Title: My Heart Will Never Vary :: (Mon Cueur Ne Changera)
Author: Sheron
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Romance/Humor
Summary: 1x2. Shounen Ai. Months have gone by after the events after Endless Waltz and Heero is trying to figure out if he is ready for a healthy relationship. It's not whether or not he is in love with Duo. It's whether or not Duo is in love with him.
Warning: This is a yaoi story. That means homosexual relationships. Please use your own discretion while reading.
Disclaimer: I don't own Gundam Wing. I just wish I did. Contains mild spoilers. Very mild.

My Heart Will Never Vary + Part 1

"Tant que je vive, mon cueur ne changera
Pour nulle vivante, tant soit elle bonne ou saige
Forte et puissante, riche de hault lignage
Mon chois est fait, aultre ne se fera."
(Long as I live, my heart will never vary
For no one else, however fair or good
Brave, resolute or rich, of gentle blood
My choice is made, and I will have no other.)


+

Heero, on assignment from the Preventers, had investigated a factory, checking out equipment, workforce, and, after the evening shift was over, the premises and internal network. This factory's intranet was a secretive one, completely disconnected from the outside world, and thus un- hackable from the outside. The factory itself was largely mechanized, and robots performed most of the work, with only technical maintenance people overseeing the machines, and a small cleaning staff in place to keep the building sanitary.

Given an assignment like this, Heero had snuck into the factory over a fence, vaulted into an open lower-floor window that he knew led into an accountant's office, snuck out of the said office into the hall, then the mainstream production room and disappeared between the rows of machinery. He had then memorized the types of equipment, eavesdropped on the workers and hacked into the mainframe server, breathing in relief when he found nothing suspicious. The company was not perfect, but he had been sent to check for possible terrorist activities not avoidance of taxes by a few of the employees. The only reason the Preventers even worried about this factory was its meek behavior. Heero would just have to report to his boss that decent people still existed in the world. He found this case rather refreshing, actually.

So it was as he backtracked his steps into the same accountant's office and opened the door he bumped into another person sneaking out of it. Immediately on guard, Heero was prepared to feed the stranger a lie about his presence in the area when he noticed that the young man before him wasn't a stranger at all.

Duo stared back at him, bewilderment similar to Heero's dawning on his face.

"Heero?" This was without a doubt some kind of mix up. The Preventers could not have sent both of them on the same mission without notifying them.

Before this scene could become public, Heero forced his way into the door opening that Duo still stood in the middle of, grabbing the other boy by his elbow and dragging him inside. Duo shut the door behind them.

Getting straight to business as he turned around to face the braided boy, Heero was the first to ask, "What are you doing here?"

"Preventer's assignment. You?" Duo still looked baffled.

"Same." Heero frowned, "What are you researching? Is Lady Une second guessing my decisions?"

"Lady Une doesn't know I am anywhere near this place." Duo pacified him. "I didn't know I would have to visit this factory until two hours ago. There's been a disappearance of an important banker, and I'm trying to find where he's been seen last. That's why I'm here. Tell me you have a different assignment..."

"Yeah,"

"Great, I was beginning to suspect Lady Une had sent you to check up on me."

They both felt some relief. If Lady Une had been checking up on them, then neither Heero nor Duo would have reveled in the implications. However, what worried Heero more was that Duo's mission could easily turn out to be an ugly one. Rich bankers made bad enemies and sometimes they made good hostages. After the war, Heero had tried to remove himself from death as much as possible and so had Duo -- so had all of them. Duo, in fact, only worked for the Preventers on a contract basis, taking each case a month apart when he was unable to handle the (unusual for him) boredom of a stable life.

"So," Duo continued, "since you're here we might as well catch up." He smiled mischievously, "What have you been up to? I haven't seen you typing away on your computer in...uh, weeks!"

"I've had a few field assignments to work on." Heero replied, trying not to check the time on his watch. He had a certain schedule to work with but knew he was going to suffer if he so much as snuck a peek at the watch. Hell hath no fury like Shinigami scorned.

"Is that why you're here? Making sure the factory is running smoothly and manufacturing what it's supposed to?"

"Yeah,"

"Okay, that's cool." Duo looked thoughtful for a moment, "Are you in a hurry or can you wait for me? A peek is all I need."

Heero considered his options, mentally running through a few scenarios for the evening. For some reason, the ones with Duo in them all seemed more interesting than those without him. Besides, he could look out for Duo this way. Heero had his own issues to work out after the war, but he was not blind to the fact that Duo could be emotionally fragile to an even greater extent.

"Do it quickly." He told the braided boy. Duo's face split into an easy smile.

"Sure thing. Wait here for me, ok?" the boy said and Heero nodded.

Duo walked smoothly over to the door, opened it a crack this time making sure he didn't run into anybody and snuck through. There was a moment of silence, then before Heero could take a look at his watch to find out how far behind his mental schedule he was, the door swiftly opened again, Duo rushed inside and closed it behind him.

"People in the corridor. Four." he explained stiffly, annoyed that he couldn't seem to leave the confines of this office. At his words, Heero became unsettled. They didn't have clearance to be in this area, and while a good bluff would work on the workers, accountants and such tended to be more suspicious by virtue of the fact that they had a lot more expensive items on their body.

"Are they heading in this direction?"

"Yeah,"

"There are only two offices in this section," Heero informed the other boy.

Duo looked worried as well. "Hmm, are you thinking they might come in?"

Heero shrugged. "They could be headed to the second office. It's further down the hall."

"I wouldn't bet on it. Murphy's law says we should hide."

Anything that can go wrong -- will go wrong. Heero could follow Duo's logic fine. Looking around the room he spotted a metallic closet in the corner, and immediately decided that Duo would fit inside easily.

"Go hide in the closet."

"Ne, Heero don't leave. You can hide in there with me." Duo asked him, already backing towards the closet intending to hide himself, but not giving up on Heero.

He only offered because he couldn't guess at the mental picture that suddenly sprung into Heero's mind. Trying not to blush, he firmly refused, "I'll leave. We can catch up later."

"Heero, don't be a dork!" Duo was so indignant he missed the surprise that flared in Heero's eyes at the insult, "There's enough space in that closet for three people -- we'll fit right in!"

After he realized that in Duo's mouth 'dork' had about as much insulting force as 'baka' did in his, Heero decided not to be offended. Instead, he figured he should save Duo from his own runaway mouth. After all, the people in the hallway were moving and if the two of them didn't do something immediately, they would likely be discovered. Therefore, he strode over to where Duo hovered uncertainly near the closet, opened its door, pushed the other boy in and shut the door behind him. All Duo had the time to voice was a strangled yelp.

That accomplished, Heero moved swiftly towards the window, intending to hide on the other side. However, before he could jump over the windowsill the walls of the closet began to shake under the force of Duo's fists.

Once again, Heero returned to the closet and struck a flat-palmed blow of his own on the wall to silence Duo for a second. "Be quiet!" he hissed into the complete silence that followed.

Completely disobeying the order, Duo, after a moment's hesitations, began to pound on the wall even harder. Heero could even hear some of the curses from the inside.

Realizing that Duo would be discovered and unable to allow that to happen, he swiftly unlocked the door, and immediately got an armful of Duo falling on top of him. He gathered the boy in his arms and forced both of them into the closet, shutting the door behind them gently so that the lock wouldn't click and lock them inside.

Before Duo could even draw enough air in, Heero shut his mouth with his hand pressing the boy against one of the wall.

"Shh, I'm here."

Instead of being placated, Duo bit him -- not hard enough to hurt, but enough to make Heero withdraw his hand.

"Heero," Duo whispered in a low voice so that nobody but Heero would hear, "that banker I've been looking for...I think I found him."

In the darkness Heero's raised eyebrow could not be seen, but Duo continued on his own.

"That, behind you, is not an empty closet."

Heero didn't quite make the connection even when dread begun spreading through his system, until Duo whispered in a strangled voice, "It's the banker."

A moment of silence, punctuated by two distinctive breathing patterns and an even more obvious absence of a third one. Heero's movement was completely instinctive -- his body slumped away from the thing behind him, and forward against Duo in revolt at the mere thought. His back hadn't touched anything yet, but he didn't want to risk it. Wanting to clarify he punctuated his words exactly, "There is a body behind me?"

"Yep," Duo's voice was just above a squeak.

Now Heero could guess what all the pounding on the door had been about.

Careful not to alarm the other boy he disentangled himself and stood straighter first testing, then gaining confidence that he won't touch the corpse, he separated himself from Duo completely, except for his two hands on Duo's shoulders in a calming gesture. Throughout the experience Duo didn't so much as twitch, lying limply against the wall. He must have gotten quite a scare being shoved in this closet like that, and Heero now regretted doing something so rash. For all his cheerful masks, Duo was hurt horribly by the events of the war and even, perhaps, events prior to that. Heero knew some vague details about Duo growing up on the streets. The last thing Heero wanted to do was upset whatever balance Duo had set up for himself after the war. Shoving Duo in a closet with a corpse in it was not the best move he had ever made.

"Duo," he spoke calmly, "we can't come out now, or we will get caught."

"Okay." Duo tried to shake Heero's hands off, but soon gave up.

"As soon as we're sure the people are gone, we'll get out through the window and call the police."

"Okay." A little steadier now.

They stood in silence, listening for any noise.

"Heero, I'm fine," Duo assured him, remembering to reassemble his mask. He was like a kid whose life had taught him that acting weak was like surrendering the gun to your enemy and shouting 'shoot me'...and perhaps Heero could relate to some extent.

He wasn't going to argue about it. If Duo could keep himself in control this way, it was only for the better. Heero was willing to help him any way he could.

+

There were some advantages to being employed by the Preventers, and one was the badge that got the police off their backs in 2 minutes flat. After the sirens stopped screaming and the body was carried off for identification, Heero and Duo stood by the only police car that was left on the scene and breathed in enough fresh air to forget the vileness of the closet. Or rather Duo sat, and Heero silently worried over the other boy while standing by his side.

He considered hooking Duo up with some respectable counselors but figured it would only get him a snarl and some silence where Duo was concerned. For someone with such a strong 'gang' mentality, and someone so outgoing and friendly, Duo disturbingly often played the part of a lone wolf. Events in his life had taught him to depend only on himself, evidently. Once they were back at the office, Heero was going to have to talk to Lady Une who for some reason seemed to forget which cases she should not give to certain people. No doubt there was a dedicated professional somewhere who could have solved the case well, without it affecting him to the same extent it affected Duo. Lady Une will have to find that professional, because Duo was sure as hell not staying on this case. The last thing the boy needed was visiting morgues. Heero himself was not unaffected, but he'd hardly known anything of the person that was carried off to the morgue, unlike Duo who'd probably been on the case for weeks.

Duo may have tried distancing himself from death by calling himself Shinigami, but it had only worked marginally well. From his diligent observations, Heero could only conclude that Duo was convinced that death would surround his life all the time and that Duo simply couldn't stand the idea. He was a people's person and the people around him dropped like flies for all sorts of reasons. It was enough to drive anybody mad.

"Let's go, Duo." He motioned slightly with his head to where public transportation was. "My car is parked a few blocks from here,"

"I'd rather walk," was the boy's reply. Even with his lips split in a smile, his voice came out weary. Heero correctly took the comment to mean 'walk to the car'. The marched to the vehicle, grim faced and silent, giving a voicelessly agreed upon respect to the dead.

Once they drove off, Heero automatically chose his apartment. It was just a friendly gesture he wanted to make.

+

Duo had walked with him on an autopilot, Heero realized by the sudden surprised look on the boy's face when they stopped in front of Heero's apartment door. Duo stared at it for a second as though trying to reconstruct the events that he'd let slide past him, paying them no heed. Heero caught the slightest tightening of the lips.

"Would you like to stay for tea?" Heero offered.

Duo let an shrug ripple through his whole body, "Yeah, sure."

"Come in." Heero unlocked the door, "No need to take your shoes off."

Duo looked around as though checking that Heero hadn't changed anything since he was last here, and murmured, "U-hum."

Heero moved to the kitchen, pausing to throw his jacket on the sofa, knowing Duo could make himself comfortable without being offered to. He set the water to boil, then reached for the closest shelf that was packed with different aromatic teas and chose one without caffeine, knowing that Duo would prefer to get some sleep rather than stumble around all night insomniac from it. One minute later when the boiling water was almost ready he heard Duo coming into the kitchen, the feeling accompanied by the jitters that always went together with another person's approach and an itch to feel the gun he'd left in his jacket back in his hands. It was a reflex, but he easily relaxed again.

The tea was almost ready.

"Huh," Duo said thoughtfully staring at the microwave.

Heero gave him a questioning look.

Duo snorted and sighed, idly scratching at the paint on the wall, "Thought it was an easy mission," He shook his head, gaze wandering briefly to the kitchen sink as though he could divine something from it. "Ah well." He tapped on the counter a few times, sighed again and wandered back into the living room.

Heero turned to make the tea without sugar -- both of them liked it better with jam. He carried the hot cups into the room and placed them on the table, returning to the kitchen for jam. The can he'd been wanting to use was empty so he dug into the refrigerator pulling out another one.

"Heero," a carrying voice echoed from the other room, "nothing sweet is going to make me into a faster investigator."

Heero set the jam on the counter-top. Almost in the same beat as the can hit the counter, the door of his apartment shut loudly.

He ran towards it, following Duo, and slowing down only in time to see the doors of the elevator opening for the boy. Heero didn't follow him, and Duo placed one hand against the elevator doors, holding them as he turned to give Heero a smile.

"I'll take a rain-check on that tea." Heero looked at the stretch of Duo's lips. It was so...terrible. How could anyone look so sad with a grin like that on his face?

"It's not raining." Heero told him.

Duo continued to look at him. The elevator was trying to close, but he held it back with a little effort.

"Running is not going to make you into a faster investigator." Heero added after a moment's hesitation, hoping to get through to the boy.

Duo placed himself in the way of the elevator doors that kept threatening to close, the elevator suddenly began to emit high-pitched ringing that signaled the doors had stayed open for too long.

"That's not why I'm running. It's just that there's no space for my pain in your apartment." Duo told him with a cheerful grin on his face, stepping inside finally, letting the doors close. Heero thought of all the things he could do to make Duo happy, if the boy would just let him.

Before the doors closed, Heero told him, suddenly, "You haven't seen my bedroom. It's quite empty."

The doors closed on Duo's widened eyes and parted lips.

Heero blushed. That had been awful.

At least the fake grin was gone.

[part 2] [back to Singles l - z]