by Bronze Tigress

Finally Home

~ I've been in this hell forever,
I don't even know how long ~


[Duo writhes in the grasp of a nightmare, muttering "no, no, NO!" as he thrashes against the bed. Suddenly he sits bolt upright. Bleary eyes, which he scrubs at ineffectively, fall on the clock, which reads 04:38. He grumbles quietly as he gets up and trudges downstairs, where he sets up the coffeemaker. The clock flickers rapidly through the next two hours. The coffee pot is half empty when Hilde shuffles in groggily and asks, "Another one?"]

~ And there were times I thought I never
would hold you in my arms again ~


[Another night, another nightmare. This time the shot dissolves through Duo's face to show his dream, which is of the destruction of Deathscythe by Oz Cadet Trowa Barton as seen on the giant billboard TV. As the Gundam flashes into glittering particles, Duo begins to turn away to scream his denial. Voices from the crowd shout, "Look, there, another one!" Duo turns back to the screen to see another mobile suit approaching from the distance, appearing hazily through the dissipating fragments from the explosion. The handful of OZ mobile suits turn to meet the new arrival, another among them levelling its beam cannon, and they wait for the incoming suit to become visible. It becomes recognizable as Shenlong, just before the OZ suit destroys it. Duo jolts forwards, screaming into wakefulness. Hilde runs in and flips on the lights, to find Duo sitting on his bed, head buried in his knees and arms wrapped around his shins, and mumbling incoherently, "I killed him, I killed him, I killed them all."]

~ But now that everything is over,
and I'm finally out of here ~


[Over the kitchen table and what appear to be the remains of lunch, in bright daylight, Duo and Hilde are talking earnestly. It appears that Duo has made his point, because Hilde looks sad but resigned. She gets up and goes to the telephone on the wall. The camera follows Duo as he makes his way up the stairs and we hear Hilde's voice in the background saying, "Hello? Yes, I need to know if there are any seats left on the shuttle for Earth tonight? Yes, I'll hold."]

~ I'll be goin' home tonight,
and everything will be alright
'Cause when I open up the door you'll be waiting. ~


[Duo and Hilde sit in a waiting room at L2's shuttleport, and it looks as if she is reminding him to eat his vegetables, brush his teeth, and remember to phone home once a week once he gets there. He endures the mothering with a tightly-held grin and a great deal of nervous restlessness. The loudspeaker crackles to life, announcing boarding for the shuttle to Earth, and Duo nearly bounces out of his seat, as if some unspecified tension has been released. Hilde stands and walks with him as far as the ropes separating the lounge from the gates, gives him a quick kiss on the cheek, and bravely waves goodbye as he disappears onto the boarding ramp.]

~ And you will keep me warm at night,
and you will make me live again.
Yes, I'm goin' home tonight and you'll be waiting. ~


[Duo slides into a seat on a crowded shuttle. He pulls something out of the pocket of his duffel bag before stowing the bag itself in the overhead compartment. As he sits down in the seat, the "something" is revealed to be a small red book, which he lays in his lap while quickly buckling himself in. He looks out the window and waves until the shuttle starts to taxi out towards the space doors, but opens the book as soon as they clear the dock, and smiles as he begins to read.]

~ I know I always will remember
every word we said that night ~


[Through a hazy flashback filter, we see Duo, facedown and apparently naked on a bed. Wufei, still fully dressed, is sitting on the edge, just in front of Duo's hips. Duo raises himself up on his elbows and twists to look back over his shoulder, speaking earnestly to Wufei. Wufei lifts his head, tipping it enquiringly, and then nods, once, as Duo begins to answer. The shot circles and tightens to show Wufei's expression calming from confusion into something like yearning, hope, and the realization of possibility.]

~ And when the morning came I had to go,
but baby, I didn't wanna say goodbye. ~


[The filter fades to haze and then clears to show the interior of a small shuttle. Wufei hands Duo a small red book, and Duo barely manages to convert a hug into a handshake, his face wreathed in smiles. He opens the volume, already starting to read as he slips into his seat and buckles himself in singlehanded. Wufei stows a black duffel in the overhead compartment, checks the catch, and walks quietly off the shuttle. As soon as Wufei is gone, Duo turns to gaze sadly out the window at the small figure in Preventers uniform standing watch on the tarmac as the shuttle taxis towards the launch ramp and then takes off. The shot fades to haze and then black.]

~ As I leave this place behind me
there's a smile on my face. ~


[Shot opens on a quiet, nearly deserted shuttleport, plainly on Earth because of the stars in the sky. Parts of it are only half-lit, and darkness shows through the large picture windows where the scenery isn't illuminated by runway lights. Duo is waiting on the curbside for a taxi, arm raised to hail it, a single black duffel bag between his feet.]

~ Yes I'm goin' home tonight,
and everything will be alright,
'Cause when I open up the door you'll be waiting. ~


[Duo arrives at the Preventers Headquarters barracks at a still, dark hour of the morning. He slips smoothly down the dimly-lit hallway, and then kneels before one of the doors to do something near the handle. When he stands up again a short while later and opens the door, a small soft light spills out, and he jerks in surprise. Wufei's voice greets him softly, "Welcome back, Duo." Duo smiles lightly and steps through the door.]

~ And you will keep me warm at night,
and you will make me live again.
Yes, I'm goin' home tonight and you'll be waiting. ~


[Shot pans through the doorway, into the apartment. Wufei sits at the small table in his living room, wearing only his pajama pants and with his hair loose around his face. He is staring blankly at a half-full teacup. A pile of loose papers rests on the near corner of the tabletop. Duo, still in the jacket he wore on the shuttle but now without shoes and duffel bag, pads into the room quietly, stopping behind Wufei. He bends to speak softly in the other man's ear, laying a hand gently on one bare shoulder. Wufei looks up at him, a slightly wry almost-smile on his face.]

~ Yes I'm goin' home tonight,
and everything will be alright,
'Cause when I open up the door you'll be waiting. ~


[The camera tracks Wufei as he heads for the bedroom and slips in between the covers, then seems to be watching something in the doorway he just passed through. The lighting flicks to cinematographic darkness as Duo, now in only a pair of shorts, fumbles his way carefully to the bed, gets in, and then is pulled into Wufei's embrace.]

~ And you will keep me warm at night,
and you will make me live again.
Yes, I'm goin' home tonight and you'll be waiting. ~


[Early morning light shines on the two, still spooned together beneath the blankets. Duo sleeps on, but Wufei's eyes open. He props himself up on one elbow to look down at Duo, and smiles softly. The scene fades as Wufei watches Duo sleeping.]

~ Oh, oh, I've finally come home, to you,
I'm home at last.
Yes, I'm goin' home tonight... ~

end

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