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OMAE SHIKAINAI

(Only You)

PART II

Shikami Yamino


I sat by his bedside and watched him toss restlessly. I sighed softly as I reach up a gentle hand to smooth his damp bangs from his face, my other hand held tightly in his.

God, Duo... Why do you do this to yourself? Why is it you and Heero can't make it through without hurting each other so much? You love each other so much... One of the reasons why I retreated from my place between the two of you so long ago.

How many times have you called me while on your little walks after the fight, searching for a sympathetic ear? I was surprised the first time you called but after that it almost seemed routine... Funny how we two would turn out to be the best of friends especially considering our former positions. You were always there to help me when I most needed a place to rant or just relax. Listening to your outrageous jokes and watching a myriad of expressions fly across your face, I couldn't help but forget about my troubles and laugh.

But what can I do for you Duo? I can't help you with this anymore than I have...

But then I guess this time apart is good for you. It gave you time to feel what life is like without the other around, gave you a chance to see exactly how much you need one another. And I know why you chose my place. It is, after all, the one place Heero wouldn't think of looking.

Oh Duo, what am I going to do about you two...

Brushing my hand over his forehead again, I blinked as I suddenly realized something. Alarm washed through me as I cupped my hand to his cheek, feeling the clammy and unnaturally warm skin against my own.

My eyes widened.

He's burning up!


Letting myself into the apartment I'd rushed out of this morning, I fumed quietly. Stubborn baka hadn't shown himself at work today, so of course I was questioned as to the reasons. I felt a little guilty when Noin backed slowly away from me and my silent glare. It really wasn't fair to take my frustration out on her... and I'm sure my face wasn't the most comforting thing to see either.

Shutting the door behind me, I stood still in the hallway listening for the sounds of the baka. A frown began to pull on my lips when I realized that the apartment was exactly as I had left it this morning, and that there were no sounds identifying Duo's presence.

Snorting, I quashed the little worried voice in my head again. Nothing to worry about, the baka knew how to take care of himself, and he was probably just somewhere sulking about this. Shrugging my shoulders, a habit caught off Duo, I moved into the apartment to start dinner, shedding my uniform as I make a detour into the bedroom first.

The apartment seemed eerily silent as I began the process of pulling ingredients out of the fridge. Any other time, Duo would have been here, making comments about this and that as we shared the cooking duties. Shaking my head of such thoughts, I quickly went about my way.

No point thinking about the baka, he'd show himself soon.


I bit my lower lip for a moment before I consciously ordered myself to stop. Looking at Duo's pale face, stray wisps of chestnut hair plastered to his sweaty face, I had unconsciously reverted to the show of anxiety that I thought I had trained myself out of long ago. It was a habit I could ill afford, knowing my particular standings in society.

Checking the wet cloth on Duo's forehead, I blinked when I found it warm again, even though it shouldn't be surprising -- Duo was running a fever of 40 degrees Celcius. Reaching to swap the cloth for another floating in the basin of ice water beside the bed, I bit back a yelp as Duo's hand clamped onto my arm.

"... Heero..."

I sighed and rubbed his hand soothingly. "Heero's not here Duo. It's just me... You've got a fever. When you get better, we'll talk and then get Heero to come take you home ne?"

Hazy violet eyes looked at me under lowered lids before he nodded faintly. "... don't... tell..." The sentence wasn't finished before he fell into a fevered sleep again but I knew the meaning.

Don't tell Heero that he was here.


The little tendril of worry reared itself once again in my mind and this time, refused to be ignored. Sitting on the couch staring, unseeing, at the television in front of me, I was acutely aware that Duo had been gone more than twenty four hours.

Where could he have gone? He hadn't taken much when he'd left, just his wallet and keys from the table beside the door, nothing else. Not that he would be short of money since any of us could access our bank accounts from anywhere in the Earth Sphere, but he had nothing else. No clothes, no amenities, no hairbrush... I could believe that he'd rented a hotel room for the night and then spent the day wandering around town. But even I knew that he hated the thought of hotel rooms.

He liked it fine for vacations and missions but there was a spark that came into his eyes only when he entered the door of our apartment. That was the distinction. The apartment was *ours*, a precious piece of property that wasn't portable when all that we had known had been portable. It was a place to belong.

So it wasn't likely that he would stay out more than one night. By all the previous instances, he should have been back late last night, or early this morning. Maybe he'd decided to teach me a lesson this time... I could now vaguely recall that I had probably growled something hurtful first.

But he should have been back...

He would be back soon.

Kitto.

Kitto...

But it probably wouldn't hurt if I went out to look for him. Then when I found him, I could drag him back and yell at him for wor- for skipping work.

Decision made, I pulled on one of the two leather jackets hanging by the door and let myself out. Keeping a sharp eye out for any signs of a swinging braid, I was already half way down the side walk before I realized that the scent that wafted up from the leather jacket was not mine, but Duo's.

Normally, I would have turned back to get my own, but having Duo's scent around me was strangely comforting, so I shrugged and walked on, eagerly anticipating a meeting with a homeward bound baka.

He was on his way home. Kitto...


His fever had broken sometime yesterday afternoon, after which he had fallen into a deep sleep. I was glad that he'd seemed well enough today to get out of bed to come into the kitchen for breakfast, nursing only a cold. Seeing as his clothes had been drenched the night before and hadn't had a chance to be put through the dryer, I'd lent him a pair of my extra large flannel pajamas while I'd turned up the heating in the house.

It was my retreat in the little respites I'd gotten from work, and it got pretty cold around here during late Autumn. Not many people knew of this place, and fewer still were able to get past the security perimeters without alerting me and the gaggle of guards which live around the small cabin in an attempt to give me some much-needed privacy... That is, except of course, for an ex-Gundam pilot. Duo had probably skirted those out of pure habit rather than conscious thought. Instead, I'd had to call the main guard house and inform them that one of my more...security-sensitive... friends had dropped by and was staying for a while to prevent them from bursting in here guns at the ready when they sensed one extra unannounced human inside the house.

Setting coffee and a plate of pancakes in front of him and watching him attempt a smile in thanks, I returned one of my own small smiles before seating myself across from him. Watching him pick at the golden pancakes for a while, I finally found my voice. "What happened Duo...?"

He set his knife and fork down before lifting his head to look at me with dull eyes. "I don't know Lena... I never seem to remember what any of this is about anymore, only that I want it to stop..." Here, he chuckled bitterly. "I knew that if I'd gone home... it would have started all over again, and again and again. Probably until one of us killed the other..."

I bit my lip again briefly, trying not to cross the line between sympathy and pity. Duo wouldn't want anyone's pity. "He loves you Duo, you know he does."

He nodded sadly. "Yeah... I know... I love him too. But I'm beginning to wonder if love alone is enough to keep us going." He looked out the window and gazed at nature's beauty with a faraway look.

And despite my supposed 'silver tongue', I had no answer...


Morning took a long time in coming when you couldn't get to sleep. And when you wanted and expected a warm body curled next to you all night, a pillow is a poor subsitute.

I found these two things out as I continued to cling to Duo's pillow, searching for a lingering sign of him, while watching the slivers of sunlight slowly make their way across the ceiling. It was different from all the other times I'd watched the sun drift across the bedroom ceiling. And it was made different by a sorely missed warmth at my side and on my shoulder, with an arm and leg draped over me for good measure.

I couldn't find him last night. He wasn't at any of his usual places and I'd scoured practically everything in a 10km radius. None of the hotels had him registered, under any of his names, and nor had his favorite breakfast restaurant seen him in weeks.

But he had to come back... this was home. He'd impressed upon me time and time again that home was where we belonged. Not to the colonies, not to the Earth, not the the ESUN, the Preventers nor any of the numerous other parties who claimed to own a piece of the Gundam pilots. Home was in each other's presence... and a place which belonged to the both of us...

And he wasn't here.

Just when I'd finally gotten used to the idea of having a home, he took it away from me... Because he wasn't here... and that meant it wasn't home...

Where are you Duo...? Why aren't you home...?

Abruptly, I shook my head and pushed those thoughts away.

He would be back... He had to be back... He needed his home... just like I did...

And he would be back.

Mechanically, I got up out of bed and prepared for work.

He'll be back...

He will.

He will...


~ TO BE CONTINUED ~


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