Darker Side of Death + Part Five (cont)

+

Heero stared at the pale, tear-streaked face and felt his heart ache in response. Duo looked so miserable and there wasn't anything he could do to help. Ever since the mission two days ago, the boy had been a wreck. He barely spoke and hadn't eaten anything at all. Heero sighed and pressed a soft kiss to one rounded cheek, rubbing the boy's back in soothing circles as he slept.

He didn't know what could have happened to upset the boy so much. Yes, the mission had gotten out of control very fast and they had nearly lost their lives, but that had happened several times before. Heero recalled the look on his lover's face moments before they had left the base. The horrified, anguished look that had crumpled his features as he had stood over the body of a dead Oz pilot.

The Japanese teen gently pulled away from Duo and placed the comforter over his slender form. Heero sat at the edge of the bed and leaned forward, putting his head in his hands as he contemplated the last few weeks.  Duo was obviously going through something, something that he wasn't ready to share with his partners. This was the second time he had fallen apart after a mission and it was only the second time Heero had seen the other boy cry. He was so used to Duo being in good spirits and trying to keep the rest of the team happy, that the sight of the longhaired boy in tears was enough to leave him feeling helpless. Helpless and scared, because he didn't know how to fix it.

Heero wanted so badly to put the smile back on Duo's handsome face, but he didn't know how. He didn't know how to comfort people, in fact he didn't know how to do a lot of things. Things that came to normal people naturally. It left Heero feeling inadequate and ashamed that he couldn't even make his friend feel better.

Friend?

What were they anyway? That one moment of passion had left Heero feeling more than he had ever felt in his whole life.  He didn't regret it at all, it only gave him hope that in the future after Duo was passed this ordeal, they could have a real relationship, the way Heero had always dreamed they could.

With a heavy sigh, he stood up and moved towards his laptop. Maybe if he went through the OZ database and looked at the profiles for the day's causalities, it would give him some insight on who the pilot had been.

As soon as he sat down in front of his laptop, once again, he had the inexplicable feeling of being watched. His head whipped around and dark blue eyes scanned the room and the darkness outside the window, but he saw no one. The fine hairs on the back of his neck were standing on end and he knew someone was there, somewhere. "Who are you?" He demanded, feeling decidedly foolish. "Who are you and what the hell did you do to Duo?" The last sentence must have triggered something because suddenly he was hit with vertigo and he had to clutch the end of the desk to keep from falling over. He struggled to keep his eyes open but before long, his vision dimmed and everything went black.

+

When Heero opened his eyes, he was no longer in his room with Duo. Everything was jet black with streaks of red and he knew immediately that he was dreaming. He took a step forward and winced as the movement echoed through out the room dramatically. He was still being watched, he could feel it, but he didn't see anyone. "Show yourself, damn it!"

"I'm right here," A female voice drawled from behind him.

Heero spun around, hand automatically going for a gun that wasn't there and stared at the girl before him. She was small, clad all in black and had a gaunt, slender face. "Who the hell are you?" He demanded.

Her lips pulled back in an unpleasant smile and she clasped her hands behind her back. "You can call me Takai."

He narrowed his eyes at her, automatically translating the word in his head. It meant death. "Okay, Takai, what the hell have you done to Duo?"

Slender eyebrows arched up and she gave him a bemused smirk. "What makes you think I did anything to the boy?"

A dark scowl settled over his face and he balled his hands into fists. "Over the past few weeks something has been wrong with him and over the past few days I've been feeling... something watching him. Something that I couldn't see. Obviously that something is you. Now tell me what you've done to him, or else."

A bark of laughter escaped her lips and she actually looked amused. "Or else what, dear child? What could you possibly do to me? I don't even exist in your realm."

At this, his eyebrows shot up and he filed that information away for later use. "Then what realm do you exist in?"

She smirked mysteriously. "The underworld."

A disgusted look crossed his face and he sneered. "Right."

Takai rolled her eyes and grimaced. "Fine! Don't believe me. I'm not going to try to convince you either."

"Just tell me what's wrong with him, damn it."

She stared at him thoughtfully for a moment before a small smile crossed her lips. "You asked for it."

Then the strangest thing happened. Images flitted across his mind. Horrifying images of death.. Duo getting gutted by a female pilot, the same pilot he had killed on the mission. Heero killing Relena as she spoke in front of a large audience. Heero and Wufei being killed by soldiers, with Zechs Marques watching the whole thing. A large beam of light slamming into the Earth...

"That's what would have happened if he hadn't killed that pilot. That's how important he is to the cause. You and your fellow pilots like to take him for granted, especially Chang." She crouched down so that they were face to face and it was then that he realized his knees had given out. She smoothed a hand over the side of his face in an almost affectionate gesture and Heero shuddered. He squeezed his eyes shut and took a deep breath, trying to push the image of Duo's dead body out of his mind.

"But why --" He cleared his throat when his voice came out hoarse. "Why was he so upset after he killed her? He's killed scores of other soldiers before... why is this getting to him so much?"

"It's not so easy to take a life ---"

"I know that, damn it! You know what I mean!" He cut her off, standing up and crossing his arms over his chest again, trying to get himself together.

She stood up as well, face set in a pensive expression. "It's not so easy to take a life, especially when it's the woman who was the only mother figure you had ever known." When Heero stared at her blankly, Takai made a face. "The girl, the pilot, she had been a nun at the orphanage where Duo spent some time when he was a child."

His eyes widened slightly. "Oh shit..."

Takai smirked tightly. "Exactly."

"Can't you do something? He's not going to just get over this, you know."

Her smirk turned into a frown. "What can I do? I've already stepped way out of bounds by even showing you two your future and I've broken many rules by telling you to change it. I've done too much already and I'm not doing anything else."

His lips curled in a snarl and he resisted the urge to grab her by the shoulders and shake the shit out of her. "Don't you care that this is killing him inside? You said his survival is important! You think he's going to do anyone any good in the condition that he's in? He's a wreck! He can barely function because of the grief! Don't you care?"

"Of course I care!" She snarled back, eyes spitting out crimson sparks.

He took a deep breath and tried to get his anger under control. "Why are you doing this, anyway? What does it matter to you what happens to us?"

Takai scowled at him and turned her back. "It's not of your business, boy."

"Fine. It's none of my business. But Duo is my business. I care about him and I want to help him. If you cared about him, you would want to help him too."

"I've already done everything I can do!" She shouted angrily, spinning around and glaring at him.

"Well do something else!" He roared back, hands clenched into fists so tight that his nails were cutting into his skin.

They both glared at each other under she released a long sigh and the anger seemed to seep out of her. Her shoulders slumped and she  closed her eyes. "There is one thing I can do." He relaxed visibly and looked at her eagerly. "I can.. wipe his memory completely of the last few weeks, allowing him only to remember things that are essential to the war. He wouldn't remember me, the visions, Sister Helen or..." She hesitated and slanted a look at him.

The feeling in his chest was one that he had never felt, but he knew right away that it was his heart breaking. "He wouldn't remember that we are together now.."

She actually looked sympathetic. "Are you sure you want me to do it?"

For a second, selfishness gripped him and he almost said no. He had cared for the other pilot for so long.. he had wanted him and yearned for him and now that they were actually together... Heero shook his head and closed his eyes, reminding himself of Duo's pale, miserable face. "Yes," He whispered. "He's more important than my feelings."

Takai moved over to him and patted his back awkwardly, making it obvious that she wasn't used to comforting people either. "At least he'll be alive, ne?"

He nodded tightly and shrugged off her hand. He had the oddest pricklign sensation behind his eyelids... "I can't - I mean, there's no way I can.. try again with him?"

She hesitated before answering. "I'm not sure. You could try but there is no guarantee that it wouldn't jog his memory. There's no sure way for you to know."

"Ok.. Just do it, before I change my mind." His voice was thick with emotion.

She smiled and unexpectedly pulled him into another awkward embrace. "Good luck, Ryu-Chan..."

Then everything went dark again....

+

....and he was back in his room.

Heero stared vacantly at his laptop and swallowed the lump in his throat. With a shuddering sigh, he slowly turned around and stared at the boy who was curled up on his bed. Duo's face was relaxed and peaceful, the tear stains were gone and his lips set in a small smile as he slept. He was snoring softly, his long bangs partially hiding his eyes.

The Japanese youth slowly got up and stood over the lithe figure. "Duo.." He gently shook the boy, trying to awaken him.

Violet eyes popped open and Duo rolled over, yawning hugely. "Mmm.." He blinked sleepily for a few minutes before his brow wrinkled in confusion. "What am I doing in here?"

Heero's mouth went dry. She had really done it... He didn't remember. "You.. fell asleep when we were talking."

Duo raised an eyebrow at him and sat up, stretching and looking utterly adorable in the process. "We were talking? Whoa.. I don't remember that." He smirked mischievously at his partner. "Since when do you have conversations, dude?"

Heero looked as though he might cry.

The smile faded and concern blossomed on Duo's handsome face. He got out of bed and stood up beside Heero. "Are you okay, man?" His brow creased and he put an arm around Heero's broad shoulders. "Is everything all right?"

Without realizing what he was doing, Heero spun around and threw his arms around the other boy, burying his face in the crook of Duo's neck. The longhaired teen tensed for a moment, before he slowly returned the hug. His slender hand rubbed Heero's back and he murmured soothing words in his ear. "It's okay, Heero. You'll be all right."

After awhile, he led Heero to the bed, not really knowing what was wrong with the other pilot but comforting him anyway. It was obvious that he was in distress and even though they had problems, they were still friends. Duo gently pushed Heero onto the bed and crouched on the floor in front of him so that they were eye level. He didn't know what had caused this sudden change in Heero's demeanor, but it was a little scary. Normally, Heero didn't outwardly express his emotions at all. The fact that he looked down right vulnerable was enough to throw Duo completely off balance.

Heero's eyes were suspiciously bright, but Duo chose to ignore it, not wanting to embarrass his usually macho friend. He pulled the Wing pilot into a loose, friendly embrace and he hesitantly began to stroke the unruly spikes of hair. "We're friends Heero, you can tell me what's wrong."

Heero stared at Duo for a moment before closing his eyes. He allowed the smaller boy to hold him, trying to take comfort in the fact that Duo still cared for him even if it was only as friends. At least he was alive... and maybe some day, maybe they could try again...

-End

AN - *cough* Yes... well.. there will be a (short) sequel.. thing where they do get back together.. so stop looking at me like that.. Is it me or do my fics always end up having sequels? Or planned sequels. *rolls eyes at self*

[part 4] [back to Aya's fic]