Story:               A SECOND CHANCE

Author:             FancyFigures (

Disclaimer:        I don’t own ‘em, wish I did, just enjoy writing about ‘em for free etc

Pairings:           1+2

Category:          POV, angst

Warnings:         Yaoi, hints of lime

Spoilers:           None

Notes:              There is no escape for Duo and Heero; no way out.  Is this the time to bare the soul?

Feedback:         If you liked it, PLEASE let me know!




I looked down from the top of the roof and saw nothing but blackness.  I knew how many minutes were left to go without checking a watch.


“There’s no time to find a way out of here,” I said, quietly.  I tried to keep any inflection out of my voice.  I didn’t want him to bear my fear as well as his own.


I felt his body stir beside me, trapped as I was; only a foot away.  We’d spoken so few words in getting to this ridiculous position that my voice must have startled him.  He was staring at me; he was willing to disbelieve, to find some small shred of hope; some optimism.  That’s his way, isn’t it?


“No, Duo,” I shook my head slightly.  “This is it.  At last.”  I felt strangely calm.  Resigned.


“I don’t want to die, Heero,” he said, like it had only just occurred to him.


“Neither do I,” I said.  “Not with things left unsaid.”


“Things?  What things?”


I looked straight into his eyes; I could see panic and distress reflected in his still pupils.  And a strength that only his innate honesty could support.


“That I love you.”  I hoped it didn’t sound as sappy as the words may look.  Though I was beyond caring, now.  It sounded just right to me.  It sounded very strong.  It sounded like something that Duo would understand.


“Do you still feel the same about me?”


“Uhh -” he gasped.  The eyes were very wide, now.  “What -?  I mean, yes, yeah, I always have, I mean – you know that, I told you -”


“Minutes to live, and you still waste syllables expressing every little thought!” I sighed sadly.  My final attempt at a joke.  “That’s one of the many things that made me realise that I do love you.”


“But you said –” he spluttered a little.  His expression was wary.  I didn’t blame him.  “Jeez, Heero, that’s not what you said before! You said you couldn’t even think of it – think of me like that –”


“I’m sorry,” I said, and wondered if I’d ever get enough apologies into that pathetic little word.  “I was shocked, I think.  I’ve never thought of anyone like that.  I’ve never given any thought at all to – to…love.  You caught me unawares, and I didn’t know how to respond.”  I saw his shoulders tighten, his face still uneasy.


“I hurt you, Duo.”


“Yeah…” he sighed.  “You did.”


“I’m sorry…”


“Hurt me like fuck…” he whispered.  His head was down; I couldn’t see his eyes.


“I’m sorry!” 


He looked up again, and there was a slight, sad smile at the edges of his mouth.  “But I guess it doesn’t matter now, eh?”


How could either of us consider smiling at a time like this?  But the thought that he’d forgive me – that I could make amends… somehow…!


“You’re the best person I’ve ever known, Duo,” I blurted out.  “The best for me!  You’ve changed me.  You’ve changed the way I act – the way I think.  The way I’m growing.  When I think back on how I may have been if I’d never met you – I can’t bear it!”


“Shit, Heero…” he breathed.  He looked fascinated, following the words as they spilled out of my mouth.  “You choose now to tell me this!  After all this time, all this miserable, shitty time of us fighting and avoiding each other; all this time of me thinking you hate my guts.  What a fucking jerk you are!”


“I deserve everything you can say, Duo,” I said.  My heart felt as if it were trying to force its way out of my throat.  “And you will say it, I know.  That’s what has astounded me, since I first met you.  The fact that you are unique – that you say and do what you feel, without worrying if it’s politically correct – without worrying if others will sneer. 

“Without worrying if anyone will think the less of you.

“That you never lie – that you always tell me the truth, even when it’s brutal or unpalatable.

“That you have relentless energy.

“A tireless enthusiasm for life.

“That you’re determined always to find a way forward.” 

My voice softened.

“That you continue to carry me with you, when I’ve rejected you – and your friendship.”


His face was flushed, and I hope it was with pleasure.   “But not this time.”  His voice was very small.


“No, there’s no way forward this time,” I replied.  “We can both see that.  But that’s not your fault.  And now I’ve been able to tell you how I feel – I shall be eternally grateful for my second chance.  I don’t see how I could have faced this otherwise.”


I reached a hand out to touch his.  It was cold, and tense on the tiles.  “There’s no-one I‘d rather die beside.”


“Christ, Heero, there’s a testimonial if ever I heard one!”  There were tears falling freely from his eyes now.  He didn’t seem to be embarrassed about it.  He rubbed the worst of them off his cheek and lips, just so that he could speak.  “I had no idea all this was inside you, fella…it’s been hell living with you – being, like, your worst enemy – couldn’t you have realised this stuff a little earlier?”


“Hn.  I truly wish I had.”  It hurt beyond anything I could think of.


He sniffed.  “We coulda had some great times together.”


“We could.  We did.” 


I felt his hand tighten over mine.  I wished I had the time to think on some of these great times.  Bring a little warmth to this cold, deadly place.


“In bed as well,” he sneaked a look at me.  To see if that might ever have been an option.  There was a tentative smirk on his face – the tears had dried.


I didn’t growl at him, like he might have expected.  Like I had done last time we’d touched on this subject.  I hope I didn’t blush.  I just looked steadily back at him, and my eyes roamed slowly up and down his body.  Then I smiled.


“Oh fuck,” he groaned, struggling with his own attempt at humour.  “Am I gonna die with a hard-on?”






The minutes ticked by like centuries.  Yet there’d never be enough time for us now.  The night around us got even darker and more silent – if that were possible.  There had been no change to our situation.  No backup had arrived.  No word from anywhere about rescue.  The roof door remained solid metal, and remained locked.  With all our hopes and escape plans locked behind it.


“Choices, Heero?” came his quiet voice.


“Jump – or take our chances with the bomb.”


“Uh-huh.”  He was quiet for a moment.  “Like – Plan Z-a or Plan Z-b, eh?”




“Both shit.  We deserve better,” he murmured.  I didn’t disagree.


“Duo…” I whispered.  Had it got colder?  Or was it my imagination?  I didn’t know I had such a thing until Duo arrived.  “Will you hold me?”


He didn’t reply.  But I heard him wriggle over towards me – slowly, and probably painfully, because of the precarious way we were stuck up there.  And the wound in his side – I had no idea how bad that was.


He was as cold as I was, but his body felt warm beside me.


“Guess we gotta try Plan Z-a, eh?” he murmured.




“No other thoughts?”




“OK, “he sighed.


At the last minute, I felt the icy calm settle on me.  Both of us were breathing slowly, steadily.  I could hear him in the silence.  I changed the pattern of my breaths to match his.


“Please be with me, Duo.” 


“Of course I will be, you stupid sod!”  His teeth must have been chattering, because his voice shook.


I held out my hand and grasped his.  “Come with me, Duo.”


He gazed at me and I felt my racing heart slow.  His eyes were big and luminous in the half glow of the distant security lights. 


He gave a lopsided grin.  “Always, Heero.”


Three seconds before the bomb exploded, we jumped.


This was going to be the second time I lost my friend.





I woke quite suddenly, and wondered where the hell I was.


Wondered who the hell I was.


Then the thoughts rushed back like water after the proverbial finger was pulled from the dam.  My heart plummeted – my mouth dried.  I knew I was going to be sick.


We’d jumped!  Into the blackness, with the blossoming explosion and the blaze of fire in the night behind us.  Knowing the height of the drop from the target roof – knowing we’d not survive it.


Why was I here?


The next thing I realised was that I couldn’t move.  I lay there, silently, because my tongue seemed to have swollen and filled my mouth so that I couldn’t speak.  I tried to flex a hand – nothing.  I could feel nothing below my waist.


I fought the panic.


I seemed to be able to move my head a little.  It was a large, bleak room – white walls and ceiling; a single bulb, with a thin, utilitarian shade.  I reckoned I was on a bed.  It must be a hospital bed.  If I craned my neck round a little further, I could see a monitor at the head of the bed.  It wasn’t turned on.  Looking down my nose at my prone body, I could see a white sheet.


I was in a hospital.


By rights, I should be in a morgue.  I knew that.  And where was Duo?


A stretch to the right answered that question.


There was another body in the hospital room.


The matching monitor was on, and gently humming.  A thin green line on the screen advertised some signs of life.  But the other body wasn’t moving.






Remember that time, Duo?  The one when we took down that whole crew of Oz soldiers?  When I distracted, and you wiped through them, and then we both doubled back and finished it off.  OK, you never welcomed the killing – but we grinned that day; smiled together.  It had been a good campaign, and we’d planned well, and everything had fallen into place.  We got through with the minimum of casualties, and worked together like team mates should.


Remember when I fixed Deathscythe for you – when you were cursing the hydraulics, when you couldn’t find the plans, but I had an old copy on my laptop.  And you were so pleased you even forgot to accuse me of being so anally retentive that I kept all copies of the old plans, and never trusted anyone else to file anything, and never cleared out my inbox etc etc.  You hugged me that day.  I pushed you off with my usual expression of disgust.


Remember the night you got that crap film out to watch, and we all threw popcorn at the screen and at you, for such a ridiculous choice, and you hid behind me, laughing until you were bent double, and clutching me round the waist in mock terror.


My mind was rambling, I think.  And I appeared to be talking to myself – internally, that is.  But all I could think of was Duo.  Of meeting him – being with him – working beside him.  Arguing – scolding –







Doctors were talking.  Their voices swam in and out of my consciousness.  They were clustered round the other bed.  I know they were doctors, because they wore long white coats and somehow they seemed at home here.  I’d never seen them come in.  They ignored me entirely.  I obviously wasn’t expected to be awake yet.


“Too extensive… the damage is crippling…”


“No positive life signs… I had to report it… can’t recommend any surgery…”




There was a tsk of a sound, a lower and deeper voice than the others.  “…remove the support… natural means …”


“…won’t …!”


Another tsk.  “… not our decision… cannot maintain…”


What the hell -?


And the chill seeped back into me, the horrific, paralysing cold, that kept my limbs immobile and my tongue cleaved to the roof of my mouth.  I was unable to move – I couldn’t call to them, to let them know I was listening, that I knew the decision they were considering.  That it was my partner they were discussing.  My friend. 


The man I wanted with me.


Save him! I wanted to scream.  If there’s even one chance in a million – save him!






Duo was in my mind again – all the times in the last year that he’d spent time with me, trying to hammer into my narrow, introverted mind the concept of friendship.  And fun.


I hated those days we didn’t work.  I could find reports to write; modifications to study for the Gundams.  But never enough to escape him!


All he could find was distraction, and an endless stream of tempting ways to irritate me.  Play about with my laptop – eat potato chips near me.  Take a late shower and drip water across the apartment floor.  Play music loudly – start up a two-player game on the PS2 and then wail loudly when his turn was over, so that I had to go and help out.


And he just laughed when I got angry.  Continued the distraction until I had to stop what I was doing and pay attention to him.


And then he’d persuade me to watch something with him – or go for burgers.  Perhaps go walking through the town, or across the fields.  Play basketball.  I don’t know what else – I can’t think straight.


I spent more time together with Duo than I had with anyone else in my life.






I didn’t think I’d been awake for a while now.  I felt like ages had passed, and I cursed my limbo state.  I wasn’t aware of being fed or bathed or even given water.  I must have been very heavily drugged.  And there was never anyone around to ask about Duo.


I could see over to the other side of the room. 


The other bed was empty.


I screamed, then.  Loudly, I know I did.  Begging to know where he was, what had happened.  Had they saved him – had they given up?  How dare you give up! I screamed.  Bring him back to me! I raged.


The room was as silent as ever.  Just a soft humming of equipment now at rest.


I never cry.


On that day – the third time that I lost my friend - I cried for many hours.






Remember the day you touched me, Duo?  Not just a shove to get on with the job; not just a leg up to climb inside Wing.  Not even the harsher slaps that we’d sometimes dealt out when we got really angry at each other.  Even Duo’s tolerance was strained sometimes. 


Though that’s how the day had started.


I can’t remember what he’d done – but I remember I was white hot with fury.  It was to do with a mission, I recall, so I guess it was the usual thing – that he’d disregarded the orders, that he’d followed his own, maverick plan.  But as he was standing in front of me when I let rip, I suppose that whatever he’d done had been successful.  The problem was that it might not have been – he’d risked the mission just to show off.  And risked himself.


I held myself back for as long as I could, arguing my point and seeing his eyes glaze over with hostility; but when he dared to turn away, I grabbed his arm and wrenched him back towards me.  I don’t know in what order it all happened then – him punching out at me to let go – me defending myself with a similar blow.  The two of us falling over a chair, shouting, slapping…


I’m not proud of the way I acted that day.


And then he was on top of me, and my arms were pinned to my side, and then he kissed me.


I couldn’t believe it!  I knew Duo, of course I did – I knew he was a party guy, that he liked people, that he liked company.  But I can honestly say I never really thought of him in a sexual context.  Not just with me – but with anyone.  It shows how isolated I’d become – how insular I was, despite being in the team.


It shocked me – I think it hurt me, for some unexpressed reason, that he’d forced this awareness on me.   His mouth was tight on mine – his hand pressed excitedly at my hip, fingers reaching up inside the bottom of my shirt.  They were like a brand on my flesh.  At the same time as the warmth of his lips caressed mine, as his harsh breath gasped my name into my own mouth – as his tongue pressed fiercely against mine… at the same time as relishing the sudden, alien excitement, I knew that my eyes grew dark and empty and angry.


As soon as I pushed back at him, he moved off.  I lay on the floor; he sat up on his heels.  We were both panting with a mixture of every emotion under the sun.  He was flushed with what he’d done – but I don’t think it was shame.


“God, that was good!” he gasped, a broad grin stretching over his face.  “This damn fighting – it gets me going every time!”  He was staring at my mouth, almost hungrily.  “Christ, Heero, look at you there - I’ve been waiting for months to kiss you like that!  You are one sexy guy, and you taste as good as you look, I knew you would, even with all that crap you’re spouting at me.  Hell, that’s why I love you –”


“Love -?”  I think I squeaked a little.  Two minutes earlier I’d been ready to beat him senseless – now I didn’t seem to recognise him.


“Yeah,” he blushed a little.  “Guess it’s a bit sappy, I know.  But I don’t see why I should keep it all bottled up any more.  I don’t have this much fun with any of the others – I just don’t have this closeness with any of ‘em.  Not like you.  No-one makes me happy like you do, Heero.  Jeez – no-one makes me so fuckin’ mad, either!”


He looked like he was going to lean in for another kiss, and I lurched back.


“Get back!” I gasped.


“Heero?…” he faltered for the first time.  He looked genuinely puzzled.  “But there’s times – it looks like you can’t keep your hands off me.  I mean – I’ve waited to see if I was wrong.  I’ve waited to get the signals from you.  And they’re comin’ thick and fast, fella!”  He grinned at me, but a little less confidently.  I was scowling at him.  “Hey, Heero, what’s up?  I thought – well, I thought we were coming to some kinda understanding.  That we were gonna take things a bit further…”


“Further?  Signals?  What the hell are you talking about?”  I was so astonished I spoke very harshly.  “What sort of animal are you, leaping on me like this?”


He flinched.  I realised how I was suddenly seeing all of him in a new light – I saw the flexing of the muscles on his chest.  Saw the moisture on his swollen lips.


And I saw the flash of something painful in his eyes.


“I thought you kinda liked it,” he blustered.  “But I couldn’t wait much longer for you to make the first move…”


“Liked it?  Liked it?”  I was almost speechless.


He stared at me as if he were truly distressed.  “Heero, what -?  I don’t understand…”


“Dammit, Duo!” I snapped.  I pulled myself up to sitting; pulled down my shirt that had come untucked in the skirmish.  “Understand this!  I’m trying to knock some sense into you – to make you some kind of soldier.  And all you do is degrade it with stupid games!”


He was looking at me now like I’d grown another head and it was spitting knives at him.  Perhaps that’s what he genuinely saw in me.  Degrade it -?”  he hissed.


“This isn’t the place for sex games – nor the time!”


“Nor the person -?” It was a whisper now.  He’d sat back on his heels, so he was still only a foot or so away from me – but the way he’d drawn back his body into himself made it look as if he’d moved a mile away.


“No,” I snapped again.  I wasn’t in control of my own senses.  I didn’t know what the feeling was, racing round my body.  I didn’t need it – I didn’t want the uncertainty.  I was very angry with him.  I hit back.  “I don’t know what you’re after, but you’d better know I’m not interested!”


“I’m not after anything,” he countered.  He watched me as I clumsily got up, and brushed myself down.  “I like you, Heero.  Hey, it’s much more than that, you must know that!”  He shook his head, impatiently, like he was trying to grasp an elusive idea.  Or a dream.  “I don’t let just anyone chew me out like you just did.  I thought it was all part of the fun…” 


“You have a sick sort of humour, then,” I spat out.  The confusion in his face was ghastly to see.  He was always so bold, so sure of things.  What was I doing to him?  “I wouldn’t even consider that sort of thing – can’t even entertain the thought of it.  Not with – guys.”


There was a look of horror in his eyes now. 


“Oh, shit…” he breathed the words like they were poison in his mouth.  “What are you saying to me, Heero?”


“For God’s sake, Duo, the whole thing is unnatural, isn’t it?  Guys and guys?  I’ve got no time for that.  I don’t want your –” I bit the final words back but I didn’t need to say any more.


“You – you…” Duo Maxwell appeared to be struggling with words – an unheard of event.  The look he graced me with was full of everything in his heart – pain, anger, betrayal.  Confusion, misery – shame, even.  And he found the only word that could express my rejection of him.




That was the first time that I lost my friend.  And everything else that he might have brought me besides friendship.






The doctors never came for me.  No-one listened to my silent screaming.  I didn’t know why.  I mourned Duo, and I felt pity for myself, and I wondered how the hell I would ever survive without him.





It had been the most miserable time of my life, the months before the mission.  Since we argued that day, Duo had barely spoken to me.  When we had to communicate, because of a mission, his attitude was pure freeze.  His words were sparse, to the point, and they sliced through me like a laser.  When we had to sit or move together, every fibre in his body screamed to keep away from me.  Even his hair swung away from me – it used to catch on my neck when we sat together in the jeep, but not any more.  No more smell of his shampoo on my towel, where he used to borrow it several times a week.  Nothing of Duo was to be allowed near me – nothing was to be offered.


I’d been offered a hell of a sight more, and I’d turned it down.  What did I expect?


The mission had been the only time we were alone together in all that time – it only needed a two-man team.  There was no expectation of enemy soldiers; the base had been deserted for a month or so.  But there were still weapons there that needed to be destroyed.  We’d sat through the briefing in virtual silence.  We both knew we could get through this with the minimum of effort – that we could then return to base and get back to the real job of despising each other.


Except I was beginning to realise just what a hideous mistake I’d made.  How I didn’t despise him at all.  How the room became noticeably warmer when he came in.  How I waited – always – for his response at a briefing before I made any of my own decisions.  How I listened for his whistling when he returned at night.  How I missed him using my towel, for God’s sake.


How good his kiss had tasted in my mouth.


There was nothing I could do.  I had ruined my chance with him – I had offended him beyond any recovery.


I wrote long, rambling letters to him on the laptop.  So very unlike my usual behaviour that I was ashamed of myself.  But I couldn’t find any other way to relieve the pressure of the misery.  I erased most of them.  Never showed anything to him, of course.


Anyway, we’d taken the base with next to no problem.  We took a couple of the best weapons, and some good radar equipment.  Left the rest in the store, and set the charges.


And then it all went wrong.


Somehow, it had been a trap.  Quatre’s intelligence had been misled – or bribed.  Or whatever, as Duo would say.  God knows where the defence squad were hiding, but by the time we saw them and took them out, we’d been pushed back to the only door still available to us.  Duo had been hit in the side.  We had to get out – the bomb was going to blow in less than ten minutes.  The corridor ahead was full of smoke and there were a couple of the soldiers groaning and still dangerously attached to their guns.  Duo never liked hitting a guy when he was down, so I knew he’d leave them to take their chances.  But that effectively blocked our way back.  So we backed out of the door, expecting another corridor, or at the least, an exit to the roof.


It was that all right.  It was a sloping affair, with little foothold.  And a sheer drop to the courtyard below.  And as we realised the lack of options in front of us, looking to retreat, one of the groaning guys threw himself at the security door and trapped us out there.


That was the beginning of the end.




But I’d been given another chance, thank God.  Another chance to be alone with Duo; to tell him how I felt.  To beg his forgiveness for being so crass, so cruel – for giving him months of pain that I would never have wished on him.  To be able to touch him – to hold him.


It was so very important that I’d had this second chance.


And now he’d left me – but he’d gone knowing that I loved him in return.  I couldn’t save him – but I’d be with him forever now.  Until I joined him again.  I believed that I would.


I must sleep now.  I must be strong again for that time.


It was so very important to me…. it meant everything.


That second chance.





The young man stood silently by the shrouded figure on the hospital bed.  He was tall, and he held himself as a soldier would.  Despite the evidence of a crutch at his side.  A doctor stood opposite him, a hand at the machine that was pumping fluids regularly into the body in front of them.


He looked into the man’s face with a professional interest – there was a deep, ingrained weariness there.  And the tension that comes with bearing continual pain.  The doctor knew that it was not just physical pain.


“We must turn off the machine, sir.  There is no hope at all – there never was, not with injuries that extensive.  A fall from that height… No possibility of regaining consciousness.  And the potential for brain damage…  I have tried to explain –”


The young man waved a dismissive hand.  Yes, he understood.  He just didn’t accept it.


“Did you see what happened, Mr Maxwell?” asked the doctor, gently.


The other man seemed not to recognise his name.  He didn’t answer for a while.


“It was all so fast.  The trap – the soldiers we were barely prepared for.  I’d trust him beside me in any event, y’know?  But it caught us both unawares…”


The doctor nodded, encouragingly.  He knew some of this – he’d seen the mission report.  But he needed the young man’s input – needed his agreement to the medical decision.


“I came out of the door too fast – I lost my footing.”  The young man – Duo Maxwell – caught his breath, as if using it physically cut him.  “There was no ledge – barely a foothold.  I was gonna slide right down that roof and hit the ground, hardly knowing what was goin’ on.”


“You were injured already…” came the gentle prompt.


“Yeah – just a gash to my side.  But I guess I had lost blood.  I guess I was weak on my feet.”  He turned wide, agonised eyes to the doctor, though he wasn’t really seeing him.  The doctor kept silent, marvelling at the emotion in those eyes.  He’d rarely seen a more distraught relative – let alone a colleague…


“He caught me – Heero did.  He caught at my arm – braced himself against the door.  The jolt nearly knocked me out, but I hung on to him.  He held me back for ages.  Damn weight I am!  But then one of them got to the door behind us – started to push it shut.  We were gonna be trapped out there – there’d be no purchase.  We’d both fall, no question about it.”


Duo dropped his head slightly.  Changed a sweaty grip on his crutch.  “I tried to let go of him.  He coulda gone for the door – got back through.  The guy was bleeding all over the goddamn place.  I know – I’d shot him on our way out.”


“But -?”


“He wouldn’t let go,” hissed Duo.  “I saw his eyes as I slipped further.  He shifted round – he slid down with me.  Deliberately.”


He glared at the doctor, so that the other man almost flinched.  “D’you understand?  He fell with me.  He chose to fall with me!”


“He said nothing to you?”


“Not a fucking word.” Duo’s voice was more like a sob now.  And bitter with it.  “It was a matter of minutes, anyway – from falling through that door to slipping off.  We don’t speak too much at the best of times nowadays.”


There was silence for a while, as the doctor shifted a little uncomfortably.  Mr Maxwell needed to get used to the fact that his partner was dead.  Had been for two weeks now, while they worked on Maxwell himself and did their best to patch him up.


“It’s likely he felt no pain, sir.  No prolonged suffering.  He would have been unconscious during the latter part of the fall, and the damage to his brain and body would have happened almost as he landed.”


“Under me.”


“Yes.  That saved your life.  Otherwise your injuries would have been just as severe – your chance of survival as hopeless.  As it is, you’ve only been up out of bed a day or so – you’re going to have to take it easy for months yet…”


“He saved my life.”


The doctor was a perceptive young man himself.  He was realising how much more there was to this man’s regard for his partner.  He didn’t think that anything he could say would ease this particular pain.


“He’s no longer the man you knew, sir.  He wasn’t from the minute he fell from that roof. You’ll have to let go of him now.”






Duo stood at the small table in the deserted bedroom, his body tense and yet restless at the same time – as if he didn’t know whether to sit or stand.  The room was in darkness – he hadn’t bothered to turn on the light as the evening had deepened.  He had a blessed hour on his own now, when everyone had to be out; an hour when there weren’t others fussing round him, others trying to do things for him – to distract him from his living Purgatory.  He’d spent the whole time here, just thinking.


He needed this time to grieve.  And to consider the puzzle that nagged at his mind.


His hand rested on a small black case on the table.  He dragged his fingers across the top.  A painful little sound eked its way from his throat.


It was Heero’s laptop.


It annoyed Heero if he touched it.


No – it used to annoy Heero.  Heero was gone.  Heero would never work on it again.


I always annoyed him, thought Duo, rather ruefully.  Whatever I did – though I usually worked him around to a grudging smile.  In the end.


I spent more time together with Heero than I had with anyone else in my life.  I needed him so badly.  All I ever wanted was to be with him – perhaps to let him know that.  I always thought he needed someone in return.


But it didn’t work that way, did it, fella? he hissed at himself.  Damn man wanted nothing to do with you – not like that.


Shit!  Duo spun on his good leg, slammed a hand down on the box.  It was cold.


He musta known how I felt about him, I couldn’t always hide it.  I should never have let myself slip that time – I musta scared him.  Even though I thought he’d welcome me.  I should’ve waited for him to come round. 


But who’s to say he ever would have come round?  He couldn’t have made his feelings any clearer.


He despised me for it. 


We were never the same again.  Everything was wrong from then on.  Everything in my life.


One side of Duo’s tortured brain jeered at him, Grow the fuck up! He’s gone!

The other side wept.

How am I gonna manage without him around?


Duo stroked the case.  He didn’t seem to have any appetite for anything in life at the moment.  He didn’t really see the fucking point of anything.


He saved my life.


Why’d he do that when he despised me so much?


He wondered what Heero had been thinking in those last months.  Those last seconds.  Why the thought still tormented him almost every hour of his waking life.  And whether it always would.


Almost without thinking, he opened the laptop.


And logged on.