The snow whispered against
the window. There was a chill in the air, but not enough to be uncomfortable.
A small space heater cast a rosy red glow in the otherwise dark room.
It was winter, and they didn't have a fireplace in their small, two room
safehouse, but Duo didn't care. He had a cozy blanket and a warm body
to chase away the winter chill.
Duo shifted on the couch, snuggling closer to his lover, turning his head
to place a light kiss on Heero's chest. He heard Heero sigh softly, the
hand wrapped around Duo's shoulders stoking light circles over the American's
upper arm. Duo smiled and slid his own arm around Heero's waist, trying
to get as close as physically possible. One calloused hand slipped under
Heero's shirt, sliding across smooth skin, curling just above the waistband
of well-worn jeans.
When nothing but a small sigh escaped his lover's lips, Duo looked up,
a small frown on his face as he noticed Heero's far-off, almost blank
expression, indicating his lover was either bored out of his mind or lost
in thought. And since Duo was curled up against his side and Heero's arms
were wrapped around him, he was pretty sure Heero was not bored.
He shifted again, stretching up to ghost his lips across Heero's jaw.
"Where are you, love?" he whispered huskily into Heero's ear.
Heero blinked, then looked down at him with a confused look on his face.
"What do you mean? I'm right here."
Duo laughed a little before pulling himself up into a more upright position
to look into Heero's eyes without straining his neck. "No, I'm right here.
With you. And you're a million miles away." He reached up to brush an
unruly strand of hair away from Heero's eyes as his lover scowled at him.
"Penny for your thoughts?"
Heero looked at him for a moment longer before turning is gaze away. "I'm
not sure they're worth that much," he said, murmuring almost too softly
for Duo to hear him.
Duo frowned, sitting up fully and wrapping his arms around one of Heero's.
"Nothing," Heero answered automatically, still avoiding Duo's eyes.
"Bullshit." Heero glanced at his lover, startled. "I know you better than
you know yourself sometimes, Yuy. I can tell when you've got something
on your mind." Duo's gaze softened. "Please don't shut me out. Tell me
what's going on in that head of yours."
"I... it's nothing really." Heero looked away again. "Just thinking about...
Duo sighed, sitting back. He really did know his lover better than anyone.
Heero wasn't lying to him, but he could tell when the Wing pilot wasn't
telling the whole truth. However, it was a start. He could work with that.
He bent his head to lay a tender kiss on his love's shoulder. "Worried
Heero shook his head. "No. Yes." He shifted uncomfortably. "Duo, I...
this mission... it will be... difficult."
Duo swallowed and nodded. The amount of time Heero had spent on his computer
and in his Gundam the past few days told him as much. "Odds?" he asked,
proud of himself for keeping his voice steady.
"Less than 50 percent."
Duo let his gaze drop, one hand absently playing with a stray thread coming
loose from the blanket. "Oh," he said simply, suddenly feeling the cold.
"Duo..." Heero hesitated, as if unsure how to comfort or explain.
"You don't have to say it, Heero. I know." He leaned his head against
Heero's shoulder. "You have a plan then?"
Heero gave a little snort. "Don't I always?"
Duo had to smile at that. "I assume it's important." Heero started to
say something but Duo shook his head. "No, don't say it. I know it's important."
He sighed a little.
"Duo, you know there's a good chance I might not..."
Duo reached up and placed his hand over Heero's mouth, eyes open wide,
and shook his head. "No, Heero. We're not going to talk about that."
"No!" He reached out and took Heero's hand. "Heero, we're soldiers. We
fight. We fight knowing the risks. Every day we go out there knowing that
we might not come back, that someone we care for might not come back.
We know what we got ourselves into..." He let out a long breath. "Heero,
I know your mission is going to be dangerous. Maybe too dangerous. But
I know you have to go. I can't... I won't hold you back. But... just give
me this moment."
"Just a moment?"
Duo nodded. "We can't live for the future. We may not live to see it.
But we can live for these moments." He lay his head on Heero's shoulder
again. "Take these quiet moments where you can, Heero. Enjoy each as though
it were your last. And if you're lucky enough to have another, be thankful
for the opportunity." He snuggled down against Heero's shoulder. "Just
don't waste them."
Heero was silent for a moment, then he moved, wrapping his arm around
Duo's shoulder. Duo felt him turn his head, burying his face into Duo's
hair, kissing the top of his head lightly.
"I was thinking about the future."
Ah, the truth at last. "And what were you thinking?"
It was a while before Heero answered. "When I was first sent to earth,
in Wing, I honestly didn't think I'd live very long, much less to see
the next year. I was... so far removed from myself that I didn't care
if I lived or died, as long as I completed my mission. But then you came
along." He gave Duo a little squeeze. "You came along and... I found parts
of myself I didn't know were missing. You helped me find them."
"I know we can't live for the future, Duo. No matter how much I might
want to." He turned his face to rest his cheek on top of Duo's head. "But
I'll give you these moments, since they are all I have to offer."
Duo felt a warmth in his chest as he smiled against Heero's shoulder.
"May I ask what brought this on?"
Heero adjusted the blanket. "I was thinking of the future, and of the
past. I was thinking, remembering, how I didn't expect to live to see
the new year."
"And I surprised myself. It's New Year's Eve, Duo." He brought a hand
up to lift Duo's face to his. "It's New Year's Eve. I'm alive. But more
than that, I want to be. And it's because of you."
Duo felt his breath catch as he looked into Heero's eyes. He hadn't been
aware of the date. Time didn't mean much to him except in terms of mission
parameters. But as he watched himself, reflected in Heero's bright, clear
eyes, time seemed to slow, his moment stretching on as if the future was
indeed attainable after all.
"I made it another year..." he murmured, the heat in Heero's eyes burning
away the last of the chill.
"We both did." Heero bent his head forward, brushing a light kiss over
Duo's lips. "Happy New Year, Duo."
[back to Caroline's fic]