NOTE: see part 1 for notes, warnings
AUTHOR: shira

Papillion + Part 12

The plan was simple enough. Shuttle to the moon and land inconspicuously, to see just what was what. Executing that plan was a different story altogether, though. If things went their way though, the plan should go off without a hitch.

They lifted off in a small, two-man, unregistered shuttle for the Lunar base just as the sun was setting on Earth's Northern hemisphere, armed only with some surveillance equipment and their own personal weapons. The point of the mission this time was only to infiltrate the base and see what the situation was, and then plant a wire somewhere in the building that would be monitored. Where they planted the wire would depend on what was actually going on at the base, but it was networked with one of the nearby satellites, which would beam its signal back to Preventers headquarters on the Earth.

The flight to the moon would take an estimated eighteen hours in the craft they were flying, leaving the two agents ample time to rest beforehand. Heero never did remember to call Relena before he left. Duo didn't remind him too, either.

By the time the small shuttle was out of the Earth's orbit and propelling nicely through zero-gravity, Duo, who had lifted them off, activated the auto-pilot function in the ship and leaned back to relax with Heero, who was resting in the co-pilot seat. Heero's gaze was glued on the windshield as he stared at space passing them by.

"Sure brings back memories, eh Heero?" Duo said in a quiet voice, reminiscing of the times when the two of them were patrolling together in the days before the Eve War.

Heero didn't answer, but only kept watching out the windshield. For a few hours, both agents closed their eyes and slept lightly, only waking on occasion to observe the instrumentation panel before drifting back off into a shallow slumber. It was difficult to do more than that in the uncomfortable space suits anyway, but they grabbed whatever shut-eye they could, since they had no idea when their next chance to rest was going to be after they landed on the moon. When they had been dozing on and off for about four hours, Heero finally sat awake in his seat, his head leaned back against the headrest, turned in the direction of his partner. For another hour until Duo woke by himself, Heero simply watched him sleep, his thoughts full of contemplation.

It was the incident in the hallway at headquarters, before they took off for space, that initially got Heero thinking. He hadn't had an opportunity before now to sit and ponder it, but it was a weird event for sure. It almost seemed as though Duo had been trying to push Relena away from him. Like he was jealous of her, for some reason, but Heero didn't understand why. After all...he had already made his peace with the long-haired man, explaining himself. They'd 'made up', for all intent and purposes, and were resuming the friendship that they had begun cultivating before Heero had disappeared after the Eve War.

Then the look on Duo's face when they were in the coffee shop flashed across his mind. The expression that he'd had while telling Heero about how sad and hurt he'd felt, that Heero had taken off without a word. Wufei, on the other hand, who was also a very close friend, said that he himself had been annoyed about it, but Wufei seemed to be able to forget about it all with the snap of a finger and an apology. For some reason though, the circumstance of his absence had festered within Duo for the entire year that he'd been gone. Why? Why had Duo looked like he was about to break into tears when he expressed the fact that Heero was his one, good friend, and he thought he would never see him again? Was that just Duo's normal, over-dramatic reaction, as Wufei had suggested or was there something else bothering him about Heero's absence?

It wasn't until Duo's stirrings snapped him back into attention that Heero was able to get a glimpse of what the answer might be. As the other agent yawned, then stretched in his pilot's seat, his arms reaching up above his head and his back flexing, Heero found himself watching intently. When Duo's tired, violet eyes did finally open and look straight at him though, something remarkable happened. Heero felt a tiny little twinge in the pit of his stomach, and his cheeks got a little warm. His eyes met Duo's, and for a few moments, all they did was look at each other.

Duo smiled a sleepy little smile. "Hey."

Heero once more didn't say anything as he watched his partner coming awake. His piercing blue eyes remained fixed on Duo until he had to turn away, feeling self-conscious about his staring.

Duo, noting the bit of tension, started to make small talk, since they were both awake now, and still had at least a dozen hours to go before reaching their destination.

"So, Heero," he began, readjusting himself in the pilot's seat and making a visual check of the instrument panel. He never continued. He didn't know what to say.

"Yeah?" Heero asked, still waiting for whatever his partner was going to say.

Duo shrugged. "I dunno...was just rambling. What do you want to talk about?"

Thinking for a minute, Heero came up with something. "What did I miss while I was gone?" They hadn't actually talked about that yet.

"Oh, not much," Duo said casually. "Well, you already know that Sally and Wu are an item, right?"

Heero chuckled. "Yeah, I found out about that. Who'd have guessed, huh?"

Duo smiled. "Yeah, tell me about it! But he's really been a lot happier since they got together. He told me once, when we were talking, that Sally has helped him fill a big void in his life that he realized he had been fighting for years. Now, I don't know what the hell that means, and he wasn't letting on, either, but whatever, right?"

"I know what it means," Heero said.

"Yeah?" Duo waited for Heero to tell him, but instead he remained quiet. "Well, are you gonna tell me or what?"

"I don't know...it was told to me in confidence."

"In conf...hey! And I'm not good enough to know his secret but you are?" Duo said, teasing his partner.

"If he wanted you to know, he would have told you himself."

"Hmmpf," Duo said, feigning to be annoyed. He was curious though, and he didn't try to hide that. "Come on, Heero...what did he tell you?"

Heero sighed. "If I tell you, you have to promise that you wont say anything."

"I promise."

"I mean it. I don't like making a habit of telling other people's secrets..." /but something is happening here between us, and I have the need to share something with you./ Heero hoped he wasn't about to do something very wrong by betraying Wufei's trust in him, but he had confidence that Duo could keep quiet.

"I mean it too. Now...you gonna tell me or what?" Duo turned sideways in his seat, leaning over his folded knees in anticipation like a school kid about to hear the latest gossip.

"What he meant was that Sally has filled the place of someone he was close to, who died."

"Well, duh! Of course that's what he meant, but who?"

"His wife."

Duo perked with a surprised look. "His wife?"

Heero nodded.

"Wufei was married? No shit."

"It was a customary arranged marriage. Before he piloted his Gundam. She was a freedom fighter as well. Got killed because of what she believed in."

"Wow. I never had a clue." Duo said, relaxing again.

"I don't think any of the rest of you did. He doesn't like to talk about her." Heero said.

"How come he told you?"

There was a pause before Heero spoke again. He fidgeted with the zipper on the front of his suit, lowering it a few inches to let some warmth escape from inside the material, cooling him. "We both told each other some things...just before the end of the Eve War. When he was confused about what cause he wanted to fight for. We had some very intense conversation."

"Sounds like it," Duo said, then was silent.

Heero, feeling a little bit traitorous now for telling Wufei's secret, used the chance to change the subject. "I thought you moved back to L2 with Hilde Schbieker? I didn't expect to find you living on Earth."

Duo seemed genuinely surprised at the question as his face took on a flushed look. "Yeah, well...some things aren't mean to be, I guess. I mean, I love the girl, don't get me wrong. I'd do anything for her. I just don't love her that way, if you know what I mean."

"Like me with Relena?"

"Yeah, I guess you could compare it to you and Relena." Duo turned to the instrument panel again, only he kept his gaze there this time, not wanting to look at his co-pilot for fear of giving himself away. "She's a great girl and all that but...something...I just never got that feeling inside with her."

Heero's eyes remained on his partner's form, watching as the conversation seemed to cause the other man to become uncomfortable. However, In spite of this, he felt the need to pry onward. "That feeling...have you ever felt it before, Duo?"

"Have I ever felt it before?" Duo smirked and dropped his eyes, chuckling to keep his face even remotely straight. "Yeah. I've felt it before. Once. That's how I knew Hilde wasn't the one." When he looked up to face Heero, Duo's cheeks were an embarrassed hue of pink and his shimmering eyes reached far into Heero's very core.

+

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