You only see what your eyes want to see
How can life be what you want it to be?
You’re frozen, when your heart’s not open…
- Madonna (Frozen)
/In other news, police are now investigating the shooting that took place on Marigold highway two weeks ago. According to reports, the only victim at the scene was Heero Yuy, only son to billionaire businessman and socialite, Odin Yuy. Two men, suspected to be his attackers, were apprehended and taken into police custody. They are both believed to be responsible for many cases of stolen vehicles around the city for the past few months. Heero Yuy has been confirmed as being in stable condition and doctors believe he will be released soon from the single gunshot wound on his left shoulder. The seventeen year-old Yuy heir…/
The remote control fell out of his hand and amongst the pillows as he lay back with a soft sigh. Long lashes fluttered closed as the boy felt the drowsiness from the drugs he had been given earlier finally take effect. He tried to fight it as he forced his eyes open again. He blinked slowly, and took notice of his surroundings with a low groan. He was still in the hospital even though he had been promised he would be sent home a day or two earlier. He didn’t like being cooped up in a single place for a long time. The feeling of claustrophobia and the sense of being held prisoner were making him feel even more paranoid than ever before.
He kept having the feeling that they were keeping something from him…again.
For two weeks, he had been drifting in and out of consciousness. The pain in his shoulder had been numbed the first night he had been brought in and the surgery performed just as quickly. He should have been out by now, he kept telling himself. But no, they had to keep him here for monitoring purposes.
His lashes fell closed again and with a light grunt, he forced them open to glare at the vase of brightly colored flowers of which species he knew nothing about. The smell was a bit maddening and Heero could remember trying to get the nurse to take them out of the room. Everyday a fresh batch of flowers were sent to his room from well wishers, family members and even strangers he had never heard of. What a pain.
His parents had, of course, spent the first night and consecutive days afterwards with him. They had naturally been worried and fussed over him like he was a child all over again. A bit aggravating, but quite thoughtful and nice of them, he thought with a small smile. But beneath all of that, Heero sensed that all was not as it seemed. They had come together, yes…but they had been apart as well. Hikari would usually sit inches away from him, talking about everything going on at the house. She had been forced to cancel the party she had planned for Milliardo, but she was going to throw an even bigger one once he got out of the hospital. This time it would be in celebration of his recovery and for Milliardo’s welcome. Just like killing two birds with one stone.
Heero had smiled dutifully at his mother’s enthusiasm, but had noticed from a quick glance at his father, that the dark-haired man was quite silent and had a thoughtful expression on his features. He had seen his father look like that before, so it really shouldn’t have been a surprise to him at the time.
Sighing softly, Heero forced his gaze towards the large windowpanes on his left. It gave him the breathtaking view of the ocean just a few miles away and somehow, the thought of the blue waters looking so calm and serene had him feeling a bit better.
Relena and Milliardo had been there on the night of the attack. So, Heero knew he was right when he had guessed it was the girl’s scream of terror. Her brother had managed to find the highway, but that was only because of Trowa’s phone call. The Barton heir had called Relena to let her know the situation as it stood and had given them his and Duo’s whereabouts. Relena had then called the police for backup and that was how they had burst onto the scene. Everything that had happened on that night still seemed surreal to Heero and there were times when he could have sworn that it had all been one bad dream. Relena had of course, come in to visit as often as she was allowed. And although, she spent her time talking to him, Heero got the sense that she was finally beginning to realize that she had little to no chance of winning him back.
“I just want to be your friend,” he had told her quietly. “Can’t we just be good friends?”
Tears had welled up in her eyes and she had taken off the simple gold engagement ring and flung it in his face before running out of the room. She hadn’t come back to visit since then…but then again, that had been yesterday. Milliardo had only come by twice, not that it mattered much to Heero whether he showed his face to him again or not. But he had needed to know the whereabouts of the man he had saved and besides the enigmatic smile the blond gave him each time, Heero was beginning to get even more frustrated at Milliardo’s unwillingness to tell him anything.
Duo had not visited him…yet.
He felt the dull ache of misery sear through him as the thought came back to hit him with a vengeance.
That’s right. He hasn’t come. He won’t come. He didn’t go to David’s funeral…why should he come to see me now?
He raised a hand to scrub his eyes angrily, which had begun to burn with unshed tears before he allowed it to fall back to the bed heavily.
A light knock on the door had him glancing quickly at the clock. Visiting hours were no longer in effect. So who could it possibly be?
“Can I come in, Heero?”
A reluctant and small smile came to his lips as he heard the softly spoken Japanese words. Keiko only spoke in Japanese whenever she was extremely angry or in a particularly good mood. According to her, it would be a shame to let their native tongue go to waste if they didn’t continue speaking it whenever chance they got.
“Yeah…” he replied as he held up his hand in greeting, watching her step carefully into the room and close the door gently behind her. She was dressed in a white sweater and a long black skirt that fit her like a second skin. The bruises on her face had begun to heal nicely and in a few days they were bound to be gone completely. She was carrying a bouquet of orchids, which she dropped unceremoniously onto a table. Pulling a chair closer to his bed, she sat down with a heavy sigh escaping her lips.
“What are you still doing here?” she asked with a raised brow as she eyed his hospital gown-clad form. “I thought you were supposed to be out by now.”
Heero shrugged and shook his head slowly. “I don’t know. You tell them to get me out of here.”
“Wish I could, brother,” she replied with a small smile that made her look so much different and even more beautiful. Their eyes met and they held each other’s gaze for a long moment each knowing that they had so much to tell the other but not knowing where to begin.
“I’m glad you are okay, Keiko,” he finally said quietly. “You turned out…alright…”
She had the grace to blush at the intense look in his eyes as she waved her hand in dismissal. “Stop saying that. I haven’t done anything.” She got to her feet and stood beside the window, her gaze now pinned on the deceptively calm ocean.
“Has he come yet?” she asked suddenly, causing Heero to blush darkly at how direct the question had been.
“No…” he mumbled. “No, he…hasn’t…”
“That idiot!” Keiko barked out coldly as she spun around to face him again. “No one has seen him at the house for the past two weeks either! Where could he have gone?”
Heero lowered his lashes and tried hard to squash down the growing worry. Duo couldn’t have…
“I mean, his things are still there,” Keiko continued, unaware of the huge sigh of relief that escaped her cousin at that little piece of good news. “He just hasn’t been sleeping in the house, that’s all. I’m…”
“Worried?” Heero finished with a teasing smile.
“Like hell I am! That…that…that…he almost killed me!”
Heero chuckled weakly at the memory of Duo’s horrible driving on that night. But the laughter died down as he felt the claws of loneliness bury themselves into his heart again. For one brief moment on that night, he had touched the teacher again. Had Duo had an inkling that this might happen? Was that kiss a sort of…goodbye?
No…I can’t…I don’t want it to be…
“Yuzuki said she might drop by again later on tonight,” Keiko said around a yawn. “She seems to be doing well again.”
Heero gave a small nod. “You never did tell us why you went looking for her, Keiko,” he said with a puzzled look on his face as he noticed the dull red hue on her cheeks.
And sounding a bit too defensive, she replied curtly. “Is it so wrong to look for someone now? I was just trying to help out, that’s all.”
Heero didn’t buy it, but rather than worry too much about Keiko’s credibility, he focused his attention on the events that had surrounded the Japanese woman. Luckily, Yuzuki had been at home when Trowa and Quatre had arrived. They had both, naturally, wanted to know her reason for leaving, but all she had told them was something along the lines of people changing and people needing to move on with their lives. She had served the Yuy family for so long now that she thought it was time for her to depend on herself. She would still love and cherish Heero and would do her best to visit him at any and all times possible.
People change. People need to move on…
Keiko sat down on the chair again and stared into her cousin’s rather sad countenance. “Kami-sama, you’re both so clueless sometimes,” she muttered with irritation. “After all you have both been through, he just chooses to disappear. And you saved his life too! The ungrateful bastard!”
“That’s why you love him, right?” Heero asked quietly.
“Lo…Love??” came the flustered stammer from the red-faced girl. “I am so over him! So don’t worry, I have no plans to steal your precious boy-friend from you…”
Heero lifted his lowered gaze to stare at the now silent girl in bemusement. “What is it?” he prodded gently.
Keiko shook her head and gave a surprisingly shy smile. “It’s nothing. It’s just that…”
A sudden knock on the door had both of them blinking in surprise before gaping at the head that stuck itself into the room. In a voice that was filled with complete boredom, Milliardo spoke up.
“You told me you were only going to be here for ten minutes, Keiko. It’s been almost half an hour.”
The flush on the girl’s cheeks did not lessen as she caught the bewildered look her cousin was giving her.
Milliardo was actually talking to Keiko…normally?!
The blond caught Heero’s look and stepped into the room with a light shrug. “She made me bring her here, so don’t look at me or her like that. There’s nothing going on between us.”
Keiko scowled. “Like I would want anything to do with a brainless loser like you.”
The Peacecraft heir tightened his jaw at the jab and gave a curt nod. “Well, you might as well find the bus to go home on. I’m out of here.”
“Wait!” the girl cried out quickly as she rose to her feet to place a soft but quick kiss on her cousin’s cheek. “Sorry, Heero, but I’ve got to go with him. I can’t take the bus. I…uh…I have no money with me.”
They both knew she was lying. Keiko would have rather walked the distance than use any public mode of transportation. Yes, she was that spoiled.
“Whatever makes you happy, Keiko,” Heero muttered around a small smile. “Take care now. And thank you for visiting me.”
Another light blush filled her cheeks as she gave a small nod. “No worries, Heero. What are cousins for?” And giving him a light wave, she made her way out of the room with a scowling Milliardo following, but Heero’s desperate cry had the blond stopping in his tracks.
“What is it now?” he asked lazily, not really looking at the teen on the bed. He already had an inkling of what the question was bound to be, but an inner perverted need to torture Heero a bit longer reared its ugly head again.
Heero grit his teeth at the smug look on Milliardo’s face, but forced himself to ask as politely as possible. “Have you heard anything yet?”
The blond shook his head. “No. Oh, I’m sorry, looks like the boyfriend isn’t hanging around you any more, is he?”
“Or maybe you should take his lead and move on, Heero. He seems to be doing that easily enough, why can’t you?”
But the blond wasn’t done yet. Luckily, Keiko was out of sight and he was free to do as he pleased. Retribution was a wonderful thing. Not that there was really any reason for Milliardo to feel a need for revenge, but he guessed that the very idea of Heero falling for someone he might have had a chance with was enough to fuel his jealous streak.
“What’s the matter, Heero? Where’s all that tough guy talk? Are you just going to sit there and let him go find another young man to tutor, hmm? Why don’t you…?”
“Go fuck yourself,” Heero growled out with barely contained fury. He would have loved to get off the bed to wipe that smug look off the blond’s face, but he knew that his legs would fail him at this point. He hadn’t moved in two weeks and his joints were bound to take some time to get into better working condition.
Instead of getting upset, the insult seemed to only tickle Milliardo’s funny bone as he gave a hearty chuckle in response. “Good one, friend. Good one.” He made a show of glancing at his watch before giving Heero a wink and a patronizing grin. “Looks like my time here in Loser’s Ward is over. Remember what I said, Heero. People change. They need to move on. Think about that, friend. See you around.”
And with a light mocking bow, the heir let himself out, leaving only an empty shell of a young man in his wake.
“I feel a bit weird doing this,” Quatre mumbled as he picked up the small statue of something that looked like a goat. It had been sitting among other similar looking statues on the wide mantel-piece that belonged to a certain teacher. Duo sure did have a lot of strange collectibles.
“What’s so weird about it?” came the muffled question from the taller boy, who was currently rummaging through a box of books that had been sitting in the corner of the living room. “We are just looking for things that could give us a clue as to where he might have gone. I hardly think it’s fair for him to just leave with no warning or explanation.”
Quatre pursed his lips in thought as he picked up a leather bound book that had been lying on one of the couches. “What if he ran away because he couldn’t face the thought of losing Heero,” he mused out loud. “Remember, Trowa? He couldn’t make himself attend David’s funeral…so maybe…”
“But Heero isn’t dead, Quatre,” Trowa reasoned with a sigh as he tossed yet another book to the side. “Damn…there’s got to be someone that knows about his whereabouts.”
Trowa blinked in confusion at the softly mumbled words before turning to face his blond companion. “What’s that?”
Quatre pointed to the book he was holding. “It’s written in here. ‘To the coolest reject I know, love Wufei’…”
“Let me see that.” Trowa walked up to pluck the book out of the Arabian’s hands, eager and excited green eyes reading the smooth calligraphy over and over again. “That’s him! Don’t you remember, Quatre? The guy we met at Duo’s pool party!”
“Oh yeah! I remember now,” the blond agreed with growing excitement. Things were looking up now. “Wufei…Wufei…” he wracked his brain for the last name, but Trowa beat him to the punch.
“Right. So, what do we do now? Call him? Visit him?”
“Get a phone directory,” Trowa suggested as he began to make his way towards Duo’s bedroom to search for any possible address books lying around. “The sooner we speak to him, the better for us…and Heero.”
Now, Wufei wasn’t one to question Fate and what it had in store for him, but in this case he had the feeling that he was about to make an exception.
The morning had started innocently enough. There was nothing out of the ordinary to complain about. He always woke up at about seven in the morning, had a quick jog around the block, came back in and got himself ready for work. Much to Meiran’s chagrin, he always had the tendency to skip breakfast and settled for getting only a doughnut and a cup of coffee from the small shop a few blocks away. He really didn’t know why she should complain. It wasn’t as if he was eating himself into the ground or anything.
After breakfast came work. Now that he was in the executive ranks, he didn’t really need to answer to anyone else but the big guy on the top floor, so he could come in at whatever time he liked. However, Wufei was punctual and never failed to miss his ten o’clock daily meetings with the members of his department.
The accounting division was bound to be a failure without him, he figured with a smirk as he punched the buttons on the elevator that was to take him to his office. Without his knowledge and expertise, all those bumbling fools would have made a wreck of an otherwise successful company.
The doors slid open and he gave absentminded nods of greeting to the ones that came his way. It was a luxurious place, if he did say so himself. Functional and tastefully furnished, the beige and tan colors muted and created a sense of professionalism that was sadly lacking in today’s business world.
“Good morning, Mr. Chang,” came the lithe sing-song voice from his secretary. She was a beautiful dark-skinned girl, who had just graduated from a well-known university with honors, which was a rarity in itself. Giving her a rare smile, he nodded and accepted the folder she handed to him.
“Thank you, Amy,” he responded as he made the turn towards his office, only to stop dead in his tracks as his gaze fell upon the headline that blared at him from a newspaper that had been left on a side table.
‘Billionaire’s son hospitalized…’
That shouldn’t have been enough to grab his attention, but it was the name beneath it that had Wufei snatching the paper off the table with trembling hands.
“Yuy…Heero Yuy…” he mumbled thickly as dark eyes scanned the report. “Shot…eye witnesses…girl…Peacecraft…Milliardo…Relena…”
Duo? Where was Duo in all of this?
The report had not mentioned anything about the young man on the scene, but Wufei had the feeling that the teacher must have been there. So what had happened? Why hadn’t Duo been mentioned?
/I can’t deal with it, Wufei…I can’t stand to see those I love suffering…because of me…/
Amy was startled at the vehemence of her boss’s cry but she wasn’t one to question him on matters that were on a personal level. She could clearly see that he was agitated and she wisely kept her distance.
“Amy,” Wufei began briskly as he began to make his way out of the office. “I want you to call Kohae and tell him to lead the meeting this morning. I will not be around for a while, so forward all my calls, okay?”
“No…don’t forward my calls,” he corrected after a few seconds of thought. “Just take down messages or tell them that I will call back later on.”
“Yes, sir,” she repeated quietly as she took down the notes. “Will that be all, sir?”
The Chinese man frowned in thought for a moment before shaking his head. “That will be all. Have a good day, Amy.”
With a light nod, he made his way out of the office and towards a place he knew a certain teacher would be.
Apparently, he wasn’t the only one looking for Duo as he had just gotten a phone call from two of the unlikeliest of people. For a second, the names had not rung any bells in his mind, but once they had mentioned Duo and Heero in the same breath, he had recognized their voices on the spot.
And now, here he was in front of the apartment building that Duo had once called home, waiting for the two boys to make an appearance. They had all promised to meet here and even though Wufei was doubtful that his friend would be at home, there was no harm in trying, was there?
He glanced towards the windows, wondering if perhaps the man with the braid was watching from up above. But the eerie stillness was quite unnerving and for a moment, Wufei debated on whether barging in there unannounced was really a good idea in the first place. He was sure that Duo would be upset if he found out he was being ambushed like this.
He spun around quickly, surprised (and a bit upset at being caught off guard) at the presence of the two boys he had been waiting for. They must have grown a bit taller since the last time they met, but there was no denying who they were. Trowa Barton and Quatre Winner were actually standing before him. Wufei glanced at the lone black car that was parked by the curb with a wary smile. Not a good idea to park such an expensive looking car in such a neighborhood, but then again, it could end up being the safest place for it.
“Trowa? Quatre, I believe?” he responded with an outstretched hand in greeting. “Nice to meet you both again.”
The teens gave small sighs of relief, having wondered if they would have to reintroduce themselves all over again. They had been lucky to find one of Duo’s old address books in one of the boxes he kept in the basement. Well, actually they had found Meiran’s number and had called her first. She had been more than willing to share any and all information about her husband-to-be. That was the only way they had gotten access to his cell-phone number in the first place. But those matters were quite trivial compared with what they had to deal with at the moment.
“We are really sorry for taking you away from your business,” Trowa began quietly.
Wufei waved a hand in dismissal, although he had a friendly smile on his face. “It’s no problem at all. I would have taken a break anyway. I just saw the newspaper this morning.”
Both boys gave small but uneasy smiles, knowing full well that the older man was going to ask them a question. However, sensing their uneasiness, Wufei gave a small nod instead and began to lead the way into the building. There would be time to find out everything and this was not it.
“Watch your step,” he warned as he pushed open the door that led to the front lobby. Trowa and Quatre tried hard not to wrinkle their noses in distaste at the foul stench of rotten vegetables and wet feet that assailed their senses. A loud cry from a baby permeated the already noisy building as doors banged open and shut, added with noises from bickering neighbors or couples.
The two heirs exchanged wary glances with one another, wondering just how anyone could live in such a place and retain their sanity. But, not being one to judge, they followed Wufei’s sure and steady steps, hands stuck deep into their coats as they did not want to touch the dingy staircase rails or walls. Black with soot and covered with some rather obscene graffiti, they shuddered and unconsciously huddled closer to the older man.
Finally, they got to Duo’s floor and the boys were grateful that it was at least a bit quieter than the rest. Wufei’s strides took them towards Room 531, which was locked as evident from the small twist the Chinese man had given to the door knob. He pressed the doorbell and waited.
“I can’t…can’t believe he lives here,” Quatre muttered thickly as he moved closer to his partner. The sound of something like glass crashing on the floor above them had them both moving even closer to their guide.
“It’s okay, Quatre. It’s not as bad as it looks really,” Wufei replied softly, as he peered through the peephole. He couldn’t see a thing of course, but then again that didn’t mean anything, did it? Was Duo even home?
“How long have you known Duo?” Trowa asked in genuine curiosity. “You seem to know him better than…anyone.”
“And how would you know that?” Wufei asked in faint amusement. “I’ve only known him for three years. That’s hardly long enough to consider myself a ‘Duo’ expert.”
“But you’ve known him…and you know more about him than we do,” Trowa insisted with a light frown. “What is Duo like, really? Please tell us.”
The Chinese man’s brow creased lightly as he stepped away from the door. He eyed the two boys who had eager but serious expressions on their faces. They looked genuinely concerned for their friend and he could understand that. He felt the same way about Duo and he would be damned before he betrayed the American’s trust.
“Why should I tell you anything about him?” he asked with that same look of wariness in his eyes. “If Duo chose not to reveal too much about himself, then who am I to fill in the missing pieces?”
“Because those missing pieces are what we need to make Heero better, Wufei,” Quatre replied quietly. “Heero needs Duo and I am sure that Duo feels the same way. He just can’t keep running away from the truth whenever it hits him in the face.”
Wufei’s jaw tightened at the comment, but he refused to say anything.
“Please, Wufei…anything at all you can say to help us…” Trowa pleaded again. “We would greatly appreciate it.”
You have friends now, Duo, Wufei thought ruefully. People who actually give a damn now. So, friend? What do you have to say for yourself?
The nurse looked stricken as she tried desperately to get the boy back into his bed.
“Please, Mr. Yuy, you’ve been going at this for an hour now. You need to get some rest!”
But the Japanese boy paid her no attention. Drops of sweat rolled off his skin as he moved the crutches again. His arms were practically numb from the constant maneuvering he had been doing all afternoon. He grit his teeth and moved them forward again, biting back a cry as the pain shot up his spine. He was aggravating the wound on his shoulder, but anything was better than lying down and doing nothing.
He had to walk again. If not for his sake, then for Duo’s sake.
Bless me father, for I have sinned. It’s been….one year since my last confession.
/What is your sin, my son?/
I have…I have killed someone again, father. Someone I love very, very much…
She would have to call the doctor. This was getting too much for her to watch. It was as if the boy was punishing himself for something.
“Please, Mr. Yuy. You are bleeding again. Please stop this!”
One more…just one more step and my toes will move again.
He moved the crutches, having to swerve a little to avoid hitting his bed, but all he succeeded in doing was pulling the muscle of his left arm a bit tighter, hence causing his already blood-soaked bandages to darken a bit more. He could feel himself getting light-headed, but he also knew that he was almost there.
He could put his right foot down now.
Wait for me, Duo. I’m coming!
/And how did you kill him, my son?/
With my love. I think. I think it’s a sin to be in love with someone, don’t you agree? You hurt them without really wanting to. You just do and even though you tell yourself it will never happen again and you do all you can to avoid it ever happening again, it just does. It’s like a fucking avalanche…Forgive my language, father.
/It’s alright. In the heat of confession, we are hardly in control of our emotions. And what did you do next, my son?/
I ran away.
She left the room. She couldn’t take it anymore. She had to get some help. The boy was going to die right in front of her and she had just been recruited for only a month.
My parents…are separated, Duo. Do you know that?
He placed his right foot down again, forcing…willing the lax muscles to work for him. A little twitch on his big toe. Progress at last!
They are getting a divorce, Duo. Do you know that?
His left foot was going to be the killer. It was as if it had decided not to work for him at all.
My mother is going to be on her own now, just like she wants to be. Shouldn’t I be happy for them, Duo?
He groaned and forced the wave of nausea to dissipate. He could feel the blood dripping down his arm now. He figured he must have overdone it a little.
The door burst open and the doctors rushed in. Voices filled with concern drifted in and out of his consciousness as he struggled not to pass out from his semi-delirious state. He forced his eyes open to stare out of the window, feeling the tears he so longed to fall continue to lock themselves away in his heart.
I love you, Duo. Don’t you know that?
He tightened the grocery bag against his chest as he made the turn towards his apartment. There was something always so soothing about being in a church and talking about your problems to someone who couldn’t really give a damn about you. Priests were a dime a dozen in this city. They were very good secret keepers. Everyone’s nasty business was kept behind their hollowed walls and if by any chance any of them got a conscience and reported to the police…then that was the parishioner’s problem to deal with.
He stopped as he noticed the black car parked on the curbside, amethyst depths narrowed in thought as he read the license plate. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, not really feeling anything much as he figured it was bound to happen sooner or later. He knew it couldn’t possibly be Heero, so it was all narrowed down to Trowa and Quatre.
Damn, but those boys were pretty nosey.
With another resigned sigh, he made his way into the building and towards his floor. Sure enough, standing like a group of tax-collectors were the two culprits and his best friend. He forced a warm smile on his face and waved lightly.
what do I owe the pleasure of having you fine gentlemen visit my home?”
He winced at the accusatory looks that were thrown at him, feeling his cheeks darken with color as he realized that neither of them were smiling much.
Wufei was the first to break the thick silence as he said quietly, “You know what we are here for, Duo. We don’t need to go into details, do we?”
The teacher frowned and shook his head lightly, hands reaching into his pockets to bring out his keys. “Sorry, boys but the lesson’s over,” he muttered thickly. “Now, if you don’t mind, I would like to go into my apartment now.”
“How can you do this to him?” Quatre asked in a voice filled with pain and disbelief. “How could you do this to…both of you?”
“It’s simple, Quatre,” came the cold retort. “We all have to grow up sometime and move on. It’s obvious that I’m not the one for Heero and never will be. I will only cause him trouble and I don’t want that in his life or mine, got it?”
“Bull shit, Duo,” Trowa interrupted just as coldly. “You just can’t deal with the fact that you’re going to be responsible for him, can you? He saved your goddamn life and you can’t even go to say thank you?!”
“I don’t remember asking him to do that for me, did I?” Duo asked with a cold smirk on his face. “It’s always the same fucking thing, isn’t it? Why? Why do they always feel like they have to save my goddamn life?! And what do I get in return? They die! That’s what!”
“Heero’s still alive, Duo,” Wufei said softly. There was a look in his eyes that Duo knew only too well. It was the same look he’d the first time they had actually had a real conversation together.
Back then, the teacher had hated it on sight but it had done wonders in the long run. He had opened up and bared his soul to the Chinese man. But now…things were different.
“I can’t go back, Wufei,” he muttered thickly, as if hoping that his friend would at least be on his side. “Can’t you see? I can’t go back. I can never go back.”
Resounding, sharp and loud, a shocked silence descended on the quartet as Duo’s gaze widened in surprise. For a moment, the pain didn’t register in his mind, as all that filled his vision was the teary-eyed blond standing before him.
He had been slapped and by Quatre no less.
What the fuck was the world coming to?
“You…” he began softly, still in disbelief as a hand slowly lifted to caress his reddened cheek.
The Arabian did not allow him to finish. “You can go back, Duo,” he said fervently, his voice thickened with the tears that had begun to cascade down his cheeks. “For Allah’s sake, you can! Why won’t you let him completely in, Duo? He has changed so much because of you! We have never seen Heero this happy before and it was all thanks to you! You can’t just leave him now, damn it! Give him one final lesson before you walk away at least!”
Trowa held on to the trembling shoulders of his partner, the same look of determination and plea in his eyes. “Just one more, Duo,” he added quietly. “As his teacher, you owe him that much.”
Duo’s eyes burned as he stared into their eyes. What are you two asking me to do? I am too…
A hand on his shoulder had him staring blindly into the smiling face of his best friend.
“Wu…fei…” he croaked out weakly. What do I do, friend? Tell me what to do.
And as Wufei wrapped his arms around his trembling friend’s body, offering him the warmth that he needed so badly, he whispered softly into the teacher’s ear in a voice that left no room for compromise.
“It’s time for one more lesson, Duo.”