Warnings : Yaoi,
angst, sap, OOC, Heero POV, limey stuff, language and some major butchering
of the original time-line. This is a direct sequel to the 'Road Trip'
Thanks to Christy for another super-fast beta job.
Congratulations to Aya on her two-year anniversary!
Feed-back would be wonderful... unless you hate it.
I suppose I own the computer this was written on... does that count for
I didn't think of Duo. I couldn't
think of Duo. I could not allow it, for if I did... I am not sure I could
have made myself do what I had to, when I threw myself in front of that
piece of the Libra. But when I placed our lives, his and mine, in the
scale against most of the northern hemisphere of the entire planet...
it didn't balance. When I weighed our deaths against the destruction of
the ecosystem of the Earth, against the lives of countless millions...
men, women, children... it just didn't balance.
I am not stupid. I knew both our lives were at stake, I knew that if I
didn't make it, if I ended up plummeting through the atmosphere and rode
that fireball straight down to hell... that he would be right behind me.
We'd sworn that to each other once, in a moment's passion, and I knew
that he had meant it every bit as much as I had. If I failed and died...
Duo died with me. But I couldn't let myself think of that. Because when
everything else failed to stop Zechs and his insane plan, I knew that
my moment of truth had come. That, somehow, it was my place to counter
that madman's desperate move. Call it destiny. Call it Karma.
It seemed there were a dozen voices screaming at me over the cockpit speakers.
A dozen voices urging me on... calling warnings... calling instructions.
There was a voice giving a running count down. Another one calling for
Zechs. I heard Quatre cry out what sounded like a prayer. Wufei cursing
Zechs to the seventh level of hell. Trowa just cursing. I didn't really
hear them. I had my target, had plotted my trajectory, was piloting like
I had never piloted before. I didn't need their warnings and I didn't
care about their encouragements. I listened for only one voice.
When I could spare my screens a glance, I saw Duo's Gundam, pinned and
held fast by our three friends. He was trying to come after me... and
they wouldn't let him. I could see their faces on each of the open comms,
and I saw Duo's, twisted in anguished rage. I heard him shouting, "Heero!"
It was... a recrimination. A plea. A curse. It was full of despair and
anger, that single word. Full of disbelief and pain. Gods... such pain.
Then his image flickered and was gone.
I couldn't think of Duo... but I did. How could I not? I didn't falter
in my resolve, but I hurt for him. I ached to think what I was doing to
him. I wondered if he had cut the visual feed for my sake, or his own.
Then I wondered if he'd cut it completely... or only cut my visual.
My Gundam was shaking fit to rattle apart. My vector was all wrong for
reentry, but then... I wasn't on a reentry course. I was on an intercept
course. I couldn't get a damn lock on the target, and I knew I would only
have one shot at this. Heat was building around me as the piece of Libra
and I hit the atmosphere. It was now... it was now or never, damn it,
and all I could think about was Duo. My Duo. No matter how hard I tried
So many things to say. How do you tell the one you love goodbye when you
only have a matter of minutes? Only minutes and an audience that consists
of the entire Earth sphere? When the person you wanted most to hear you,
might not even be listening?
But I knew better. I knew in that heartbeat that he was still there with
me... he might have killed my communication feed so that I wouldn't have
to watch his agony, but he would not spare himself. Never himself.
I fought with my targeting system, wrestled it with nothing but brute
strength, and screamed the only message I could give him in the moment
we had left. "I will survive!"
It was a promise, a promise that I meant with all my being to keep. This
would be the end of it... after all that we had come through together,
this would be the end of the war and I would be damned if I wasn't going
to live to see it through to the other side.
As if sensing, somehow, that there was just no fighting against me, it
all suddenly came together, computer targeting locked on, and I took my
shot. Fired my buster rifle at that massive, damn chunk of destruction...
and prayed. For the first time in my life, I begged the indifferent Gods
for something less than a blind eye.
Let me do this... just let me live and I will make him happy. I will keep
him safe and protected for the rest of our lives. I will love him like
he deserves to be loved and I will stay by his side forever... just let
me live through this. Please, Gods, please... for Duo.
There was a moment of twisted confusion, while the blast flare sent my
sensors to white, that I wasn't sure. Could not confirm that I'd made
the hit; stopped the end of the world. It was the ragged cheer of the
rebel troops that told me I'd done it, coming across my speakers in a
tinny burst of static. I trusted in that sound and broke my dive, knowing
I was mere seconds away from the point of no return. I realized with a
sudden, sharp pang that there had been a time when I would have stayed
the course, would have refused to pull up until I had confirmation from
my own senses that the mission was accomplished. And I would have died.
Would have held my course and position until it was far too late. It was
almost too late as it was, and I had a heart-stopping moment when I thought
the boosters weren't going to do the job. A moment when I thought the
harness or the g-forces were going to cut me in half. Then I was out and
clear and I heard the exultant cries of my friends as they came to meet
"He did it!" Quatre shouted, his voice the first one that came
clear to my ears. "He made it!"
"Of course," Wufei replied coolly, but I could hear the relieved
smile in his voice.
I waited for the joyous call of my lover. I let the sound of the other
voices wash over me without really hearing them. I was listening for only
one thing. But it didn't come. His video feed didn't come back on-line.
His voice didn't call out to me.
I hadn't been afraid until that moment. Throwing my Gundam into a power
dive and risking the siren pull of the Earth's gravity had not truly stirred
fear in my heart. I had been... anguished, perhaps, would best describe
the feeling. Had been sorry under the resignation... but not afraid.
Fear stole its icy way into my gut then, ate at me with its bitter cold
"Duo?" I called, and didn't care who heard me.
There was no answer and I began to panic. Had he broken away from the
others? Had he followed my path and been caught in the trap I had escaped?
"Where's Duo?" I barked, and my voice cut across all the chatter,
silencing the cheers and the yelling.
"Calm down, Yuy," Wufei chuckled in amusement. "He's right..."
But his voice faltered and I knew that Duo was not right where he had
expected him to be. "What the hell?" he murmured.
I frantically punched the comm. unit up to Duo's private frequency and
hit the call button, my hands shaking in reaction. I cut off all the rest
of them, sitting in my suddenly cold Gundam in a biting silence.
"Hey," his voice finally came, sounding thin and battered, old
and worn. There was music in the background, something I didn't recognize,
sounding melancholy and dark.
"Damnit!" I barked before the irony of it caught up with me.
"You scared the hell out of me! Where are you?"
His laugh was bitter and flat. I punched for visual, but he wouldn't give
it to me.
"I can't do this... with the world watching," he said and I
couldn't fathom the depth of emotion I heard in his voice, twisted round
and wrapped tight enough to strangle. "I love you."
Then he was gone. Cut the link and left me there, in the cold. I scanned
for long minutes, looking for him while my brain tried to make sense of
what he had said. But you don't find the Gundam Deathscythe when his pilot
doesn't want to be found.
It took Wufei calling me on my own private channel to shake me free; to
make me follow the others back to what was left of the Peacemillion.
We were given a hero's welcome. Cheered and applauded. It was all I could
do not to snap and snarl at the people who approached me. I wanted to
tell them to leave me the hell alone. Trowa and Quatre disappeared fairly
quickly and later, much later, I was to discover that Quatre had been
gravely wounded aboard the Libra before the final battle had even started.
Wufei stayed by my side and deflected the well-wishers as best he could,
eventually using my recent battle as an excuse to 'take me to sick-bay'.
Instead, he found an empty conference room and took me there; away from
the prying eyes of people I didn't know how to deal with. People who were
too elated to react to my icy glare the way they should have... the way
they usually did.
I let Wufei lead me into the quiet room; lights dim with only the emergency
generators running. I let him push me down into a chair and I barely registered
that he perched himself on the table near at hand. There was a port in
the room and I sat staring out it, wondering if Duo were somewhere within
that rectangle of stars.
"Did he talk to you?" Wufei prodded gently, going straight to
the heart of the matter, as always.
I grunted darkly, a slightly affirmative sound and there was a faint sigh.
"What did he say?" he asked, the soul of patience, and I had
to glance at him.
"Only that he couldn't do this with the whole world watching,"
I told him. I went back to looking out the port, not able to meet the
quiet concern in his eyes.
"That doesn't sound...final," he ventured.
"Well, what the fuck does it mean, then?" I snapped at him and
was instantly sorry, but couldn't contain the frustration writhing around
in my gut.
"Perhaps he realized what kind of reception we were going to encounter
when we came aboard," Wufei said gently. "You know how he hates
"He hates crowds, so he just runs away?" I blurted, glaring
up at him, finding that his calm was irritating me even further.
"Heero, he was pretty angry with us, for not letting him... for holding
him back," he tried again, and I saw his hand start to reach out
toward me, but then he thought better of it.
I threw myself to my feet and stalked to the port to get away from that
touch, I wasn't ready for it. "I almost died out there," I growled,
defensively, finding that I was hurt a great deal by the fact that Duo
wasn't here holding me tight... that he didn't need to be here to see
that I was all right. I would have needed that, had our positions been
"And he didn't?" Wufei said softly.
I whirled to look at him in surprise, my mouth falling open as I saw in
his face that he understood something about the pact we'd made. Or perhaps
he just understood the depth of our feelings.
"Deny it," he demanded, and I couldn't. "Give him a little
time, Heero," he chided softly. "You act like he's leaving you...
he'll be back."
"How do I know that?" I breathed, looking at him searchingly,
maybe hoping that he had some information that I didn't have. Hoping that
maybe he knew something he hadn't told me. That he would pull something
out of the air for me, like he so often had before.
"Because if there is one thing through this whole damn mess that
has been as constant as the North Star," he told me intently, his
face flushing slightly, "it's Duo's love for you. You can't doubt
that... I don't doubt that."
"Then where the hell is he?" I whispered, suddenly very tired.
A little of his confidence slipped away for a second and I saw his own
uncertainty. "I don't know... but I know he won't stay away for long.
You know that, too, if you'll let yourself see it passed your hurt feelings."
I growled darkly at him and turned away. I'd indulge my hurt feelings
if I wanted to. "Leave me alone."
I was surprised when he did; surprised and a little bit sorry.
"Where are you, love?" I whispered to the stars after Wufei
was gone. "Why did you go?" The stars offered very little comfort.
After a while, with the loss of the distraction of Wufei's company, I
realized just how tired and achy my body was, and went back to sit on
the conference table. I propped my feet in the chair and my elbows on
my knees, just sitting and staring out the port. I was loath to leave
this place of quiet and solitude; I didn't think I could deal with any
more of the congratulations and teary-eyed handshakes. Not without my
friends to run interference for me, and I'd just driven the last one away.
Gods, but I was wallowing in self-pity. What in the hell was the matter
with me? Duo hadn't told me he was never coming back. He'd said he loved
me. But I couldn't help but worry... now that Treize was dead, now that
the Earth and the colonies were in talks to end this damn war, what if
he decided he didn't want to stay with me after all? What if he found
he didn't love me as much as he had thought he did?
My head was trying to tell me that he was all right, that he had just
needed a little time before he could deal with this rush of humanity and
that it wasn't me he was avoiding. But my gut was cringing in fear, babbling
incoherently about abandonment, about the absurdity of trying to start
a damn relationship in the middle of a Gods forsaken war. My heart was
a leaden thing in my chest, whispering to me softly about how I obviously
hadn't loved enough, hadn't been strong enough, had let him down one too
many times. And, of course, that other voice... the one that only had
the one point to make, the one about this being a bad idea right from
the beginning. I wasn't at all sure which one to listen to.
We'd come so far. Come through so much together. It couldn't be over...
could it? When I tried to think about a future without him there with
me, all I saw was a blank. I couldn't envision a life without Duo in it.
Didn't really want to try. There had been a time, not all that long ago,
when I would have sold my life in the blink of an eye for whatever cause
I had been handed. There was a time that I had tried just that; had self-destructed
my Gundam without even trying to think of another way out of the mess
we had been in. I had, somewhere down in the depths of my dark soul, wanted
Before Duo. Before he had found my heart and my soul locked away the Gods
only know where, dusted them off, and brought them back to me. Made me
whole again. Maybe made me whole for the first time in my life.
Oh my sweet Duo...don't leave me here alone.
Where could he have gone? Why wasn't he here with me? Was he... was he
all right? Was he hiding something from me? Had he been hurt in that last
battle? He wouldn't be afraid to let me know, would he? He hated being
vulnerable and incapacitated so badly... would he have run rather than
let me know he'd been injured? Gods; I was being absurd. I wished, just
a little too late that I hadn't sent Wufei away; I needed his calm, rational
voice right now.
Just sitting there, doing nothing but brooding, I began to feel the ache
and the soreness. Began to understand what a beating I had taken from
Zechs, from the wrestling match with the Libra. I wanted nothing so much
as I wanted to find a dark hole to crawl into where I could curl up and
sleep. But I wanted to curl up with Duo safe in my arms. I wanted it so
suddenly and so sharply that it sang through my veins... that need to
have Duo there with me. It was a pain that eclipsed all the rest of it,
that started in my chest and spread through me until I felt I would crumble
away under the weight of it. I lowered my head into my hands, sat and...
wept. I tried to remember the last time I'd cried and it seemed to me
that it had been in Duo's arms and that I had wept for his sake. Most
of the tears I'd cried in my lifetime had been on his behalf... had been
for his pain. I couldn't even be angry with him... there wasn't room in
my heart for more than the fear.
Where are you, my love... and what's wrong?
If I held very still, I could imagine him sitting close beside me, could
almost hear his soft voice... don't cry love, its all right... everything
is all right. I tried to imagine the feel of his arms wrapping around
me in comfort, in support. It only made me feel cold and I shivered.
I tried to think about the promises he had made to me, tried to make myself
hear his voice whispering to me in passion... in love. But all I could
hear was him screaming my name in horror as I dove after that piece of
Armageddon on what must have seemed a suicide mission.
I hadn't hesitated. I had seen the danger and launched my attack. It must
have seemed that I hadn't given him a second thought. It must have seemed
that I had taken our future together and thrown it on the table like a
pair of dice. I had let the presence of all those listeners, all those
watchers, keep me from telling him anything close to what I had been feeling.
He still wakes at night, sometimes, screaming in denial from nightmares
of my self-destruction. He clings to me on those nights as though his
arms are all that hold me to life. As though he would fight the devil
himself and all his minions for my possession. He never goes back to sleep
Today must have seemed very like his worst nightmare come to screaming,
Oh my heart... what have I done to you?
If I was honest with myself, I had to admit that there really, truly wasn't
a hell of a lot I could have done differently, if I had this day to do
over. But I wished I could. I wished with all my heart that I could have
spared him those long, long moments of terror. Could have let someone
else bear the sword for a change. It just hadn't happened that way.
Behind me, I heard the door open and I wiped roughly at my eyes, looking
at the reflection of that rectangle of light in the window to see that
it was Wufei standing there.
"Heero?" he called softly and I could tell from his tone that
he wasn't there with any news that I cared to hear. I grunted at his reflection,
not turning around. "Quatre is asking for you."
"Not now," I growled at him, utterly horrified that he had found
me like this.
He hesitated in the doorway for a moment, perhaps hearing the roughness
of my voice. "Heero?"
"Leave me the hell alone," I snapped, refusing to turn and face
him. "I'll hunt him up... later."
He began to make his way around the room to me and I thought I would scream.
All I could do was hang my head to hide my face. I saw his feet stop their
movement when he reached my side and he just stood there for a moment.
Then a warm hand settled on my shoulder and I think I shivered.
"He'll be back," he soothed and the anger just melted out of
"How can you know that?" I asked; again half hoping he did know
"I know Duo," he said simply, and I could hear that tight little
smile of his.
"Then tell me what's wrong," I demanded. "If you know him
so damn well... tell me why he ran away. Tell me why he left."
There was the sound of a heavy sigh. "I don't know, Heero... I can
only make guesses." The hand on my shoulder squeezed tight. "Come
on... Quatre's in the infirmary and he wants to see you."
That revelation came as such a shock that I jerked my head up to look
at him, not thinking about what I was revealing. I saw his eyes fly open
wide and I flushed to the roots of my hair, turning quickly away again.
"Heero?" he whispered, his voice full of disbelief and oddly...
tender. I couldn't bear that right now.
"Don't," I commanded.
He sighed. "Come," he told me. "There's a lavatory across
the corridor... you can clean up there. Quatre needs to get some rest,
but is insistent that he talk to us first."
"What happened?" I finally thought to ask.
"That Catelonia woman..." he growled angrily, "somehow
managed to take him by surprise with a damn fencing foil, of all things."
His irritation with the woman who had seemed only a hanger-on, but had
turned out to be so much more, served to make him forget the state I was
in. He led me across the corridor, muttering about the ludicrousness of
the statement "war is beautiful", and the questionable mental
state of a person who would actually say such a thing.
"Damn, stupid idealistic woman," he continued, leaning in the
doorway while I washed my face in cold water. "Obviously she's never
seen a real battlefield. Sits in her ivory tower and reads books on the
subject." He snorted derisively. "I'd like to see her spout
that crap to someone like Sally Po. She'd get laughed right off the ship."
"Where is she now?" I ventured, giving my face a critical glance
in the mirror. I could only hope that the walk to sickbay would be sufficiently
long enough that some of the redness would leave my eyes before we got
"Trowa said he left her to her own devices," he informed me,
making a point of picking at an imaginary hangnail. I realized that he
was only making small talk to help me get my head back together. "The
only reason he didn't kill her where she stood was because Quatre wouldn't
let him." He shook his head ruefully. "I'm not at all sure they
made the right choice."
I grunted and waved him out of the room, indicating that I was done. He
pushed off the wall and led the way. I fell into step beside him, trying
to focus on what he was talking about and not on what my thoughts wanted
to dwell on.
"Quatre is going to be all right, isn't he?" I asked when it
finally occurred to me.
Wufei gave me a sidelong glance and I felt ashamed that it had taken me
so long to get my head out of my ass and think to question that fact.
"He'll be fine if he will stop arguing with the Doctor and do as
he is told."
I snorted softly; there wasn't one of us that hadn't been guilty of that
at one time or another. Wufei included. He spared me one of those tight
little smiles, but I couldn't find it in me to return it. He sighed and
we just stopped talking.
The ship was heavily damaged and we passed through sections where the
artificial gravity was completely out of commission. We kicked off and
drifted through those areas like strange, deep-sea swimmers. Like everything
else in the last couple of hours, it only served to remind me of Duo.
I couldn't help but think how at home he was in zero gravity, how lithe
and graceful. We passed crew members of the Peacemillion, doing critical
repairs and looking for wounded. I found my eyes raking over each one,
searching for a long tail of a braid, for soulful amethyst eyes. Several
of them turned as we passed and when we were recognized, gave us a solemn
little salute. Wufei nodded to them in acknowledgment.
"Heero," he murmured to me when there was a moment of privacy,
"he was fine when I last saw him."
"How do you know that?" I scowled. "We didn't know there
was anything wrong with Quatre."
He grunted and had the decency to look a little taken aback. "He
was fighting against us like a damn demon... he certainly didn't act injured."
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