author: 0083
genre: AU
pairings: 1x2, 3x4, 5xM
disclaimer: no need!
notes: this part is perty much angsty, but not really.

Special + Part 16

-The Fifteenth Encounter-

The world was a blurry mesh of lights and sounds when Quatre found me swigging down some serious amounts of scotch. I suppose I called him some time during my drinking binge and said something or other because he was there, paying my tab and dragging my sorry ass out before I could even comprehend what was happening.

I was shoved into Quatre's car head first and nearly bashed my forehead against the dash. Jesus, hasn't he heard of treating someone of my condition a bit more gently? I could have died from a fatal wound to the head just now.

We were silent as he drove, but when we stopped at our final destination, I had to speak.

"Not my place."

Oh my.. I am so damned drunk that I can't even let out a complete sentence. That is never a good sign.

"No," Quatre says with a bit of forced humor, "my place. You don't think I'd just drop you off at your house in your condition, did you?"

"Well, why not?" I know I sound belligerent, but so what? I am not some kid who needs a babysitter.

"Why not? Because you called me and told me you were going to kill Heero, that's why!"

I roll my eyes as I climb out of the car and lurch towards Quatre's front door. Did I really threaten Heero's life and limb? I think I have just cause, but I'm not in the habit of making death threats. Well, not that often, anyway.

Somehow, I make it to Quatre's living room without falling down and Trowa is there to immediately sit me down on my drunk ass. I can feel Quatre struggling to get my coat off while Trowa works rather patiently on my shoes. If I wasn't so depressed and drunk, I might have been amused.

"So, what set you off tonight?"

It was such a casual question that I think Trowa just said it to keep me distracted while they got me comfortable. I was not talking and that is an odd thing when I'm drunk.

"Set me off? What am I, a ticking bomb?"

I know my friends don't mean any harm, but I could not help but sound pissed at them. The whole evening had been a total shocker and I have not quite coped with the situation.

"No," Trowa answers easily, "not a bomb. You are bombed, though."

"And I damn well have the right to be fucking drunk!" I blare out, raising my right arm in a pumping motion to punctuate my ire. "How dare he live with her!"

By now, my friends have finished undressing me down to my pants and shirt and they are both looking at me with the puzzled frown on their faces. They exchange looks with each other and then they both cock their heads in the exact same angle at the exact same time. I guess they just don't understand my situation.

"You know," I say to no one in particular, "I'm in love with Heero. Is that just stupid or what?"

"You're in love," Quatre responds with an understanding smile, "and you're scared, right?"

"NO!"

My voice definitely had a steep climb in decibel levels there.

"Then what the hell is wrong with you?"

Well, if I can get Trowa to lose patience with me, I must not be doing a good job of showing them just how unhappy I was at the moment. I try to gather my scattered thoughts and begin again.

"Heero has an engaged person type thing."

"A what?"

They are still giving me that look of confusion coupled with concern. How am I not making myself clear? It's so damned picture perfect in my head.

"Heero is living with her."

A moment of silence follows and I am sure that they understand now.

"He has a roommate?"

Gah, these guys are so dense! What must I do to make them understand just what the hell is going on, draw it on paper and act it out?

"Jesus," I say, losing what little patience I thought I had, "can't you understand a damn thing I'm saying?"

With that, I go into full rant mode. I dare anyone to find a place within my rant where I could have taken a breath.

"Heero has some girl living with him and she thinks they're engaged and she's all sick or something or other so no one has had the decency or the time to let her know that the boy is fucking gay and of course Heero has to be the goddamned knight on a white horse and save her so he can't invite me over or tell her about me or anything like that because oh no, she's gonna keel over and die or something and I have to feel bad that I can't tell my co-workers or my parents about him when he's got a closet fiancée all locked up in his fricking apartment!"

When my rant finished, I just slumped forward in exhaustion, my head swimming in alcohol and the strange set of circumstances I found out earlier. I still cannot believe what I had said, but apparently, I have the truth of it.

"I mean," I continue when I hear no responses to my tumultuous rant, "why couldn't Heero have a deep dark secret that I could deal with? Why wasn't it a dead body in his basement or a stalker keeping him awake at night? I can deal with those.. but.."

I feel a hand on my shoulder then there is a darkness. I must have passed out.

When I woke up, there was intense sunlight shining into my eyes and I was not comfortable in the least. First of all, I was cold, as in shivering in my damned pants and my left arm had fallen asleep sometime during the night. The pain in my head coupled with the needles running havoc on my arm made me moan like a pitiful kitten and that brought out a very concerned Quatre out to the living room.

"Duo, are you okay?"

I try to answer, but unfortunately, my mouth seems to be shut like a steel trap. I roll my tongue around in an effort to jump start my conversational skills when I have a sharp gag reflex. Oh, yeck, my mouth tastes like..

I made it to Quatre's bathroom in two point four seconds, a new record.

I suppose it is rather sad that every time something terrible or surprising happens in my life, I have the irresistible urge to go and drink it away. However, it is the way I deal with certain things. Some people run until their heart stops beating, some eat until their stomachs bloat to the size of Montana, and I hear that some people even bury themselves in work until they suffer a mini-stroke. Not I, though. I escape my strange life by drinking. I believe it is much healthier than my other choices out there despite whatever the surgeon general is spewing out these days.

I drag my ass out of the bathroom and back into Quatre's living room to find him and Trowa waiting for me with some coffee. They definitely are great friends for they know exactly what it is that I need at any given time.

They wait patiently as I sit, drink some coffee and get some color back into my cheeks. After a few moments, I feel marginally alive and almost ready to face reality sober.

"So," I begin sheepishly, "how much of my psycho babble did you guys understand?"

"Let's see," Trowa answers with a straight face, "Heero has a fiancée, the fiancée is a woman and not his fiancée, she is sick, he is a hero, they live together and you hate him?"

Well, if that wasn't my dilemma in a nutshell. Trowa, being a freelance writer and all, has that gift of words where he can make any tragic situation sound somewhat normal and simple.

"I can't believe it, Duo. How could he have kept that from you?"

Good old Quatre, he can always be indignant and furious for me. Plus, with his golden hair and aqua eyes radiating sincerity, it comes across much more clearly if not more brutally than what I can do.

"It's like I'm in the middle of a fucking made for T.V. movie of the week, Quat. One minute I'm looking forward to meeting his friends, next minute, the shit hits the fan at light speed."

Quatre puts a comforting arm around my shoulders and squeezes to let me know that he is there for me. What would I do without these guys?

"What are you going to do about this?"

I shrug my shoulders helplessly at Trowa's query. I am truly clueless as to how to proceed from this point. Do I forgive? Do I forget? Do I hold a grudge and plan out where to hide the body?

"I wish I knew," I say honestly, "because I have never imagined this kind of scenario before. Heero asked for a chance to explain himself, but a big part of me doesn't want him to say anything. I don't want to hear it."

"Duo," Trowa ventures, "I know you must be very angry with Heero, but I don't think he kept it from you to hurt you. Imagine if you were in his shoes."

"Are you suggesting Duo forgive him?"

As I said, Quatre can do indignant much better than me. In fact, he is looking at Trowa like his lover had sprouted a new head.

"No, not that. Just that perhaps Duo should let Heero explain."

"Guys," I break in before Quatre and Trowa manage to begin a fight, "thanks for being here for me. The truth is, if I were in Heero's shoes, I would've told her a long time ago that we weren't engaged. I don't think it's very fair to her, you know?"

"And not fair to you either!" Quatre huffs.

"They say nothing's fair in love and war, my love." Trowa throws in rather smugly.

"Yeah," I say, "and if this was war, at least I could have heavy artillery and a license to kill."

Thankfully, my friends catch on to my need to stop talking about Heero and the woman and we drift our conversation towards safer things. Underneath the mundane chatter, I am still angry, shocked and hurt, but I will not let it get to me.

When I finally get home, I am tired, kind of dirty and most definitely wrinkly. I should just keep a spare set of sleepwear at Quatre's or something, because I hate it when my nice clothes get disgusting from my drinking habit.

As I step in, I see that the phone is blinking, relaying to me that I have voice mail messages just awaiting my attention. I have a feeling that some of those messages are from Heero, but am I ready to hear what he has to say? Frowning, I dig through my jacket and find my cell. It was turned off, but I had an inkling that when I pushed the on button, the display will tell me that I have messages there as well.

Might as well bite the damned bullet.

As predicted, my cell phone announces to me that I have three messages waiting for me and the caller I.D. shows that they are all from Heero. Then I dial the mail service on my land line and find that I have four messages on that one, and that the caller I.D. dutifully recorded all the numbers as Heero's.

Either he was really in a deep need to talk to me or he has stalking issues.

Sighing, I run through all the messages. Seven messages and they all sound the same. Heero's voice is strained and nervous, he needs to talk to me, please say I will call him as soon as I get the messages, just let him fix what he did wrong.

And he is so damned sorry in each message.

I erase all the messages and I sit on my couch contemplating my next move. I wonder if I should call or if I should even acknowledge that I received these messages. The decision, however, gets taken from me when my land line rings and technology informs me that it is Heero.

I pick up on the fourth ring.

"Duo," Heero begins hastily, "you're home."

"No, I'm in Hawaii answering my landline."

I can literally feel Heero flinch at my sarcasm.

"I was hoping you would give me a chance to explain.."

To my utter disbelief, I feel my heart lurch in sympathy at the pain present in Heero's voice. How dare my own heart betray me when I'm so damned sure that I was still angry with him? How dare I feel anything but bitter rage towards Heero when he had kept something so vital from me?

"Look, Heero," I clip out, knowing that my voice sounds harsh, "words just won't make this right, okay? There is no way anything you say to me right now is going to make anything better."

"I.. know, Duo, but I want to try."

"But I don't want you to try, damn it!" I yell into the phone, "you want to explain shit to me so you feel better, so you can make yourself feel less guilt! Jesus, Heero, if I hadn't pried, were you ever going to tell me at all?"

"I.. I'm so sorry, Duo" He falls silent after the apology, but I'm not finished with him just yet. I'm on a roll, don't you see?

"Don't bother apologizing either, you already said it too many times! I need time to deal with this. I need for you to give me time. No words, no apologies, no explanations. I need time."

"Anything, Duo.. as long as I can make this right with you.."

He sounds so damned sincere.. so much so that I want to believe him. That makes me angrier.

"Stop agreeing with me so damned easily," I fume, knowing that I am now unreasonable, "..and stop trying to make it right. I know I'm a damned hypocrite, you know? I'm keeping you a secret from my family and my work, I know! But not once did I lie to you, keep something from you."

Only silent breathing answers across the line and I can almost see Heero trying to say something. But he can't say anything.. what is there to say?

"So.. give me time. Don't call. Don't.. do anything."

I am exhausted. The rage and anger have slipped through my system and all I have left is this intense need to lie down and forget. And still, Heero says nothing.

I only have one more thing to say.

"Bye, Heero."

Then there is nothing but a soft click as I place my phone back in its cradle.

Maybe I did it wrong, maybe I said some bad things, but this is the way it has to be. It has to be. I need time to think.

I need time away. I don't need Heero hovering over me. I don't want to hear it.

So tell me then, why am I, the tough and relentless criminal attorney out of his teens by many years, having the urge to cry?

[part 15] [part 17] [back to 0083's fic]