mirror since the war."
Burying his head into Duo's shoulder, Heero spoke in a gentle whisper.
"Please, Duo. Forgive me or kill me. Set yourself free."
Hugging Duo closer to his body, Heero urgently pleaded with his love.
"You must be happy. You won't be happy unless you do one or the other."
"I know. But even if I do, you won't be happy."
In surprise, Heero looked up at Duo. His cobalt blue eyes betrayed the confusion.
"You see, Heero, I love you. I loved you before the war, I love you now. I want to share my life with you. Before the war, we were both so happy. We swam in joy. After the war, all you had left was the pain, the guilt. You suffered because of what you did to me. And I realized that if I was happy, I would be separated from you. Not because you would have left me, but because emotionally, we would no longer be able to share. So I can't forgive you. And I can't kill you. I don't want to be happy by myself, Heero. I would rather share hell with you than be alone in heaven."
In silence, Heero let loose the tears. Quietly, the tears slid down his cheeks and dripped onto Duo's hands. Carefully, Duo kissed each of his tears away.
"I am always going to be with you, Heero. If being with you means walking through the fires of hell, so be it. We are stuck here. We are lost. But we are always going to be like this. Together."
"Yes, Duo. We can do this forever. Together."
Duo and Heero sat together. They were lost in hell with no wishes to be found. After all, it was love.