A/N: Look at me, posting stuff after 89 days (yikes!) of silence. It's not IP but at least it's something, right?
So everyone really liked the last line of the previous chapter. I'm glad it amused so many of you.
Here's the next chapter! It gets pretty heavy so I hope you all enjoy.
The elevator dinged and Magic looked up as Duo walked in, carrying a few bags of groceries. He set them on the counter with a thud, turning to frown at the TV. It was a playing some kids cartoon while Harry and Shue stared at it mindlessly. They were both in the exact same positions they had been an hour ago when Duo had left to get food. As he rarely stayed in the flat, there was next to nothing to eat.
"Thank you," Magic said, getting his attention. The man turned to see the teen digging through the bags.
"No prob. Should we leave them like that?"
Magic shrugged, a small smile on his lips. "You're the one who let them turn it on."
The volume on the TV suddenly increased and the cartoon was shut off in favor of the nightly news.
"In other news, Baker's Street has finally been re-opened to residents as the police have completed their investigation. Earlier today the entire street was shut down as a police discovered a three year old girl, Kiki Gallagher, had been kidnapped. The kidnapper was identified as Shue Gallagher, the oldest son of the Gallagher family who was disowned by his father nearly three years ago. The girl was returned to her family after being missing for five hours and police have confirmed that Shue Gallagher is dead. Minister David Gallagher refused to comment at this time, stating he wanted to be at home with his family."
The TV shut off and Magic and Harry stared at Shue, who's jaw was hanging open.
"So... congratulations on dying," Harry said lightly. "I've been there before. It's rising from the grave that's the weird part."
"Magic or no magic, you are not going to convince me you rose from the dead," Duo spoke with annoyed tone.
Harry titled his head back to look at him. "I told you it was a hard pill to swallow."
The older man glared and made a sound of disbelief. "Shue's not dead, I just had him erased."
"Erased?" three voices echoed, looking at Duo.
"Yeah, my buddy Heero took care of it. We forged a death certificate for Shue and destroyed any evidence that he is still alive. You don't have a ID number, a last name, anything electronic anymore. Basically, we made sure you were dead and then took you off the system."
"Why?" Shue whispered.
Duo raised an eyebrow. "This was your third strike. Your father is a very powerful politician and was planning on mounting a man hunt for you. My guess is he would play it off as finding the person who harmed his family and making an example out of you."
"Tough on crime," Shue muttered. "It was always one of his big campaign promises. He would want to show that he is the perfect candidate for justice. He would even put his own family behind bars if they broke the laws."
"Exactly," Duo confirmed.
"And I thought my father was cruel," Magic muttered.
"Anyways, we basically killed you off and now your free."
"Yup. You can be whoever you want. Everyone in the world thinks your dead so you've got no record or even an identity. If the police tried to run your prints right now they'd come up with nothing. You're a blank slate."
Shue blinked at him, still in a state of disbelief. He turned to stare at the TV. "So what do I do now?"
"Whatever you want," Duo shrugged. "I can make you a new identity if you want. A new name, new history, the works, or you can just sit back and fade away. It's your choice."
Shue didn't glance at them as he stood up. "I'll have to get back to you." He vanished down the hall to the guest bedroom. Harry watched him go worriedly.
"I'm going to go sit with him," Magic announced. "I don't want him to be alone right now."
He hurried after his friend. Duo grabbed a soda and sat down next to Harry on the couch. Harry stared at him curiously.
"So erasing someone's identity is a terrorist trick, right?"
Duo nodded. "I can't tell you how many times I killed and recreated myself."
"Is Duo Maxwell your real name?"
"Duo is the name I gave myself after my only friend, Solo, died. I called myself Duo so I could live for the both of us. Maxwell came from the only adult to ever show me kindness in my life. So it may not be the name I was born with, but it is my real name."
Harry nodded and leaned against his arm, stealing his soda. He took a sip. "Can you make me disappear too?"
The man snorted. "A couple hours ago I would have said yes."
Harry smiled at him. "So you believe in magic now?"
"Kinda hard not to after all the shit you showed me." Duo glanced at his coffee table wearily. Harry had transfigured it into a puppy for a few minutes to show Duo that magic was real. "So magic is real and your people are hidden from the rest of the world."
"Yeah and we need to stay that way," Harry said seriously. "You can't tell anyone about me, Duo."
"Yeah right, you'll erase my memories and vanish on me."
"Not to mention no one would believe you. They'd lock you up as crazy and throw away the key."
"And doesn't that just sound fun," Duo muttered. He took his drink back, frowning when it was almost completely gone. He shot Harry a look but the boy just smiled and turned on the couch. He held his hand out and other soda came flying from the kitchen. Harry turned and handed it to Duo.
"...No wonder you're so lazy."
With their apartment destroyed, the three teens decided to move in with Duo. They reasoned he had plenty of space, more than enough money, and now that he was part of their "group" he could contribute by providing the housing.
"What the hell do you three contribute?" Duo demanded when they informed him of their decision.
"Well I'm the brains," Magic pointed out.
"I'm the magic. No to be confused with Magic, who is also magic, but not as magic as me."
Duo rolled his eyes and looked at Shue. "And you?"
"I bring the fun," he deadpanned.
Harry and Magic laughed and even Duo cracked a smile. "Fine, I guess you three can stay. Not like I don't have the extra space."
Harry smiled and placed a soft kiss on his boyfriend's lips. "It's cute that you thought you had a choice on this."
He laughed loudly when Duo stared at him with annoyed disbelief.
It was interesting to Harry, how easily everyone slipped back into their normal pattern of behavior. Within a few days, Harry and Duo were running around the rooftops of London again, Magic was back on the street trying to help the less fortunate, and Shue was his normal lazy self, vanishing to do his own thing every so often.
After nearly two weeks of living with Duo, Harry was sitting on the rooftop across the street from Duo's flat. He could see into Duo's apartment clearly and sat on the edge of the building, dangling his legs over the side. Duo was standing in the living room, his arms crossed and scowling just slightly. He didn't appear to be angry, just annoyed. Across from his were two people Harry didn't know personally but he did recognize.
The blonde who had his hands on his hips and a deep frown on his face was Quatre Winner. Harry recognized him from when they had robbed him. The other person was the bodyguard with dark hair who had beaten him up. At first, Harry had panicked and worried Duo was about to get into trouble because of their actions, but then he noticed that Duo was not on the defensive. In fact, he was extremely relaxed around the two men. Like they were all old friends.
As Harry watched, the blonde stepped forward and placed a hand on Duo's shoulder, his expression softening. Duo seemed to falter for a moment before jerking away. He spoke something and shook his head, making the blonde take on a sad expression. After a few moments of what Harry assumed was awkward silence, the two left, both glancing at Duo worriedly one more time before shutting the door behind them.
Harry waited until the two were out of the building and on the street. He ran to the next rooftop and jumped closer to the ground, watching them get into a black car curiously. Harry's heart suddenly stopped when the dark haired man looked right up at him. His blues caught Harry and the teen jerked back in surprise. He quickly moved into the shadows and didn't come out until he was sure they were gone.
Once it was safe, Harry returned to Duo's flat, landing silently on the balcony and letting himself in. Duo was in the kitchen, an empty shot glass in front of him. He turned to Harry with a smile that didn't quite reach his eyes.
"Hey Robin. You're back early."
Harry rolled his eyes at the nickname. "Got bored. Running around isn't as fun without you anymore."
This time Duo's smile was genuine. "Let me get my coat and I'll come with you."
Harry nodded as Duo walked past him. He eyed the empty shot glass. "Are you okay, Duo?"
Surprised, Duo turned to him. He followed Harry's gaze. "Oh that, I just felt like a shot. Occasionally I do like to drink."
"You didn't answer me," Harry accused.
Duo slid on his coat. He stepped up to his young lover and placed a sweet kiss on his cheek. "Let's go. I need to burn off some energy."
Harry didn't press the matter further as he followed his boyfriend to the balcony. Whatever was wrong with Duo, it didn't matter. Harry was the most powerful wizard of the age. Whatever problems his boyfriend was having, he would fix them. When Duo was ready to talk, Harry would listen and then do whatever was needed to fix things. Until then, Harry smiled and playfully pulled the long braid in front him. Indignant, Duo turned and they began to chase each other through the night.
Living with Duo was different than Harry had expected. While it was true that Duo had spent most of his time at Harry's old apartment, he did leave every so often. Now however, Duo was around twenty-four seven. It made Harry happy, always knowing where Duo was and being able to just shout and his boyfriend would appear. He knew he was being silly but he felt like a teenager with a first crush.
However because of his constant proximity, Harry began to notice something off about Duo. His boyfriend would disappear into the bathroom with regularity and would run the water or shower for a few minutes before coming out, looking slightly out of it. He was also paler than normal, which worried Harry.
Currently, Harry stood at the door to the bedroom he and Duo shared. His boyfriend had gone to take a power nap nearly three hours ago. Harry considered waking him but decided against it. Duo hadn't been well for the last few days. Instead, Harry covered him with a blanket and kissed his forehead. His heart tightened with worry when Duo barely stirred.
Leaving the room quietly, Harry joined his friends in the living room. He plopped onto the couch next to Shue, staring at the TV with unseeing eyes.
"Is Duo alright?" Magic asked in a concerned tone.
Shue glanced up at the question.
Harry shrugged. "I think he's got the flu or something. He keeps hiding in the bathroom and sleeping a lot."
"And he's much paler than usual," Magic pointed out. "Maybe we should leave and give him some time alone."
"Well yeah," Magic shrugged. "We did just move ourselves in. And you know how Duo is. If he's sick he's going to do everything to hide it. Much like someone else we know." He sent Harry a shrewd look and the teen smiled, shrugging lightly. "He's probably trying so hard to hide that he's not feeling well from us that it's making it worse."
Shue and Harry agreed. "But where should go?" Shue asked. "We moved in here because we didn't have anywhere else."
"I could take you guys to the magical world," Harry offered. "I own a few different houses there."
"Okay, have I ever mentioned that it annoys the hell outta me that you two live like you're poor homeless folk but in truth your fucking millionaires?"
"Hey, I am not a millionaire," Harry defended. "I'm just well off. In the wizarding world."
"And I gave up that fortune," Magic added. "It's much more rewarding to work for your living than having it dropped into your lap."
Shue stared at him. "Yeah, because being disowned and technically dead is what everyone hopes their hard work leads to."
"Okay, okay," Harry said quickly before the two could start fighting. "Let's get back on track. Where can we go for a few days to give Duo some time to relax and get over his flu?"
"We could just get a hotel room," Shue pointed out. "Duo's got the money and said we could use it for whatever. And I kinda like the idea of sitting around ordering room service and lazing by a nice big pool."
Harry and Magic stared at their friend. "How can you bang on us for having money when you're the one who wants to sit poolside and be lazy all day?"
Shue rolled his eyes as the three heard a soft laugh from behind them. They turned and saw Duo standing in the hallway. He was covered very lightly in sweat and looked a little shaky on his legs. Harry started to stand but stopped, sitting back down. As much as he wanted to run and help his boyfriend, he knew Duo wouldn't appreciate it. The man was strong and proud and would probably resent Harry "coming to his rescue" while he was sick.
"How're you feeling?" he asked instead.
Duo shrugged. "Peachy. What are you three talking about hotels and pools for?"
"We noticed you trying to hide from us," Shue began, "so we figured we'd leave for a couple of days and give you a break."
"We did kinda just move ourselves in," Magic added. "It would be rude of us not to give you some time alone."
"Now you're worried about being rude?" Duo shook his head, his lips pulled into a smile. "Man you three are dicks."
"We can be gone tomorrow morning," Harry offered. "That'll give you some time alone to relax."
Duo grabbed a glass of water before answering slowly. His tone was light. "Yeah, okay. I guess I could use a break from the constant noise of the TV."
"If you didn't like it, you wouldn't have it," Shue muttered.
Harry stood and leaned on the counter in the kitchen. He peered at Duo's face with worried eyes. Duo smiled reassuringly and leaned forward, kissing his nose quickly.
"I'm fine, just got a stomach bug."
Feeling slightly better, Harry nodded. "Then we'll take off tomorrow and let you get better. Do you want me to get you any medicine before we go? Any ice cream?"
"Isn't that what you eat when you're sick?" Harry asked. That's what Petunia had always fed Dudley.
"I'm fine. You three just get out of my hair for a little while and let me rest up."
Harry smiled and nodded. "Okay, and remember, if you need anything, I can be here in less than a second." He leaned forward. "I mean it, I'm a wizard, remember?"
"How could I forget?"
The teens spent three days at a hotel, giving Duo time to get over his flu. Shue did exactly what he wanted and lay around the pool until the staff had to kick him out. With Duo's permission, the three ordered room service for no other reason than they could. Harry had never stayed in a hotel before and Shue had never been allowed to spend money so extravagantly. Magic was the only calm one about the situation and kept the other two from getting out of hand.
Finally, Duo sent a text to his boyfriend saying he was feeling better and missed him. Shue and Magic gagged at the sweet words while Harry blushed lightly and ordered them to shut up.
"We still going mini-golfing tonight?" Harry asked.
"That's the plan."
"Okay, I'll go get Duo. You two find a place and call me."
The three went their separate ways. Harry was too excited to see Duo again to bother with walking home. He really missed his boyfriend and was sad that he wasn't able to be there to help nurse Duo back to health. But his boyfriend was much like him when it came to being sick. He didn't like anyone to see and was uncomfortable with people fawning over him. Harry was glad Duo was feeling better though. He couldn't wait to spend time together again.
The wizard appeared on the roof across the street from their flat. He didn't want to apparate directly inside and startle Duo. The first time he had done that, Duo nearly shot him on instinct. Afterwards the rule had been put in place of no appearing without warning in the house. Harry stood on the edge of the roof and looked into the flat, confused when the lights were off and curtains drawn. He frowned and made to jump but stopped, his eye catching movement down below.
Harry leapt to the next building over, which was three stories shorter than the one he'd been standing on. On the ground he spotted Duo, but his boyfriend wasn't alone. He was surrounded by four others. Quatre Winner and his bodyguard along with two more men. One was the bodyguard who had beaten Shue and the other was an Asian man with black hair. They seemed to be arguing with Duo about something and Harry knelt down on the roof. He flicked his hand and suddenly their voices were amplified so Harry could hear them.
"...are getting worse!" the blonde, Quatre, was saying. "You just spent two days getting treatment with Sally!"
"Yeah, and now I feel just fine," Duo grumbled.
"Two days worth of treatments isn't enough! You need to keep going or you will die! Die Duo!"
"You have stage two stomach cancer," Heero stated. "It is not untreatable but without medical assistance death is guaranteed. You will come with us back to the hospital and remain until you are cancer free."
Duo rolled his eyes. "Seriously, Heero, stop ordering me around already. I didn't listen to ya during the war, and I ain't gonna to listen to ya now." Duo looked at his friends. "Guys, I'm handling it, okay? I know you're just looking out for me but enough. I'm happy with where I am and what I'm doing."
"Spending your nights running around the city with some boy?" Quatre demanded. "Duo, I'm very happy you've found someone –and we'll talk about why we haven't met him yet later— but you can't base your decision on a fling."
Duo's eyes flashed with anger but Quatre didn't back down.
"And if he's not a fling then you should have told him the truth long ago and been open about your condition."
Harry had heard enough. He jumped from the rooftop and used his magic to soften his landing. The impact didn't hurt but he still landed with a loud enough thud to draw the group's attention. Harry ignored the four men and stared at Duo, his head titled curiously.
"So you're... sick?" Harry asked. There was no accusation in his voice. He and Duo had long ago come to the agreement to not ask about each other's private business. If there was something they wanted one another to know, they would say it. Though Harry would be lying if he didn't admit that Duo keeping this from him hurt a little.
Duo shrugged. "That's what they tell me."
Harry glanced away briefly. "You gonna die?"
Again, Duo shrugged. "That's what they tell me."
Harry frowned at his boyfriend, not caring for the nonchalant attitude. He took a few steps forward, noticing right away how the other four men tensed up. Harry stopped.
"So what? You gotta go see a doctor or something?"
"Yes," Quatre butt in. "He needs to see a doctor right away. He's already put this off for far too long. He needs medical treatment."
Harry stared at the blonde before turning back to Duo. "Well?"
"It's the responsible thing to do," Duo muttered.
Harry couldn't help but smirk at those words. He shook his hair out of his eyes and watched his boyfriend carefully. "So what are you going to do?"
Duo shook his head while Quatre answered once again. "He's going to come back with us to talk to Sally and find out what he needs to do to beat this! He's already been through a couple rounds of treatments and they've helped greatly!"
Harry noticed how Duo didn't seem at all pleased with that suggestion. Duo glared at the ground, his back to his friends so he could face Harry.
"Is that what you want?"
Duo didn't answer.
Harry made an angry sound in the back of this throat. "Stop standing there like a fucking idiot! If you want to go see a doctor then go see one. If you don't, then don't. You know how I feel about responsibility. It's your choice, Duo."
Duo looked surprised by his outburst and Harry flushed, rushing through his next words.
"But whatever you pick, I'll follow you, if you want."
Duo blinked before smiling lightly. "Gonna follow me, huh? Gonna chain yourself to me? What happened to being free?"
"What happened to living the way you choose?"
Harry stared at him seriously, a slight frown on his face. Duo was taken back for a moment. A phone rang and Harry reached into his pocket and pulled it out. He read the message quickly before smiling and turning back to Duo.
"Whatever you want to do, pick it and let's do it," he said."I'll follow you wherever you go. You wanna see a doctor, fine, let's go see one. You wanna say fuck it and go mini-golfing with the guys, then we can do that too. It's up to you, just say what you want."
Duo felt a strong sense of care and appreciation in his chest at Harry's words. He knew all of his friends cared deeply for him but Harry was the only one willing to let him chose his own path. The other former pilots wanted him to go to a doctor and get treatment and that was fine, he understood they spoke out of love. But they didn't understand that Duo didn't want to. The thought of being in a hospital for any length of time was worse than the thought of dying. Hospitals meant giving up his freedom. Mini-golf meant keeping it.
Duo glanced over his shoulder at Quatre, who was watching the pair closely. His blonde friend was stubborn, probably the most stubborn one in the group. But he was just going to have to deal with it. Duo was the sick one so he was the one who made the decisions.
"Mini golf?" Duo asked.
Harry grinned. "Yeah, Shue found one with shit security. They're waiting for us now."
Duo nodded. "Meet me up there," he gestured vaguely towards the buildings. "I've just gotta finish this."
Harry hesitated for a moment before nodding. He glanced at all of Duo's friends before turning away. Running, he gathered his magic and jumped up onto the roof of the nearest building before disappearing into the night. As soon as he was gone, Duo faced the group head on.
"You know, I'm seriously in love that with that kid."
Quatre nodded slowly while the others looked surprised by his admission.
"If I go back with you, I can't be with him."
"Yes you can," Quatre insisted. "He just said he'd follow you."
"I can't ask him to give up his freedom for me. He went through some painful shit to win it."
"Duo you can't jut ignore this! You're very sick and can –will- die without treatment! What do you think he wants more? You to give up your 'freedom' for a little while or for you to die?"
Duo didn't answer as he shook his head. "Maybe I'll see you guys around." He turned and waved briefly over his shoulder before running toward the buildings. The braided man could hear his friends running after him but it wasn't hard to loose them once he was on the rooftops. Harry had shown him all the best routes. Heero managed to keep up the longest but eventually even his footsteps faded away.
When Duo came to a stop he was only mildly surprised to find Harry waiting for him. The younger man always kept up. He smiled and held out a hand, which Harry accepted.
"So you're sick," Harry stated.
Duo nodded. "Yeah."
"Are you going to die?"
Duo shrugged. "We all die eventually, Robin."
Harry stared at him and Duo smiled slightly at the annoyance radiating from his boyfriend.
"But if you're asking if I'm going to die sooner than most, then yeah, probably."
"Why doesn't it bother you?"
Duo shrugged. "Because I never expected to live very long anyway. I've always known I'd die young." Duo turned to him. "Why doesn't it bother you more?"
Harry shrugged. "I guess I never expected to grow old either. I thought I was going to die during the war. I was the scapegoat, the sacrifice. The fact that I denied all the odds and lived..." Harry shrugged. "I don't know what to do with myself. I keep living like I'm going to die tomorrow so the fact that you could as well... it doesn't bother me as much as it should."
Duo released Harry's hand to wrap an arm around his shoulders. "We were way too young to fight in a war."
The two stood together on the rooftop, watching the moon rise in the sky. Harry wrapped his arms around Duo's waist and hugged tightly. He smiled and hugged back.
"So we gonna go play mini-golf?" Harry asked eventually, his voice soft.
"Sounds like a fun," Duo answered, just as quiet.
"I hope we die on the same tomorrow so I don't have to live without you," Harry admitted quietly, feeling his throat constrict slightly.
Duo pulled him close, feeling love and a little guilt blossom in his chest. Their lips met in a gentle kiss and the two stayed entwined so long they forgot all about mini-golf. Alone on the rooftop, Duo and Harry kissed, undressing each other slowly and embracing their bodies together passionately. They remained together all night, holding on as if it were their last night together in this world.
Harry stood at the window of the flat, staring out at the streets below him. It was early morning, barely seven o'clock, and the businesses around them were just opening their doors. The streets were slowly filling with cars and people as those who preferred the nightlife went to bed and the ones who liked the day came out.
Magic entered the living room, yawning and stretching. He paused in surprise when he saw Harry up and smiled as he spotted Duo on the couch, sleeping peacefully. Quietly, the teen walked over to his friend.
"Haven't been to sleep yet?"
Harry shook his head and opened the door to the balcony. He climbed half on the edge before turning to a surprised Magic.
"I've gotta take care of something," he admitted. "I might not be back for a couple days. Tell Duo and and Shue not to worry. And don't you worry either."
Confused, Magic nodded slowly. "Okay... are you in trouble? Do you need help?"
"No. I've just... I've just decided to grow up. It's time to grow up, Magic."
Harry vanished over the edge and then disappeared with a small pop. Even more confused, Magic reached out to shut the door but suddenly stopped. Deciding to leave it open in case Harry came back sooner rather than later, Magic stepped away. After looking once more over his shoulder, the teen sighed and wandered into the kitchen looking for breakfast.
A/N: So what did you guys think? Harry maybe acting a little nonchalant about Duo being sick but next chapter will show him struggling to deal with it.
So I've decided to be a better author and will responded to all reviews (that are logged in of course, there's no way to respond to the other ones). So no matter what you review I promise to respond! This is my goal! So everyone please review and ask lots of questions so I have something to respond to!