Space Between + Part 2
"No way. Really?"
The expression on Duo's face rivaled his voice in disbelief. It had only
been a short month since Trowa and Quatre had come to an understanding.
A short month since Trowa returned to L4 with him and Quatre with his
meager belongings. Only a month since the three of them had started to
live together like a family. And of course, as with all things that went
well, they hit a slight snag.
"Truly. I can't believe it myself."
Quatre's stunned tone did much to assuage Duo's shocked brain. When Trowa
had come back earlier from his job at the Preventers, Duo had been lounging
comfortably on the living room couch with a good book while Quatre had
been listening to his favorite classical operas. It had been tranquil
and then Trowa had shattered the mood with news. Not just any news. News
"I have confirmed it. He really is going to be a father."
Trowa's deadpan voice did not betray the surprise he himself had felt
when he had first heard the news through the Preventer's grapevines. They
had known that Wufei had married Sally a scant year ago after much badgering
and persistence from the former federation doctor. From what Quatre had
gathered through his information network, the courtship had been fraught
with danger from the beginning. Only someone as stubborn as Wufei would
have wrung a proposal out of him and Sally had fit the bill to the tee.
But a father! Duo's mind spun at the possibilities. If it was a boy..
Well, he knew Wufei would drill justice into that poor kid's mind unless
Sally interfered. And if it was a girl.. The only thing that came to Duo's
mind was Wufei with a large gun standing by his daughter and chasing all
boys who went near her out of the solar system.
"I hope to God that it's not a girl."
Duo's thoughts verbalized and Trowa nodded in agreement. Quatre only looked
at Duo with a raised eyebrow, asking him silently to continue his train
"You know, Quat, Tro, Wufei's kind of protective. I mean, if he had
a boy, I wouldn't worry about Wufei's sanity as much. If you have a boy,
you only have to worry about one dick. With a girl, you have to worry
about every dick in the entire fucking universe."
Quatre choked on his tea and Trowa gently patted his back until the coughing
fit passed. Once he regained his ability to breathe, all Quatre could
do was laugh. What Duo had said was crude and crass, yes, but completely
true. Poor Wufei.
"So, should we send him and Sally a gift? Some sort of congratulations?"
Ever thoughtful, Quatre was already considering the appropriate gifts
for the couple. Duo and Trowa looked at him rather dubiously, wondering
if they had any right to barge into Wufei's life again. They hadn't seen
him since the war ended and there had been no contact. Hell, they had
heard the news through a gossip chain -- Wufei hadn't even called
them to say he was going to be a father. They hadn't been invited to the
wedding the year before either.
Whatever the situation, Duo found himself suggesting that they buy him
and Sally a nice set of baby clothes. Perhaps they were no longer friends
with Wufei, but maybe, with a bit of effort, they could be friends again.
Maybe, Duo could banish a little more of the loneliness that screamed
in his heart.
Duo pressed his ear against Sally's stomach and listened. He imagined
that he could hear the baby's heartbeat -- he refused to believe
that it was Sally's. The thrumming of a new life just beneath his ears
gave him a thrill, the thrill he used to get when he got a new kid at
Wufei looked on with a scowl, trying to pretend that this whole ordeal
was making him angry. Unfortunately, his eyes refused to cooperate and
everyone could see that there was a soft light in them. Sally smiled brightly
at her husband. He looked happy. Four months ago, when the three ex-pilots
had shown up at their house with a large fruit basket and a mountain of
presents for the baby, Wufei had been angry. Not because he had not missed
them, but because he had tried all those years to forget them, to bury
his past. But as it was the way with friendships, the gentle fires had
been relit and the four of them became as close as friends could be. Wufei
had been happy before they had reentered his life, but now, he positively
glowed. Even when he was yelling at Duo to get his filthy paws off his
wife and future child.
It was quite interesting, the dynamic among these friends. Quatre and
Trowa, the lovers and soulmates, shined like a bright star whenever they
were near one another. Those two lived with Duo in Quatre's large manse
like a family. And Wufei and Sally had willingly transferred their Preventer's
assignment to L4 to be closer to the refound friends. They lived only
a short distance away and visited as often as their schedules allowed.
The family was growing and soon, a new life would add more meaning to
And yet, throughout these happy times of reunion and friendships, Duo
felt like he was missing something. He knew what it was but refused to
acknowledge it. Quatre and Trowa, Wufei and Sally. The gaps in their souls
had been filled by each other. And as close to them as he was, Duo could
never quite forget that he was the odd man out, the singular one. The
irony hit him hard sometimes. The one whose name implied coupledom was
the only one who was single. Lonely. Alone.
Every passing day only brought his loneliness to the forefront of his
mind. He saw his best friends literally glowing from joy when they were
with their soul mates. He wanted that too, to feel cherished like that.
He wanted someone to fill the space in between, to banish his loneliness
completely. Someone. He might as well substitute that word for Heero.
It would have meant the same thing anyway.
Duo buried his head deeper into the pillow, but the insistent buzzing
of the doorbell still came through loud. It was only six in the morning
on a Saturday! And there was some early rising psycho with a sick penchant
for repeatedly ringing the doorbell. Whoever it was, he was going to die
if he didn't stop.
Duo moaned as the doorbell kept ringing. Neither Quatre nor Trowa would
answer since they were at a resort for the weekend to celebrate.. oh,
something or other. He forgot what the occasion was, but the important
part was that no one would relieve his misery by opening the door. Which
meant that he had two options: one, stay in bed and hope the rude visitor
went away until a decent hour in the day, or get up, yank open the door
and give the guy on the other side hell for waking him up.
Option two was chosen when Duo finally decided that whoever was tormenting
him would not go away. Grumbling and cursing, Duo shoved his legs into
his pajama pants and stumbled out of bed. He didn't bother with a shirt
since his plan was to yell at the guy and trudge back into the comfort
of his bed. "I'm coming, goddammit, stop the fucking ringing!"
Duo had never claimed to be a morning person. In fact, if he could have
it, mornings would be banned from the rest of his life. That and early
risers who rang doorbells. And perhaps the deathly stuff the Preventer's
offices served to them as coffee. Finally, Duo reached the door. The doorbell
was still ringing. His left eye ticking dangerously, Duo practically ripped
the door off its hinges as he filled his lungs. It was going to be an
Unfortunately, words never came. In fact, the breath stuck in his lungs
and nearly choked him to death. On the other side of the door stood the
last person Duo would have ever expected to see. Blue eyes stared back
at him fiercely.
Duo let out the air in his lungs with a loud whoosh. Words were still
lost to him, but his jaw worked itself and his throat clamored to release
a sound. "Ah.. Ah.. Ah.."
"Hello, Duo. May I come in?"
Duo stared dumbly as the figure moved past him into the house. He had
yet to speak, but there was one question burning in his mind.
What the hell was Relena Darlian doing here?
Awkward did not cover Duo's predicament. He was in his pajama pants which
needed to see the laundry, he had yet to put on a shirt and he was sitting
across from the former Queen of the World with bed hair. For her part,
Relena was looking quite beautiful and composed in her light blue suit
and modest high heels. Her hair was perfect, all the blond strands in
a tidy bun. She sat with her ankles crossed like a proper lady, her hands
folded on her lap. She was staring at Duo with her powder blue eyes, her
head tilted to the side slightly.
"How are you doing, Duo?"
"F.. Fine. You?"
Duo curved his lips into a smile, hoping that it did not look as painful
as it felt. He wanted to diffuse the tension in the air, not add to it.
To his relief, Relena smiled back at him softly and relaxed into the couch
a little more.
"This is a situation I never would have thought can happen. You and
I, in the same room, having a conversation."
Relena's cultured voice took on an edge of hesitation and her fingers
twisted in her lap nervously. Duo raised his eyebrows in curiosity.
"So, Relena, what do you want from me?"
It was a simple question, perhaps even the logical one, so it surprised
Duo when a look of deep sadness entered her eyes.
"What do I want from you. I.. Well, I want you to make me happy."
It was a pure miracle that Duo did not fall out of his seat or faint from
the shock. What kind of a request was that? They had hardly known each
other during the wars, had barely spoken in fact. They didn't even have
what most people would have construed as an acquaintance. But here she
was, asking him to make her happy.
"What? Why? How?"
Somehow, her eyes managed turn a shade more sad and tears glimmered in
them. Duo, horrified looked around the room frantically for a box of tissues
or something. He could not stand to see anyone cry since he got teary
when others did. Damn his sensitive side.
"Duo.. You must realize that Heero makes me happy."
Duo stopped his search for tissues and fixed his eyes on Relena. Perhaps
she did not know about his feelings for Heero, but hearing her talk about
him hurt. Maybe she was not being cruel, but she was still showing him
how she had something that he longed for with every waking moment.
"And you must realize that for the last nine years, he has been by
Duo felt numb. Was this a cruel joke of fate? Was Relena here at an ungodly
hour to tell him how Heero was so happy without him or something?
"Those years.. I thought I was happy with him. I thought he was happy
Duo could only listen as Relena spoke of her life with Heero. It must
have been wondrous, like the life that Quatre and Trowa shared. They must
have not had to worry about being lonely at all.
"But it wasn't really true, Duo. We wanted to believe that we were
in love with each other, that we were happy. We weren't. Not at all."
What was she saying? She wasn't happy with Heero? They weren't in love?
"So, Duo, please, I'm asking you to make me happy. Make me happy
by going to Heero. I would be happy if he was happy, and I believe with
all my heart that you can do that."
"What.." Duo cleared his suddenly dry throat and tried again.
"What do you mean? Heero and I.. well, we haven't spoken in.. and
we were just friends back when.."
"Silly Duo.." Relena said in a lightly admonishing tone, "Heero
has always loved you. He and I were only together, I think, because we
were afraid of being with someone who could overwhelm us with feelings.
All those years, he kept you close in his own way, you know. The way he
said your name when he was dreaming.. Or all those newspaper and net articles
he collected about you and your work with the L2 orphans.. The expression
on his face when he stared at the violet colors of the twilight."
Duo mind spun and raced madly. This was a chance for him. A chance of
a life time, to restore his heart and permanently banish the loneliness.
"Relena.. I.. Thank you.. Damn, that sounds trite. I.. I gotta pack.
Relena handed Duo a piece of paper and folded his hand over it. She kissed
his knuckles gently and smiled into his eyes.
"Go Duo. Make him happy. Make me happy."
The house had a little garden in the front that had every color of flower
imaginable. The small pathway from the waist level wire gate to the bright
red door was made of worn bricks and trimmed on the side with green grass.
The house itself looked inviting with its red shutters and white trimming,
wide open bay windows and yellow curtains. It was literally a house made
straight from Duo's vision.
Duo checked the piece of paper again. This house was it, the address of
where Heero lived. Duo swallowed thickly. This was harder than he had
thought. Much harder. His legs were rooted to the ground and his arms
refused to move at all. He was petrified -- of Heero, of rejection,
of loneliness. After the huge speech about this being his chance that
he had chanted like a mantra throughout the shuttle ride to earth, he
had thought that he was prepared for this. But no, he wasn't ready at
What would he say? After the greetings were done, what could he say? His
heart sped up at the musings of his uncertain mind and his muscles contracted
almost painfully. He had not even walked to the door and already he was
a mess. If he actually saw Heero, there was a strong possibility that
he would just combust. So he stood at the wire gate, admiring the beautiful
house, frozen solid by trepidation. Ten minutes turned into an hour, then
into two. The sun traveled merrily across the sky, ignoring his internal
Then at the end of the second hour, the red door creaked open and a gorgeous
vision of Heero Yuy stepped out.
"How long are you going to stand there?"
Duo could feel his heart stop completely. There was a strange ringing
in his head. Everything seemed to be moving slow motion, as if time itself
was afraid of what was to come.
"I don't know."
Duo thought he saw a look of irritation and nervousness (was it?) streak
across Heero's face at his answer. He had no idea if that was a good sign
"Come in, Duo. I've been waiting for you."
At those words, Duo could finally move his jelly like legs toward the
door, to Heero. He had been waiting. For him. He couldn't have asked for
a better start.
Once he had stepped into the home, it had been surprisingly easy to speak
to Heero. They sat down at the breakfast nook with the window facing the
garden and spoke for hours on end. They spoke of the last ten years of
separation, what they did during that time, how they were living now,
how lovely the weather was. Nothing sensitive was breached, but they needed
to get comfortable with each other's presence before anything could be
solved. Heero, for his part, had surprised Duo by knowing precisely what
he had been up to on L2 for the last few years and then of the past year
he had spent with Quatre and company. Duo could only stare amazed as Heero
practically recited every aspect of his public and personal life with
dead accuracy. Duo had an inkling that if he had asked Heero how many
people he had slept with in the last ten years, the number would have
been dead on, not to mention that he probably knew all their names.
Throughout the long initial conversation, Duo finally figured out that
Heero had been watching him all the time, taking note of his actions,
his emotional state and well being. All those years of being lonely without
acknowledging it, Heero had been there silently, watching, waiting, wanting.
And Duo had not even bothered to keep tabs on him. Not after he found
out that Heero had gone off to Relena. After that, all he had done for
Heero was to bury him into the deep recesses of his mind. A small sprout
of guilt wormed its way through Duo's system for being so careless with
his best friend, his secret love.
"I miss you."
The blush that crept up Duo's face was a brilliant red color. Whatever
little demon that had made him say that was going to die. After he died
from mortification, that is.
"I know. I miss you, too."
Duo decided that the little demon could live after all.
"I've been so lonely. Even in the last year, surrounded by my closest
friends, I was so lonely." Heero reached out his hand towards Duo's
face. Duo noticed how Heero's usually strong iron arms trembled and how
it almost hesitated to make contact. Duo met Heero half way, leaning his
face into the outstretched palm.
"But now that we're here, together.. I know the loneliness will vanish."
Heero stared into Duo's violet eyes, the eyes he had missed so much. He
caressed the skin of his face, reveling in its softness. Breathing softly,
he broke the news gently.
"You will be lonely, even with me. It will be the same for me, Duo."
Stunned, Duo pulled away from Heero's hand. He could feel the bitterness
of rejection and the widening space of loneliness. Was this the end? Would
they be finished before they had even begun?
"Don't be angry, Duo. And please, don't be sad. You must understand,
people are lonely creatures. You and I can be together and be happy, but
somewhere inside, we're always going to be lonely."
"Heero, that's not how it works!" Duo yelled, Heero's words
having cut through the bone. "You're supposed to fill the space between
our souls! We're supposed to be one complete being, one half of each other.
We're supposed to be together to fill each other. Loneliness, it should
Heero looked at Duo's anguished face with saddened eyes. He had not wanted
to hurt Duo, but if they were to go forward, if they were to be together,
the small fact of life had to be realized.
"Duo, being lonely is part of all of us. Even when we are together,
you will have moments of loneliness. I know it hurts and I know you hate
it. I hate it too. But it is what makes us who we are. It is the one thing
that gives love meaning."
"I don't know what you're talking about.. I.. I wanted you for so
long.. Loved you.."
"I love you, too, Duo. And I want to spend my life with you. But
loneliness, that is something we must always live with. I cannot fill
the space between, no more than you can. We are two separate beings. We
can't be one like that -- it would be impossible. And even if it
were, would you want to? Without the space between, you would lose your
identity, your individuality. You would just be a part of someone else.
Do you want that? Do you want me to be just a part of you? Don't you want
me to be me, the one that loves you, cares for you, misses you?"
Duo slowly nodded. He was trying to understand what Heero was saying and
strangely enough, it was making sense. He let Heero continue.
"I just want you to know, no matter what, there will be that loneliness.
It won't be as great as now, but it will be there. I just don't want you
to leave when you realize that even with me, you're still lonely. I want
you to see that I can only offer so much. I can't banish your loneliness,
but I can keep it at bay. Being an individual is a lonely thing, Duo.
But only as you are now can you love me. And I you. Please understand.
Duo could hardly believe that Heero was begging him. The plea was in his
voice, the desperate need for understanding plain in his speech. He had
wanted Heero to love him and to fill in the lonely gap in his soul. He
had thought it possible. But now, maybe he had been deluding himself.
Duo closed his eyes and thought back to his happiest of moments. Spending
time with Heero, talking nonsense with Quatre, arguing semantics with
Wufei, listening to Sally's baby kick, picking on Trowa, playing around
with his kids. Every moment crystallized within his mind and he saw that
in every one of those instances, the loneliness had been there. Yes, those
moments had chased it to the farthest corner of his heart, but in the
end, the loneliness had still been there. It had always been there.
"Heero," Duo finally replied, "I'll always be lonely, right?
You and me together, it will only lessen its magnitude, right? No matter
what, it will always be there."
Duo opened his eyes and looked deeply into the cobalt eyes swimming in
"But you will always be with me too, won't you."
Tears rose to the surface of Heero's brilliant cobalt eyes, making them
"Then I can take the loneliness. As long as you're there."
Heero let out the breath he had been holding. After all the mistakes,
the time lost and heartache, he could finally be with Duo. Duo had understood
and accepted everything. Heero felt his body move as it fell into Duo's
arms. He buried his head into Duo's chest and knew that he was truly happy.
The loneliness receded from their hearts to the edges of their soul.
The space between could not be filled, but the two souls could travel
side by side until the end of eternity. Duo and Heero intended to do just
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