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Regret (part 3)



Quatre rubbed a glass dry and placed it in the cupboard above the sink. It hadn't taken long for him to get accustomed to the boy's kitchen and now it seemed a second home to him. Despite Duo's relentless pleas to "just him do something to help", Quatre had sent him away to have fun, get out of the house. Duo would be Duo though. Stubborn and hard headed. If he couldn't help in the house, he'd help in the yard. Quatre watched through the kitchen window as the braided boy pulled out an equally stubborn weed and was thrown back into the grass by his efforts. He laughed at himself, holding his prize high in the air before discarding it into the basket he had brought out with him. By the looks of it, the weeds had the advantage in this struggle, outrageously outnumbering the American. Duo smiled evilly and grabbed hold of his gardening shovel.

"Shinigami has come to thresh the fields. Beware his trusty scythe!" he shouted, swinging the hand held tool and plunging it deeply into the root system of yet another weed, "Ha, the God of Death has claimed yet another victim!" He pushed down on the handle of the small shovel, sending the green plant into the sky, raining dirt over him and landing promptly into the basket. His eyes widened and he cast his gaze to the window looking into the house from which he knew his friend was watching him.

"Ya see that, Quatre? What are the odds of that happening?" he shouted, wiping at his face and unconsciously smearing only more dirt onto the smooth skin.

Quatre smiled and nodded, "I don't know but I guarantee you can't do it again."

Duo laughed at the challenge, "You're on!"

The smile on Quatre's lips faded, Take it easy, Duo. You'll wear yourself out if you keep this up. he sighed, rinsing off more dishes, Then again, make use of the time you've got. His gaze fell to the counter top and from there, the picture frame sitting there. He'd moved it out of his room and into the kitchen to brighten up the black room, the yellow frame acting as the sun to the star painted surroundings. It was his favorite by far of any he'd seen taken with his friends, despite being black and white. It had been a candid shot, taken by some wide-eyed girl for the school yearbook. Heero, being Heero, had of course threatened her with a effective, "Omae o korosu" and received the whole roll of film. Quatre hadn't ever really thought about what had happened to it, but having seen it on the wall a few days ago, brought back so many happy memories. They had been relaxing on the school roof, unoccupied with extracurricular work and just meeting together for old time's sake. For the heir to the Winner enterprises though, there was no free time. He'd of course brought a book to read while the others spoke of daily rituals and girls they had met sense enrollment. He remembered Trowa leaning over slightly, reading over his shoulder some of the words on the page.


Quatre nodded, "My sister said it would help me better understand the mechanics of the business."

"Mechanics? Hell, you work a gundam! What more do you need to know that can't be learned from it's systems?" Duo shouted, leaning out over the railing.

Heero gripped him by the shoulder and pulled him away from the edge, "You want to fall off the roof?"

A stupid question. Duo smiled, "Yea, sure, why not. Always wanted to test the rules and see if the great Shinigami could fly."

Heero grunted scornfully and turned away from the pilot, "Grow up."

Wufei smirked at this, "Perhaps it is you, Yuy, who need to change. "

"That's what I'm saying!" Duo remarked before Heero could reprimand the Chinese boy, "Your way to mature for your own good! Ya need to loosen up! I tell ya what, pal, one of these days your going to be sorry you grew up so fast." He leaned one arm against his friend's shoulder, "But the day that happens, remember you've always got me to remind ya how to be a kid again."

Heero turned his face away, just in time to see the shutter close on a camera, it's flash lost in the daylight. Quatre smiled at the picture. There they stood, locked forever in a single moment in time. It wasn't posed or practiced like the other photos on the walls, it wasn't the best photography either but it captured each and every one of them at peace, relaxed and natural. This is how he wanted to remember them. Trowa with his expressive eyes looking off into nothing yet deliberate and sure. Wufei looking calm and in control, an inner peace settled across his features. Duo.. well… there never was a moment he didn't look happy, but a look of importance almost hung above him, evident in his stance and boldness to lean so on the stern Heero. Ah, now there was a face unlike any of the others. If Quatre didn't know better, he could have sworn that was regret in those prussian beauties as a small, almost invisible smile laced itself across his face.

"Hey, Quatre!"

The Arabian jumped, not expecting to here his name shouted across the room. He turned slowly and chuckled at the sight of Duo, drenched and dirty, standing in the kitchen with a puddle forming at his feet.

"Oh, Duo. I hadn't realized it was raining again."

"I wasn't," Duo blushed slightly, an embarrassed look on his heart-shaped face, "I, uh, had some trouble with the hose."

Quatre shook his head in dismay, "Only you could accomplish that, Duo. Only you, " he turned back to his neglected dish work, "No hurry up and get out of the wet things before you catch your death." He remarked absently. At hearing them, he gasped, turning back with a furry of crimson at his own cheeks.

Duo merely smiled at him, disregarding any unintended cruelty, "You're a funny man," he remarked, waving good-bye as he headed off towards his room, squishing and squashing down the hall.


"About a month… please, don't leave me… I don't want to die alone… will you always remember me this way? Happy and fun?… please, Heero! Heero!

Sweat clung to his body as Heero tossed in his sleep, sheets twisting about his legs as he struggled to free himself from those bright cobalt eyes' stare. Dying Duo leaned against a tall dark tree, one arm clutching the golden cross that hung from his pale neck and glistened in the evening light. His eyes acted as mirrors, reflecting everything his smiling face would not betray. Fear, sadness, regret. Heero blinked and turned his head but the eyes still bore into him, impressed upon the inner lids of his own. With his free hand, Duo reached out to him, "Please Heero.. don't leave me to die alone. Please. Promise me."

As if on their own accord, Heero's hand raised to touch, to grasp the pale fingers stretched out before him. Duo's smile brightened, faith and hope radiating from him, then faded as Heero drew away again.

"No, Duo. I can't make you any more promises. I don't want to hurt you when I can't keep true to them. I don't want you to hate me but I don't want you to care either. I'm not your friend. Forget me."

Duo fell back against the tree, "You will always be my friend. I can't forget. Never. I ask for nothing from you. You and the others were always my friends, unconditionally. But.I guess… I guess I shouldn't have hoped. Why would anyone want to be friends with Shinigami. Death has no friends. It only keeps company." His mouth fell into a thin line, an uncharacteristically serious face befalling him. Heero remained standing above him, one hand almost daring to touch the lost boy's shoulder, to add reassurance to the situation. Unconditionally. There is no such thing. Humans are greedy beings who want only for themselves. Your hope was a lie. You've given your life and love to everyone without return with the false hope that someone would do for you what you had bestowed upon them. The world doesn't work that way, not the real world. So what did you get in return, Shinigami? Even your so-called friends have left you to die. Neither concern nor duty bring them back, so why do you wait? Why do you stand there still, looking at me with those eyes? Because you still have faith in us. No matter how many times we kick you out, you get back up and wait at the door. Damn you. Why can't you just turn your back to us? What makes us so deserving? Damn you, Heero paused, eyes closed in thought, …and Damn me for caring.

"Duo, I-" Terror. He's gone. Heero walked once around the tree and scanned the foliage above to no avail. Gone. A soft clink, like that of a chain, turned his attention to the ground. There, pooled at the base of the tree, was the golden cross Duo loved so dearly. Where was that braided fool? How reckless to just leave such a treasure behind for any beggar to find and pawn off. Heero knelt down and tried to grasp it but it didn't budge, it's light mass clinging on to the ground below. Prussian eyes focused on the cross as it changed, almost instantly, into a stone pillar, its shape the only constant. A tombstone. Heero's hands began to shake as the brushed against the cold surface. Engraved on it's face was a simple message, no more elaborate than that of any other Heero had ever encountered on the battle field.

"In memory of the gundam pilot Zero-Two who fought for our standing peace"

No name. Heero noticed, his eyes transfixed on the marker. It's as if all he existed for was the war. No mention of friends, that devil-may-care personality and smile, not even a name for God's sake. Just a number. Is that all he was? A number? A pilot? A soldier? He stood, unable to see any more. At the very least, he deserved a name, his name. Duo Maxwell. Anything but the faceless title Zero-Two. As Heero stood, he noticed another marker. He didn't need to get closer to read its inscription. The chill originating in his chest traveled down his spine like a parade of ants.

"In memory of the gundam pilot Zero-Three who fought for our standing peace"

What?! Heero stepped back, his legs threatening to tumble out from beneath him. Then suddenly, they did. Heero found himself falling, backwards over yet another stone pillar, the same shape and size as the others. His eyes fixed on the headstone and froze. In memory of.. Zero-One… Five tombstones, single file and chronologically ordered, One through Five, each no different from the next. What… what dose this all mean?"

With a short gasp, Heero launched himself forward in bed, assuming a sitting position immediately. His hands clawed at the fabric about him, eyes wide with understanding and fear. That dream… I understand…. He threw his legs off the side of the bed and stood, marching immediately to his desk and turning on his lap top. Soon, the soft green glow engulfed the blackness in his room, shedding an eerie light over everything contained in it. It had been nearly two weeks sense he had left the house of the hill and it's cheerful occupant. The dreams, or rather dream, had begun soon after. It never changed but it never ceased to surprise him. No matter how many times Duo disappeared, no matter how many times his crucifix became his tombstone, no mater how many times her read that cursed inscription, it still surprised him, leaving him wide awake and curious as to it's meanings. Part of him wanted to believe it was a sign of Duo's failing health and the urgency of his return to him. The stronger whole though cast it away, believing more in the mission at hand than dreams and signs. For the first time sense the dreams had begun though, it made sense. Frightening sense. I know what you're trying to tell me now. It's us. The whole damn universe knows of us but the only ones who really know us are ourselves. We are all we have. That's why Duo cares so much, why he waits for us unconditionally. We are all he's got and he knows it's the same for us. Heero gazed at the monitor of his laptop, eyes squinting against morning vision. Thee words were blurry and illegible. He turned his head and viewed the small digital clock on the bedside table. Too early for work and too late for sleep. Not that he was in any hurry to revisit his dream world. He looked at his left palm and traced the thin scar there with his eyes. Our dream... With few hours of darkness left, Heero rested his head against his arms and thought back to a happier time when such dreams did not exist. A single day from his memories came back, everything about it so vivid and perfect. He would always remember how on this day, the rain had sounded like laughter and tasted of tears.

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