I do not own the song "It's Been Awhile" or Staind. They belong to their lucky ass, fat and rich rightful owners.

It's Been Awhile

He bit his lip in thought as he contemplated the canvas in front of him. There were many others there also, who glanced briefly at what he was viewing before moving on. But Duo studied the painting further, by standing as close as possible without touching the velvet ropes. He could clearly see the paint strokes and swirls the artist made that conveyed his anger and sadness. But the only thing Duo liked about the painting was the fact that it was black. Completely, black.

“Hell, a four year-old could’ve done that,” he said to himself, scoffing a little. “Hell, *I* could’ve done that. Where’s my five hundred thousand credits?” Duo shook his head, and backed up right onto someone’s foot.

“Whoa, sorry my man. I didn’t see...Trowa!”


Both men embraced heartily as they laughed and patted each other on the back. “Oh my god, what are you doing here?”

Trowa smiled at Duo’s astonished face. “Looking at the art show. What are YOU doing here?”

“Leaving,” Duo snorted. “Some of this stuff ain’t worth the canvas it’s painted on. But god, it’s so good to see you! How long has it been?”

“Oh, it’s been a while. About six months.”

“That long? Wow. Well...what are you doing now? Is Quatre here?”

Trowa shook his head slowly, causing his long bangs to follow in a wavelike pattern. “No, I’m by myself. He was going to come, but had to bail out at the last minute.” He glanced around. “Where’s Heero?”

Duo rolled his eyes. “Relena almost got kidnapped--again, so he’s going to be on her detail for a few days. Honestly, for someone so devoted to peace, she sure has a lot of enemies.”

Trowa chuckled. “That’s how it goes, usually.”

“I guess.” He shrugged. “So Tro, are you going to walk around and find out what there is not to see here, or are you going to chow down with me? There’s this Chinese restaurant across the street. It’s early, so the buffet is probably still open!”

Duo started to exit the gallery, with Trowa close on his trail. “Do you always think about food?”

He pretended to think hard before replying, “Yup, pretty much. After all, a guy’s gotta eat. And you’re coming with me, right?”


“Then stop your bitching, especially since this is my treat. You’re too skinny any damn way.” Duo marched resolutely out the door, with Trowa in his wake. The latter couldn’t help snickering to himself. All these months later, Duo still hadn’t changed a bit.

// It’s been awhile
Since I could hold my head up high //

“Thank you,” Trowa said quietly to the waitress as she left their drinks. She smiled politely and disappeared to get their orders.

“I can’t believe this,” the braided boy began, pouring an unhealthy amount of sugar in his tea. “I mean, of all the places in space and on Earth, I run into you at an art show on L5. I guess Wufei invited you too.”

“Yeah, he did. Once he told Quatre the admission was for charity, we couldn’t refuse.”

“I know. That’s how he suckered me in.” He rubbed the back of his neck, ruefully. “He was supposed to be there too.”

“He got caught up at work. He paged me with the message when I arrived here.”

“Yeah, he paged me too. But that still doesn’t mean I can’t give him a hard time about it.”

Trowa sighed. “Duo, if he tries to kill you again, you’re done for. Zechs is not here this time to stop him.”

“Why? I don’t know why he was so upset with me before. All I did was spray beer on him.”

Trowa crossed his arms. “He was upset because you used a super soaker to spray beer on him.”


He rolled his eyes. “Then while he was taking a shower, you mashed raw beef all over the front of his pants. Wufei couldn’t figure out why the dogs kept sniffing his crotch.”

Duo smiled. “I still got the picture of him sniffing himself, when the realization finally dawned on his face. I’ve never seen him look that pissed before.” They couldn’t help but laugh at the memory, as the waitress placed their food on the table.

// It’s been awhile
Since I first saw you //

“God Tro, remember when we first met?”

He smirked as he sat his glass down. “How could I forget? You tried to cut me in half.”

“Me?! You were the one that tried to fillet my ass!”

“That’s because you attacked me first.”

“Oh, whatever! What is it with you and details?”

“What is it with you and distorting the facts? Isn’t that lying?”

“For your information, no it’s not. It’s just me exploring my creative abilities.”

“A.K.A. lying.”

“Shut up.”

// It’s been awhile
Since I could stand on my own two feet again
It’s been awhile
Since I could call you //

“You know, I’d appreciate it if you would drop me a line every once in a while so that I know you and Quatre are doing okay.”

Trowa paused, causing a piece of lemon chicken to escape from in between his chopsticks. “I couldn’t call you. It wasn’t an option. But since you brought it up, I assume you know.”

“Well, you know Dorothy is the Gossip Queen. She told me that you two were separated for a while. Everything appeared fine at the barbeque.” He stilled. “What happened?”

Trowa shrugged. “I left.”

Duo rolled his eyes. “I know that dummy. Why did you leave?”

“Because he kicked me out.”

Duo was at the point where he was about to rip his hair out by the roots. “Okay Trowa, why did he kick you out? And don’t give me ‘because he told me to leave’ or some other excuse along that line. We’ve always been truthful to each other. I want to know. Not to be nosey, but to know because I’m your friend.”

Trowa shrugged again, but averted his eyes to the tablecloth. “It was a couple of weeks after you and I...decided not to see each other anymore. I was having a hard time dealing with it. I couldn’t sleep one night and decided to wander around the estate. When the sun came up, it reminded me of the last time...it reminded me of why I hated sunrises, so I snapped. I went to our room and tore up every memory of you. I burned pictures, letters you and I wrote to each other, the lock of hair you gave me, everything. Then Quatre woke up and tried to find out what I was doing. The last picture I had in my hand was of you, that night we were at the park. You were asleep in the sandbox, and only your hair was clothing you. Afraid that he might see it, I turned and hit him.”

After a moment of silence, Trowa looked up from the table to Duo’s eyes. He knew he wouldn’t see hatred and anger, but he didn’t expect to see indifference either. “I ended up breaking his nose.” His head dropped again. “I didn’t mean to hit him that hard, but I did. Rashid was just about to kill me when Quatre told me to leave. I got a motel room for a while. Then one day, I took one of Catherine’s knives and tried to slit my throat. She caught me.” He took a sip. “She called Quatre, and everything was forgotten.” He looked back to Duo. “I’m glad she did. I was miserable without him. But now I’m able to function. I’m able to love him and at the same time cherish the memories of you. I’m able to stand on my own feet again. That’s why I couldn’t call you. I was afraid that I would break and try to get to you, ruining all of our friendships because of my weakness.”

“Trowa, we were both weak.”

“Yes, but I was weak first. If it wasn’t for my kiss, none of this would’ve gone as far as it did.”

“You don’t know that! If it wasn’t at Wufei’s party, it would’ve been somewhere else.” Duo leaned forward, lowering his voice to add urgency to his words. “Tro, we were attracted to each other. It would’ve exploded one way or another. It was just a matter of when.”

// But everything I can’t remember
As fucked up as it all may seem
The consequences that I’ve rendered
I’ve stretched myself beyond my means //

“That’s not all, Duo. You see, it almost destroyed us. *I* almost did. We kept it a secret from our lovers, and it was eating away at me. I didn’t want to lie to Quatre, but I did. I told myself that I would never lie to him. Not only that, I lied to myself, saying that I could have you both when I knew I couldn’t. And you know what, Duo?”

Duo leaned forward and placed his crossed arms on the table. “What?”

Trowa shook his head. “Because of all the lies, I’m not sure what’s true or what’s not anymore. That’s the worse of all.”

// It’s been awhile
Since I could say that I wasn’t addicted
It’s been awhile
Since I could say I love myself as well //

“So when did Heero call you?”

Trowa quickly finished off his scotch. “Two months ago. He asked if I had seen you lately, and I told him no, that I didn’t, and that was it. When I asked what was wrong, he just hung up. Quatre and I had a function to go to, so I couldn’t hang around anyway. But he said you’d been gone for a few days.”

“Yeah,” Duo said, rubbing his head. “Well, I guess I have a confession too. Where to begin. Ah, I know. I made it maybe, a month. Ha! I know. Pathetic. But anyway, I couldn’t handle it, so I started to drink. Not too bad at first. Just a little of this and that. But as time moved on, so did my tolerance level, and the little drinks weren’t doing it anymore. So, I started on the hard stuff, and eventually became a full-pledged alcoholic.” He saluted the bar with his tea. “Well, one night I was totally trashed by the time Heero came home. I was so drunk, I told him about you and me. I still can’t believe the look on his face. I’ve seen him look pissed, very pissed, and not very pissed. But I’ve never seen him hurt. He was HURT. And I couldn’t take that.”

Trowa nodded. “So he called me, thinking you’d come to see me--”

“I was coming to see you. I was going to tell you to hide or something, because Heero might try to come kill you. Or worse, that he’d tell Quatre and then you’d really be screwed. Of course, I was the dumb one, trying to get on a shuttle to tell you when all I had to do was call. God, I was trashed.” He shuddered at the memory. “But now, I’m sober. Best yet, Heero forgave me when I told him that we broke it off months before because we couldn’t live that way.”

“But have you forgiven yourself?”

He paused. “Yes.”

// It’s been awhile
Since I’ve gone and fucked things up, just like I always do
And it’s been awhile
But all that shit seems to disappear when I’m with you //

“Well, where were you? You were gone for a few days before he finally called me.”

“Yeah. I was...at the estate.”

Trowa nearly jumped out his chair. “What?! But where?”

Duo laughed. “And you thought you were the only good one at infiltration.”

“Duo, I never saw you--”

“Of course not. I made sure of it. I stayed mostly in the bushes. Whenever I was hungry, I’d go down the street to get some turkey sandwiches or something. That’s all I did for three days.”


Duo sighed. “Because it made me feel better. I wanted to be closer to you, physically. I used to think that if Heero ever found out, he’d kill me. Not because I was cheating on him, but because it was with another gundam pilot. That’s like some sacred oath or something, I don’t know. But whenever we’d meet up to do what we were going to do, I always felt better when I looked into your eyes. You were worth the risk.”


“I fucked up that night. Badly. We got away with it and I just had to screw it up. I flat out told him. So I needed the comfort again. And even though I was outside, it felt good to know that you were less than a few meters away if I really needed you.”

“What happened then? Did he come and find you?”

Duo shook his head. “No. On the fourth day, I saw you go outside to get the mail. You looked so good in your boxers and your hair all lopsided.” He chuckled softly to himself. “And I remembered that you and Quatre were separated for a while, so I didn’t want to intrude. But to see the way he launched himself at you and dragged you to the swimming pool, while the two of you laughed like you didn’t have a care in the world... I couldn’t possibly think of destroying that. So I went home, where I belonged.”

Trowa nodded, and then they continued to eat their food. Neither one said another word for the rest of the meal.

// But everything I can’t remember
As fucked up as it all may seem
The consequences that I’ve rendered
I’ve gone and fucked things up again //

It was dark outside by the time they stemmed out of the restaurant. The night breeze was cool against their skin, even as they pulled their sweaters tighter around themselves.

“Yo, do you want to share a cab? I’m going towards Stoney Island. Where are you headed?”

“I’m going Uptown.”

“Hell, it’s pointless to share a cab then.”


“God, I’m freezing my narrow ass off! I’m going to hide in the alley until one drives by.” As quickly as he could, Duo bounded into the alleyway, shielding himself against the wind by leaning on the wall. After a few moments of waiting with no luck, Trowa joined Duo in the alleyway, but leaned on the wall opposite of him.

“Don’t tell me you’re cold, Mr. I-Floated-In-Space.”

Trowa snickered. “I’m not cold, but I’m getting there.” Not thinking of anything else, he stared out into the dark, screening the streets for headlights. Another moment passed before he turned his attention to Duo, to see the boy staring at him. Neither one knew who made the first move, but that wasn’t important. They only cared that they were together, alone, in each other’s arms.

Duo finally came to his senses when he felt his back press against the asphalt ground, and broke the kiss. “Trowa, no. We can’t do this.”

Trowa rolled off of Duo and sat on the ground, dropping his face into his hands. “Shit. I screwed up again.”

Duo didn’t say anything. He only stared at the street in front of him, lost.

// Why must I feel this way //

“Why can’t I stop loving you, Trowa Barton?”

He shook his head, smiling bitterly. “Why can’t I stop thinking about you, Duo Maxwell?”

// Just make this go away //

Duo swallowed deeply before he took Trowa’s face in his hands, forcing the green-eyed boy to look at him. “We can’t be friends, can we?”

Trowa’s hoarse whisper was barely heard. “No.”

// Just one more peaceful day //

“God. This day started out so good. Why did it have to turn to shit?” The braided man now walked in a circle, waiting impatiently for a cab to come. He suddenly turned on his heels and faced Trowa. “It’ll be best if we acted like we didn’t see each other today.”

“I agree.”

“And that we don’t see each other for a while. A long while.”

He nodded. “I understand.” Duo started to walk away when a yellow vehicle pulled into view.

// It’s been awhile
Since I could look at myself straight
It’s been awhile
Since I said I’m sorry //


He turned, confused at what Trowa could possibly want. “Yeah?”

“I’m sorry.”

He smiled weakly, the amethyst eyes glazed over with tears. “I’m sorry too.” As fluidly as possible, Duo slid into the cab, whispering something to the driver as he closed the door. Trowa looked down stubbornly at his shoes, refusing to see Duo leave him again.

// It’s been awhile
Since I’ve seen the way the candles light your face
And it’s been awhile
But I can still remember just the way you taste //

“Hey, you alright?”

Duo glanced up in surprise at the driver. “Yeah, I’m okay. What’s up?”

“Nothing. Just if you need to talk, I’m all ears. People usually tell me their problems, and you look like you could get some things off your chest.”

Duo thought back to the times he and Trowa were together, about how happy they were, how they were so confident they could have each other and more. He remembered how his touches felt, how his kisses tasted, the way he moaned... “It’s probably better if I don’t say anything.”

// But everything I can’t remember
As fucked up as it all may seem to be //

“You sure? You look like someone just ripped your heart out and stomped on it right in front of your face. Was it that guy out there?”

// I know it’s me //

“Yeah, it was that guy. But it was my doing as to why things are ending the way they are. And if anyone asks, you never met me.”

“Yes sir.” The driver continued to drive for the rest of the journey, without so much as a backwards glance.

// It’s been awhile
Since I could hold my head up high //

Trowa decided to go ahead and walk back. The night air was cold, but it felt good against his hot skin. He was so happy to see Duo earlier, but now all of that was over. They were going to have to be enemies if they were going to get past this, and he was prepared to do that. It’s going to be a while, a long while, before he’ll see Duo again.

He walked on, head held high, as he thought about his new mission: get on with life. He still had Quatre, and he was not going to let him go. But if Heero knew, so should Quatre. It’s been a secret for a long while.

// And it’s been awhile
Since I said I’m sorry //