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Regret (part 5)

Niko


Scars

Wufei watched quietly as the days passed and the deteriorating health of his dying friend became more and more evident. It was aggravating and frustrating to know there was nothing he could do for him but that smile that always crept upon that heart shaped face always made him feel important. Duo could no longer stand and walking had been out of the question for some time. Quatre begged for him to take his medication but Duo refused, persisting that it made him sleepy and irritable. Against his knowledge and will though, Quatre had crumbled up the pain killers and hidden their traces in his food. Duo had eaten dinner without suspicion but that hadn't lasted long. Within minutes he had picked a fight with Heero over the ordeal and punched him squarely in the mouth. He hadn't been joking about the effects the medication had on him. Wufei glanced over at his friend a lifted his brows in question.

Duo lay asleep on the couch with his head resting on Heero's lap. The Japanese boys fingers strayed into the fine strands of chestnut and traced the line of the sleeping boy's jaw tenderly. Heero caught Wufei's stair and narrowed his own, "What are you looking at? He passed out because you and the others decided to drug his food."

"It was necessary, Yuy. You've seen how he's been. He tries to hide it but he's in pain."

"I just don't think it was the right thing to do."

Wufei nodded his head, "Perhaps. How's you lip?" he asked, changing the subject.

Heero touched his swollen bottom lip, "Better. Can you ask Quatre for some more ice?"

Wufei stood and headed out of the open room, casting a stray glance at the pair through the mirror over the mantel. Your a damn fool, Yuy, but a lucky one at that. I just hope you realize it before you loose him. If you let love get away from you, you'll regret it forever. My dear Nataku...

"Hey, Wu-chan!"

Wufei whipped the sweat from his brow and down from the cockpit of the Shenlon, "What do you want, Maxwell?"

The energetic boy twiddled his fingers in circles, "Nothing. I was just curious about something."

Preparing himself for some off-the-wall question of little importance to anybody, Wufei crossed his arms across his chest and glared down, "Yes?"

"Your Gundam's name is Shenlon, right?" Duo ran his hand down the smooth metal of the said mobile suit, "So why do you call it Nataku?"

That was unexpected. Wufei's raven dark eyes widened in surprise.

"You don't have to tell me. Like I said, I was just curious," Duo spoke quickly, misreading the look his question received.

Wufei shook his head, "I'll tell you if you care to sit and listen."

Duo took up the invitation and quickly climbed into the cockpit of the Shelon to sit down beside Wufei, "I'm all ears, buddy boy. So, what's the story?"

"I call my ship Nataku in honor of my wife."

Surprise did not fully describe the look on Duo's face, "Wife? Your kidding, right?" the solemn gaze in his friend's eyes answered his question as well as any words, "Wow. Man, you were married? How long ago?"

Wufei sighed, "A year."

"And-"

"She's dead." Wufei answered, guessing as to the next inquiry.

Duo fell silent, "I never knew. I'm sorry, Wufei. Is that the reason you fight? The reason you became a gundam pilot?"

"Partly. She had a strong sense of justice and the heart of a soldier. I fight to remember her dream and bright justice to this God forsaken universe in her name."

Duo shook his head, "I wish I could be so sure of myself when I speak of my cause. Your lucky, Wu-chan. You'll never loose faith in your cause because it will never change. You fight for your memories and they'll never fade." Duo stood and walked to the end of the cockpit hatch, "Do you think it's silly to fight for something your not sure you understand?"

Wufei turned his head towards him slightly, "If you don't fight for it, you'll never understand it."

"How do you know when you understand it though if you don't know what it is your trying to find? If you've never know it, how can you recognize it as being what you needed to understand?"

"Your starting to confuse me. What are you rambling about?"

Duo shook his head, "Nothing, I guess. Just having some doubts about my cause. I don't want to make any sacrifices in vain."

Wufei stood and put a reassuring hand on his friends shoulder, "If that's the case, find someone to fallow. Sometimes, it takes a person and not an idea to motivate a soldier in the right direction. Armies before us have used a ruler to guide them on the true path."

"But rulers change."

Wufei nodded, "Then you must fallow your heart to guide you towards someone you know will stay true and never lead you astray."

"Fallow my heart huh." a shadow of Duo's smile crept back upon his face, "Fallow my heart and find someone who I have faith in." He nodded with reassurance.

"Answer all of your questions?" Wufei asked, sitting back into his flight harness and adjusting minor settings.

Duo leapt out of the gundam and waved good-bye, "Yeah, thanks a lot, Wu-chan. I'm glad you told me the reasoning behind Nataku. It really shows your trust in me. Your one hell of a guy, Wufei, and I know your wife would be proud of you and your actions. Thanks again!"

Wufei watched as his braided friend ran down the stairs of the warehouse and towards the safe-house the five of them were staying in for now.

Five years later, Wufei smirked at the memory of the melancholy scene. He hadn't realized then what ideas he had put into the boy's thick skull. If he remembered correctly, the next morning had been the first time he'd noticed the bloody gashes on both Duo and Heero's hands which at this time were neatly healed, nearly identical scars. Both had blamed the cuts on gundam repairs or kitchen accidents and had gotten away without suspicion but resurfacing memories soon put such lies to truth. Gundam repairs indeed, Heero Yuy. Since when do scars of this nature indebt you to searching the universe to find two old friends to join in another's dying hours? Wufei's smirk died, Act fast, Yuy. You're fooling no one but yourself with that unfeeling facade.

Swiftly, Wufei turned back to face Heero, "Why don't you just kiss him and get it over with, Yuy? You want to so badly you can taste him lips on yours. So why don't you just do it? Do you have too much pride to admit to yourself that you love him?"

Heero's eyes darkened, "You don't know what your talking about."

"Bastard." Wufei retreated to the kitchen, brushing past a startled Quatre and Trowa hovering over photo albums, and went straight for the freezer. He helped himself to a bag full of ice and left, throwing it at Heero the moment he was within sight.

Heero caught it in the air but sensed the ill intent of his colleague. "What the hell is your problem?"

"I don't have a problem. You do. Maybe you can't admit to yourself your best friend is dying or maybe you're just too scared to admit that you care but for whatever reason you have, you've got to get over it, accept it and move on! You care, damnit! You have to care or you wouldn't have done so much for him. You just can't see what you're doing and why because over the years, it's become a second nature to you. Maxwell's more than a friend to you, Yuy. I see it in your eyes, when you touch him. You act as though he may shatter into a million pieces in your arms. I can hear it in your voice even when you speak of him or to him. You're scared, Yuy. So scared you no longer know what to do."

"Shut up now. Your only making yourself look like a fool!"

Hearing the mess of words being shouted across the other room, Trowa and Quatre quickly ran in, half expecting to play referee in a fist fight. Wufei still stood feet away from the couch, an enraged yet controlled Heero glaring daggers at him.

"I'm not the one being foolish here, Yuy. You are," Wufei continued, "You thought you could live without him once five years ago but look at you now, back here and for reasons you chose not to admit."

"I came here to-"

"You came here to remember life before war. I know, I've heard you say it before. That's a bunch of BS from where I'm standing. You didn't come here to remember life, you came here to remember love. Maxwell was all you had during the war and no matter how much you tried, you couldn't forget him or how much you needed him to make you feel secure. The only reason it took you five years to return was because of your damn pride. I'm sorry, Yuy, but Maxwell doesn't have another five years to wait for you to realize all that I've said is true. So break out of your self-imposed emotional prison and tell him you love him. Kiss him and show him you mean it. Damnit, Yuy, I won't let you deceive yourself any longer. Maxwell deserves your honesty and I'd regret not telling you so for the rest of my life. Regret, in many ways, is a fate worse than death. It's unchangeable and there's no justification worthy enough to cure it. Don't fall victim to it yourself."

Whatever anger Heero felt towards Wufei vanished in Duo's short sob as his hands reached up and grasped Heero's shirt.

"Heero, I don't feel so good," his small voice whispered.

Heero wrapped his arms around his weak body and stood to carry him, "I'll get you to your room." He brushed past Wufei on his way out, casting a dangerous glance at him before disappearing into Duo's room. He lay the boy on the bed and cringed as he reflexively curled into a ball on the mattresses. They shouldn't have drugged him. It didn't do him any good. Just an hour or so of peaceful slumber and now this. He turned the lights down and started to close the door behind him.

"Oi, Heero, come back. I wanna ask you something."

"I thought you weren't feeling well." He answered back, not caring to turn around.

"I'm not, "Duo admitted, "That's why I need to talk to you now, Heero. I heard what Wufei said."

Heero shut the door, shutting out the world beyond it and separating himself and Duo from it's eyes and ears. He held his breath for what seemed like an eternity, "I thought you were asleep."

"I was. I only heard what he said about regret. Do you think he's right?"

Heero breathed again in the form of a silent sigh of gratitude, "Wufei's full of crap, Duo. If he's not raving about justice he's preaching on what little he thinks he knows.

Duo rolled over and faced the ceiling, arms thrown casually over his chest, "In the Ancient Egyptian religion, the souls of the dead that wished to pass on to the afterlife had to first weigh their heart against a feather. If their heart weighed less than the feather, they were permitted to ascend to their place of final bliss. If the feather weighted more than their heart, however, they were doomed to roam the earth."

Heero shook his head, "It's a good thing you're catholic then."

"Even myth is based off facts, Heero."

"It's impossible for a human heart to weigh less than a feather."

"Damnit, Heero! It never fails! I try to be philosophical and you have to take everything I say so literally. Can't you look beyond the words and find meaning?"

Heero sat on the far corner of the bed, his back still turned to him, "I've heard the expression 'heavy heart' enough to understand the basics of what I believe you are getting at."

"And what am I getting at, Heero? Do you really understand or are they just words to you?"

"What do you want me to say, Duo. I don't know what it is you're trying to get me to understand. Stop playing with words and come out with it."

"I'm scared, Heero." He blurted out, the words echoing in the stillness.

"You were a gundam pilot. You've never been afraid of death and I won't believe you are now."

Duo rolled his head from side to side, "Death doesn't scare me. It's what lies after death that I'm afraid of. I have a heavy heart." Duo paused to let the words sink in, " It's not so much that I regret what I've done in my life, but that I regret what I didn't do. I dreamed of family and love and here I die with neither. Look at you, though. Your dream came true. You've found your peace. I really admire you, Heero. You were able to make your dream a reality. I don't think you understand how lucky you are."

Heero adjusted his weight on the bed and turned to look back on Duo, "You're wrong. You did accomplish your dreams. Think of Quatre and Trowa and Wufei. We're your family. We may fight each other and argue but we still stick together because we rely on each others strengths."

"I'm sorry I punched you, Heero. I didn't mean to hurt you."

Heero shook his head, "I don't blame you. I'd be pissed too if someone drugged my meal."

Duo gazed blankly at the ceiling, "They did it because they cared. I never realized how close we'd grown together, even after all these years. I guess sometimes we just have to stand back and view the big picture, ne Heero?"

"That's what Wufei said," Heero noted with slight surprise.

"Smart guy." Duo chuckled, "I've got one hell of a family."

"Hm," Heero nodded lightly and stood, heading back to the door.

"What about love?"

The Japanese boy hesitated, "What about it?"

"You said I'd accomplished my dreams. They were family and love."

"A family is love," Heero submitted.

"You know what I mean, Heero."

He reached for the doorknob, "What about Hilde?"

Duo sighed, "You know as well as I do that that would have never worked out. She was too much like me, hard headed. It was better for the both of us to have said good-bye and moved on after the war."

"Did you love her though?"

"Enough to admit I wasn't the right guy for her. She's done better with her life since then. I talked to her a few weeks ago to say hi and found out she'd married and had a few kids. I seriously couldn't be more happy for her."

Heero stood frozen, unable to sway from his position before the door, his scared hand poised above the knob. My scarů. Our scarů "Why did you pick me to follow when your hope in your dreams faded?"

"Because of anyone I've ever met, I trusted you more. You've never lied to me, you've never hurt me with ill intention, you've saved my life plenty of times, and you've always been there for me. I was willing to trust you and your path because I knew you wouldn't disappoint me."

"Did I ever, Duo? Disappoint you?"

Duo sighed and rested his arms at his side, "You've been the best best friend anyone could ask for, and more of one than I deserved."

No, Wufei was right. You deserve better. His feet carried him quickly from one end of the bed to the next. Arms enclosed the startled American and lips pressed passionately together as if immortality lay beyond there feeble flesh. Heero pulled away before long, his eyes a lustful deep blue, "You deserve more than my friendship, Duo. You've given me more in one lifetime than I could ever hope to give back. Do you have any idea what you did for me those years ago with this?" he traced the lines of the scar on Duo's hand, "It was your faith in me that kept me going. I'd long past given up on peace but your smile reminded me of every reason I had to continue. I don't want to ever regret those battles years ago when I would hear your triumphant battle cry as he crashed threw a barricade by my side. We were a team and nothing we did together was ever less than a success. I don't want to regret then, and I don't want to regret now." He leaned down and kissed him again, less urgent this time but with a hunger and need he couldn't describe and wished to fulfill. Duo didn't fight him but seemed to melt under his weight and the warm touch of his mouth. A soft moan escaped him as Heero invaded his own with his tongue, driven to taste the sweetness within. Hands ran up the body pinned to the bed and traced soft paths along every contour they encountered. Heero tried to run his fingers threw the long locks before him but met a tangled resistance as his fingers slid down into the barrier Duo had created. The braid has got to go. Now. He followed it's extravagant length and snapped the thin tie that restrained the beautiful chestnut hairs. The results were immediate and satisfying.

Duo giggled as he felt Heero's lips open into a smile, "I thought you hated my hair," he said as Heero sat back.

"I love your hair." He pulled off his shirt and tossed to the far corner of the room, eyeing the beauty he saw beneath him.

"Do you love me?" Duo asked, his cobalt eyes hopeful and expressive.

I'll never run from those eyes again, Heero leaned over him, his warm breath dancing across the pale skin on Duo's face, "Ai shiteiru."

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