Author: Merula
Disclaimer: Gundam Wing is not mine.

This was supposed to be a sequel to Sleepless. It's not. Heero wanted to tell his half of the story, so he did. It might help to re-read Sleepless as this one goes along the exact same timeline. In the great forest of life, all I have to offer is the sap- and some angst.

Sleepless
(Heero)

It started that first night that Duo got me out of the hospital. I don't want to say that I felt grateful, or that I was feeling guilty because I had already stolen the parts off of his gundam. It wasn't that. It was the fact that I honestly didn't think I was going to live long enough to see him again. And I didn't want to die without knowing what it was like- correction- what he was like.

He was amazing.

I couldn't believe it when he showed up at that school a few weeks later. I thought for sure he'd be furious with me for stealing the parts off of Scythe, but he wasn't. He smiled and started talking my ear off as usual. No recriminations, no anger, nothing like that.

He ended up as my roommate- something I will be ever grateful to that school for. I wasn't going to start anything again, and I was kind of surprised that he hadn't said anything about it- I mean, Duo talks about everything! But I looked over at him on the bed, chuckling over 'Just So Stories' and I couldn't help but want to kiss him. So I did. One thing led to another and it wasn't too long before I had him tumbled down into the blankets. After that I always shared his bed.

I was confused though. He was willing enough to share his bed with me, but again, he never said anything about it. I didn't know how to bring it up to him; I just kept hoping that he would say something. He was the one that knew how to talk. But he never said anything. He would welcome me eagerly enough, but I always slipped out of his bed after he fell asleep. I didn't want to presume more than he was willing to give me. I figured that it was because we were in the middle of a war and told myself that I should be grateful for his good sense in this matter.

Then we had to leave the school, and I figured once again this was it; I was never going to see him again. I was surprised by how much that thought hurt. I realized then how much I had come to care for the braided fool.

He was the last thing I thought of when I hit that self-destruct button. Why? Because I had disabled his, you see. I couldn't bear the thought of him doing what I did so easily. Duo shouldn't die.

He nearly did though, when OZ captured him. I had to go save him; there wasn't even a question in my mind. He looked awful when I found him in that cell, and once again I had no words to offer him. He was under the impression that I had come to kill him. I didn't know what to say to that, so I just got him the hell out of there.

Then I didn't see him for a long time. I was happy to see that he was still in one piece when I got to the Peacemillion. We shared a room. He was the only one I felt comfortable around, the only one I trusted near me enough to sleep. Luckily for me, he was willing to share his room and bed with me. I still wondered why he never said anything about what we did- though again, I blamed it on the war. It was silly to make promises when we all might die.

Not that it ever stopped me. In bed I would whisper to him in Japanese, knowing full well that he didn't understand a word I was saying. It was easy to tell him how beautiful he was, how sexy, how much I loved him when he didn't know what I was telling him. I wanted to say it in English, but I was afraid that I was reading too much into our relationship. Duo seemed contented with just being friends that shared a bed, and so I made myself be content with it too. I would've done anything for him by then.

After the war we moved in together. We went to school together, did homework together, worked at the Preventers together. Duo was affectionate with me, but no more so than he was with anyone else. I wanted to ask for more, but I thought he was happy with the way things were. I thought I was willing to settle for what he was willing to give me.

I was wrong.

One Friday as I was doing research for a case, a fellow Preventer came into our office. I ignored him- Duo was the one who did all of the talking in our partnership, let's face it- he was way better at it than I was. I listened as I worked though, knowing that if it was case-related, I needed to pay attention.

I nearly pulled my gun out when I realized that the guy was asking Duo for a date! Duo turned him down before I could react, but then he said something that cut me to the heart:

"You're seeing someone else?" The guy asked.

"Nah. Nothing like that." Duo replied easily.

I don't know what I had expected- Duo to claim that yes he was seeing someone? I knew what we did wasn't considered 'dating', but shouldn't it count for something? But no, Duo said he had 'nothing like that'. Was what we did nothing? Was Duo just waiting until something better showed up?

Was I nothing to him?

That night I found that I couldn't go to his bed. I wanted to, but something- pride? fear? anger? wouldn't let me. If he wanted me then he'd come to my bed.

I spent a long lonely night huddled under my blankets.

I didn't get any sleep that night. The next morning I grabbed the newspaper practically the minute it hit our door and sat down at the table. Duo would say something to me this morning, wouldn't he? He had to!

He didn't. He came into the kitchen and ate his toast. I handed him his part of the paper and as the silence stretched between us, I realized that he wasn't going to say anything. I really didn't matter to him at all.

I couldn't do it. I couldn't sit there with him across the table from me. I couldn't even look at him. I muttered something about having errands to run and got the hell out of there. I drove aimlessly for hours.

I needed to face the truth. Duo didn't care about me.

Days passed. I kept hoping that he'd say something, anything! That he'd show up in my room at night. He never said anything- Duo who could talk about trivial crap for hours! He never came to my bed. I slept a few hours every night, but most of the time I just lay there, staring at my ceiling in the dark and wishing that Duo would talk to me. I came so very close to just getting up and going to him several times, but I found that I couldn't pull myself out of bed. What if he was relieved I was gone? What if he just threw me out? What if he just took me back and said nothing about it?

So, I lay in my cold bed and missed Duo's warmth. Missed the touch of his hands. Missed the silk of his hair against my skin. Missed the sounds that he made when I caressed him. Missed the way that he clung to me when he fell asleep. I was nearly insane with longing for him.

On Wednesday, Une handed me a body guarding assignment for Relena. Of course the silly girl had asked for me- again. I was relieved to get away from Duo for a while. I went to tell him that I'd be back on Friday night. Relena required 24-hour coverage at these silly meetings. He just kind of nodded at me, and I was struck for a moment by how tired he looked.

Maybe- he was losing sleep too?

No. I was seeing things that I wanted to see. If Duo did miss me, he would've said something by now.

The body-guarding mission was as boring as hell, like it always was. I followed Relena around to all her stupid meetings. Thursday was dragging by when I got an urgent message to call Une. Relena was eating a late breakfast with some politicians, so I stepped out for a moment and called in. I nearly dropped the phone when Une told me the news in a shaky voice.

Duo was in the hospital. He'd been shot.

My heart stopped. Oh gods. I should've been with him. I was his partner, damn it! I don't really remember what happened after that, all I can recall is a steady stream of complaint from Relena. I apparently dragged her out of her meeting and to the hospital. I should've just called in another Preventer to watch her, but that would've taken too long. I also remember her scolding me about my driving, but I didn't listen to that either. I guess I was speeding. I don't really remember.

Relena and I were the last ones to get to the hospital. Fei, Quatre and Trowa were already in the waiting room. Fei was pacing, Trowa was leaning against the wall and Quatre was sitting, his chin resting on his hands.

"No news yet," Quatre told me as I walked into the room. I turned to Relena.

"I'll have Une send someone else over. I need to stay here."

"I'll stay here too," she told me with an impish smile. "I don't really want to go back to that meeting, and the one tonight will be even longer." She went and took the seat next to Quatre. I just leaned against the wall next to Trowa and stared at the ugly picture on the opposite wall. I was focused only on Duo. If he died... what was I going to do? It had been bad enough when I couldn't share his bed, but if I couldn't share his life? I had to close my eyes at that thought. He would be okay. He had to be okay.

It was hours before someone came in and told us that the doctors were finished with Duo and we could go see him. I think the poor nurse was going to tell us one at a time, but we never let her get that part out. Fei swept past her quickly and we all followed.

Sally was in Duo's room when we got there. "What did the doctors say?" Fei asked her.

"They got the bullets out okay- just a few stitches in his shoulder." She told him calmly. I breathed a sigh of relief. Duo looked so pale against the sheets of his bed. I wanted to go sit next to him, hold his hand, and wait for him to wake up.

"Then why isn't he awake yet?" Damn, Relena, can't forget her. Idiot girl, of course he's not going to be awake yet. They sedated him!

"When I talked to him this morning he said he hadn't slept for 6 days." Fei answered her.

Duo hadn't slept for six days? Why not?

"6 DAYS?!" Quatre looked at Wufei in shock before he turned to me. "Heero, what the hell was going on with him?" As if I knew! Duo hadn't said anything to me and I had been too busy ignoring him. I felt guilty.

"I don't know," I told Quatre as calmly as I could. "He didn't say anything to me."

"You didn't notice? Yuy, he looked like shit!" Chang snapped at me. I didn't want to tell him that I hadn't been looking.

"Heero wouldn't notice unless Duo passed out right in front of him," Relena laughed and I felt guiltier. "Sorry darling, but you are kind of oblivious." Darling? How dare she! I was not her darling. If she called me sweetie, I was going to kill her.

"Still, he's been out for 8 hours," Trowa said. "He should have woken up by now- even for a minute or two. Have the nurses logged anything?" I picked up Duo's chart.

"Nothing. He's been out since they got him in here." I told him. "If he's missed 6 days worth of sleep, eight hours is not sufficient." Damn Duo, I should've noticed. I should've said something. I should've been there with you. What kind of partner was I?

"What would keep him from sleeping for 6 days?" Quatre fussed. "Nightmares? What?"

Six days... it was amazing Duo hadn't collapsed before this. Then it hit me. I was an idiot!

Six days ago I had stopped sharing Duo's bed. He hadn't slept since. Oh gods. I looked at the still figure on the bed. This was my fault. I felt even more guilty, even as deep inside a small hope flicked to life. Duo hadn't been able to sleep without me. I had to mean something to him then, didn't I?

"Even with nightmares, you'd still be sleeping. Unless you were trying not to. It didn't sound like he was trying not to." Wufei was pacing, back and forth. "Damn it! I should've gone to Une when she paged him!"

If that was the only regret Wufei had, I was way ahead of him. I could think of so many 'should'ves' that it made me dizzy. Should've talked to him. Should've stayed with him. Should've said something. Should've noticed how bad he looked. Should've said no to Une. Should've...

"Hindsight is always best," Sally soothed him, and inadvertently, me. "I was ready to drug him when she called. The commander feels guilty enough- she says Duo promised that he'd go home and sleep- he didn't tell her how bad it was."

He was going to tell me though. We were going to have a little talk when he woke up.

"I'm sure he'll wake up soon," Relena piped up and I wished I had left her back at the meeting. "Visiting hours are almost up and we have reservations, Heero."

Damn it. She did have a very important political dinner she had to attend and a very important meeting afterwards. I told myself that Duo would sleep through the night and I couldn't talk to him until morning anyways. By that time, Une would have a replacement for me and I would be free to sit at Duo's bedside all I wanted.

He and I were long overdue for that talk.

"I know," I told her. "Take your coat and we'll go."

I took Relena back to the embassy and stood behind her during the very long dinner. How many courses did you really need to have? I was fretting and impatient. I had called Une and asked for her to find a replacement for me as soon as she could.

I ran scenario after scenario in my head, planning out different ways to approach Duo. We needed to talk. I needed to know how he felt about me. Was I just a friend with benefits? But if that was the case why wouldn't he have just told me that he couldn't sleep alone and asked me to join him again?

That didn't make sense either. I was always there when he fell asleep and I always snuck out an hour or two before he woke up. He never woke up when I left. I knew he could sleep without me. Hell, when I had been off on solo missions he had to sleep alone. So had I. I had never liked it, but I had been able to. He had never complained of being tired.

So it had to be something else that was keeping him from sleeping. I could only hope it was what I thought it was.

The long boring dinner ended and the meeting began. I tuned it out early on. I propped myself up against a wall and waited. One thing I had learned about politicians when body-guarding Relena is that they could talk for hours- and usually did. They didn't give a damn about the time when they had an issue on their own agenda to discuss. It was getting more early than late when my cell phone rang.

I went out into the hall to answer it. Had Duo woken up?

"Heero? Where the hell are you?"

"Sally. Relena's still in a meeting. Is Duo awake?"

"He's gone. He snuck out of the hospital." My heart stopped.

"What?! Did you check the apartment?"

"Fei's on his way there now."

"Tell Une to send someone to cover Relena- now." Sally put me on hold for a second.

"Done. She says to leave now- she's cleared a member of the embassy staff to watch Relena until Zechs can get there."

"Okay. I'll meet Fei at the apartment." I went back in the meeting and whispered to Relena that I had to go- there was a problem. I didn't wait to hear her response.

I drove as fast as I could back to the apartment. Fei had beaten me there by a few minutes. He was pacing the parking lot.

"Duo's bike's gone," he told me.

"APB?

"Sally's on it." I ran up the stairs.

"We'll have to see if he left anything."

No note. His duffels were there. His bike keys were gone. The top drawer of his dresser was open. I swallowed hard- I knew what Duo kept in that drawer. Sure enough- the box was empty. Shit. What the hell was he thinking?

Please don't let him be thinking about using it!

"He took his gun," I told Fei, who was on the phone with Sally again.

"Where would he go?" Chang asked me.

"I don't know. Call Hilde, Howard... everyone else is in the Preventers." I didn't think Duo would go to one of the others though- he would've taken clothes with him. He only took his gun. I could feel the fear creeping along my nerves and I locked it down. We needed to find Duo.

"Okay. Une wants us in at HQ. She's put out the APB on the bike and Sally is calling Hilde and Howard." Wufei pulled me out of the apartment.

It was a tense group at HQ.

"Why would he run off?" Quatre demanded for the fifth time in an hour. Could he not ask a different question?

"He was sleep-deprived- he's more than likely not thinking clearly," Sally told him again. She was patient. I was ready to slap Quatre through the wall. My patience was gone. Duo was in danger and we needed to be doing more than speculating on the 'whys'.

"There had to be a reason!" Quatre again.

"There was a reason," I snapped, beyond tired of the conversation. Couldn't they do something constructive? I at least was monitoring the police bands, listening to see if anyone had spotted the bike. Every eye in the room was on me.

"You know why he ran off?" Trowa was the first to find his voice.

"The why isn't important. He took his gun. He took no clothes, no personal items of any kind." I pointed out. Before I could say more, the radio crackled in my ear. I recognized the description of the location where they found the bike.

Why there?

I ran down the stairs, the others a step behind me. I jumped into my car, not paying attention as the others piled in as well.

"You have your med bag?" I asked Sally.

"Yes."

"Good."

I thought I had been driving like a bat out of hell on the way to the hospital. I don't know how many accidents I was almost in, how many laws I broke heading towards that beach. I was focused on one thing- getting to Duo as fast as possible.

The others tried to talk to me, but I just ignored them. They gave up eventually. I don't know how long it took before I saw the parking lot and the familiar grey and black bike.

I didn't bother to park the car properly. I just stopped it.

"Stay!" I snapped at the others and in no time at all I was out of the car and heading down to the beach.

Duo was sitting on the rocks, looking out at the water. There was a family a little ways away, the kids building sand castles.

He was alive.

I went to sit beside him and everything I meant to say to him wouldn't come out. I was so happy to see him, and yet, kind of angry too. He had scared the crap out of me. All I could manage was his name:

"Duo." He blinked and looked over at me. He didn't look surprised.

"Heero- what are you doing here?" He asked.

"Looking for you," I replied calmly.

"Well, you found me, so go away." Go away? No. I was never leaving him again; I didn't care what he said.

"You weren't supposed to leave the hospital." I told him, trying to get him to talk to me.

"So?" Okay, not helpful.

"You worried the others." And me, I almost said.

"So?" Still not helpful. I sighed. Another tactic then.

"What are you doing?"

"Waiting for that family to leave," he told me. I looked over, the family was packing their things.

"Well, it looks like they're going."

"Good. You leave too."

"Why?" I asked, even though I had no intention of going.

"Because I'm asking you to, Heero. Go away." I didn't move. I was not going to leave him. "Damn it Heero! I have never asked you for anything! The least you can do is go away when I ask!" For some reason, that comment stirred up the angry-with-Duo part of me. He had never asked me for anything- that was the problem!

"And have you done something for me in return? Do I owe you?" I asked him cuttingly. His answer left me winded.

"I've let you use me, Heero. You've used me without a thought, taking what you wanted and I never said anything about it! I just let you do it." Use him? Was that how he saw it? I felt cold. Was that all it was to him?

"You didn't want it?" I asked in disbelief. "You didn't enjoy it?" He looked at me for a moment.

"You're right. I did want it. Guess that makes me just another L2 whore." That did it. Now I was angry. How dare he degrade what we had like this?

"And now you want your payment?" I snapped at him. He turned away from me, facing the ocean.

"Sure, if you want to think of it like that. Go away Heero. Leave me alone." I could hear the tears in his voice and I cursed myself. I was no good at this. How could I show him how much he meant to me?

"No." I told him.

"Fine." He got to my feet and scrambled down off the rocks, heading for that small strip of beach. I followed him. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the gun.

"What are you doing?" Stupid question. I knew what he was doing!

He pulled the hammer back on the gun and placed it against his temple. Well, if this was what he wanted, then he wasn't going alone. I pulled out my own gun and stepped in front of him, mimicking his position.

"What are you doing?" He asked me, eyes wide.

"If you go, I go." I told him.

"Heero, please. You don't have any reason to do this." There was only one answer to that:

"And you do?"

"Yes, damn it!" He snapped at me.

"Then so do I."

"YUY! WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON DOWN THERE?!?" That was Fei's voice yelling at us from the cliff tops. I saw Duo flinch a little.

"You brought the others?"

"Like they'd stay behind."

"Duo!! Heero!!" Quatre was yelling now.

"Oh, good lord." He lowered the gun and I followed suit.

Idiot.

He kicked at me, and I knew what he was up to. I grabbed the gun out of his hand and tossed it away, but that just encouraged him to try for mine.

He may be fast, but I'm stronger. I got control of that gun and tossed it away too. I half expected him to try and go after it, but instead he went for my throat, trying to knock me out.

It didn't work. He wasn't in top shape and I was able to pin him down. I held his wrists above his head, knowing that I was putting pressure on his injured shoulder, but not wanting to fight with him anymore. This wasn't accomplishing anything.

"Let me go, damn you!" He yelled at me.

"No, I will not." I told him. I heard running footsteps on the sand, the others had come down.

"Heero?" Trowa said cautiously.

"Trowa. Find the guns. Keep them away from Duo." I ordered.

"You bastard!" Duo was trying to push me off and not succeeding in the slightest. I was not going to let him go and I hoped he'd realize it soon.

"Duo? Are you okay?" Quatre asked him.

"I'm fine! Get off me Heero! Or I will kill you, I swear to God."

"You are sleep-deprived and irrational," I told him, "as well as injured. I'm not getting off of you until Sally sedates you." Sally was already opening her bag.

"No!" He protested.

"Yes," I countered. I pulled one of Duo's arms out and lay flat against him so that he couldn't move. I was taking no chances. Shinigami has always been crafty.

"There Duo," Sally said softly as she pushed the needle in. "Just sleep."

"That's what I was trying to do!" He yelled at her. "Why didn't you all just leave me alone? I'm always alone. I always wake up alone." He ended in a whisper before he passed out cold.

I got to my feet and picked him up in my arms.

"I'm taking him home." I told Sally flatly. "He needs someone to watch him."

"I agree," she nodded. "But we can't leave him alone for a minute, Heero. It might be better if we took turns. We can set up a schedule to make it easier."

"No," I told her. "At least, not for awhile. He and I- need to talk. I need to be there when he wakes up again."

They took us home. I just cuddled Duo to me the entire ride home, ignoring the curious gazes of my friends. To my relief, they didn't say anything to me. I was able to doze off a bit in the car with Duo's warmth pressed against me. I had missed it so badly.

Quatre and Trowa helped me get Duo into the apartment and into his bed. Trowa dragged our big chair in from the front room for me.

"Are you sure you'll be all right Heero?" Quatre asked me. "You look like you could use some sleep too."

"I'm fine. I have a full pot of coffee and a book. Don't worry."

"Okay," to my surprise, Quatre gave me a quick hug. "Call if you need us. Good luck."

Then it was just Duo and I. I sat in the armchair and just watched him sleep for a while. I noted the bedraggled state of his braid, so I undid it and brushed it out for him, leaving it loose when I finished.

I wanted to curl up in bed next to him, but I was not getting into Duo's bed until I was sure he wanted me there. His words from the beach haunted me. He thought I was using him all this time? Gods that hurt. Here I thought he had been using me all this time. How did we ever get this far without saying anything?

It hurt to even think about for very long, so I picked up my book and tried to lose myself in it's pages. A few hours later, Duo sat up- and promptly lay back down again.

"You're awake," I said, placing my book down on the armrest. He turned to look at me.

"Damn you, Yuy," He growled and tried to roll over on his side. He had forgotten his shoulder. I saw him wince.

"You've been asleep for 14 hours. You should be over most of the sleep-deprivation." I informed him. "How is your shoulder?"

"It hurts," He muttered like a sulky child.

"Hn." I leaned forward to help him up and offered him a pain pill. I knew it would knock him out again, and I also knew that when Duo looked like this, it was not a good time to try and talk to him.

"Thanks," he said, and I picked up my book, intent on giving him some space. "You don't have to stay here," he added.

"Yes, I do." I replied, not moving. "You were very upset about being left alone. I told Sally I'd make sure to stay with you." I put the book down and met his eyes. "Not to mention the whole running off to shoot yourself thing. That made everyone nervous." He actually blushed a bit. Good.

"Aren't you supposed to be body guarding Relena somewhere? Why are you here?" Were his next questions. Well, talkative Duo was back. That was a good sign.

"Wufei took over for me." I told him. I didn't need to mention the threats Une had resorted to in order to get him to do so.

"Why not just let Wufei stay here so you could go?" He closed his eyes. "Relena is not going to be happy about the change." Like I cared.

"So what?"

"Well Heero-darling, I think she'd prefer to have her lover with her than some angry Chinese man who carries a huge sword." What? What the hell was he thinking now? I leaned over the bed and met his eyes again.

"She's not my lover."

"It's okay Heero." He reached up to touch my cheek. "I've always known how you felt about her."

"How I felt about her?" I repeated. Had he thought I was in love with Relena all this time? "Is that why you never talked about- us?"

"Us?" He blinked, the pill was kicking in. "What us? You love Relena. You fuck me. Just using what's available." I swore silently. Damn it! I had been such an idiot! Was that how he felt about me? Was I just available?

"Is that how you feel about it?" I asked him.

"That's how you feel about it," He yawned.

"No, it isn't." I snapped out before I could help it. "How do you feel about it Duo?"

"I love you. I'll take whatever you give me."

Thank the gods. I have never felt so relieved in my life.

I slipped into the bed next to Duo, pulling his head down on my shoulder.

"I feel the same, Duo," I confessed. "I always have." He blinked, obviously struggling against sleep. He was beautiful. I smiled at him. "Sleep. I promise I'll be here when you wake up." He drifted off, his arms wrapped tight around me. I fell asleep too, my arms wrapped tight around him as well.

I woke up, hours later, to the feeling of fingers caressing my cheek. I opened my eyes and found Duo looking back at me.

"You stayed..." he said softly.

"I always wanted to," I replied, just as softly.

"Then why didn't you?"

"Because I was an idiot." I told him, brushing his bangs out of his face. "I thought that because you didn't talk about what we did that you were happy with the way things were."

"I wasn't," he leaned closer to me.

"I wasn't either," I kissed his cheek gently.

"Why did you stop? What did I do?"

"You told that guy that asked you out that you had 'nothing' that was stopping you from dating, just no time. I felt like you meant that I was 'nothing'." Duo's eyes were wide. "So I thought maybe if I stopped, you'd come to me, or we'd at least talk about it..."

"You didn't say anything!"

"Neither did you!" I retorted. Before it could escalate into an argument, I pulled him closer. "Duo - you're the talker- not me! I couldn't think of how to even start this conversation and I- was afraid."

"Afraid I was tired of you? Afraid that I didn't care?"

"Yes." He groaned.

"Me too. We were both idiots." We cuddled together for a moment, silent. "You aren't nothing to me, Heero."

"And I wasn't just using you, Duo. I love you. I thought that was all I was going to get from you." He kissed me then, deep and slow.

"I love you too."

"Even if I'm an idiot?"

"No more than I was." Duo put his head down on my shoulder and yawned.

"You can't still be tired?" I asked him, amused.

"Hey, I missed a week of sleep thanks to you. The least you could do is be a good pillow."

"Before I let you do that, I need to feed you. And I should probably call the others before they come storming over here to check on you." He groaned but rolled himself out of bed. I made sure he could stand on his own before I went to the kitchen. Duo caught me at the door.

"I expect to get my pillow back afterwards," he told me. "I'm tired of sleeping alone."

"So am I, Duo. I won't leave you alone again."

end

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