i have returned!!!
I hope everyone had happy holidays and etc. etc. etc. after being computerless
for two whole weeks, here's the final part. sorry for the long wait..
but how about if i say this is a belated x-mas/hanukkah/kwanzaa/solstice
Title: The Perfect Escape; The Gift
Pairings: 1x2x1, 3x4x3
Warnings: angst, oddities, philosophy..
Disclaimer: did i say i owned GWing? of course not..
Notes: Happy happy happy holidays to you all belately! And since my fics
are not betaed, sorry in advance about spelling, grammar, etc errors...
Heero folded laundry. His boxers
and Duo's boxers intermingled in an interesting display of affection that
the lovers had not shown in a long time. Duo's outrageous boxers colored
in vibrant colors teased Heero's staid and uniform boxers, seducing the
boring underwear to join the wild side.
Heero smiled at his mind's own metaphor. It had been a week since his
dream about getting Duo back, since the night that Duo cried in his sleep.
He had yet to figure out what he could do or if he could possibly do it.
And throughout Heero's time of dilemma and inaction, Duo floated through
life in a contented atmosphere. But to Heero's now unclouded eyes, darker
and more lively emotions danced beneath the surface. Heero kept folding,
occasionally turning his eyes to Duo's prone form on the couch. He had
to find a way to bring Duo back, even if it meant that he would lose Duo
in the process.
'I must do it for him, so that he can live his life again. It's immaterial
whether or not I'm happy. I have to bring Duo back only for him.'
Heero smiled lightly. Only a week ago, he had wallowed in misery because
he had been suffering from Duo's condition. It had taken a dream and a
demon to wake him to that selfish fact. He would no longer think only
of himself and how Duo's actions were hurting him. It was time that he
thought about his love's needs, Duo's wants, instead of his. After all,
it had been his selfish fear of love that had driven Duo to make the bargain.
It was fitting that only by being selfless that he could present Duo with
the best gift in the world, the gift of wholeness.
'I'm sorry, Duo, for being a selfish bastard,' Heero thought as his hands
mindlessly folded, 'but I'm going to fix it all. I'm going to make sure
that you laugh again.'
Duo shifted in his seat uncomfortably, fidgeting left and right. The couch
was comfortable, it had always been his choice of seating when they had
company over. The cushions were soft and lush without sinking too low.
The couch wasn't supposed to make him fidget. But he was not comfortable.
He kept feeling that something was amiss, something he couldn't put his
finger on just yet.
It could not be Quatre for he always made Duo feel nice with his gentle
caring ways. It wasn't Trowa since Duo was used to his stoic but friendly
demeanor. Nor could it be Heero because he lived with his lover everyday
and never felt unsettled. Did he?
Duo looked around at his friends and lover talking about their past missions
and memories with small smiles, occasional grimaces and some laughter.
They were enjoying themselves, discussing such things as politics, how
to get stains out of shirts and gun maintenance. Duo wanted to join in
the conversation, like he had in the past. He distinctly remembered talking
a lot, practically babbling about things. But now, it was as it someone
had turned off the faucet to his words. And somehow, it irritated him.
It was long after the moon rose that Quatre and Trowa left. Duo was still
sitting uncomfortably on the couch hours after they had left. He was thinking
about the evening and contemplating the differences between now and the
past. It seemed that he was missing something. But what it was.. he didn't
know.Duo had noticed the smiles that his two friends bestowed upon each
other. Their faces had been lit with a soft light, an inner glow that
seemed unearthly. Their eyes had sparked with something as well. The way
they touched each other seemed to mean more than just mere physical contact
and their voices changed tones when addressing each other. It was so different
from how he acted with Heero. He wondered if Heero had noticed it as well.
Frowning lightly, Duo got off the couch and padded into the bedroom. He
could hear Heero just finishing his shower and knew Heero would make his
way into the bedroom as well. He had to ask Heero. Something. Heero stared
in well concealed surprise when he stepped into the bedroom and found
Duo sitting on their bed with his knees drawn up to his face. Duo's posture
spoke of confusion but his face was shadowed only by curiosity. It was
yet another moment of incongruity, yet another chink in the bargain.
"Heero. I want to ask you something."
Nodding, Heero sat next to Duo on the bed. He forced his heart to slow
down and pay attention to Duo. The proximity, he could handle. The hesitant
touch of.. fear? Anger? Pain?.. in Duo's voice had given him a way to
help. A little push, and Duo might get his emotions back.
"Ask anything you want, Duo."
Duo pursed his lips in thought. Before, it had seem logical to ask Heero
about the difference between now and then in their relationship. But now,
it seemed so strange, almost trivial. He did not remember Heero ever being
truly observant of their emotional interactions in the past. But he had
to ask. There were questions that he seemed incapable of answering. Incapable
"Well," Duo began, his voice ripe with hesitation, "what
was I like before.. you know.. before I was in the hospital?"
Heero swallowed thickly, unable to respond immediately to the question.
If Duo was asking, then he must have noticed consciously that something
was not right with him. Hope flared brightly, lighting his cobalt blue
"You don't remember how you were?"
"That's the thing, Heero. I do and I don't. I'm out of sorts here."
Heero took Duo's hands gently in his and looked into the confused violet
eyes. This was his chance to help Duo. His chance at redemption.
Duo stared into Heero's eyes, not yet able to comprehend the full magnitude
of Heero's words. "I still laugh, Heero."
"No," Heero said shaking his head, "you chuckle. You smile.
You giggle. You have not laughed yet."
The violet eyes still held confusion. Patiently, Heero elaborated.
"You used to have this laugh, you know. It was something that came
from deep within, starting with a rumble that burst out like a firecracker.
It drew everyone's attention, rang in the air."
Duo's monosyllabic answer drew Heero to ramble more, quite the opposite
from the past situations.
"You watched me when you thought I was sleeping, mumbling beautiful
words into my ear, stroking my hair. You exploded in anger when I accidentally
used the last of your conditioner. You fed stray dogs your lunch and tried
to convince me with teary eyes that we needed a flea bitten mongrel in
our apartment. You punched a whole in the wall when the job became frustrating.
You wrote your name in large hickeys across my stomach for Valentine's
Day. You danced with abandon when we went to clubs. You picked fights
for the sheer joy of confrontation. You moaned and shuddered, shouting
my name when we made love. You.."
Heero continued while Duo sat numbly listening to every word. Had he really
been all that and more, as Heero described? He remembered, but it was
like watching someone else. All that exuberant energy, those vibrant emotions,
they were foreign now. But Duo knew, if he strained just a little, grasped
a little harder, then he would finally understand his past. Maybe then
he could explain why he felt so irritated when he could not duplicate
his past actions.
"Say, Heero," Duo broke into Heero's description of his past,
"let me ask you something else, okay?"
Heero nodded, immediately stopping his flow of words. Something in Duo's
voice was shaken, its tone lost and almost.. afraid.
"Do you remember how I was when you left, Heero? I mean, I know how
I was when I woke up, just fine like I had taken a nap. But before that.
When you left.. Was I.. well, how was I?"
Tears gathered behind Heero's eyes. How could he say? He had been long
gone by the time Duo had gone over the edge. He had been nothing but a
cowardly note on the coffee table, empty drawers and closet space, a bag
packed in a hurry and in fear.
"I.. I honestly don't know, Duo. Only you do."
Duo nodded mutely. He should have known that only he had the answers.
Not even Heero who knew him best past and present could answer a question
"Do you want me to help you remember?"
Duo carefully considered his options. Did he really want to know? Something
deep inside him told him yes, that it was his right, his life. But on
the surface, he could not honestly see why he had to know. He was content,
wasn't he? He had everything, didn't he? He could live his life like this,
However, despite his mind's frantic pleas to stop the questioning, his
heart won the race to control his mouth and formed words.
"Yeah, Heero. Help me."
There was silence for a while as both boys tried to figure out what to
do next. Duo didn't know how Heero could help and Heero did not know what
to say. The impasse lasted until Heero decided to take the initiative.
Taking a deep breath, he began. "What do you remember first about
when I left?"
Duo blurted out his answer without even thinking. "I had come home
from work. I had some take out food with me because it was my turn to
cook dinner and I didn't want to. It was getting dark, the sun was setting.
Then I saw your note on the coffee table. I thought it was going to say
that you had stepped out for groceries or something."
Heero nodded, his heart clenching at the scene depicted before him. He
could almost see it, Duo coming home with a happy air because work had
ended, probably calling out his name.
"I put the food down and went over to read the note. It said 'I can't
do this. I am going to Relena. I need her.' I dropped the note and searched
the apartment only to find that you were really gone." The nausea
and pain tore at Heero's insides, shredding his heart and soul. He had
hurt Duo. No. He had destroyed him.
"Then I cried and screamed. Strange, right? I did it until I passed
out on the floor of our bedroom. Then I woke up in the hospital."
Duo stopped and looked at Heero once more. Heero was a mass of tightened
muscles, coiled to the point of breaking. His fists were clenched so tightly
that his knuckles were about to break skin. He could hear Heero's teeth
grinding, an unsettling sound. Duo raised his hand to comfort his lover
who was in distress. To his surprise, Duo saw that his hands were fisted
much like Heero's, his nails digging into the palms of his hands drawing
Duo slowly unclenched his hands and watched the blood drip down his palm
in apt fascination. When had he done this?
"What the hell is going on, Heero? What is happening?"
Heero raised his head at Duo's questions. His voice had shaken like a
building rocked off its foundation, edges of panic clawing at him.
"You're remembering, Duo."
How simple that sounded, Heero thought bitterly. So simple, yet so painful.
"What am I remembering? I don't understand!" Duo's voice rose
higher. "I don't get it! I don't! I want to understand!" Duo
began to shout. Heero could only watch in shock as his lover's voice became
louder and louder. "I want to remember as it was, goddammit! I want
And then Duo's shouting became screaming. The frustration and confusion
were gone from his voice but had been replaced by something worse. Duo
screamed in pain.
Heero tried to hold onto his love's screaming, shaking body only to be
shoved away with enough force to crash him into the dresser. Ignoring
Heero, Duo continued to scream, clutching his head, then his chest. Tears
that fell like rain from his eyes, dripping and mingling with the blood
from his hands. Heero could do nothing as he watched Duo scream and scream.
Then as suddenly as it began, it ended.
Duo passed out.
Heero watched as Duo breathed in his unconscious state. After he had passed
out, Heero had finally pulled himself back together enough to clean up
his love and put him in bed. Now, Heero laid next to Duo carefully without
'You are whole now.'
Heero closed his eyes as tears began to fall.
'And you're in pain.'
He clenched his teeth until his jaw hurt.
That was Heero's last thought as he passed into unsettled slumber.
Heero scanned the horizon. It was the dream again. The grassy fields,
the flowers, the memories. And the imposter with his lover's face and
"Imposter isn't a nice word."
Heero spun, his hand reaching for a gun he knew he didn't have. He doubted
the gun would have done any good anyway. He couldn't shoot someone who
looked exactly like his lover.
"What do you want, imposter?"
The Devil sighed melodramatically.
"I'm always so misunderstood. Sheesh, you'd think after Milton was
through with me I'd get some understanding, but no."
"Do you have a point or are you just here to complain?"
Rolling his borrowed form's violet eyes, the Devil clucked his tongue
like a mother hen.
"My, my. So impolite, these mortals these days. There was a time
when all the mortals trembled before my name."
"Well," the Devil continued, "I'm here to say congrats.
Or maybe sorry. Or something else entirely. Can't believe Duo Maxwell
wished for it. I thought better of him."
"What do you know of him, demon?" Heero snarled, "He wanted
to be himself again. It was something only he could give to himself and
he knew it. He did it for himself."
"Yeah, yeah. Whatever. I don't really care, you know? It's just that
he's in unbelievable pain again and it's making me kind of sick to my
stomach. I mean, what is it about you mortals and suffering? What gives
you the sadistic need to feel pain?"
"It's as you said, isn't it," Heero replied in a deadly voice,
"you can't know joy unless you know pain."
"Yes. True, mortal. You cannot know Heaven unless you know Hell."
The Devil got a distant look in his eyes.
"I know Hell. Before it, I took Heaven for granted. It was there,
this beautiful, pulsating, glorious thing. All around, inside and out.
Then I threw it away for something selfish and got cast into Hell. Only
then did I truly know Heaven, what I truly threw away."
The Devil shook his head and stared at Heero. "But you know what
I'm talking about, don't you mortal? And you know you can never have it
back, don't you? You can see it, practically smell it, but it's forever
out of your reach. We are the same like that, mortal. All we want to do
is find our way back to our Heaven."
Heero could not believe that the Devil was sympathizing with him, but
what he said rang true.
"Maybe Heaven will forgive you. And Duo will forgive me."
"Such confidence, such arrogance, such pride. It has been an eternity
since I threw away my Heaven and it has yet to forgive me. What makes
you so sure that Duo Maxwell will forgive you?"
"Because he loves me."
"Yeah, well, Heaven loved me too. And you know, supposedly, there
is no love more eternal nor pure as the one from Heaven, the one from
God. Still, I languish in Hell. As will you."
Heero smirked at the Devil. It was much akin to Duo's.
"Didn't Duo tell you? He's not God. He's Shinigami."
With that, Heero stepped out of his dream.
When Heero opened his eyes, he found himself staring straight into violet.
His lover's eyes loomed above him like a death sentence. Then Duo spoke,
his words as soft as the dawn.
"I hated you."
"You had every right."
"The pain is unbelievable."
Duo paused and closed his eyes. Heero felt tears drip onto his face and
could not restrain his own tears from sliding down his face onto the pillow.
"You hurt me more than anything ever had."
Heero could only stare at Duo's fractured eyes.
"I hate you so much. I never want to forgive you."
Heero's body trembled. Was the demon right? Would there be nothing but
hell for him as well?
"I haven't forgiven you."
Fires of hell were bright, searing close to the bone.
"But I know I will."
Relief washed the fires away, leaving a cool comforting feeling behind.
"Not now, not tomorrow, maybe not a year from now, but someday, I
That was all he could ask. He had no right to ask for more from Duo.
"Until then, good bye."
Heero did nothing but drink in the sight that was his one true love. Heero
did nothing as Duo got up and packed his things. Heero did nothing as
Duo left. He could do nothing. Not even say good bye.
"Happy birthday, Heero!"
Heero smiled a little at Quatre's announcement. They were sitting at a
restaurant, just having finished with their celebratory dinner. Trowa
sat next to Quatre, his eyes echoing the sentiment without words. Even
Wufei relented enough to mumble a birthday greeting.
"Thank you, Quatre, Trowa, Wufei."
"So Heero," Wufei said with a slight smirk in his voice, "how
does it feel to be 25? Quarter of a century?"
"I don't know, Wufei. It doesn't feel any different than 24."
"Gad, that's a bland answer. That's you all right, Heero."
Heero and Wufei continued their verbal sparring, occasionally stopping
to take a drink or bite out of the birthday cake. Quatre and Trowa joined
in intermittently, making snide comments about Heero's age despite the
fact that they were all the same age.
After the dinner, they all parted ways, each going home to rest before
work the next day. Quatre and Trowa walked the short distance back to
their apartment hand in hand, the warmth of their bodies mingling gently
in the space between.
"Heero looked content."
"Trowa, I don't think he is."
"I know, but he looks it."
"Six years.. Trowa, it has been six years since Duo left. He has
not given up yet."
"No. He can't give up."
"I know love. Hope. Duo gave it to him."
Neither said it, but both wished the same thing. They wished that hope
was not the last gift Duo would give Heero.
Heero clicked the door shut and walked into his dark apartment. He did
not bother with the lights as he made his way to the couch and sat. It
was the same couch Duo had loved so much. Unbidden, a song floated through
'It's my party and I can cry if I want to.'
"Yeah," Heero said out loud, "and you would cry too if
it happened to you."
"And what happened to you?"
Heero snapped his head towards the voice in the dark. Oh gods, the voice.
It was the one that he had longed to hear for so long.
A shadowy figure materialized out of the darkness and into the dim living
room. Duo stepped into the dark space lit only by the dim city lights.
Heero stared at Duo like a starving man stared at a banquet, his eyes
unbelieving, his heart hammering, his mind at a loss for words. It was
Duo. In their apartment.
"Happy birthday, Heero."
Heero stood gingerly like an old man because his legs would not stop shaking.
He stood and faced Duo, a scant distance of two feet between them.
Duo smiled at Heero's numb voice. Behind the shock, Duo could sense joy,
love, regret, longing.
"I have a gift for you, Heero."
Heero nodded dumbly. What could he really say after six years? Fall on
his knees and beg forgiveness like he wanted to? Maybe he should. Or Duo
might leave again. But before he could, Duo spoke.
"I forgive you."
Heero's heart stopped.
"I love you."
His soul sang.
"Let me come back to you."
His body hurtled forward and finally held Duo. His arms squeezed the form,
his nose inhaled the missed scent, his lips sought soft skin. It was real.
It was happening. Forgiveness. Love. The future.
Deep below the surface, the Devil smiled.
"Well, I'll be damned. Wait, I am damned."
The Devil chuckled mirthlessly. Those two mortals.. They could teach lessons.
"A love that surpasses Heaven. A pain that surpasses Hell. Two mortals
that surpass the divine and the damned."
The smile widened. They had given him something he had not dared to have.
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