Image + Part 7
Duo sipped his club soda, his
mind racing a mile a minute. He couldn't believe his luck. The gorgeous
detective sitting beside him, the one that made his heart flutter like
a giddy schoolgirl, had just admitted he liked guys as well.
'Ohmygodohmygodohmygod! I can't believe this is happening. He's so cute
and I think he likes me and I know I like him. This can't be happening.
I must be dreaming...'
"Earth to Duo." Heero's voice broke through his rambling train
of thought. Duo blushed prettily.
"Sorry. So... this is a pretty neat place."
Heero shrugged. "I suppose. It's more Trowa's kind of place than
mine. Still, the atmosphere isn't too oppressive and the food is pretty
good. You hungry?"
"Starving," Duo replied, though he wasn't entirely sure if he
meant for food. "What would you, um, recommend?"
"Just about anything." Heero gestured for a waitress. A tall
redhead sauntered over and took their order, Duo deciding on the chicken
fingers. Heero placed his order and told the woman they'd be at one of
the nearby tables rather than at the bar. The waitress left, and Heero
"Let's move to a table, shall we?"
Heero led them to a small round table in a darkened corner. He pulled
out one of the chairs and gestured for Duo to sit.
"Thank you," the braided teen said, smiling shyly. He waited
for Heero to sit before continuing. "And thank you for asking me
out - I mean, here, tonight. It's a really nice place. But I realize that
you didn't ask me here for, ah, personal reasons. What did you want to
"I wanted to ask you about your visions."
Duo squirmed in his seat. "I... I've never been... comfortable talking
"I understand." Heero reached across the table and took a hold
of one of Duo's hands. "We have a murderer running free on the streets.
So far, you're the only one to have seen anything at all, even if it was
only in your mind. The others think I'm crazy for believing you, but I
do. After all, you did find Relena's body. Perhaps there's something else
you saw in your visions that can help us catch this guy."
Duo swallowed hard as he stared at their joined hands, barely hearing
what Heero was saying. "Uh, well, I don't know if I can help,"
he said, looking up to make eye contact with the detective, "but
"That's all I can ask," Heero replied, withdrawing his hand.
Duo sighed with the loss. "How do they work, your visions? Is it
like watching a movie in your mind?"
"No, not quite. I'm not sure if I can explain it. It's not like watching
a movie, it's more like - afterimages in my mind. Disjointed pictures.
Sometimes there's sound, sometimes a smell, sometimes just a feeling.
It's never really been strong and usually I don't even know I'm having
them. People ask me afterwards how I knew something and I usually just
give them a blank look. I can't really explain how I know these things...
I just do."
Their food arrived before Heero could reply. Duo sniffed appreciatively
and took a bite. Heero had been right - the food here was excellent.
"How long have you had these visions?" Heero asked between bites.
Duo took a long sip of his freshly refilled club soda before answering.
"All my life, or nearly so. I was five when I had my first one. Or
at least, the first one I was aware of having."
Duo put his fork down and shifted uncomfortably in his seat. "I was
at my babysitter's," he began hesitantly, not quite believing that
he was actually going to tell Heero this story. "My parents had gone
out to a party or to dinner. I don't remember exactly what. It was getting
late. I was tired, but I wanted to stay up and wait for them to pick me
up. The babysitter had taught me a new joke and I wanted to tell it to
Daddy." He looked down, his plate blurring as his eyes grew misty.
"What happened?" Heero asked again gently.
"I had fallen asleep on the couch. Th...there was a knock at the
door. I awoke instantly, and in that moment, before the babysitter opened
the door, I knew. I knew my parents were dead. They'd been hit by a drunk
driver on their way to pick me up. I knew all that before she opened the
door to let the police officers and my hysterical aunt inside."
"Why? You didn't kill them. It wasn't your fault that they died.
It wasn't your fault that my aunt decided she didn't want to keep me and
sent me to an orphanage to live. It wasn't your fault that I'd spend the
rest of my life wondering if I had just managed to stay awake, maybe I'd
have had the vision sooner and could've had the babysitter call the restaurant
and tell them not to leave. It wasn't your fault, so don't feel sorry
for me." He wiped the moisture from his eyes forcefully. He looked
up to see Heero staring at him with a concerned look on his face. "I
apologize. It's just... I've never told that story to anyone, not even
"Then I feel honored that you would trust me with it," the dark-haired
Duo gave him a small half-smile. "I don't know why, but I feel that
I can trust you, Heero." He sniffed, then shrugged his shoulders
and looked away. "Anyway, that was the first one I remember having.
It was also the strongest one I'd ever had... until the other day."
Heero speared a French fry with his fork and nibbled on it. "Do you
have any idea why you had such a strong vision about Rel - Miss Peacecraft?"
Duo shook his head. "No. Not at all. I wish I did. Then maybe I could
help you more."
"Well, what sets your visions off? Do you have to touch something?"
Heero asked. "If it's touch, we have some of Relena's effects..."
"No," Duo interrupted. "I doubt that would work. It seems
to be completely random. Sometimes I'll touch something, sometimes it's
a word or phrase, sometimes it's a smell... and I can't control it either.
I've tried to induce the visions before, but I've never been able to.
Duo could tell Heero was becoming frustrated. The man desperately wanted
to catch this killer, and Duo desperately wanted to help him. He just
wished he knew how to do that.
"Do you think you could tell me exactly what you saw when you had
your vision about Relena?"
Duo frowned. "That's the second time you've called that girl by her
first name. Did you know her?"
This time it was Heero's turn to look away.
"I didn't know her very well, but yes, I knew her. I met her at one
of those police charity functions. Her grandfather always made a large
contribution, so she would come with him. For some strange, inexplicable
reason, she took a liking to me. Even after I told her that I wasn't interested
in her, or any woman for that matter, she persisted. I think she thought
if she pursued me long enough, I'd give in and turn straight. When she
disappeared, I thought someone new had captured her attention and she'd
run off with him. She'd done that before - disappear for days on end with
men she'd met. And quite frankly, I was glad she was gone. Her infatuation
with me was becoming annoying." He swirled the straw around in his
drink, watching the ice clink together. "But I never wished her dead."
"And now you're feeling guilty about it," Duo replied, feeling
a sudden kinship with the cobalt-eyed man sitting across from him. "You're
asking yourself if there's anything you could have done differently, if
you hadn't been so annoyed with her - maybe you could have found her and
she'd still be alive."
Haunted eyes looked up at him. "We each carry a burden of guilt,
you and I. You with your parents, me with Relena. And you can understand
why I want to help catch this guy... why I've asked you here tonight."
Duo nodded. "And I want to help. Just tell me what you want me to
do and I'll do it."
"Thank you, Duo," Heero replied sincerely. He pushed his now
empty plate away and leaned back in his chair. "What I'd like for
you to do is try and tell me exactly what you saw in your vision. Don't
leave anything out. The smallest detail may be important."
"I...I'll try," Duo said, closing his eyes. He tried to block
out the cacophony of sounds around him, concentrating on Relena's face
and his desire to help Heero. He took three deep, cleansing breaths...
and opened his mind.
<< FLASH >>
<< FLASH >>
His forehead creased as he attempted to latch on to the memory of the
<< FLASH >>
<< FLASH >>
A loud burst of laughter from the other side of the room broke his concentration.
He opened his eyes and looked apologetically at Heero.
"I'm sorry. I can't concentrate here. I need some place quieter."
"Some place quieter, hm?" The detective stared at him for a
moment before pushing back his chair and standing up. "Let's go."
Duo scrambled up as well. "Go? Go where?"
"You said you needed some place quieter," he answered, pulling
some money out of his pocket and throwing it down on the table. "My
place is around the corner. It should be quiet enough for you there."
Duo's eyes opened wide, but he followed Heero out of the bar without a
word. He felt giddy, like a thousand butterflies were fluttering around
in his stomach. He couldn't believe Heero had just asked him to his place.
Granted, it was so Duo could have some peace and quiet to remember his
visions, but still... he'd get to see where Heero lived. And that thought
made him warm all over. The autumn night was cooler than usual. Duo wrapped
his arms around his body for warmth, wishing he'd thought to bring a jacket
with him. It wasn't the temperature that was biting, it was the wind.
The chilly breeze whipped down the street, playing with Duo's hair and
causing the young man to shiver.
"Cold?" the man beside him asked.
Duo shrugged. "A little. I'll be all right."
Heero looked at him for a moment before shrugging out of his jacket. He
wrapped the coat around Duo's shoulders, pulling it snug.
"Heero, you don't have to..."
"Don't worry about it. You're shivering. I don't really feel the
cold. Besides, my place is just down the street."
"Well, if you're sure," Duo murmured, snuggling back into Heero's
jacket. The garment smelled like the dark-haired detective. Duo smiled
softly to himself, rubbing his cheek along the material.
True to his word, Heero's building wasn't very far away. The detective
held the door for him, then ushered him into the lift. He reached up to
pull the door down, locking it into place, then pushed the number for
the top floor.
The two stood in silence as they went up. Duo watched Heero out of the
corner of his eye and blushed. He shifted restlessly on his feet, suddenly
feeling very self-conscious and nervous. He had no idea what to say.
The lift came to a halt with a sudden jolt. Duo reached out and grabbed
Heero's arm reflexively in order to steady himself. He raised his head
to see Heero looking down at him with mirth in his cobalt blue eyes. Duo
snatched his hand away.
"S...sorry," he mumbled, face burning.
"It's okay. I should have warned you. This lift can take some getting
Heero slid the door to the lift upwards and motioned for Duo to step out
into a little vestibule-type area. There was only one door opposite the
lift. Duo turned to Heero, one eyebrow raised.
"Are you the only one on the top floor?" he asked.
Heero nodded. "It's not as big as it might look from the outside.
It's a loft apartment. It's really just one big open space."
"Heh, sounds homey."
Heero unlocked his door and walked into his apartment. Duo followed, shimmying
out of Heero's jacket and handing it to the older man. Heero was right,
the room was very open. To his left was the kitchen. Straight ahead was
the living area. The apartment was sparsely furnished, leaving plenty
room to move around in. In the far-left section was an area cornered off
by Japanese screens. Presumably that was the bedroom. Duo blushed again
as his mind wondered what kind of bed Heero had. Near the screens was
a door that Duo assumed led to the bathroom.
Heero walked over to the refrigerator and opened it. "Are you thirsty?"
Duo bounced over to peer over the man's shoulder. "What have you
"Hm, water, grape soda..."
Duo snaked by him and grabbed a bottle of beer off the top shelf. Before
Heero could stop him, he twisted off the cap and took a long swig.
Heero watched him for a moment with a disapproving glare before he shrugged
and grabbed one for himself.
Duo stared at him incredulously. "You're not going to give me a lecture
on under aged drinking?"
Heero shook his head and took a drink of his own. "I figure if you're
going to recall a murder, you may need one. Besides, I'll walk you home
later to make sure nothing happens."
Duo felt giddy. "I guess we should get started then. I just hope
there's something you can use to help you catch this 'Teardrop Killer.'"
He made a face. "What a lame name. Who came up with that one?"
Heero shrugged. "The media, who else?"
Duo snorted. "Figures the press would come up with something that
stupid. So, uh, where do you want to do this?"
Heero gestured to his right. They moved to the living area where the detective
told Duo to make himself comfortable on the couch. Duo plopped down, setting
his beer on one of the end tables before stretching out on the sofa.
"Okay Duo, tell me what you saw," Heero said from his position
on the other chair.
Duo closed his eyes and tried to call up the memory of his vision. He
blanked his mind and pictured Relena's face again. He allowed himself
to drift a moment before the first image came.
<< FLASH >>
<< FLASH >>
Duo sat up, gasping. His body was trembling violently. He wasn't aware
of the tears streaming down his face until he tasted them on his lips.
The memory had been so intense he hadn't been prepared for it. He rocked
back and forth, trying to push it from his mind.
Heero had moved from the chair to sit next to him on the couch. He gently
pulled Duo into his arms and rubbed his back. Duo clutched at Heero's
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," the young man babbled, hiding his face
from Heero's. He hadn't expected to break down like this. He hadn't expected
the memories to be so vivid. He was ashamed and he was getting Heero's
shirt all gooey.
"It's okay, Duo. I'm here." He eased Duo back down onto the
couch. He tenderly brushed the boy's chestnut bangs out of his face. "Don't
try so hard. Take a deep breath. Clear your mind. Try to think of one
image at a time, but don't force it. And remember, you're safe here. I
won't let anything hurt you."
Duo looked up and felt his breath catch in his throat. Heero's face was
inches from his own. He could smell the sticky sweet scent of the beer
on Heero's breath. If he raised his head only a couple of inches, their
lips would touch. The violet-eyed boy suppressed a groan and licked his
lips nervously. He could see Heero's eyes widen as he watched his tongue
dart out to moisten his lips. Smirking a little, Duo closed his eyes and
let Heero's voice put him in an almost trance-like state. He didn't want
to relive Relena's murder, but to help Heero catch a killer, he'd do it.
[part 6] [part 8]
[back to Caroline's fic]