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The year is after Colony 197, peace had been restored after the brief rein of Mariemaia Kushrenada. The Gundams had all be destroyed by their perspective pilots, and life started again at status quo. Perhaps now everyone could live normally and never be faced with the heartaches of battle... Or could they?

      Maybe your luck has changed
      Settle down

"Hey Heero!" Duo's voice rang out through the base the pilot had been using since the declaration of peace. They knew they couldn't fit in "normally" in society, especially after all they had seen during the course of the battles over their teenage life. "Heero?" Duo called once again. "In here." Came the gruff answer.

Duo turned his eyes towards the small work room that housed the computers and stolen data that kept the pilots informed about recent happenings around the world, or rather, kept Heero informed. "Heero, what are you doing?" Duo questioned, cocking his eyebrow as he watched Heero stare intently at the glowing screen of the computer. "I'm keeping myself well informed about what's going on around the world. God only knows what might happen next; we'd be very at loss if another Mariemaia tried to control the world." Heero stated just as monotonous as he was cold.

"But, Heero, we have long defeated anyone that would want to proceed with a *coup de ta*. Our luck has really changed, we were victorious, and now shouldn't we try and just kick back and relax and enjoy what's left of our teenage years?" Duo suggested, suddenly realizing that he would be turning eighteen in the coming year.

"'Kicking back,' as you so call it, is not suitable for a soldier. We must be constantly aware of our surroundings. We must keep our enemies close, so that we are not taken by surprise when they turn around and pull some crazy shit." Heero answered, trying to hide the annoyance building in his voice.

      Maybe I'm just deranged
      And on the rebound

"Well, suit yourself, Heero. I forgot how hard of a person you were to deal with. You take your job too seriously. I might not be dubbed the 'perfect soldier,' but...even perfect soldiers need days off to just recuperate. Myself, I'm looking forwards to a long time of R&R." Duo looped his arms behind his head and turned his back away from the pilot who was still clicking away at the soulless machine. "Call me crazy, Heero, but I think you're afraid to let go of all this raw pain that was inflicted on you. But, hey, don't let me be the soul judge of that."

The words hit Heero completely wrong. Duo turned around quickly when he heard the faint skidding of the chair across the floor. Heero was on his feet in a moment, his hands curling into an ominous fist. The glimmering ocules of cobalt widened as he watched Heero approach him. The stony Prussian blue eyes of Heero narrowed as he pulled the fist back. Duo waited for the impact to be made, and for him to hit the floor hard. He squinted his eyes shut, but to his surprise, no discomfort was felt. Duo opened he eyes to see Heero staring at his hand, and the formation of tears his eyes. "Maybe you're right, Duo." Was all he said as he walked past Duo. Shocked, Duo watched Heero as he walked away from him. "I can't believe that he actually agreed with me." Duo's heart warmed, and he felt a slight twinge of emotion course through his veins. What did this mean?

      Maybe love was the thing
      Holding me back from all

Heero slammed the door of his room and fell onto his bed. "Why couldn't I haul off and hit that bastard?" He thought to himself. "It's not like me to just drop my hands like that, I can ALWAYS knock someone out. I never thought twice about it. It's always been my mission to take out anyone who opposed me or my missions." Heero buried his face into his hands as he thought and tried to make sense of the events that had happened only minutes ago. "Perhaps Duo is right, maybe I am afraid. But what made this any different from before. I've punched that guy out so many times. But why not this time. What's making me hold back?" Growing more and more tense by the mind-blowing enigma, Heero punched his night stand. He groaned out in pain as the impact was made with the hard wood. Heero looked down at his bleeding knuckles, and suddenly thoughts filled his memory. He remembered all the times that Duo had saved him from an untimely death, as much as Heero might have wished for it. And the times that Duo had befriended him when everyone else shunned him away. The memory of the hospital entered his train of concentration. Duo had rescued him from the facility, and then from being seriously injured when he had hit the descent of that cliff. Heero's eyes widened as the solution hit him. "Holy shit! Is that the reasoning?" He exclaimed outloud.

      Maybe I'm just the thing
      To break my own fall

Duo looked up from the table as he saw Heero exit the room. "Everything ok, Heero?" Duo question, slightly worried about the sanity of his friend. Heero glanced at Duo, meeting his eyes completely. He took notice of the concern that was written all over the braided warrior's face and the sincerity in his eyes.

"I'm fine, Duo. Thank you for your friendship. As much as I made it seem like I didn't want it, I appreciate the fact that you were there for me; good times and bad." Heero smiled. Smiled? Duo's heart gave a little jump as he saw the first glimmer of happiness from the solemn perfect soldier.

Deep in Duo's mind, he felt himself grow a little closer to Heero. But in his own mind, closer than what guys were supposed to be. Not just "friends"; but kindred spirits, soulmates. "Momma wouldn't be proud of these feelings I'm having right now, but, I think Heero senses them, too. And it seems as if he almost reflects them as well. Perhaps this could break the wall down in Heero and they could break each other's falls." Duo thought as his smiled back at Heero. "No problem, Heero." He replied.

      Take the rope to my heart and fall
      You may just be the last before you
      See the black tangled heart fall

Duo had left Heero to his business of working on the computer once again, thinking as he walked to his room to consider all that happened in the course of that hour. Deep in his mind he knew he didn't care for anyone this much. The last person he had grown attached to was Solo, and he had been taken away from him. It had always seemed that the people he loved were always stolen away by death. Duo could only hope that Heero could continue to cheat death as he had done previous times before. Heero was his life now. Duo was falling further and further into idea of him and Heero. Was this love? Couldn't be! The God of Death would not fall for a best friend, let alone another guy. Or would he? His heart constricted at the thought of anyone else. To Duo, Heero was a strong piece of rope, binding himself to Duo's heart and never letting loose. Duo finally succumbed to the emotions that grew in his heart and raced through his soul. Death's heart was falling for a rugged Angel.

      Maybe departure's good
      Makes room for more

Quatre, Wufei, Trowa, and Duo were all congregated around the table eating breakfast. They were exchanging stories of the hardships they had seen and their relief when peace had at long last been restored. All four heads snapped up when they heard the swearing coming from the computer lab. Heero dashed into the dining room, ranting and raving, holding a printout of the latest dispatch. "God damn it! Someone's at it again! Little wars have broken out across the world. It says that a few random rebels have reared their ugly heads again and are turning people against the government." Heero panted, his eyes taking on the aggressive hue of blue everyone had come to know.

"That's awful!" Quatre exclaimed as he looked on at Heero and then glanced at each pilot's shocked face.

"So much for this time of peace. I take it we're off to fight again. Right, Heero?" Trowa affirmed, none to happy at the prospect of leaving his loved ones again. He looked to Quatre's innocent face, and looped his arm around Quatre's shoulders trying to pacify the young Arabic heir.

"Hmph!" Wufei scoffed. "I knew we shouldn't have destroyed the Gundams. We are worthless to everyone now."

"You might think we're worthless now, Wufei. But I won't be one to sit around and watch as what I've been fighting for crumbles around me like old relics from history." Heero glared at the Chinese boy. "I'm going to fight. I will hide myself within the ally troops and I will kill whom ever threatens my life. Mobile suit or not, I'm going to fight."

Duo was growing more and more alarmed inside as he struggled to keep calm outwardly. Heero was being practically pulled away from him. "Heero, must you really go? I mean, all of us can come along. We, after all, are all Gundam pilots and friends and we must stick together."

Heero's eyes misted over as he fully took in Duo's plea. "Duo... I can't. I must go and protect this world from all who wish to do it harm. I'm sorry." With those closing words, Heero snatched up his beloved gun and dashed out of the house.

"Don't go getting hurt, Heero. I need you to return to me. In the meantime, I will spend this time trying to sort out my emotions and how I'm gonna tell you what I feel." Duo thought in the midst of his jumbled thoughts.

"Duo! Aren't you even gonna stop him?!" Quatre yelled, breaking Duo out of his thoughts.

"Quatre, there's no stopping him. He will do whatever he damn well pleases; and not one of us can convince him otherwise."

      Start to mass produce
      For a chance to ignore
      Maybe you'll kill yourself
      Before I get a turn
      Maybe I'll fall in love
      And never learn

A month had passed. Duo's worry was running insanely, and he had yet to come up with a sane way to tell Heero how he felt. He couldn't block the emotions that reined supreme in his heart. This was a force not to reckoned with. One not to be ignored. Duo prayed night and day for the save return of Heero. Duo wanted to be the Death that took Heero away, and not the true Death that would rob Duo of his love and devotion. Much to his dismay, he had to admit that he did indeed love Heero. Would he ever learn? All that he had ever loved had been taken away. Duo knew this, but he still would not stop caring for Heero. All he could hope was that Heero would live to come home to Duo. In order to try and get his mind off the fact of the danger that opposed Heero, Duo flipped the TV on.

      Take the rope to my heart and fall
      You may just be the last before you
      See the black tangled heart fall

Then it happened. "We interrupt the regularly scheduled program to bring you this news brief. The battle that rages on between the rebels and allies has comes to head. We bring you this live coverage." The announcer broadcaster. Duo inched closer to the TV to see if he could find Heero among all the bodies, both living and dead. Then he spotted him. Heero, his uniform stained with the shed blood of both sides, stood on the field shooting at any rebel that was in his range. How gallant he looked, despite the chaos he was stationed in, the blood caked in his hair and smeared across his cheeks. Duo heaved a sigh of relief when he saw his loved one standing there, and shrieked when a stray bullet coursed through his head. There Duo sat shocked as he watched the strong soldier fall and be reduced to another lifeless corpse that littered the battlefield. Without thinking twice, Duo was on his feet and out the door. Heading towards both their uncertain fates.

Heero had been reported to the nearest hospital. The pain he felt was being numbed by the drugs, and he was floating in and out of reality. Now he knew how his enemies felt when they were on the verge of death. Death. Did Duo know about his untimely fall? What would happen if Duo switched the TV on and saw him fall, or worse yet, received a call from the commanding officer stating that he was mortally wounded and would surely die? Heero cringed as all the images of Duo's pale face being offset by those wonderful indigo eyes. A lone tear slid down Heero's cheek as he faded into a lifeless sleep.

      Take the rope to my heart and fall
      You may just be the last before you
      See the black tangled heart fall

"Heero, wake up. Please wake up." Came the soft pleading voice. Heero's eyes fluttered open as he glanced at his hands, where he felt a slight touch of another's hand. He followed the hand up the arm and was soon staring up into Duo's tear-filled eyes. "Duo... You found me. But how?" Heero stammered, almost overjoyed that he had been found by the one person he had grown to care for. "Well, where trouble goes, death will follow." Duo laughed tensely and nervously.

Heero tried to smile, but winced in pain. "I'm going to die, Duo." So bluntly put. "I wish I weren't such a stubborn bastard. I've ruined you."

"Shhhh, don't say that, Heero. You'll be fine. Shit, medical science is top notch." Duo's heart lurched, knowing fully well that Heero was right. His heart grew more and more tight as he watched Heero fade in and out of reality. Duo swallowed hard as he prepared to speak again. "Heero, I have to tell you something..."

Heero's eyes opened once more. "You don't have to say it, Duo. I already knew. Before I leave you, I feel the same way too, Duo. You've been the only one I've cared for. I'm not supposed to let on to my emotions, but I loved you dearly. Not just as a friend, but also as a soulmate. Never forget me, Duo." Heero lifted Duo's hand close to his lips and lightly pressed them to his skin. His last bit of energy gone, Heero slumped against the pillow and lost grip of Duo's hand.

"Heero? Shit! No...Heero!" Duo sobbed uncontrollably as the tears fell down his paling face.

The next day was an ominous day. Heero's funeral was a slow procession of dark mourning and shimmering tears. Duo and the other three pilots stood beside the priest as he read a few random scriptures from the bible, and made a wonderful, if one could call a funeral wonderful, service. Duo's heart was so tightly wound with the memories of Heero and the unshared devotion, it felt it would burst from the heartache of it all. Why did his loved one always have to be pilfered from him? Every damn person he had ever held dear had ended up dying in his wake; Solo, Sister Helen, Father Maxwell... Heero.

Upon arriving home, Duo ran to Heero's bedroom. He gazed upon all the artillery that lined the walls, the ammo hidden in the drawers, the plans laid out across his desk. Duo walked to the wall and picked up a semi-familiar gun. An old revolver that had been long banished from the battle.

Overtaken with the painful memories, Duo grabbed one bullet and loaded it into the revolving chamber. He spun it around and held the barrel to his head. "If my doom is met with this single bullet, Heero and I were destined to end up together, somehow. If I do not die, then I was meant to be alone in this world, just like the bullet is alone in this gun." Duo thought to himself. He closed his eyes and readied his finger on the trigger. The pressure tightened. CLICK! Nothing. Disgruntled, Duo aimed the gun at the ground and pulled the trigger 5 more times. Still nothing. He looked closer at the gun and noticed the one thing that made him smile ruefully. Heero...had removed...the firing pin.


Author's Note: Konnichwa! My name is Hibiscus, and I am new here at the "Endless Dedication" site. Shikami-san has given me the chance to spread my wings here, and stray away from my typical style of fictions (I'm hosted at a Duo/Hilde site). If you feel lead to, I'd love to have some feedback, but please don't flame me too awfully much. This first attempt is a songfic by Silverchair entitled "Black Tangled Heart". I tried to make the story ebb with the mood and emotion of the exact melody of the song (well, attempted to in any case). I hope you enjoy it. Arigato!

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