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Shikami Yamino

Dedicated with love to Kage-chan

Please note that the song "Have You Ever" is property of Brandy and I hold no rights whatsoever.


3 am.

I groaned and shifted on the lumpy mattress under me, burrowing under the covers more than I would have liked in an effort to catch some much needed sleep. This was the third sleepless night I'd had in a row, not counting the many sleepless nights before because of the mission. I'd dozed often enough, but never anywhere past the alpha waves and it was starting to show. I'd noticed Wufei looking at me weird yesterday and Quatre's worried look on his face when I passed him in the courtyard.

Shutting my eyes tightly, I felt a small part of myself laugh. It was ironic that I, who had trained myself to fall asleep in the minimum amount of time, was suffering insomnia at this very moment. Giving up, I sat up in bed and gazed around at the small dorm room. Or, more specifically, at the empty bed across the room.

The room was bare, as all dorm rooms were, and unlike the other kids I'd never bothered decorating... waste of time with the amount of staying and leaving we did. But this time, it had felt especially bare. My desk was stacked neatly with books and papers, my laptop sat in the middle, silent and still. The other desk, which should have been littered with loose sheets and open books was empty. The dresser top was also empty, empty of the hair brush that I'd grown used to have lying there, clinging to long strands of honey-tinted chestnut.

As I stared across the room at the neatly made bed through slanting streams of moonlight shining through the window, I shook myself but gave up trying to banish the pair of deep violet-blue eyes that had been haunting me since I'd seen them last, three days ago. Three days ago when Gundam Deathscythe had been hit in the back by a blast from a mobile doll and its pilot limped away with a fractured rib, a sprained wrist and a wide grin before he bandaged himself and drove off towards his next stop.

Three days since I had been left in the wake of the trailer with Deathscythe in the back and a laughing braided boy in the cab. Three days since I had finally admitted to myself how much the violet-eyed pilot of the Shinigami meant to me.

It wasn't hard to figure out really... what was not to like about Duo? He was the only one who could annoy me and make me laugh without me pulling a gun out and pointing it in his face. He only one who made me feel like a human being... one that could feel and show, if only to a small extent, emotions. He was the only one who could smile in the face of Death and bring a small measure of comfort to me. He was the only one who could justify to me what we were doing was right everytime I woke up from the recurring nightmare where I discovered everything I did was wrong. He was the only one who I unknowingly let close to me... and the only one which I considered as a... friend...

If Heero Yuy deserved a friend.

But when Deathscythe had gone done, hard, three days ago, I was forced to admit that I wanted Duo as more than a friend. The surprised and shocked expressions on Trowa, Quatre and Wufei's faces had told me so when I'd unconsciously screamed Duo's name. And the unbelievably good feeling when I'd helped Duo limp from his Gundam and the warmth that his arm across my shoulders had left.

I more than liked the loud American. I loved him...

Duo, I love you...

So many times I'd wanted to say those words to him, even before, I'd known that there was something I'd needed to tell him but my mind had been blank as to what. My mind might have been blind, but my heart wasn't. It just took a while for my mind to know what my heart wanted, to *accept* what my heart wanted. After all, 'perfect soldiers' weren't meant to feel emotion... pain was acceptable, but love... love was forbidden. Love was the one emotion that caused people to weaken and to show weakness. The one emotion that would likely make your heart rule your body instead of your mind, and a soldier could not afford that. And I'd already let love in, in that instant I'd screamed Duo's name, I had known... and now I know that I've fallen too deep to be able to climb my way out.

And so those laughing violet eyes haunt me, day to day, night by night, mocking me with their distance and their beauty, keeping me awake when I would have loved to slip into the oblivion of sleep where I was trouble-free. But even in sleep, I wasn't free of them. That first night, I had been asleep for no more than fifteen minutes when I'd woken up covered in sweat and my pillow soaked with my tears. Woken up in the aftermath of a nightmare where I had lost the one I cared so much for.

Watching the moon beams slant across the carpeted floor, I shook my head and slid back down into the messy sheets, sighing before closing my eyes to see Duo's grinning face lull me into the first restful few minutes I'd had since enrolling in this school.

Have you ever loved somebody so much it makes you cry?
Have you ever needed something so bad you can't sleep at night?
Have you ever tried to find the words but they don't come out right?
Have you ever, have you ever?


Typing the last series of commands into the laptop, I grinned before shutting it down and setting it beside me on the seat of the car I'd... acquired... and looked out the windscreen to see my Shinigami all repaired and good as new, carefully hidden in the natural cavern. It'd taken me three whole days to repair the wound that damned Virgo had inflicted on Deathscythe and it didn't help that the fractured rib and sprained wrist was giving me hell everytime I moved. The only thing I think that kept me going was the ice cold drinks I'd thought to bring along and the affection I held for the partner that had never let me down when I needed it most. That... and the cold prussian eyes that bore into me everytime I closed my eyes.

Even now, Heero's grim face appeared in front of my eyes, distant and still, never having an inkling of what I might hide behind my laughing face. For a very intelligent person, Heero was beyond dense when it came to human emotions. But then, not that I was an expert... just I guess more accepting of it than Heero was.

Love. It was a strange thing.

I sighed and started the car, it'd be a long drive by night to the school the others had enrolled. As the car sped along the deserted road, my mind began to wander.

Yes, I loved him. I, Duo Maxwell was totally, head-over-heels, and hopelessly in love with Heero Yuy. Totally in love and having no doubts that it was a lost cause. Hn, what would he want with me when he had some rich, pretty and obsessed with him girl such as Relena-ojousan? She could give him everything and he had already told me what happened three months ago when he'd saved her by extending the huge hand of Wing to block falling rubble.

That I think speaks for itself. Mr. I-show-no-emotion-Yuy actually saving a civilian when he didn't have any idea that she was Princess Peacecraft of the Sanc Kingdom. The ojousan, I can tell, has already had her sights on him for months, and I can't blame her. He was her savior, her knight in shining armor and her 'hero', drop-dead gorgeous and perfect. Everything a girl could want and then some.

But what I wouldn't give to tell him... to tell him everything. I laughed. Yeah right! He'd probably punch my face in in the best-case scenario... and I did *not* want to think of the worst one. Shaking my head I sped the car up, I'd had this conversation with myself dozens of times and each time I had always come to the invariable conclusion. I valued his friendship too much to risk it for that tiny, minute possibility that he just might return my feelings. But that didn't mean I couldn't hope.

There were many times when I could have read between the lines and taken something Heero had done for me to mean what I'd wanted it to mean. So many opportunities when he had done something he wouldn't ever do in anyone else's presence. Such as smile, laugh - if only slightly - and be my friend. Only a friend. There were so many times, but even though I had let them go, one by one as they came, all that had done was to fan the small flame of hope that was growing in me. Then everything had crashed down on me when he'd rushed to me after the mission and helped me out, eyes rapidly checking me over for more wounds. I'd felt a warmth then. Those usually icy cobalt irises had held a sliver of something I hadn't seen before, something warm... and something I could tell Heero was coming to accept. What it was, I didn't know... but it was nice to hope.

Sighing, I watched the first rays of the rising sun slant up over the horizon and illuminate the dark sky. At the same time, the large open grounds of the school they were enrolled in became visible over the next hill. I was already dressed in my uniform, ready for a first day and my small duffel bag beside me. It was time to once again resume my role... the role I'd been playing since three months ago when I'd first met him.

I'd be the jokester, the ever-cheerful Grim Reaper and the annoying roommate. I'd hide everything as I had always done and hope that Heero finally decides if his place in the world is with Relena when the war was over. If not, then perhaps I had a chance... If yes... then I'd be happy for him.

I snickered. Happy. What a pathetic word.

Have you ever been in love, been in love so bad
You'd do anything to make them understand?
Have you ever had someone steal your heart away
You'd give anything to make them feel the same?

Duo slung his duffel bag on one shoulder and grinned at the balding principal before snatching his file of class schedules and other information off the desk and walked out of the office. He'd arrived late on purpose so as to give the students time to filter out, and not to seem so suspicious that he'd arrived early on his first day. Grinning his trademark grin, Duo walked towards the dorms in high spirits. He'd been able to catch two hours of sleep and was feeling much more refreshed and ready to tackle a day of school... as much as he hated classes.

Reaching the door to his room, Duo smirked. He hadn't needed to check which room he was in, he'd been careful to fix that when he'd hacked into the school's files to enrol. He knew his roommate already and was pretty sure that that roommate was out of the room at the moment. He'd tried to get into as many classes as possible with Heero but today, he wouldn't see him till the end of the day. Which suited him just fine, it would give him time to reinstate the mask that had fallen into disuse after three days.

Opening the door, Duo chuckled. Typical Heero. The bed was made with military neatness and the papers and books stacked on the desk was in neat piles while the laptop consumed the middle of the desktop. Rolling his eyes, Duo threw his duffel on his bed and jumped on it, relaxing for a moment before thinking to open his file and see what class he had.

Physics. Joy.

Sighing and then gathering his books, Duo made his way out the door and towards the main buildings. He'd get to class... *after* a trip to the cafeteria.

Heero was exhausted. After at least three sleepless nights, long days of school and no adrenaline that gave him the alertness he experienced while on a mission, he was utterly exhausted. Dumping his books on the desk, he fell into his bed, not even bothering to switch on his laptop and buried his head in the pillow. He'd need a heavy dose of sleeping pills if he wanted any sleep tonight.

It was only then that he caught the sounds of the shower running in the bathroom. Cracking open one eye, he looked around and saw that a duffel bag had been thrown haphazardly on the other bed. Damn! He had a roommate. He didn't want a roommate! He only wanted one person and that person was off repairing his gundam. Groaning inwardly, Heero turned on his side when the bathroom door opened, hoping that the other person would just leave him alone. All thoughts fled his mind and his eyes popped open at the voice that penetrated his thoughts.

"Ch', Heero Yuy slacking off.... I never thought I'd see the day..." A chuckled followed the comment as Heero pushed himself upright and stared into those same smirking, beautiful violet-blue eyes that had been haunting him. Only this time, a heart-shaped face and rippling waves of unbound, wet, chestnut hair accompanied the image, reassuring Heero that this was not a hallucination.


The grinning face fell, "Oi! What kind of a welcome is that?" Duo smiled again and bounced over to his duffel bag. So distinctly his now that Heero looked at it more closely. Rummaging through the bag, Duo pulled out his brush and sat down on the bed pulling the brush through his hair with gentle strokes.

Heero finally found his voice, "What are you doing here?"

Duo eyed him through the curtain of hair, "What do you think? Going to school!" He laughed, "Please don't tell me that the great Heero Yuy doesn't know what one does at a school now ne?"

Heero glared, face becoming emotionless again, "How're the injuries?"

Duo brushed a hand over his bare torso at the large purple mark and winced, "Still hurts but I can live with it... wrist's fine."


"Would I leave my precious Shinigami without restoring it to its original glory?" Violet eyes shined out at him and Heero snorted. More from anger at his own lack of control than real annoyance.

"Ne Heero?"


Duo cocked his head at him as if studying him intently and then said, "You look like hell."

Heero started. Of course, why wouldn't Duo notice? Everybody else had, Duo was the only one though who was loud enough to speak about it. And god knows he felt like hell, why shouldn't he look like it?

"Couldn't sleep..."

Amaryllis eyes narrowed, "More than one night I bet."

The second time in as many minutes, Heero was startled. Why was he such an open book to the boy in front of him? Everything he didn't put a conscious effort into masking, Duo had seen, clear as day. Unable to do anything, Heero shrugged, "Aa..."

Duo studied him for a few seconds more and then shrugged himself, pulling his hair back and quickly braiding it. Then he bounced up and proceeded to pull some clothes on, all the while keeping up the mindless chatter that Heero'd learned to live with and ignore. But this time, a small smile turned his lips as he watched the braided boy that bounced around the room, ignoring the talk. Until one question penetrated his thoughts.

"Yo... has Relena-ojousan visited yet?"

Heero's face stiffened, "Iie... why?"

Duo turned to face him, sitting on the bed and leaned against the wall, grinning like an idiot. "Nothing... just you know... she has a knack for finding you."


Duo grinned, "Awwww, c'mon Heero... she's absolutely gone on you, the least you could do is show her you noticed!"

"Why would I want to do that?"

Duo grimaced, "Heero, have you ever thought about after the war?"

Heero was silent, cobalt eyes glittering and Duo had no choice but to go on, "After the war, Relena could be your only chance at happiness... you should at least figure out how you feel about her before you continue to brush her off... 'cause one day she's not going to come back..."

Heero cocked his head. "I don't... like... her."

Duo chuckled, "Did you give it much thought?" Then those eyes flashed with cheekiness, "Or could it be that Mr. Perfect-Soldier-Yuy's heart already belongs to some other beautiful, psychotic and suicidal girl?" The smile turned teasing, "Ne? Ne Heero? Neee~~e??" Laughing, Duo fell side ways and began to chuckle uncontrollably.

Heero glared, "Duo - " he stopped. Now was the perfect time to tell him. To tell him all that had run through his mind those sleepless nights when all he'd been able to do was see Duo's perfect face in his mind's eye and imagine what would happen when he told him. The best one was when Duo smiled at him sadly and told him that it could never happen. The worst would be if Duo gave him such a look of hatred and contempt that he walked right out and slammed the door, shattering Heero's heart. Why, oh why did he let Duo in? Into that place inside him which felt emotion and was so fragile inside the casing of what he had thought were impenetrable walls.

Why would Duo like a cold bastard like him anyway? He wasn't anything like him. Where Duo was open, he was closed off; where Duo was laughing, he was glaring; where Duo was warmth and light, he was cold and darkness. They were nothing like each other... it would never work.

Heero shook his head and stood up, "Let's go... dinner's soon..."

Duo rolled upright and grinned at him, "Iku zo!! I'm starved!" A blur of black and chestnut whirled past him and Duo's braid was flapping down the hall. Shaking his head, Heero closed the door and walked after the boy who would probably never know the depth of feeling he held for him...

Have you ever searched for words
To get you in their heart?
But you don't know what to say
And you don't know where to start?

Stretching his arms over his head, Duo looked up from pouring over his books at his desk, which already looked like a pig's sty. Books and papers were everywhere, in stark contrast to Heero's neat desk beside him. Looking out the corner of one eye, Duo saw that Heero was sweeping the keyboard with his fingers as usual, face expressionless but illuminated by the glow of the screen that cast a soothing light over the flawless features. Glancing down at his own homework, Duo grinned. This was probably the only time he'd bother with the homework, just to make a good impression.

A few minutes later, Heero turned off the laptop and stood up, shocking Duo out of solemn and silent contemplation while staring at Heero's profile. Indigo eyes widened before that jaunty smile plastered itself over Duo's face again, "All done Heero?"


Duo stood up quickly and flopped himself onto his bed, tucking his arms under his head, "Me too... I'm calling it a night... Oyasumi..."

Heero gave him a quick nod and disappeared into the bathroom. A minute later, the sound of the shower turning on reached Duo's ears and he sighed. Sitting up and changing into his white sleeping tee, Duo burrowed under the covers before letting his thoughts voice themselves again.

Being here with Heero was like coming home, he was so familiar with this routine that it was a second nature. Sure, Heero wasn't the greatest company but Duo had made it his mission to try to read every single non-expression that Heero's face undertook and so far, his mental dictionary was sufficient for the time being. When he'd mentioned Relena before dinner however, an unknown look had flickered briefly across Heero's face before that 'I'm getting pissed off' look had taken over, it was puzzling to say the least.

Unable to fall asleep easily with his thoughts swimming through his mind, Duo lay awake until the sounds from the bathroom stopped and a rectangle of light was cast into the small dorm room as Heero opened the door.

"You're still awake," was the one sentence from Heero as he pulled on his tank top and shorts and sat on the bed, eyes intent on the heart-shaped face that was framed by masses of honey-tinted chestnut.

Duo grinned in the darkness and opened his eyes, "Can't really sleep."

Heero cocked his head, waiting for him to go on.

"Seems like I should be able to after only sleeping ten hours in the last seventy two but, I don't know, maybe I have too much on my mind..." Duo smiled wistfully as he fumbled with the covers, making sure Heero didn't see the expression. Too much Heero on his mind to be able to sleep...

Heero's eyes glinted in the dim moonlight and the soft deep voice said, "Want to talk about it?"

Duo laughed, "You? Want me to talk about it? Forget it Heero, you wouldn't wanna hear all my problems anyway."

Heero felt his voice give in to the gentleness that always came when he was alone with Duo, "I'm serious."

Duo chuckled again, "Since when are you not?" He shook his head on the pillow and replied, "Nah... don't worry about it Heero. Nan demo nai..."

In the dark, Heero frowned. Duo usually found any and every chance to talk and yet here he was being offered the chance and turning it down. Something was wrong. "Duo...?"

Duo turned away, he couldn't take this. Already 'Heero' was too permeated on his thoughts and all he could think of, any more and Duo couldn't promise that he would be able to keep his mouth shut. All he wanted to do was to yell and rail at the beautiful Japanese boy seated on the bed on the other side of the room. Yell about his feelings, his needs and rail at the unfeeling Wing pilot's density when it came to emotions. Why had he thought it'd be a good idea to come here now? Heero certainly hadn't expected him and he could have just stayed at the cavern he'd stowed Deathscythe, and gotten better sleep for it without a pair of steel blue eyes boring into his back.

Actually, thinking back, scratch that last thought.

Burying himself deeper into the sheets, Duo felt irritation take over, "I said don't worry!"

Those words hurt. Heero flinched slightly and then wondered why he had when no bullet had ever achieved such a basic reaction from him. Cobalt eyes steeled and he glared, "Fine." With that he laid down and covered himself with sheets, closing his eyes and gradually feeling the welcome oblivion of sleep come almost within reach. But still, sleep eluded him and he lay awake, listening to the sounds of Duo's breathing across the room.

Duo closed his eyes and felt the frustration in him recede with the self-control that he had somehow lost along the way. He couldn't keep up the jokester mask anymore... not around Heero. Perhaps it was the strangely warm light when Heero had helped him from the wreck of Deathscythe, perhaps it'd been when he thought he'd heard Heero scream his name as Deathscythe had plummeted from the sky. Whatever it was, it had taken his resolve to keep his feelings from Heero from him and now he was left defenseless against the emotions that threatened to overwhelm him. He never should have come...

A trail of something wet running down his cheek startled him out of his thoughts and he quietly brought a hand up to wipe it away. Tears... Something that had become alien to him ever since he could remember but they were a welcome relief from the thoughts that had begun to plague him. Curling in on himself, Duo concentrated on the unfamiliar feeling of tears running down his cheeks as the empty thoughts gradually led him into fitful sleep.

Have you ever loved somebody so much it makes you cry?
Have you ever needed something so bad you can't sleep at night?
Have you ever tried to find the words but they don't come out right?
Have you ever, have you ever?

A running commentary flew from Duo's mouth as he twisted and swerved out of the paths of the oncoming defenders. "And it's Duo Maxwell ladies and gentlemen, carving up a line down the center of the court... he leaps for the winning point... and dunks it!" Duo landed after hanging for a second off the hoop and grinned broadly.

His teammates came up to congratulate him and he accepted their praise with laughter and modest comments while Heero had gone to retrieve the basketball. Casting a glance at Heero's slightly stiff shoulders and back, Duo sighed but then turned as a girl came up to offer him a bottle of water. Duo grinned at her and grimaced to himself when he almost saw the girl swoon and took a long gulp before tossing the bottle to another boy at his side. Another girl came up and soon, he had a whole group hanging on his every word and offering him items that ranged from towels to concert invitations.

Duo plastered his most flirtatious grin on his face and laughed at the appropriate intervals. Though he would probably pride himself on his flirting techniques, there was only one person he really wished they would work on but probably had absolutely no chance with.

Heero, on the other side of the court watched Duo in his circle of admirers with a bristling possessiveness that he was struggling to cope with. Even after only a day, Duo had managed to get such a cult of girls following him that they were unable to go anywhere without at least one of them coming up to him. It wasn't as if he didn't have his own circle of followers. But while they watched him from afar, Duo was much easier to approach and talk to, that he couldn't deny.

Perhaps that was for the best. He had no claim on the bright eyed braided boy and Duo had been tense with him every time they'd been alone since last night's terse exchange. Duo had refused to open up to him last night and he wondered if he deserved the American's friendship, let alone what he was hoping for...

Shaking himself out of his thoughts, Heero glanced back at the circle of girls and then met Duo's eyes. From this distance, Heero couldn't accurately read the expression in those violet-blue depths but he thought he'd caught a semblance of hopeless longing before those eyes were wrenched away as if caught doing something that was forbidden.

Raising an eyebrow, Heero pondered Duo's behaviour until a piercing female voice reached his ears on the wind. "Heero!! I've found you again at last!"

Heero clenched his teeth. And to add to his problems, this was one person on the whole of the Earth and its colonies that he *didn't* want to see. Stiffening his shoulders, he turned away from where the voice was coming from and walked towards the crowd that had looked up to see who had called. The pattering of small feet on concrete reached his ears but Heero continued to walk, stopping only when he was on the fringe of the crowd that had gathered on the basketball courts.

"Heero! Matte kudasai!"

As the small blonde girl wheeled into view, waving her arm above her head, one of the larger boys grinned and clapped Heero on the shoulder, eyes being riveted on the approaching girl, missing the glare that Heero tossed him. "I think your girlfriend's coming Heero-kun!"

"Whoa... nice catch..."

Another wolf-whistled, "You've got taste Heero-kun..."

Amidst quiet words of praise and envy from the boys as they stared at the incoming girl, the girls had visibly deflated at the thought of Heero having a girlfriend before either continuing to vie for Duo's attention or staring the newcomer down, trying to discern her positive attributes.

Duo kept his eyes down or glancing at the girls surrounding him, not wanting to see the one person who probably occupied Heero's heart.

Relena Darlian Peacecraft reached the gathering and stood on the edge, facing Heero with a beatific smile, "Hello Heero..."

Heero glared and smirked slightly when he saw the smile on Relena's face wilt before it came back full force. Nodding perfunctorily, Heero muttered a quiet "Yo" before looking away.

Relena looked defeated but then noticed the group of boys standing on either side of Heero, gazing at her. Smiling gracefully, Relena gave a small curtsy and said, "Konnichi wa, minna-san."

The boys stammered and reached for a reply for the girl before the large boy, the obvious leader, grinned wolfishly and commented, "I don't think Heero-kun feels comfortable with all of us here. Perhaps we could leave now... and leave them alone for some quality time?"

The boys and girls laughed before smiling at the pair and whispering words of encouragement before drifting off.

Heero gazed after them, searching desperately for the one person that had kept Relena at bay for him most of the times that she'd found him at one of the boarding schools. But the boy with the long chestnut braid was moving off, surrounded by giggling girls. The light-hearted laughter ringing out over the space separating them as the sound moved further and further away. Duo didn't even look back.

Heero felt his heart sink as he stared at Duo's retreating back before once again shaking his thoughts and reinforcing the cold mask and turning back to Relena. With a piercing glance, he growled, "What are you doing here?"

Relena's smile faltered at the dangerous glint in Heero's eyes, "I came to find you Heero..."

"You've found me, now leave," was the cold reply.

Relena struggled to keep up her smile and said, "We really need to talk Heero... now..."

Heero stayed silent, fists clenched at his side as he wondered the reaction he would cause if he just turned and walked away. Then remembering that the girl had a very loud voice, decided against it.

Relena took Heero's silence as his acceptance and grinned dotingly, "Perhaps somewhere more private...?" Reaching for him, Relena latched her hands on Heero's arm only to be shaken off. Casting a hurt look at Heero, Relena began walking towards the small copse of trees a few meters away and grinned again when Heero followed.

Stopping in the middle of a small clearing, Relena turned to face Heero and stepped closer, bringing herself within arm's distance to the silent Japanese boy. Her blue eyes tilted up as they caught at his hard dark sapphire ones and for a second, just gazed into them, mesmerized by the darkening shades as the sun began to set on the horizon.

Heero stood unmoving, silently glaring but then the hard expression was wiped off his face when his vision misted slightly. A pair of sparkling indigo-violet eyes filled with mischief and laughter gazed up at him from under jagged chestnut bangs instead of the azure eyes he was confronted with. The full, round face of the girl in front of him was replaced with the lean and heart-shaped one of someone not there. The small smiling lips were replaced with more sensual ones open in a wide, captivating grin.

Cocking his head, Heero felt an unfamiliar expression come over his face as he slowly lifted his right hand to Relena's face, eyes fixated on her but looking through her instead at something that wasn't there.

Relena grinned when the unguarded look flash across Heero's face and she caught the movement of his hand as light, callused fingers brushed across her cheek. "Heero... I love you."

Heero's eyes focused at the sound of the voice and they widened before he immediately dropped his hand.

Have you ever found the one you've dreamed of all your life
You'd do anything to look into their eyes?
Have you finally found the one you've given our heart to
Only to find that one won't give their heart to you?

Duo walked along with the group, responding courteously to the girl who had apparently said something funny and was giggling like mad. Another girl on his left kept her eyes on him in what he supposed she called a smoldering glance but laughed inwardly at the pathetic attempt. That is, he would have laughed, if all his senses weren't focused on the feeling of a pair of eyes boring into his back. A pair of eyes he was certain he knew, their cobalt depths forever imprinted in his flawless memory.

Feigning some minute discomfort, Duo laughed and reassured the concerned expressions that had appeared on the girls' faces and made his escape. Walking away, he gazed at the setting sun for a few seconds before continuing towards the trees that surrounded the basketball courts. He needed to think.

He wondered if Heero would actually tell Relena what he thought of her because sooner or later, Heero would probably stay with Relena. She could make him happy... and despite Heero's nature to run from his emotions, Relena was certainly determined enough to succeed in keeping after him until he could no longer deny his feelings. Especially when the war ended and there was no more killing to do.

He wondered what *he* would do. Probably go back to the colonies and see what he could scrounge for himself. Inwardly he laughed bitterly. He was born into a war and lived in a war his whole life. A life filled with pain and anguish and a life where killing was the only way one could survive. But it had been the only life he'd known and he still couldn't imagine a day when he would no longer have to climb into the cockpit of Deathscythe on some suicidal mission that came in the form of an email over the net. Still couldn't imagine a day when he would no longer need to carry a gun or at least knives every time he walked out of his room. The only thing he could imagine of life without the war was the image of himself, walking laughingly down crowded streets filled with peaceful people and the hand of a sullen Japanese boy held tightly in his own.

What a dream...

"Heero... I love you."

Cobalt eyes snapped into focus with shock and the hand that had touched her face with care suddenly dropped with speed. The hard light once again crept into Heero's eyes and Relena frowned at the sudden change of expression.

"What did you say?" Heero's blazing eyes burned into hers and she flinched back. What had happened to the Heero that for a minute had surrendered to her vow of love?

"I... I love you Heero..." Relena stammered, eyes riveted on the startling change in Heero's face.

Heero stepped back and leveled chilling prussian blue eyes on the astonished face of Relena. In a quiet, icy tone, five words were whispered that shook Relena to the bone. "Get out of my life."

Tears welled in Relena's eyes and she croaked, "Heero...?"

Heero didn't reply, only stared at her with the promise of violence in his eyes and the way the clenched fists shook as they turned white at the knuckles.

"Why...?" That single word came out as a plea.

Heero laughed bitterly, "What do you know of love Relena? You convince yourself that you are in love with me and yet you haven't the foggiest idea what love is. All you feel is an obsessive curiosity that has to be satisfied by the possession of the item in question. In this case, me."

Relena quivered and the first of the tears welled over in her eyes. "Heero... you know that's not true... I could help you... I could take you away from the pain - "

Heero cut her off, "Leave Relena... you could never own me... or hope to understand something that you refuse to acknowledge even exists. Go back to your political games of cat and mouse."

Relena tried for one last stand as she stared into Heero's uncaring eyes, "Heero... you can't mean that... you..."

"I don't love you Relena. I never will."

Relena gasped and rapidly searched Heero's face for any signs of falsified emotions but found none. Heero's unmoving face was a mask of indifference and suppressed anger, so totally unlike the touch of warmth that had clouded his eyes when he had caressed her cheek only a few moments before. She reached for him in a last desperate plea, her heart shattered but still worn on her sleeve for the Wing pilot to take. Her words had already failed her, she prayed that her actions would be enough.

Surely he loved her... He was just afraid of being hurt again. She just needed to make sure that he knew she would never leave him, never allow him to again experience the anguish and torment that had been his life up until now.

Heero gritted his teeth and stared the diminutive girl before him down before stepping away from her outstretched arm. He was a pawn of the war and she was one of the keys towards the fulfillment of peace. He would protect her... but never love her... He loved only one and for perhaps the first time in his life, he felt the raw, urgent need to tell the boy that he loved his feelings... He loved him... he needed him.

Relena gasped at Heero's movement and as the shock wore through her system, she let out a sob before turning to run into the woods, tears streaming from her cheeks.

Heero watched with detachment until her retreating back disappeared in the thickness of the trees. Then he tilted his face up to the setting sun and allowed its golden rays to play over his face. He needed to find Duo...

A crashing in the underbrush alerted Duo to the presence of another and he was instantly on his feet with his gun in hand. Violet eyes darted around the trees to find the source but revealed nothing in the dying rays of the sun. Duo narrowed his eyes.

When sobbing accompanied the rapidly approaching footsteps however, Duo's brow creased in a frown and he put his gun away before turning to face the direction the crying girl was coming from.

Before he could react, a petite body with flowing blonde hair crashed into his arms and he instantly closed them to keep both he and the girl on balance. The girl sagged in his arms as he regained his equilibrium and violet eyes widened as they gazed on the girl in his arms.


Relena snapped her head up to meet the violet gaze of Deathscythe's pilot and then wrenched herself away from him before continuing her crashing towards the way she had come fifteen minutes earlier.

Duo gazed after her in astonishment, the trail of her tears on her cheeks flashing before his eyes as well as the deep hurt and pain scrawled in those azure eyes. What could have made Relena cry like that? He remembered when he'd held her at gun point when she'd protected his real target and she hadn't even flinched then. In fact, she'd berated him for his defending her and instead turned to see to Heero's wounds - Heero!

Cursing, Duo took off in the direction Relena had come as a single thought reverberated in his mind.

Heero... what have you done now...?

Have you ever closed your eyes
And dreamed that they were there?
And all you can do is wait
For that day when they will care?

Crashing sounds of rapid feet pounding along the forest floor distracted Heero from his silent contemplation of the setting sun. Turning instantly, he tensed and waited for the person to reveal himself. He did not want to risk pulling a gun out on anyone in this school.

The sounds became louder and finally a slender figure in the school's regulation shirt burst through the surrounding lines of trees and stumbled to a halt in front of him, violet eyes staring into his own. Heero's eyes widened as the pair stared at one another, Duo panting while Heero was motionless.

Neither said a word until finally, Duo released a great breath and a spark of indignation flared in those expressive eyes. "What did you do Heero?"

Heero cocked his head in silent question and Duo glared, "You know exactly what I'm talking about Heero. What did you do to Relena?"

Heero frowned, his brows knitting together in annoyance and the confusion he refused to show at Duo's concerned tone when he spoke about Relena. "Nan demo nai..."

Duo threw up his hands, "Like hell you didn't Heero! Tell me, why would she be running blind through the woods, crying, if nothing happened?"

Shrugging Heero replied, "It's none of my business."

"Yeah? Well I damn well think it's your business!" Duo was getting mad now... though perhaps not for the reasons Heero thought. He was mad, not because of the fact that Relena had obviously been hurt, but because Heero was throwing away his one chance at happiness. "She cares about you, you moron! And before you go throwing something as precious as the care someone could have for you away, you'd better think about what you're missing."

Duo stopped and his mind invariably flitted back to the days when the caring someone had for him had been torn away. That was okay, he had had no choice then, it made life a lot easier to know that they *had* cared for him. But Heero... he was throwing away the one thing that could probably help him lead a normal life after killing and suicidal missions had been dispensed with, not needed. He was throwing away the one thing that could probably save his humanity.

Heero crossed his arms, the glare still sitting on his face but his heart suddenly constricting at the pained expression that had crossed Duo's face when he mentioned 'care'.

Duo quieted, "You need her Heero. You need someone to care for you, to show you love. To show you what life is like without war, death and missions. She can give you all that... why throw the chance away?"

*And there's only one person I want Duo... can't you understand that?* Heero silently thought, watching with morbid interest as the spark of life receded from Duo's eyes leaving what was sadness and grief at the memories that he had so obviously wanted to keep at bay. Heero knew the look well. It was one he often bore when the thought of a pair of big blue eyes and the bright yellow sunhat and puppy came into his mind, unbidden. 'Ne Niichan, are you lost?' But Duo had never shown this side to anyone.

While he was schooled in the emotionless expressions as Trowa was, Heero knew that for someone who knew him as well as Duo did, he could easily detect what kind of mood Heero was in unless he put in a conscious effort to mask his feelings. Duo however, hid his emotions behind carefully erected barriers of happiness and laughter, something much harder to penetrate than the emotionless ones that could still show small signs of change. Whatever Duo wanted to hide, it stayed hidden until Duo thought he was alone and that was when the mask would break open.

He'd heard the small sharp intakes of breath last night coming from the other bed. Could hear when Duo curled in on himself and rocked himself lightly to fitful sleep. Could hear the whines and minute whimpers that emitted from the closed mouth as the long-haired boy tossed and turned during the night, caught up in dreams that were so obviously not pleasant.

Many times during the night, Heero had contemplated getting out of bed and waking the American but decided against it because like himself, Duo disliked showing weakness... perhaps why he was so good at hiding it. He runs and he hides... runs from his emotions and hides them like all of us... But he never lies... no, Duo never lied. He might keep hidden the truth that he does not want to show but he never lied when it came down to telling what was on his mind.

Darkening indigo eyes pinned him in a weighty stare, "She needs you Heero... and you need her. Don't throw away the one chance you have. I told you once to always choose life... and you believed me then... I'll tell you again now, always choose life while you can, because who knows what will happen next? If you die on the next mission, at least she can rest easy knowing that you do love her. And at least you would know what it felt like to be loved... I - "

Duo shook his head, refusing to continue that line of thought. He'd probably overstepped his boundaries already. Heero never took easily to orders or even directions, he hated being controlled and would probably tell him so after a good punch to the gut or the face. But the image of Relena's tearstained face came back and though he only slightly sorry for the girl, Heero - well, needless to say, he was very interested in Heero's welfare.

"Go after her Heero... she probably hasn't left yet." Duo managed a small smile and locked gazes with Heero once more, "She needs your support and you need her love..."

Heero growled despite himself, "What would you know about my needs?"

Duo laughed, "Everyone needs love once in their life Heero... if only to know what they're missing once that love is gone and can't be replaced..."

Heero cocked his head to the side, detecting a small wistful tone in the normally loud, boisterous voice. "And you?"

Startled indigo eyes turned to him, "Me?" he laughed. "I've known love Heero... been loved and felt love. And also had it torn from me so now that I've experienced it, I know the pain of never being able to look into those eyes again and know that there was a small portion of love that was for me and me alone."

Heero held his breath. Duo...

Lifting his downcast face, Duo silently stared into heavy cobalt eyes and smiled wanly, still suppressed in his memories. "Go Heero... she probably still hasn't left yet. Go to her... you need someone in your life that could give you the love everyone deserves..." With that and a heavy heart, Duo turned and walked back to the dorms, preparing to pack and leave as soon as he'd gotten there. He expected to hear footsteps walking away from the place he'd left, running back to Relena who no doubt was still in the ghastly pink limo waiting to see if her knight in shining armor would come back to her.

A hard hand descended on his shoulder and he was forcefully turned around. Shock colored his eyes and he glared, "What is your problem Heero?" A pair of hard prussian eyes bore into his retinas and he gulped when they seemed to come closer, an unfamiliar look buried deep in their sapphire depths. Shit, he was going to get it now... he'd be lucky if he survived Heero's wrath with something less than a few broken bones.

Swallowing hard again, Duo struggled to get words out of his mouth as his hands feebly pushed against Heero's chest. But Heero had always been stronger and soon the eyes had moved to close to focus on.

Violet eyes widened as hot breath wafted past his open lips and a single sentence hung in the air. "What if the only one I need is you Duo?"

Then a warm suppleness was pressed against his lips and he felt a gentle and caressing hand come up to cup his face. Shocked but managing to close his eyes, Duo surrendered to the overwhelming sensations that were radiating from the point of contact at their lips. This was something he'd never dreamed to have and now, never wanted to let go.

Heero was kissing him.

What do I gotta do to get you in my arms?
What do I gotta do to get in your heart?
To make you understand how I need you next to me
Gotta get you in my world 'cause baby I can't sleep

The kiss lengthened and all Heero could think about was the familiar yet heady sensations that roiled in him like ocean waves. Kissing Duo was like coming home and the American's eager participation the welcoming arms filled with warmth. His fingers traced feather-light patterns on the braided boy's face as answering slender arms reached up to wrap around his waist.

Duo concentrated on the heat radiating from Heero's lips to his own and wondered if this was another of the many dreams he'd had comprising of he and Heero in just such positions. But that thought shattered as a small flicker of a wet tongue ran along his lower lip. Duo whimpered slightly and then opened his mouth, allowing entrance to Heero's questing tongue.

After a few moments, the two broke apart though Heero never let go of Duo's braid which he conveniently clutched in one fist. Both were breathing hard but when Duo raised his eyes, confusion once again reigned and a slight frown creased his brow, "Heero..."

Heero stared into the wide all-too-expressive violet eyes and said, "I'm serious Duo... What if the only one I need is you?"

Duo tried to step away but still encompassed in Heero's iron hard hold, a guarded look coming into his eyes, "Honto...? Are you sure Heero?"

"Aa..." Heero nodded, tightening his arms about the one thing that had begun to mean more to him than an ally in a war that seemed never-ending, willingly drawing Duo closer.

Managing a small still uncertain smile, Duo once again wrapped his arms around Heero's waist and laid his forehead on Heero's shoulder. After a few seconds whispering, "What about Relena...?"

Heero frowned but when Duo lifted his head in apprehension, replied, "She's nothing compare to you... She could never understand what we go through before, during and after a mission. She could never even comprehend the pain or anguish we go through Duo... You - " Heero cut off when he saw a wide grin break out on Duo's face. "Nani?"

Duo chuckled, the laughter coming back into the indigo eyes that had so recently been filled with an emptiness that could never belong there. "Do you know how long I've hoped Heero?" Duo ruefully shook his head, "I always wondered if I should tell you but... I was so afraid I'd ruin our friendship, you meant too much to me if you hated me after I'd said it... And then there was you and Relena... You seemed to like - "

Duo blinked big eyes above the strong hand that had covered his mouth and gazed right into Heero's burning cobalt eyes. "Never Duo... she's someone we have to protect... for the sake of peace. But never anything more than that..."

Duo grinned happily and Heero took away his hand before a cheeky smirk placed itself across Duo's face, "You should tell that to her..."

Heero glared, "Duo, omae o kor - "

Before he could get the threat out, Duo had effectively silenced him with a kiss, arms clung tight and hands drawing comforting circles on his back. Heero returned the kiss with intensity and after breaking contact, both were heaving for breath.

Duo leaned his forehead on Heero's and stared into the unfamiliar warmth in the prussian depths. "Heero... dai suki..."

Heero's eyes widened. This he was something he hadn't expected but had unconsciously wanted for so long. Stammering for a reply, Heero cast his eyes anywhere but at Duo and then jerked his eyes up when he heard Duo chuckle.

Darkened violet eyes glinted at him and Duo smiled, "You don't need to say it just yet Heero... I know..."

Heero cocked his head, "Honto ni?"

"Aa..." Duo nodded an affirmative and laid his head back down on Heero's shoulder, burying his face in the space between shoulder and neck.

Heero placed his chin on Duo's head and sighed, closing his eyes. "Someday Duo... I promise..."

Duo sighed under him and nodded slightly, hands continuing to trace comforting circles along his back. The two stood like that for a few minutes until a loud rumble broke the serenity of the area.

Lifting his head, Duo look guiltily down at his stomach and then up to Heero's silently glaring face. Laughing and reach for Heero's hand, Duo said, "Come on, I'm hungry... and after that basketball game, we both need a shower..."

Heero allowed himself to be pulled along and as a small smile tugged at his lips as he watched Duo's bouncing figure in front of him, he unconsciously returned the slight squeeze that Duo gave him. At this Duo smiled and continued pulling Heero along towards the dorms, completely at peace with the world for the first time... in a very long time.

Under the last rays of the sun, two figures neared the doors that led to the dormitories and voices were heard on the gentle breeze.

"Ne Heero? Does the promise mean that you won't try to pull any more suicidal stunts now?"

"Omae o korosu!"



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