Oh, and this is the chapter that reveals precisely why this fic is called "Thinking About Forever". In case you hadn't guessed already.

Author: Anria Lalumin
Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing or the song "Colorblind" by Counting Crows. If you've seen Cruel Intentions, you've heard this song. I love the damn thing!
Warnings: yaoi, angst and hopefully lots of it -- hell, I wrote this thing listening to Staind! If it doesn't have loads of angst there must be something wrong with my hearing!
Pairings: 1x3, 4x5, and yup! We're there! 1x2x3!
Note: this is a thank you to everyone who's sent me feedback for this fic so far -- you've been a great help in kicking me in the ass and writing more! I think this is the fastest I've ever written a multipart fic. . . . Anyway. So thanks to Sian, Kyoko Yui, Wolf, Deb, Banshi, Dark Moon, Avarice, Azuriana, Dixie Lynn Duke, Wings Shinigami, Gwynn, Karen, Stacy, redconvoy, Little Duckie, SS, other Karen (Hickman), Sita Seraph, Morgan, and Mina Lindsley. Hope you enjoy!

::Lizards:: = sound effects
[Lizards] = song lyrics

Thinking About Forever + Part 11

Three days later and Duo had still not ventured out from his apartment. He knew he was being selfish; he knew he was being cowardly; he just didn't care. He couldn't go out there and face the horrible condemnation of the only people in the world he dared to call his friends, and the deep-seated knowledge that no matter how hard he had tried, he had betrayed one of those friends in the worst possible way.

There were several messages on the answering machine, none of which Duo had picked up on. Une had called first, asking why the hell he wasn't at work and informing him that if he didn't get his butt down there ASAP, best stealth and explosives operative or no, she would fire his ass.

He didn't pick up the phone.

Quatre called, sounding worried, telling him that Heero hadn't come into work either and wasn't answering his phone. He asked what was wrong, then left him with a 'no pressure' remark.

Sure, Q. No pressure.

The second day, Heero called.

::"Trowa comes home tonight,":: came the blunt opening statement. ::"I'm going to tell him.":: Then the line went dead. Duo remained hunched up in a foetal ball under the covers in his bedroom, not moving. Deep inside there was the stabbing knowledge that he was a traitor. He had done the unforgivable. Not even all those deaths during the war and the previous loss of everyone he cared about could compare to this. He was now everything he despised.

Traitor.

Duo flinched, squeezing his eyes shut and burying his head into his pillow, cold and damp from all the tears he'd shed. So much for boys don't cry.

Worthless piece of trash.

He whimpered, clutching his knees to his chest but not even venturing to defend himself, knowing it was all true. Why defend yourself against the truth?

So you pretend to be their friends, supposedly HELPING them with their problems, so you can go around and tear it all down? So much for not tearing them apart. Guess you do lie, even if it's only to yourself.

It was all true. The scorn, the derision in the voice was what he deserved.

The only way you could possible atone would be to go over there and submit to whatever Trowa wants to do to you for betraying him like this. Let him yell at you, let him beat the shit out of you.

Except you won't.

Because deep down inside, you're still a little coward, aren't you? Too afraid to face up to his own mistakes. Instead you run, like you always do. And once you've run, you hide.

Too bad you can't lie, at least not about this. Everything else is free game, isn't it?

So we're just going to wait here until Trowa calls, or comes here, and then you're going to take what you deserve, aren't you?

Because you're too much of a coward to go over there and volunteer yourself.

Strangely enough, Duo's internal monologue was comforting. The only way his guilt would die would be through penance, and even if it was just having Trowa never trusting him again, it cut him to his core and it would only be what he deserved.

He wondered if he was a closet masochist. Maybe that explained why he had so conveniently 'forgotten' that Heero was with Trowa that night, alcohol or no. After all, wouldn't it explain why the possibility -- no, the certainty -- that Trowa would give him the treatment he deserved made him feel better, even if the reason for that was so simple as that there was an end in sight. He had to be a masochist . . . otherwise . . . why would he keep remembering how good it had been. . . ?

Even when drop-dead drunk, Heero had touched him like no one had before. Sex normally felt empty: during his time between the destruction of Maxwell Church and him sneaking away on the Sweepers' ship, it had been one of his outlets. Cheap, meaningless sex to simply let him forget for a moment. After a while, though, it hadn't been enough, and he'd forced himself to think through everything he'd been through before he destroyed more than himself, and come to terms with it. When he'd been dating recently, he'd only tried sex once with one of his dates, but it had been as empty as always and had sent him flying back into memories of those times. That was something he didn't need. But. . . .

Heero. . . .

Duo rolled onto his back, clenching his jaw so tight it hurt, digging the heels of his hands into his eyes until bright white sparks shot across his vision, the reflection of the pain in his head. It took his mind off everything, for a while. Idly, he wondered how long he could keep doing this. How long he could huddle in his bed, never really sleeping, contemplating the self-destructive path he had been on, before he went out and did it all again. Did it all again to prove to himself and that derisive voice in his head that he was and always would be street trash. You can take the rat off the street, but you can't take the street out of the rat. He was living proof of that, wasn't he?

::RAP RAP!::

Two short, decisive knocks on his door. Duo found himself idly dissecting the sound of those knocks, wondering whether it was worth getting up for. Short, loud, no hesitance. So it was either Relena thinking Heero was in his apartment (except she wouldn't have left it at two knocks) or Trowa.

Time to face the music.

Duo slowly stood up, noting with a muted sense of alarm how the muscles in his legs trembled with weakness and fatigue, and made his way towards the door. He was still in his jeans and three-day-old shirt; he stank, but at least he was dressed. Who cared if his braid was falling apart? Not him.

He was functioning in a strange sort of detachment as he moved towards the door, like he was a spectator in his own head. It wasn't him that shuffled across the short distance from his bedroom to the door, focused on the door so hard everything else faded around the edges; it wasn't his hand that reached out to the handle; it wasn't him who saw its trembling and snatched it back. It wasn't him who took a deep breath, then reached out and opened the door. He came back to himself with a rush when he met Trowa's green eyes, staring up at him through his curtain, his mask of bangs, face set flat and expressionless.

Dimly he knew he should be saying something, telling his friend how sorry he was to betray his trust, how he had never meant it to happen, how drunk he had been and how Heero had just seemed to need something so bad. . . . And, if he was honest, how he had needed something -- anything -- too. . . .

He said nothing.

Trowa broke the silence, speaking quietly. Not softly, not softly at all. "Get your coat."

Duo nodded and shoved his feet into the boots waiting beside the door, throwing on his jacket. He stepped out the door and locked it, following Trowa down the hall.

It was plainly obvious they were headed for Heero and Trowa's apartment. The two walked side by side in silence, the late night streets empty of life along the short stretch of sidewalk between Duo's apartment building and . . . the other's. He didn't dare call him his friend any longer. That was up to Trowa to decide.

Trowa opened the door and led the way up the stairs in perfect silence. Duo wasn't going to be the first to speak, either -- he needed to hear Trowa out first. Needed to.

Once inside the familiar apartment, Trowa gestured eloquently to the living room. Duo walked through the door and stopped in the middle of the room, feeling more out of place than he ever had before.

Heero was seated on the couch opposite the door. He caught Duo's eyes as he walked in, and the expression on his face . . . it. . . . Duo didn't know how to describe it. Heero was just looking at him, with something in his eyes he'd never seen there before . . . but it wasn't angry. It wasn't guilty. It . . . he didn't know what it was.

Duo looked away.

"Sit," Trowa said from behind him. Duo obeyed, carefully perching in the middle of the other couch, arms wrapped around himself in a distinctively vulnerable gesture, huddled as small as he could get. He didn't care if he was displaying weakness; he needed something that would give him comfort in a dangerous situation. It wasn't dangerous physically, but it could be permanently damaging to his fragile core. And he didn't know if he could deal with that.

It was back here, in the 'scene of the crime', as it were, that guilt struck him the hardest. And he knew that he wasn't a masochist, after all, because all he wanted at that moment was to be as far away from there as possible. He wanted to run and never look back.

But he didn't. Because he owed it to Trowa . . . and to Heero.

For a very, very long time there was no sound in the apartment. Duo knew Heero was sitting at one end of the room, eyes locked on him, and he knew Trowa was leaning against the shut door at the other end, eyes locked on him also. He could feel it.

But still neither one said anything.

[I am colorblind]

And suddenly he was angry.

It was purely defensive reaction. He was a cornered animal, waiting for judgement, and his judge just stood there looking at him. It was not the reaction he expected, and it made him angry.

[Coffee black and egg white]

[Pull me out from inside]

His head jerked up and he glared around wildly, snarling.

"If you're gonna flay me out would you just do it already? I didn't come here so you could stare at me like I was gonna spontaneously combust from the deathglares," he snapped, eyes flashing.

[I am ready]

[I am ready]

[I am ready]

[I am]

Suddenly, Trowa spoke. "Why would we want to do that?"

Duo's jaw clenched. "D-don't do that," he said, trying to put the same anger into it, the same vicious bite, but unable to stop the wavering hint of his inner feelings from leaking through. His bit his lip savagely, not caring when the familiar coppery tang of his blood seeped through. "Don't make it seem like less than it is."

[Taffy stuck, tongue tied]

[Stuttered shook and uptight]

[Pull me out from inside]

Trowa spoke again, in that same strange, soft, gentle tone. "Make what less than it is?"

Duo felt like crying. He felt like screaming. He felt like pounding on something until it broke or he did. "Don't pretend!" he half-screamed, the words choking in his throat. "Just stop it!"

Heero spoke for the first time since he had seen him in the dark room. His voice had the same strange gentle tone that Trowa's did. "I think he means me sleeping with him."

And it was as he was sitting there shocked that Duo had an epiphany. Or thought he did.

He . . . he made it all out to be him, didn't he. . . ? He tried to stop Trowa from being too mad with me . . . by making out that it was all his fault. . . .

"Oh no you damn well don't, Yuy!"

Duo was on his feet now, chest heaving as he stared down at the Japanese man. As the echoes of his shout faded from the unlit room, he ground out, much softer, "You are not taking a fall for me."

Not waiting for his reply, he turned to Trowa. "It wasn't all Heero," he blurted out, his eyes begging Trowa to understand, but not asking for mercy for either one of them. "I -- I wanted it, too."

[I am ready]

[I am ready]

[I am ready]

"You wanted 'it'?" Trowa queried softly.

Duo swallowed hard. He had expected this, deep inside, but it was still hard to get it out, to finally tell him what he had tried so hard to keep secret. It wouldn't matter any more, since he'd already done his damage in tearing them apart, but it would give some reassurance that it wasn't cheap. Not for him.

It's time, that little voice inside him whispered, no longer the harsh mocking tone of earlier, but strangely one of quiet support. No more running. No more hiding. It's time.

[I am . . . fine]

"I wanted Heero," Duo said softly, his head held high, daring Trowa to condemn him. It was dizzying, from inside, to realise the changes he had gone through in attitude.

He can't me mad at me for that, he realised dazedly. He can't be mad with me for knowing how he feels about his lover, and feeling the same way. . . .

Trowa had moved closer, stepping away from the door. "Was Heero all you wanted?" he asked. His voice, his face, they hadn't changed -- still flat and expressionless, yet strangely soft.

No more running. No more hiding.

Duo looked down at the other man. "No," he said, a bare whisper of sound.

It's time.

"I wanted you, too."

He felt the air shift behind him, and knew Heero stood close behind him in the same way Trowa stood close in front of him. Straight and tall, hands loose at his sides.

And suddenly, Trowa smiled. That dazzling, beautiful smile. It struck Duo like a hammer between the eyes. "Good."

[I am covered in skin]

[No one gets to come in]

"W-what?!"

[cont]