by Koyasu no Miko
Standard disclaimers apply: Gundam Wing & characters do not belong to me, the song ("Where Is Everybody?" by Nine Inch Nails) also does not belong to me. I'm using them without permission for entertainment/non-profit purposes only.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: This song just took hold of me by the throat and wouldn't let go until this songfic was written. It's not overly original, but it just refused to shut up until it got done. Oh, and please take the time to read and respond to the shameless plea for feedback located at the end of the fic.
Also, in case anyone's confused, the part at the end takes place over a long period of time (several years).
This fic has been BETA APPROVED! Thank you and now, back to our regularly scheduled songfic.

//thoughts//
*emphasis*
[song lyrics]
past in italics

Where Is Everybody?

~present~

"Duo. Where do you think you're going?" Heero followed Duo as he fairly ran down the stairs, bookbag in hand, filled with the only things he'd cared to keep during their hit-and-run lifestyle as Gundam pilots. Heero knew it was serious this time. Duo only took his bookbag when he wasn't planning on coming back.

Duo stopped in the doorway, looking at the floor, unable to look back at the boy he was leaving, the boy he didn't want to leave, the boy it was killing him to leave, the boy it was killing him to stay with.

"I can't stay like this anymore Heero." He said it almost in a whisper as he slipped from the doorway into the empty street beyond, knowing the boy behind him would hear it anyway.

"You said this would last forever," the boy whispered to the closed door.

[did you happen to catch
or did it happen so fast
what you thought would always last
has passed you by]

~past~

Duo felt like he was falling... falling down a spinning tunnel, just like Alice in Wonderland.

"I love you, Hee-chan."

//He hasn't said it. But it's okay. You know he feels it. He just can't say it. But it's there. It's there.//

Duo scrubbed dry hands over dry eyes.

"It HAS to be there."

Limbs shifted slowly in a bed, warm from lovemaking. A hand curved over Duo's side, idly stroking a nipple as a leg slid between his own. "Did you say something?"

Eyelids closed over resigned violet eyes. "No, koi. Nothing." Duo turned over to face Heero and buried his face under Heero's chin, breathing in the sharp scent that was Heero, mixed with sweat and sex. Breathing finally evened out and consciousness gave way to unconsciousness.

But two worried cobalt eyes remained open in the darkness and arms tightened imperceptibly around the sleeping one.

[is everything speeding up
or am i slowing down
i'm just spinning around
and i don't know why]

Quatre pulled him aside one sunny afternoon. "Hey, Q. What's up? How're things with Trowa, huh?" he said with a mild elbow in the ribs and a conspiratorial wink.

Quatre pinkened, but the look on his face remained serious. "We're fine, Duo. It's great to have someone who returns your feelings." He observed the quick look of despair on Duo's face and knew then that his suspicions were correct.

"He hasn't told you he loves you, has he?"

But Duo's mask was already back in place. "Well, no, Q, he hasn't. But you know he doesn't talk about things like that. And of course I know he loves me." //Loves to fuck me.// "And he trusts me." //I'm a Gundam pilot, least likely to betray that trust.//

Quatre placed a hand on Duo's shoulder. "I know Heero isn't one to say much of his emotions, but Duo--" Quatre let his hand fall to the side as Duo casually slipped his shoulder from Quatre's touch. But he wasn't going to let this go unsaid. Duo was hurting, he could feel it. And he needed someone to tell him. "Duo. You can't live like this. I know Heero doesn't show his feelings, but you can't go on with this kind of doubt. It's going to tear you apart. You say you know he loves you."

Duo had turned away from Quatre, but at this he turned back. "That's right and I--"

But Quatre wouldn't let him get a word in. "Well, you are either going to have to end this... this relationship, or start BELIEVING it yourself. Because you're changing, Duo. The mask you wear is up almost permanently now. You're holding everything in and that's very dangerous. One day you're going to wake up and look in the mirror and see Heero. And as much as you love him, I don't think you want to BE him."

Relief and laughter settled over Duo's face. "Is THAT what this is about, Q?" Duo laughed. "Well, you don't have to worry. I know Heero loves me. I love him and I TRUST him. I know what I'm doing. So don't worry Žbout it, kay?" Without waiting for an answer, Duo ruffled Quatre's hair and bounded away, cheerful as usual.

Strong hands held Quatre as they watched the retreating figure. "Did you see, Trowa? He's going to break."

"Yes, love. But we can't stop him, we can only be there to help pick up the pieces."

[all the pieces don't fit
but i really didn't give a shit
i never wanted to be like you]

//Quatre is wrong. He's WRONG. He can't be right.//

[but for all i aspire
i am really a liar
and i'm running out of things i can do]

Sweaty limbs intertwined on the bed. A cool breeze passed over the exposed bodies. Duo lapped at Heero's stomach and chest, licking away every drop of Heero's release. "I love the way you taste, Hee-chan." Duo kissed his way up Heero's chest, where chuckles reverberated. "I know you do, Duo." Duo then leaned down to kiss him, knowing how much he loved to taste himself on Duo's lips, loving the wonder and pleasure on Heero's face as he did.

"Love you so much, Heero."

Arms tightened around him, before slowly falling slack. Heero soon fell asleep. After the exertions of the night, it wasn't surprising, even for the Perfect Soldier. But Duo lay awake. Watching.

[i'd like to stay
but every day
everything pushes me further away]

Duo rose from the warm bed where Heero still lay sleeping. He hadn't yet fallen asleep. Too much on his mind. It was all spinning out of control. He wished Quatre hadn't said anything. Hadn't brought his worries out into the open. Hadn't said them. Hadn't thought them.

He stopped in mid-motion, the kitchen door cracked open just a little. Struck with pain at the scene he saw.

Quatre sat in Trowa's lap, a plate of eggs at the table in front of them. But neither even made a pretense at eating breakfast. They were unashamedly cuddling. Quatre nuzzled Trowa just below his left ear and whispered something too low for Duo to hear. But Duo could figure it out by Trowa's reaction. It was the first -- the only -- smile he'd ever seen grace Trowa's lips. A small quirk, but enough to be recognizable.

"Of course, I love you too, little one."

Duo slowly closed the door again, his throat swelling even as his eyes remained dry. Even Trowa -- whom Heero couldn't even beat in the silence department -- had admitted his love to Quatre.

//Damn him for showing me how it could be.//

[if you could show
help me to know
how it's supposed to be]

Duo quietly made his way back upstairs. He knew that Heero slept deepest just after they made love. //Had sex.// His mind corrected.

He gathered the few things he always took with him when they'd moved from safehouse to safehouse and stuffed them in his bookbag. Without looking back at Heero, he opened the door.

"Where are you going Duo?" Heero's voice was calm. Too calm. He could see that Duo was leaving, couldn't he? He could see that he had his bookbag. He knew he wouldn't be coming back.

Still without looking back, Duo said, "I can't... I can't do this anymore."

And he walked out the door.

[where did it go?]

~present~

"You said this would last forever," Heero said. He didn't understand why Duo was leaving. He knew that Duo had been feeling lower than usual these past few weeks, but he'd thought it was because of the anniversary of the death of Father Maxwell and Sister Helen and the destruction of the church orphanage.

He'd had no idea that Duo would leave. Why would Duo leave?

//Duo can't leave. I need him.//

[pleading and
needing and
bleeding and
breeding and
feeding
exceeding
where is everybody?]

//I have to go.//

His breath created clouds in the cold air and his face felt cold. He lifted his hands up to warm his cheeks and found trails of frozen tears.

Outside, Duo was slumped against the door jamb. It was still dark out. The sun hadn't yet risen. Nobody was out. Except for Duo.

Why was it so empty? Where is everybody?

[trying and
lying
defying
denying
crying and
dying
where is everybody?]

//I can't leave him. I don't know how I'm going to survive him and hang on to myself, but I will. I have to. I haven't become him yet. And deep inside, there has to be a Heero that hasn't gone numb. I know there is. I can't give up. I love him and...//

//...there's no way I could possibly live without him.//

[well okay, enough,
you've had your fun
but come on there has got to be someone
that hasn't yet become
so numb
and succumb
and]

The door opened and Duo fell back across the doorway. Laying there, poised between the cold of the world outside and the world inside.

"Duo." Heero breathed Duo's name like a sigh of relief.

"Hey, Hee-chan." Duo tried to smile, but it was a pale shadow of the real thing. "I didn't get very far."

"I'm glad." Heero picked up the bookbag from just outside and put it inside next to the umbrella stand by the door. "I didn't want you to go. I was coming after you. There's no need for you to leave."

Heero stopped to pick Duo up, set him on his feet, and clench him tightly to his chest. Duo stilled in his arms, but didn't hug him back.

"I know what this is about." Duo tried to take a quick step back to look into Heero's eyes, but he was forestalled by Heero's arms which were not letting him go just yet. "I know this is the anniversary of the destruction of the Maxwell church and orphanage. But what made you think you had to leave?" Heero was honestly confused.

"Anniversary...?" Duo's jaw dropped open in honest surprise. He had completely forgotten. Old hurts ease with time and Heero would always be the thing at the top of his mind. But it was easier to let Heero think what he did. "Aa. I... didn't know what to do, Heero. I've been so..." Duo paused to bury his face in Heero's neck to hold back a sob. "I just... didn't know what to do."

[god damn i am so tired of pretending
of wishing i was ending
when all i'm really doing is trying to hide
and keep it inside
and fill it with lies]

Duo let his body relax into Heero's as he guided them upstairs.

//But I know what to do now. I have to stay with Heero. I couldn't live without him. But I won't turn into him. I'll stay me. I'll just keep telling him I love him. Every day. I won't forget. I won't turn numb.//

Eyelids closed over resigned violet eyes.

[open my eyes?
maybe i wish i could try]

And he whispered, so softly that even Heero couldn't hear, "Love you, Hee-chan."

[pleading and
needing and
bleeding and
breeding and
feeding
exceeding
where is everybody?]

"Love you, Hee-chan."

"Aa."

[trying and]

"Love you, Hee-chan."

Heero smiled and tugged Duo's braid in response.

[lying]

"Love you, Hee-chan."

Heero's smile widened and he nodded.

[defying]

"Love you, Hee-chan."

"I'm so glad you're with me, Duo."

[denying]

"Love you, Hee-chan."

"I care about you so much, Duo."

[crying and]

"Love you, Hee-chan."

"Me too, Duo."

[dying]

"Love you, Hee-chan," the grinning mouth said automatically.

This time, the empty violet eyes didn't even notice when the answer was, "I love you too, Duo."

[where is everybody?]

~owari~

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PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE send feedback! I need C&C to keep me going, otherwise I will throw myself on the altar of discarded and unfinished fics! Please send any comments (criticisms, praise & flames all accepted) DIRECTLY to koyasunomiko@yahoo.com. Arigatou minna!!!

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