Author: J. Strahan
Rating: PG
Pairings: 1+2, 2+1
Warnings: shonen ai, yaoi-ish, angst, OOC? mild sap?
Disclaimer: Characters and Song not mine. Ficcie is.

>>Flashback>>
//Lyrics//
'Thoughts'

Drops of Jupiter

The war was over... it had been for a while. Life for both the Earth and the colonies had become peaceful; there weren't even any revolutionaries trying bring down the government, just people who were so sick of fighting that no one need fear another war starting up anytime soon.

Heero, however, was one person who was not enjoying the peace- time. Since the war had ended he had been staying in an apartment just a few blocks from Wufei, who had joined the Preventers. Though he often would visit Wufei, or vice versa, there was a void. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that he no longer was being directed through his life by Dr. J and his missions, but he knew it was more than that. He had been fine immediately after the war, during that day of worldwide celebration, but then again, all the pilots had been together, and there wasn't a lot of time for reminiscing.

He tried to find things to keep himself busy, and spent a lot of time in the rather large gym of the rather small apartment complex. There weren't many people staying there, so the gym was nearly always empty. Though it was nice that he didn't have to put up with others using the equipment when he needed it, there was hardly anyone there to occupy his attention, and so his thoughts would drift, and soon he was back in his rut.

He lived comfortably, with more that enough money than he really knew what to do with, but he didn't just go spending without reason. He bought what he needed and let all else be, simply because he had everything he ever wanted. Everything except for the one thing that money couldn't buy.

There were times where he would attend social gatherings (at Wufei's insistance, of course--he would never volunteer for such a thing) and even though he was among those whom he might consider friends and comrades, he was still troubled.

But now, each time he would ponder why he was feeling so useless, it became clearer that it wasn't the lack of having missions, or even staying busy, but the lack of a certain someone.

<<Flashback>>

"Welcome back to Earth, Gundam pilots," Relena welcomed the five boys formally to the estate once owned by Romefeller, now belonging to the Peacecraft girl. She had been courteous enough to give them a temporary home now that the war was won, knowing that they would need a place to live for the time being, until they could adjust to the newfound calm and find their own places to live. What had been surprising about the whole ordeal, however, was that Relena hadn't directed any extra attention towards Heero; it seemed that she had finally given up on him and moved onto more important things Quatre actually had no need of a place to stay, but the he understood that the five of them should stick together for a little while before going their separate ways, firmly establishing the fragile bonds that had formed while they had been fighting.

The first night after the war was over, Duo and Quatre felt the need to celebrate in a more public fashion than simply lounging around their rooms, and so led the other three out to the World Capital Estate where the "real" party was being held. Quatre had insisted that they make an appearance, since they were expected to come anyway.

Heero was willing to attend without complaint; he had nothing else to do, not to mention that Duo had begged him to be his escort for the night, telling him that he couldn't show his face at a public function without having a "date."

The moment they arrived at the great hall, they were ushered inside and up to the pulpit where some unknown person of rank was speaking. The pilots were introduced, and asked to say a few words. Heero had no intention of speaking to the crowd and let the others have their say, firmly deciding that he'd had enough attention anyway. Even while being undercover, he'd recieved more than enough attention during the war to last a lifetime.

Predictably, Quatre didn't hesitate to step up to the podium. "I'm so glad that we have finally acheived the goal for which we have strived after for so long. Even though each of us played a crucial role in this, there is one person to whom we all owe our lives. May I present the pilot of the Wing Gundam: Mr. Heero Yuy!" He backed away from the podium to allow Heero room to step up as he applauded furiously in that aristocratic style of his.

Heero's expression didn't change, but he seethed inside. Quatre knew he didn't want to talk to these people. He may be a good pilot, but public speaking was certainly not his forte. He didn't move, instead sending a slightly murderous glance at Quatre, who beamed at him mischieveously. He knew.

Sadist bastard.

The Japanese youth made no move towards the stand, not until he was pushed from behind by a certain braided baka, anyway. He steadied himself on the woodwork of the podium, clearly unhappy about this little turn of events. They were all against him! He sighed inwardly, and tried to think of some way to address the thousands of rich, powerful men standing before him, awaiting his words. After a several awkward moments of silence, he felt an arm drape itself over his shoulders, and looked over to see none other than Duo Maxwell, Lord of Long, Meaningless Babble, grinning at him.

"I'm sure all you boys and girls have already noticed that my friend here isn't much for words," the black-clad boy began, turning his attention to the microphone and the people who stood before him. "Though I'm sure all of you wanted to hear from him, I don't think he's too keen on talking, so I've decided to do it for him!" Duo turned back to Heero, still wearing that inane grin, but asking permission with his eyes.

There was an unspoken connection between the two of them. Duo knew that Heero didn't want to be there, and was trying to save him from embarassment. Heero understood that Duo was trying to do him a favor, and so nodded imperceptably that Duo continue.

Duo's attitude changed from pleading to playful, and so addressed their audience once again, altering his voice to a deeper, more nasal tone. "My name is Heero Yuy. I don't wanna talk to you myself, so I'm telling you this telepathically through my devilishly handsome best friend, Duo Maxwell. Isn't he charming? I sure think so! Why, I was partnered up with him a few times during the war, and I can tell you right now that he has a charming, wonderful personality...."

Heero stared at him, startled that Duo was so willing to make a fool of himslef to save him from embarassment. After a few minutes Duo ended his speech with some witty closing that Heero didn't quite catch, and then stepped back to join his snickering comrades, towing Heero along behind him. When the speaker reclaimed the microphone, the five boys made their way off the stage.

While Quatre, Trowa and Wufei were detained by the several dozen aristocrats who were determined to be introduced to the boys, Duo somehow managed to lead Heero away from the crowds and straight out the back doors, where they were greeted by an empty conservatory under the stars.

The still calmness of the area was deafening, instantly drowning out the noise from inside the building behind them with silence. Soft moonlight bathed the grounds, offering dim view of the florishing winter gardens.

Neither spoke as the boy with the meter-long braid hastily led his companion into the enormous hedge maze. For several minutes they wandered around the maze, heading in the general direction of the center, before stumbling into the central clearing. Duo glanced around to ensure that they were alone, then released his hold on Heero's hand and sat at the edge of the reflecting pool, gazing into its waters.

Heero stood motionless where Duo had left him. As uncomfortable as he'd been mere minutes before, he'd never felt so at peace as he did at that moment. The air was chill, but there was no wind. Deep blue eyes studied the boy crouching by the pool, the waters reflecting his image as clearly as a mirror.

It was a few minutes later that the silence was broken by Duo. "It's really over, then, huh?" He kept his eyes trained on the reflection of the stars shining in the pool.

"Yeah." He walked slowly to Duo's side, then kneeled at the water's edge and looked at the boy sitting beside him. "Thank you."

"It was no problem, really. You know I like to talk, and I just couldn't resist stealing all that attention you were getting."

"Don't lie, Duo. It doesn't suit you."

"Why, I don't lie, Heero! I simply stretch the truth a bit!" he retorted playfully

"Duo."

The American grew serious again. "...I didn't want you to look bad. I mean, they've tried enough to make us look bad while the war was still being fought, you don't need them to pick apart your speech habits, too."

"You don't think they'll pick apart yours?"

"Of course they will, but hey, It's no big deal. I'm sure they'll want to interview each of us a thousand times over, so I just consider this the first of many. Who knows? Maybe if I just keep talking they'll get sick of listening to me, and leave us alone."

"Hn." He shifted his weight and sat at the edge of the water.

"So... what are we going to do now? Do you have something you planned on doing once the war was over?"

Heero studied the glass-like surface of the pond. "I thought I would die during the war. I made no plans."

Duo sighed. "That's just like you, never planning for the future, just jumping into everything headfirst. Not that there's anything wrong with that, because everything seems to work out for you."

The braided boy stripped off his jacket, then pulled off his shoes and socks before tentatively dipping a foot in the water.

"What about you?" Heero asked, watching the other boy test the water.

Duo slid into the water, still wearing his shirt and pants. "Hm?"

"Any plans?"

"Actually, I did make some. Ever since I was small, I've always wanted to see the Earth, and now that I'm here, I think I'll become a tourist." He laid back, floating on the surface of the pool, watching the stars. "I think I'll go explore, see what Earth has to offer, you know? I've always heard about how wonderful this place is, so I'm going to find out for myself; Maybe even find my calling in life, aside from being a gundam pilot."

"I don't think that was made to be a swimming pool, Duo."

Duo smirked at him, then rolled onto his stomach and lazily propelled himself back to where Heero was sitting. "You know what? You're right! Oh, no! You won't tell on me, will you?" he inquired mockingly, gripping the sides of the pool on either side of Heero.

"I haven't decided yet," Heero returned.

"Oh really...?" Suddenly, Duo reached forward and grabbed the waistband of the other boy's slacks, then pulled away from the water's edge, bringing Heero down with him into the water, still completely clothed. Duo knew that Heero could have resisted easily, and was pleased to note that his partner didn't mind getting a little wet.

"Is there any particular reason you pulled me in?"

"Hmm.... not really. Just wanted to spend a little quality time with my bud!"

"And this required that I be in the pool?"

The chestnut-haired youth waded over to where Heero stood, up to his elbows in water, looking at him straight in the eye. "Yes." He reached forward once again, wrapping both arms around Heero's neck, and pulling himself flush against the other's body. "It's a requirement."

"I see." Heero's eyes held a feral gleam. He leaned forward, glaring hard at the other boy, then slowly claimed his lips. The feeling was intoxicating, and they lost themselves in the other, both filled with a fiery passion that had been kept hidden for an eternity. It wasn't the lure of physical pleasure that had drawn them together; Instead, it was the reunion of two kindred spirits, as though after searching for so long, the other had finally been found.

<<End Flashback>>

There had been no commitments or promises, simply a common desire that had never been fulfilled.... A drunkard had found his way to the center of the maze, and the mood was broken. The moment lost.

That had been four months ago, and Heero hadn't seen Duo since that night. Doubt plagued Heero almost every day. Why had Duo left? Had he pushed him too far too fast, and scared him away? Or had the night just been so overwhelming that they had lost themselves momentarily?

The last may have been true for Duo, but Heero had known exactly what he had been doing, even if Duo hadn't. If he had known what his actions would have caused, he never would have crossed the line separating their friendship from something more intimate. Unfortunately, it was too late to change things now. Duo was gone, and he had neither seen nor heard from him since.

From that moment onward, Heero focused on trying to live a somewhat normal life, but his heart still ached from his loss. He struggled routinely to keep his mind off of Duo, telling himself that he just needed get over it and try to live a normal life, to no avail. He was crumbling on the inside, and reverting back into the Soldier even more so than before.

+

Duo sighed, the third time in five minutes. The cool mist of Niagara Falls drifted around him, settling onto his clothes and hair. He had gone off to see the world, had embarked on a journey to bask in the wonders that Earth had to offer, just as he had always told himself he would. He had always imagined going to each of the famed wonders of the world, receiving some great epiphany, or finding the meaning to life, or something, but each place he went seemed less and less awe-inspiring. He often found himself wanting to go home, then remembering that he didn't have one.

He had been to dozens of places, and some he really had enjoyed. He had first gone to Europe, and collected the music of some the the great musicians of Old Earth, had visited the decaying Sistine Chapel, the remains of the Temple of Jupiter, the Fallen Tower of Piza, and several other famous monuments, but each seemed less impressive that the last. He wondered what it was that seemed to detract from what should have been his dream come true, but inside, he knew exactly what was ruining it for him.

He had run away. He had deserted his best friend on what should have been the best day of his life. Even now it still frightened him; he had tried to seduce his best friend, and it had worked.

He could still feel Heero's lips pressed firmly against his, the warmth that had radiated from him, even through their wet clothes. Two boys, alone in a garden, soaking wet, fervently kissing in the early morning hours. It was digusting, and sinful, and wrong, and worst of all, he had enjoyed it. And even after all this time, he still wanted more.

He had had the same conversation in his head a thousand times before. He still wanted Heero, but that kind of relationship was wrong. Then again, who decides what's wrong and what's right, anyway? God? What God? Shinigami was God, and Shinigami had never said it. At least he couldn't recall ever saying it.

He sighed again. If only things could go back to the way they used to be....

"Excuse me? Sir?" He was jerked back into the present by the waitress on the boat.

"Oh, uh, yeah?" He replied, dazedly.

"Did you want a drink? The soy latte's are to die for!" She asked in that overexcited, happy, hyper teenager voice that had come to really annoy him over the past few hours. He may have done the same thing at one point, but he did it on purpose, to get a reaction out of people. Teens that naturally did it were the most annoying people he could imagine. It was times like this that he was glad that he remembered to wear sunglasses and hide his braid; he may just kill himself if he had to put up with another squealing fangirl trying to 'get to know' him, or have him sign another autograph.

"Sure, I'll have that." He answered dimly, then looked away.

"Right away, sir!" she replied, saluting jovially before she turned and dashed off. God, some days he wished he was still in the middle of the war. At least then he had an excuse for killing those annoying little snits.

'I was sure she was worked for OZ! All threats to the mission need to be eliminated!' He grinned to himself, before his own words caught up to him, reminding him once again of Heero. Heero.

He didn't even look up when the waitress returned with his drink. He took one sip, then gagged and spat it out all over the deck of the ship. It seemed like everything tasted bitter these days.

+

Heero read the letter he had recieved in his mailbox, read it again, folded it up, set it down, picked it up, unfolded it, and read it again. It was impossible. He was getting his hopes up, and he knew he shouldn't, but he just couldn't help it. If he was right in his assumption, then....

"What is it, Heero?" Wufei was watching him from the kitchen counter, sipping his coffee. Heero stared at the letter he held clutched in his hand, then strided over to the counter and held it out to the Chinese boy.

Wufei accepted, unfolding it while studying the envelope with no return address. He then read the letter which simply said:

~ Heero ~
I need to talk to you. Meet me at the pier at 3:00 tomorrow morning.


Wufei was silent for a moment before handing the letter back to Heero. After a moment, he spoke. "Will you go?"

Heero nodded. "I have to."

"And you want to go alone, right?"

He didn't answer. Instead, he re-folded the letter, tucked it into it's envelope, and glanced at the clock, which read 7:34AM. It was going to be a long day.

+

[cont]