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Child's Love



Every time I look at Heero, I see the lie I’m living.  It’s a pleasant delusion that helps to keep the horrors of this war from overtaking me.  Every time I see her and the way Heero looks at her, a little piece of me dies.  At first I thought it was my own insecurity, but his silence has eaten away my hope.  I’ve told him how much I love him, many times.  It’s easy to say, for I love him so much it hurts sometimes.  He never says anything; just sits there and those beautiful blue eyes cloud over and become distant.

He doesn’t love me.  I’m just a way to relieve physical stress.  It hurts but I can’t bring myself to let him go.  But I know someday he will leave me.  I should leave now to save myself the pain, but I can’t.  Pain is something I know intimately.  I’ve lived my life ignoring the pain.  My comrades know nothing of me, they think I must be the most cheerful person around.  My cheerfulness masks my aching soul.  Much like the mask that Trowa wears, smiling on the outside and empty inside.  But Trowa doesn’t have my problem; the person he loves returns his feeling.  Quatre would rather give up his life than hurt Trowa.  Both are innocent in matters of the heart, it has been amusing and painful to watch them stumble in their new relationship.

They are nothing like Heero and me; we knew perfectly well what we were doing.  It was just physical companionship, but being the baka that I am, I had to go ahead and fall in love with him.  I can still remember the complete shock on his face when I told him.  Seeing his obvious pain, I apologized and he shut me up by kissing me.

But every time I see him looking at me, I know in my heart that he loves Relena, not me.

* * * * * * *

Heero paused slightly at the door to the apartment he and Duo shared.  Collecting his thoughts Heero tried to work up the courage to go through with his plan.  Pulling out the mission itinerary, he had written, Heero scanned it again.  Carefully folding it again, he put it back into his pocket and entered.

The instant Heero entered the apartment, he knew something was wrong.  Duo was sitting on the bed, the only piece of furniture in the room, and he didn’t bounce up and jump all over Heero as usual.

“We need to talk Heero.”  Duo smiled but Heero could tell it was even more forced than usual.  Frowning, Heero sat down on the bed next to Duo.  “I think it’s time I faced reality.  It’s time for us to get on with our lives.  Time for us to go our separate ways.  We’re just lovers, ne?  Go to Relena, Heero, she needs you.”  Heero felt his heart contract, was Duo saying all those ‘I love you’s’ were just a joke?  Heero felt his pain turn quickly into anger.

“I won’t let you do this.”  Heero growled and Duo looked startled.  “I…I…,” Heero shut his mouth and glared.

“Do what?  What am I doing Heero?  I’m only facing reality.”

“I won’t let you pretend like you don’t care.  You can’t do this to me.”

“I’m not lying Heero.”  Duo closed his eyes and swallowed painfully.  Because his eyes were closed, Duo didn’t see the look of shock and betrayal that passed over Heero’s face.  Jumping up, Heero suddenly felt as if he couldn’t breathe.  Opening the door, Heero stumbled off into the night.

Heero hadn’t known something could hurt so much.  ‘What a fool I am, to think that Duo cared.’

As soon as the door closed behind Heero, Duo knew he had made a huge mistake.  He could feel his heart crystallizing and fragmenting into hundreds of pieces.  Heero had been so eager to leave he had practically RUN out of the apartment.  Obviously Duo had misjudged Heero in thinking that Heero might have argued with him.  Sighing, Duo opened his eyes and slumped against the wall.  Looking at the now closed door, Duo spotted a small piece of paper lying on the floor.  Getting up, he walked over and picked it up.  Unfolding it, Duo looked over the paper.

1. Enter room by door
                                                          2. Sit on bed floor
                                                          3. Say, “I love you Duo.”
                                                          4. Kiss Duo

For a second Duo just stood there shocked, then he laughed.  Somehow he wasn’t surprised that his lover had planned out something like this.  A second later, it hit him, Heero loved him?  Suddenly, Duo felt like the worst person alive.  Throwing open the door, Duo took off after Heero.  ‘How could have been so stupid?  Here I was convinced Heero loved Relena and he was coming to tell me this.  Baka yarou!  I only hope I can catch up with Heero and fix this.’  Coming to the road, Duo had two options.  Did Heero go on the road or on the forest trail?  ‘If I was Heero, which way would I have gone?’  With that thought, Duo suddenly knew where Heero had gone.  Racing off on the forest trail, Duo cursed himself again.  He realized the small forest clearing that he and Heero had spent many nights sitting and watching the stars.  Looking around, Duo spotted Heero’s retreating form as the other Gundam pilot ran off through the forest.  ‘Shit!’  Now Heero’s running from me?  How much more of an asshole can I be?’  Then yelling aloud, “Heero!  Chotto!  Chotto Matte Kudasai…” Duo’s voice died off when Heero didn’t even pause in his running.  Taking off after him, Duo’s vision was clouded by a bluriness.  ‘Damnit!  I’m NOT crying!’  Running through the forest, Duo suddenly tripped and went stumbling headfirst into the ground.  Lying on the ground, Duo suddenly felt as if he couldn’t breathe.  The pain in his heart so intense that it took his breathe away.  Duo knew he couldn’t catch Heero, not if Heero didn’t want to be caught.  Duo succumbed to the burning in his heart and eyes.  When he could no longer hear Heero’s retreating footsteps, he sobbed quietly into the sweet, fragrant, grass that covered the forest floor.


The moment Duo entered the small apartment, he noticed the screen on his computer was flashing.  Pulling off his coat and tossing it into a corner, he walked over and sat down at the table where the computer sat.  Sighing silently as he sat down on the stool next to the table, Duo’s normally deep expressive blue eyes flicked over the screen without expression.  Until they spotted the single message that lay in the computer’s inbox.  It was from Quatre, asking how he was doing.  The message was also an invitation, in three months Quatre was going to hold a ball to celebrate the engagement of one of his sisters and Quatre was using it as an excuse to hold a get together for the Gundam pilots.  “So we can reminisce about old times and see how everyone was doing.”  To see all his old comrades again, Duo smiled slightly and a faint sparkle showed in the tired blue eyes.  That would also mean seeing Heero again, something that hadn’t happened in almost seven years.  Not since he had thrown away the one chance he had at happiness, a decision made in a moment of self-doubt that he had regretted every moment since.  Sure, he had spent the next few years desperately searching for Heero in the hopes he could make amends, but when Heero didn’t want to be found not even the furies from hell would have any luck.  On a few occasions he had arrived only a few days behind Heero but never had he been able to catch up with him.

Duo had finally come to the realization a few years later that no matter how hared he ran, he would never be able to catch Heero.  So Duo had taken up residence on one of the smaller obscure colonies and lived in a mundane civilian life as he could manage.  He worked three labor intense jobs, not because he needed the money but so it left no time to think.

The screensaver on Duo’s computer flicked on, causing Duo to refocus his thoughts on the present.  Pulling the e-mail up again, Duo replied and told Quatre he could count on Duo the adventure seeker being there.  Then, flicking the monitor off, Duo got up off the stool and went to get ready for bed.  Part of his nightly routine involved an ever-growing dose of sleeping pills.  Though Duo exhausted himself during the day, he would find himself unable to sleep at night, plagued by thoughts of Heero.  Thankfully, the pills took effect quickly and Duo sank into a gray oblivion he had come to equate with sleep.

Duo smiled to himself as he walked out of the store at the mall.  ‘You’re getting soft, Duo-man.  You would never have blinked an eye at stealing from that old lady before.'’ Shifting the bag under his arm, Duo started heading back towards his apartment.  Inside the bag was the tuxedo he had bought from the middle aged woman working at the store.  It was the honest, hardworking look that had given Duo second thoughts about trying to steal the tuxedo.

Reaching his apartment, Duo entered and carefully packed the package into the large duffel bag that contained all of Duo’s possessions.  After carefully zipping the bag up, Duo hefted it up onto his shoulder and left the apartment, pausing for a moment at the door to look back and lock the door.

Quatre shifted impatiently from one foot to another as he waited for Duo’s shuttle to land.  He squeaked slightly when one of the many shadows shifted and slid over next to him.  Then he smiled happily as he recognized the slim body next to him.

  “Trowa, I’m so glad you came!”  Quatre exclaimed turning to the other Gundam pilot.

“Of course I came,” Trowa replied, his green eyes softening slightly.  “I’ll always come, as long as you ask me to.”  One hand rose hesitantly and gently grasped one of Quatre hands.  Quatre smiled happily and squeezed his hand in reply.

“Oi, Quatre, Trowa how’s it been going?”  Duo’s voice startled them and the two pilots jumped slightly.  “Has time been kind to the two of you?”

“Hai, Duo.  We’re doing well.”  Quatre’s smile grew bigger, if possible, when he realized that Trowa still hadn’t released his hand.  “Ano… Duo, where’s Heero?  I thought he would be arriving with you.  I haven’t been able to get a hold of him.  I guess I just thought he was with you.”

Though it was only a moment, Quatre didn’t miss the pain that crossed Duo’s eyes before it was covered up by Duo’s laugh and smile.

“Heero?  I wouldn’t know.  Haven’t seen him in years, though I do wonder how he’s doing.”

“But…but… I thought you two were…”

“Together?  Naw…” Though Duo’s tone was cheerful and light, the anguish in his eyes was unmistakable.  “We never had a chance, child’s love really.  Not anything like you two have, what you have is special.  Wouldn’t ya say Trowa?”  Duo winked at Trowa, causing Quatre to blush.

“Still up to your tricks of teasing others I see, hmm… Maxwell?”

Duo whirled to find Wufei standing behind him.  Jumping forward, Duo glomped onto the stoic Chinese pilot and gave him a hug.  Trying to push the clinging Duo off himself, Wufei noted that Duo was quite a bit thinner than before and he looked like he hadn’t been sleeping right.  Not that it was any of his business.

"Saa, so I guess the only one we’re missing is Heero, eh?”  Duo asked.  Quatre nodded silently.

“Well, I guess we should be getting back.  I have to help finish setting up for the ball.”


Duo looked at himself in the mirror and nodded in satisfaction.  The tuxedo he had picked out was black (of course) and double breasted with wide satin lapels and cuffs.  Both the jacket and pants were trim, fitting closely to his slim, muscular body.  Running his hands over the lapels one last time to smooth them out, Duo turned away from the mirror and headed out towards the ball that was already in progress.  As he headed out the door, he knew exactly what he wanted to do.  Say hello to his fellow pilots and the lucky girl of honor, and then proceed to get drunk.  Maybe then those absent eyes wouldn’t haunt him all evening.  Maybe.

Duo stared at the bar counter through the bottom of his empty glass.  He’s lost count of how many glasses he’d had.  It was amazing, almost as soon as his glass was empty; it reappeared full of that burning liquor that numbed the pain.  When the glass remained empty, Duo looked up questioningly at the bartender.

“Ah… ojousan, do you think I could have another one?”  Duo asked and gave a lopsided grin.

“And how many have you had so far?”  Duo tried to count on his fingers but soon lost count.  Giving up, he shrugged.

“Well, I think that’s the magic number.”  Picking up the empty glass, she cleaned it out and put it somewhere under the counter top.  Duo was about to protest when a commotion drew his attention across the grand ballroom.

Quatre was rushing across towards the entrance, Trowa not far behind, towards a figure dressed completely in white that stood in the doorway, Heero.  His plain white jacket was unbuttoned, as was the vest underneath.  Duo tried not to fall over as he jumped up off the barstool.  Wading across the crowded dance floor, Duo tried to calm his racing heart.  As he broke free from the crowd and made his ways up the stairs, he could see Quatre talking excitedly with Heero, who seemed almost civil towards him.  For a moment, those cobalt eyes flicked from Quatre face to Duo, in the moment Duo felt like a deer caught by headlights.  Then the eyes flicked away when a high childish voice called out,

“Otousan!”  For a moment, Duo wondered which guests’ child was causing the commotion, as he and the others around the entrance turned towards the voice.  A small child, five or six at most, ran through the entrance, his pale straw blond hair fluffing slightly as he ran.  His wide blue eyes looked as if they were on the verge of tears, then he promptly attached himself to Heero’s leg.  Duo’s jaw dropped open and his eyes widened in surprise as he stared in shock.  His jaw promptly unhinged when Heero gently pried the child off his leg, picked him up, and spoke to the child in the softest tone of voice Duo had ever heard Heero use.

“Heero!”  Another shrill voice came from the entrance, Duo didn’t even have to look to place *that* voice, Relena.  The shock Duo felt suddenly transformed itself into a horrified realization as he looked back at the child cradled in Heero’s arm.  Blonde hair... blue eyes... masaka.

Suddenly any appeal this social gathering had had fled, and Duo decided to make himself scarce, quickly.  As he turned and fled through the crowd, he heard Relena speaking in the background.

“Mou…Heero!  I was trying to take his coat off and he ran off.”


Duo stumbled as he went down the stairs that led to the garden; the liquor haze that had disappeared in the moment of clarity when the child had attached itself to Heero was quickly reappearing.

As he walked through the quiet gardens, Duo tried to sort out the myriad emotions that coursed through his veins.  On those nights that Duo had laid awake waiting for the sleeping pills to kick in, he had pondered what Heero had done with his life.  Nameless possibilities had occurred to him, maybe Heero had run off and self destructed (like that would work), maybe Heero had gone off to sort out his feelings (yeah right), or maybe Heero had run off, gotten married, and lived happily ever after.  Though he hated to admit it, the thought had occurred to him more than once.  And now it seemed that his worst fears had come true.  Even worse, the good it had done Heero was obvious and Duo couldn’t help but feel slightly happy, even if at the same time the irony and pain of it all cut the very center of his soul.  All Duo had to do was recall how tenderly Heero had looked at his child, and Duo knew in his heart that as far as Heero was concerned, he was ancient history.

Duo suddenly found himself in a small clearing in the garden; a small fountain lay in the center.  It’s jets long ago shut off, the water collected at the bottom creating a perfect, undisturbed, glassy reflection of the dark night sky.  It wasn’t until Duo had collapsed on one of the benches at the edge of the clearing that he noticed he wasn’t alone.  Wufei sat on the bench next to Duo, his elbows resting on his knees; he sat calmly watching Duo.

“Oi, Wufei, whatcha doing out here all by yourself?”  Duo asked as he leaned experimentally against the hedge behind him.  When it didn’t give way, he relaxed against it.

“Thinking.  Shouldn’t I be asking you that question?  You’re the one who loves parties.”  One slim black eyebrow rose up as Wufei regarded Duo.

“Got bored, decided to come look at the gardens.”

“I see.”  Wufei didn’t believe him for a minute.  “Is that really the reason?  I would think you’d be in there waiting for Heero to arrive.”

“He already arrived.”  Duo said, all pretenses of cheerfulness gone.  “Like I said, I decided to come look at the gardens.  And besides, Wufei, you shouldn’t be out here by yourself.”

“I’m used to it.”

“That doesn’t mean it has to stay that way.  That’s what you have friends for.”  Wufei’s eyebrow’s shot up into his hairline.

“Why would you want to be the friend of such a despicable per…”

“Oh shut up Wu!  I don’t wanna hear it.  You’re a good, loyal friend, but you take honor and duty a tad too seriously.  Have you ever taken the time to stop and smell the flowers?  Admire the sunset?  Fall in love?”

“Yes, as hard as it may be for you to believe, I have.  But I was stupid and lost the chance I had with love before I even knew what it was.”  Wufei frowned slightly, still trying to figure out why Duo wouldn’t want to see Heero, not that it was his business.

“I understand.  I was stupid enough to do the same thing.”

“Huh?  What are you talking about Duo?”  Then the missing piece of the puzzle in Wufei’s mind snapped into place.  “Does this have anything to do with Yuy’s child?”  A pair of shining blue eyes suddenly confronted Wufei.

“You knew?”  Duo’s tone was calm, but the slightest hint of an accusation could be heard.

“Hai.  Yuy came to me asking for some advice not soon after the child arrived.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?  At least then I would have been able to prepare myself.  Jesus, I didn’t expect to find him married with a kid.”

“What are you talking about?  Yuy’s not married.”

“What?  He’s not?  But Relena was…and the kid had…” For once in his life, Duo couldn’t think of anything to say.

“That’s not my place to say.  If you want to know more, maybe you should try talking to Heero.”  Duo jumped up, the buzz from the alcohol giving him unnatural courage.

“Yosh!  I’ll go ask Heero why he’s not married.  Or something like that.”  Duo began to bound off when he stopped and asked sheepishly.  “Ano…which way is out?”  Wufei silently pointed to the right path and Duo bounded off.  He paused just before he disappeared into the garden.  “Oh, and Wufei?  I meant what I said about being your friend and I’m sure the other pilots feel the same.”  Then Duo was gone, leaving Wufei alone in the clearing.

Duo didn’t have to go far to find Heero, as he left the gardens he spotted a white cladded figure standing on the wide porch that spanned the length of the ballroom’s wall.  As he approached Heero, Duo found his confidence rapidly disappearing.

“How are you Heero?”

“Hmm.”  Heero snorted, then raised an eyebrow at Duo.

“I’ve been good, I guess.”  The silence stretched between them as Duo tried to think of a way to breach the subject of Heero’s marital status.  With his mind inhibited by alcohol, the words came out of his mouth before he could think about them.  “Wufei tells me you aren’t married to Relena.”

“What?”  Heero looked at Duo surprised evident on his face.

“I said Wufei tells me you aren’t married to Relena.  Why is that?  I mean, you’ve got a child and all.”

“Why would you care?”  Heero asked, that familiar guarded expression returning to his face.

“Because I’m and idiot.”  Duo sank into one of the chairs on the porch and stared at his hands.

“Why would you say that?”  The husky voice came from right above him, but Duo didn’t dare look up.

“Why am I an idiot?  Because…because I loved you but I was so convinced of my own worthlessness that I couldn’t see you felt the same.  So I lied to you, making you believe I didn’t care for you.  I needed to distance myself, I was so sure that you didn’t love me that I didn’t realize you did until it was too late.  So I spent the next two years desperately trying to find you.  And even after all that, seven years later, I still love you.  That’s why I’m an idiot.”  There was no response from Heero, but then, Duo hadn’t expected one.  So when he felt Heero’s hand brush gently across his cheek, Duo was shocked to say the least.  The handed curved under Duo’s chin and gently forced Duo to look up at Heero.  Heero leaned down and kissed Duo, a sweet reverent kiss.  Then he sank down to his knees in front of Duo so he was eye-to-eye with him.

“I thought I was a fool, even after all this time, even after I had thought you made yourself clear about your feelings towards me.  I couldn’t let go of my feelings for you.  I’ll say it now what I should have said then, I love you Duo.”

“But if…if,” Duo forcibly swallowed the lump in his throat, “if you still cared for me, why did you have a child with Relena?”  Heero looked at Duo for a second, before he laughed gently.  Duo blinked, unaccustomed to the sound of Heero laughing.

“What makes you think the child is Relena’s?”  Duo opened his mouth to ask a question but Heero silenced Duo by kissing him, then replacing his lips with his finger.  “He’s an orphan, I was walking through one of the cities on L-2 when I spotted him huddled in a corner.  I took Duo in and have been raising him ever since.”

“You named him Duo?”  Duo squeaked.

“Hai, when I found him he looked just like you.  His hair was so dirty it looked brown and he was surviving by stealing from tourists.”  Duo laughed as he slid out of the seat to hug Heero fiercely.

“You never cease to amaze me Heero.”  After a moment Heero stood up and held out his hand to help Duo up.  Quietly taking his hand, Heero and Duo walked back towards the ballroom.

“Come on, I want to introduce you to little Duo.  He’s just like you.  Maybe I shouldn’t have named him after you, because he never shuts up, just like you.”


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