The year is 195. Earth and the colonies are at war to be free of each other. After the end of the Alliance, Oz had sprung up. Supposedly taking place of the tyrannical military organization, they posed the same threat when one looked past the exterior. Now a main power in space and on earth, they are faced with a threat to their manipulative existence. Known as messengers from the colonies, the military power faces the fiercest opposition they've ever seen. The worst blow to the ego is, their opposition is starting to crumble to CHILDREN.

Eventually the five became knowledgeable of each other and started to work together. Throughout the war, they faced much opposition. Now the war seems to have turned in a 180. The colonies now DESPISE their efforts of freedom, turning towards the Earth for hope. Many hid away to escape capture, some returning to the colonies. Some went off by themselves; others have taken refuge with the most ironic of situations.

Hilde Schebeiker met Duo Maxwell on the base when he was captured. She was part of Oz at the time and saw the light by his way of 'reasoning'. After being stripped of everything she had come to know, she returned to the colonies. Reuniting with Duo again, the two shacked up in a salvage yard, hiding from the war. There was a time when Duo fought and then returned to Hilde. This was no more. Duo had not seen battle in nearly two years and Hilde was rather content with the idea. The two grew close in a playful manner. Duo managed his way around the salvage yard and took a few scraps of metal here and there to slowly fix up his Gundam. Hilde managed the books, took care of the house...general maintenance stuff. She normally did the cooking as well; tonight was no exception. Soup suited her needs tonight, even if it didn't placate Duo. Well he would just have to deal.

She smirked and watched him across the table. He rambled on about having to deal with the idiots on the colony that expected extremes from him. "Why Duo, I never pegged you for such a whiner." She teased, trying to keep her face even.

Duo raised an eyebrow and raised the bowl to his lips to sip it. Even though he had a perfectly good soupspoon sitting on the table, he chose to go the slob's way of eating. "I'm merely stating the fact that there are too many morons on this colony. God do I hope they're not EVERYWHERE." He repeated.

Hilde's head shook in bemusement. "Then why don't YOU do the books and I'LL take over the mechanics? You can fix up Deathsycthe in the meantime. That way you won't have to stand the 'idiots'."

"Because I'm better in the yard than you are." He commented.

She raised an eyebrow. "You think I'm helpless? I DO know mechanics and machinery you know." She nearly spat out.

"I'm not saying you're HELPLESS, I'm just saying that you aren't as strong as I am." He muttered, head hidden behind the bowl.

"Are you calling me WEAK?" Hilde felt anger start to boil on low. Duo always managed to keep her away from the yard and help even though they BOTH lived there. In her opinion, two were better than one. She could work the books AND do the general repairs to help Duo out. They were about the same body build, so it wasn't like she was PHYSICALLY weaker than he was. If THAT'S what he was getting at, she was going to BOP him one! He gave a playful smile and she fought to keep an infectious grin off her lips. She scowled instead.

"Maybe." He drawled.

Both her eyes narrowed. They normally had little scuffles at dinner, usually starting out like this. Hilde found it fun for the most part, even when it turned physical. Sometimes she ended up hurt, but never showed the pain to Duo. She guessed that since they spent so much time together, it was his way of flirting. And having proven that little theory, it allowed her to subtly flirt back and still keep in the safety zone.

'Well then, let the games begin.' She thought. Smoothing out any expression from her face, she kept emotions hidden away, creating a neutral mask to keep from revealing her plan. Picking her soup up, she ignored his last comment and sipped it a little. It was his way of flirting that also got a rise out of her. She lowered the tip of the bowl just enough so she could peek at Duo. He picked up his bowl again and she waited till he nearly held it to his mouth. Her lips turned up in an evil smile and, knowing she was blundering into another brawl, flung the ceramic bowl directly at his. Both shattered, spilling soup all over the front of Duo's clothes and some splattering on her as well. His chair initially jerked back, staring at his clothes in shock, before yanking wide-eyes up to her. Hilde also stood up quickly, knocking her chair to the ground. The two faced each other across the table, sizing the other up. Duo's eyes narrowed a fraction of an inch before he dove over the top of the table at her with an evil smile toying with his lips. Leaping into action, she dropped to the floor and scrambled in between the legs of the table. She quickly stood in the place Duo was seconds before...each now facing the other, gripping the edges of the table in a mini showdown. She tried to predict what move he would make, but was unable. She spied the silverware still lying haphazardly on the table and grabbed it. Throwing one at Duo's face, she used the few spare seconds to gain some distance.

He dodged perfectly and cracked a smile. "Do we have to go into this again? I KNOW you remember what happened last time. Do we need to call 9-1-1 later?" His smile was patronizing and Hilde felt her anger start to boil again the longer she stared at it. She always DID have to listen to his boasting every time they called and his lectures about her temper. "Come on now, a dislocated shoulder was enough. Let's just clean up and call it a night."

"Not THIS time Duo. You should know better than to make cracks about how weak I am. I'm NOT fragile! I DO recall that's how you got that nasty gash in your arm last time." Hilde's eyes narrowed and a smile boasted her previous triumph.

"Humph, that was a weak moment. And only cause you spilt water all over the floor. Come on now; just give up. I know that's not easy cause you're so stubborn, but you can try."

Her anger and determination went up another notch from his patronizing smile. He was doing it AGAIN! How could she NOT get mad when he looked at her as if she couldn't HANDLE herself?? "Well if you wouldn't GIVE me just cause to beat your ass down, I wouldn't GET fired up!" She retorted back. She maneuvered her way around the kitchen to find the most room. The table was in between them and she didn't want to suddenly move it out of the way and break it. Just because they 'played' was no reason to break more stuff than they did in the past. She learned THAT by trial and error. "This time you're going DOWN!" Rushing him, she threw some military punches and kicks at his body and head. Out of all he successfully dodged, one connected across his lower jaw. He stumbled backwards towards the counter and continued to dodge what she threw at him. His eyes spotted some of the silverware and he quickly grabbed a fork, aiming it for Hilde's head. He KNEW she'd dodge, but if not, the only thing it'd do is graze the side of her head.

Seeing the items quickly flying towards her, Hilde dropped instinctively to the ground. Landing on her hands, she used the momentum to turn on one leg, lashing out with the other. It connected with Duo's ankles, making him lose his balance. She pushed back up and watched him fall backwards toward the countertop. The back of his head connected with the porcelain and she grimaced slightly. 'He's going to HATE me for doing that later.' She thought, hoping they had aspirin in the bathroom cabinet. She backed up a step, watching Duo stagger to his feet, holding his head in pain. His face was hidden by the expanse of his bangs; both hands dug into the brown mass. She was about to ask if he was okay or bleeding when his head jerked up. The pain riveted from his eyes and she felt sadness enter her heart. She wished they'd never started as severely as they had, but there was no backing out now. When one pissed off the other, it was hard to calm them down with mere words.

Duo's jaw clenched, and a rumble sounded from his body as it exited from his throat...just before he rushed her. "You're going to PAY for that girlie." He threatened, his vision mildly red. Hilde saw the blur of his fists and kicks, trying to dodge as many as she could. A roundhouse connected with her stomach and she felt the air leave her lungs. She tried to stand erect and went to throw a punch to Duo's chest all while trying to breathe. He quickly turned to the side, grabbing her wrist and continuing her movement, but not moving his hands with her. Hilde felt the restraint and then the snap. She bit back a scream by biting her lip, hard. She backed up from Duo, struggling to stand up and not move her left shoulder as much as possible. "Okay babe, it's over. I won so why don't we get that shoulder popped back into place." He said, keeping his voice as even as possible. He knew they were just 'playing' and that it got out of hand the moment he'd felt the bones shift, possibly even when he dove over the table. His cooler head prevailed and he tried to placate the pain and fury he knew was building.

"No." She muttered through the haze. "You...won't win...THAT easily, Duo. TOLD you...you're going...DOWN. And I can...pop it back in...MYSELF." She eyed anything she could use for a weapon since her body was basically useless to her now. Seeing the broken bowls on the ground, she dropped to it and grabbed a few pieces with her good arm. Kneeling where the artillery was, she threw the multiple pieces at Duo, knowing he wouldn't be able to dodge ALL of them at such a close grouping. One managed to tear his shirt and give a cut to his arm; the other flew high and connected with his skull. Duo jerked back reflexively, feeling heat in his arm and above his eyebrow. She'd CUT him! Raising an unbelieving hand to his forehead, he touched the blood. He stared at it and then Hilde. Was she NUTS? This went FAR beyond anything they ever did before! Only now, this wasn't playtime. She tried to assume a fighting stance, but was only able to hold one arm up. She eyed him warily, waiting for his next move.

"Okay girlie, you want a fight? You got one. Shinigami is officially pissed off!" The blood on his fingers smashed against his palm in the fist that quickly sailed toward Hilde's head. She managed to dodge a few, but one hit her chest. One of his kicks collided with the side of her stomach, the rest just making holes in the hallway wall.

Hilde knew by pissing off Duo she was asking for it. Though they often sparred in the past, it was hard to tell when to stop and when Duo was faking hurt to gain him the upper hand. Rarely did he get pissed off at HER specifically. But now...his violet eyes were dark with anger and she backed up in partial fear. Duo claimed to be Shinigami because of his past. The way he fought screamed the name. And he normally fought best when he was angry, which told her she'd gone WAY over her personal safety this time. She noticed she backed up enough into the living room entrance and knew she wouldn't be able to dodge everything FOREVER. Her stamina was NOTHING compared to Duo's. She had to fight back. If this wasn't a game anymore and he was mad at her, a small shot of pain should clear his head enough for her to calm him down. She shot a hook kick out toward him, but he dodged it as if it was nothing. She painfully grasped some of her pant leg with her hurt arm to protect it, to try and keep movement minimal. It was clear she was going to be moving around a lot. She threw a few hits with her good arm, managing to connect a few times around his upper body.

Duo was tired of her trying to hit him, and dodging was becoming boring. If she was still too mad to see clearly, the only way for her to see reason and listen to him was to drop her. He decided to end it. He waited till she threw another kick and grabbed the roundhouse kick to his head. Gripping it, he balanced his weight and swept the planted foot out from under her.

When Hilde landed, her head connected with the floor and she saw stars. She tried to fight the pain waves and darkness that threatened. Duo stood directly overhead, and she saw determination and anger in his eyes. "Duo," She weakly said, "Duo stop." Words failed her too late as his whole body sifted downward to her. His palm whipped out in front and connected with her sternum. The breath lodged in her throat and all she saw, and knew, was pain. Unable to breath, every heartbeat was causing her more and more agony. Something was DEFINITELY wrong. Her glazed eyes stared up at Duo towering over her in a triumphant stance.

"HA!" He gloated. "Too bad you didn't listen to me Hilde. Let that be a lesson to you, never mess with Shinigami. Now come on off the floor and let's get everything put back the way it was." He extended a hand to her, waiting for her to take it. Hopefully she wouldn't ignore him and sulk since she lost. But he could deal with it as long as she was now seeing to reason.

Hilde wondered if he knew just how BAD she was hurt. She kept her entire body completely still to try and lessen the pain. Her dislocated shoulder was bad enough, but she was betting on a few broken ribs as well. Trying to breath was torture so she held her breath, but her lungs were starting to protest the old oxygen being trapped. She listlessly stared at his extended hand. He didn't know, that's all she was aware of.

Duo's condescending smile dropped quickly when he saw Hilde's emotionless mask breaking with pain in her eyes and around the corners of her mouth. Her jaw clenched tightly, lips pressed tightly together. "Hilde?" He asked concerned. He quickly dropped to her side. "What's wrong? Come on babe, talk to me. I'm sorry bout this. You know we always tend to overdo these excursions. Come on, tell me what's wrong so I can help."

She barely heard a word he said over the blood rushing in her ears. Her lungs were fighting to constrict a yawn to exhale the built up carbon dioxide. Her heart quickened its pace in the meantime, causing even more pain to course through her upper body and the edges of her legs. Her fingers started to lose feeling in them and what she COULD feel was severely tingling. The corners around her eyes were as well, like the blood immediately left her face and then rushed back. What did Duo DO?? Her vision trained on Duo's gravely concerned face and the lights seemed to brighten, causing her eyes to hurt. His worry turned to fear and she tried to smile to comfort him some. She didn't want to see him this distressed over her and she tried to move despite the searing pain. She only managed to sit up slightly. "I'm...okay...Duo." The pressure in her chest eased a fraction, but it felt like heaven to her. She just barely got to her knees and fell when her legs gave out. Her vision blurred and the room spun at a wild pace. Her eyes rolled up into her head and she started falling backwards. Duo grabbed her good arm in a flash, grabbing onto a belt loop to steady her somewhat. Air rushed from her lungs and then immediately quit. She couldn't bear to breathe through the pain, so she had to take her chances and save what little was let. Her head bobbed backwards, rolled to the side, hair covering her face as she slumped forward toward Duo in a faint.

He felt her arm go slack and her weight shifted drastically. He didn't notice since his eyes were trained on hers, watching the pain till blue closed in exhaustion. "Hilde? HILDE?!" Shifting her weight, he laid her back down on the floor and raced toward the phone. After dialing 9-1-1, he frantically gave them the address and ran toward the door to yank it open. He paced near her, keeping an eye trained on the floor until help arrived, and ran toward Hilde with panic in their eyes. The paramedics carefully put her on a stretcher and immobilized her before nearly running to the front door. Duo ran right behind them, barely remembering to shut the door behind him before jumping into the ambulance. He took a corner in the back and balanced his head in his hands, cursing and berating himself for not letting up earlier. He KNEW he should have talked Hilde down from her anger harder immediately after dislocating her shoulder...but...he kept it up. In the past, it was an effective method of getting her to cool down. Now though, he went to far... He felt a hand on his shoulder and looked up at one of the free paramedics. The man asked what happened and Duo explained the dislocated left shoulder, a few kicks to her stomach, and a strike in between her chest...but they were only PLAYING. The E.M.T nodded and spotted Duo's injuries. After cleaning and bandaging them, he turned back to Hilde with the vital information in hand, trying to think up what was going on in her body.

Duo's head went back in his hands as he continued to silently curse himself. Feeling tears come to his eyes, he willed them to stay behind closed lids. His mind started to conjure up all kinds of 'what ifs', even though he knew it was useless to go back into the past because it was done and unchangeable. That didn't stop him though. He heard soft voices and curiously looked up at the others. One of them moved a fraction of an inch and Duo's mouth went dry. The blood roared in his ears at the sight of Hilde's exposed body. He spotted the scissors next to her and the haphazard cuts in her shirt and bra, now parted to reveal her shapely figure. She always hid her womanly attributes under baggy clothes and it was easy for him to dismiss having a female housemate. Not anymore! Duo's gaze transfixed on her breasts, but an inner voice told him to look away because it was disrespectful to her. The stare was cut short when one of the workers moved again, blocking his view. He blinked and shook his head quickly, as if coming from a trance. Leaning his head back, he kept his gaze trained on the ceiling of the vehicle, ignoring the pain in his head and the vision of Hilde's amazing body in his mind.

When the ambulance reached the hospital, Duo was stopped by a nurse who gave him some paperwork to fill out about Hilde's condition and any allergies she might have. He tried to get by it, even making a few attempts to bypass the nurse. He was quick from training, but she was quicker. She basically shoved the paperwork in his face without a care, but warned him that every bit of information on those forms was vital to help 'that girl'. When that torturous experience ended, all he could do was wait. That was probably going to grate on his already frayed nerves, but he forced himself to sit in one of the plastic chairs in the waiting room. Bringing his legs to sit Indian style, balancing elbows on his knees, a tired forehead rested on folded hands. He sat there for a while until his legs started to go numb and got out of the chair. He didn't want to leave his 'post' in case something miraculously came up, but if he didn't leave now, with the way he was FEELING, it wouldn't be pretty. He walked around till he spotted the cafeteria. Going in and getting some coffee for the long haul, seemed like a good idea, since he knew he wouldn't be able to sleep anyway. Walking to a table, he set the coffee down and shakily plopped into a chair. Wrapping his hands around the cup for warmth, he stared at the steaming liquid, letting his mind wander. When did fate deal such a hand that he end up HERE? Could he actually think he could break the cycle of violence since he was called Shinigami, also a trained Gundam Pilot? Living with playful, funny Hilde SEEMED possible...if she didn't own a short fuse that rivaled HIS.

Stuck in his thoughts, his ears perked up to the natural sounds around him, soft music coming from somewhere. His eyes looked up, trying to identify the location. Across the room, he spotted a small, old-fashioned radio. His gaze speared the device, listening to the song across the way.

Lady please try to forgive me

Stay here, don't put out the glow

Hold me now don't bother

If every second makes me weaker

You can't save me from the man I've become

~*~

Lookin back on the things I've done

I was tryin to be someone

Played my part, kept you in dark

Now let me show you the shape of my heart

~*~

Sadness is beautiful

Loneliness is tragical

So help me, I can't win this war

Touch me now don't bother

If every second makes me weaker

You can't save me from the man I've become

~*~

Lookin back on the things I've done

I was tryin to be someone

Played my part, kept you in dark

Now let me show you the shape of my heart

~*~

I'm here, with my confession

Got nothin to hide no more

I don't know where to start but to show you the shape of my heart

When the last chorus wound down, Duo finally blinked. 'Damn.' He thought, slightly awed. He heard the announcer say something about extreme oldies and wasn't surprised. Long time ago, nothing but love songs were played on the radio. Nowadays, there WAS no music. It was still a nice song though. 'Yes...it IS nice.... REMIND you of something?' An inner voice spoke up.

'No.' He immediately threw back. He envisioned the more emotional side of his persona rolling its eyes.

'Yea right, then why do you like it? It reminds you of a certain someone. The whole reason you're here.'

'I'm here because Hilde is hurt, and nothing more. So just keep out of it why don't you.'

'And why SHOULD I? That song makes a valid point, even if you don't want to ADMIT it! You never WERE very good at hiding your emotions. Even if they're the wrong KIND, you still show them.'

'Leave me alone...'

'Can't do that boy. Ya know...I DO like that song though... The melody is so beautiful and the voices flow together so well-'

'SHUT UP!' He felt like squeezing his head in irritation and agitation. 'I get it now okay!? Is THAT what you want me to realize? That I like Hilde and the song reminds me of it??'

'AH HA! So you DO admit you like her. I thought all this time living with her wasn't doing one bit of good to SWAY you!'

Duo stared at the coffee and took a large drink, burning his throat slightly. 'Did I SAY that? NO; YOU SUGGESTED it! Put the words in my head! Hilde is only a friend who was kind enough to take me in and put up with me all this time.'

'Did she HAVE to though?' Duo closed his eyes; knowing the answer to that. Hilde didn't put up with ANYONE she didn't like, and sometimes went out of her way to let people know they were pissing her off. 'YOU were the one that rocked her world, not the other way around.'

'She knew the risks of housing a Gundam Pilot.'

'Kind of like she did tonight, ne?'

The inner voice kept taunting him, carelessly ripping his emotions up. He was getting tired of it...and having a conversation with himself. It was DEFINITELY getting strange... His jaw clenched and he screwed his lids shut, quelling the fire in his eyes. 'Go away and leave me alone.' He nearly pleaded. Having his rational side pop its head up in a rare moment was NOT what he needed right now! It always DID come up at the most inopportune time, and he was forced to listen to it, because it was usually RIGHT.

'I can't, I'm you. You just have to deal and accept, unlike what you've been doing since she let you stay around. You've lived in denial for WAY too long you moron! Just fess up and say it. Come on...just try and say it. Say, 'I like Hilde.' It's not so hard you wussy.' Duo's attention thankfully swayed from the argument against the rational and the emotional sides of his mind by another oldies song. The phrase that played drilled into his preoccupied self.

When you love a woman you tell her that she's really wanted

When you love a woman you tell her that she's the one

Cause she needs somebody to tell her that it's gonna last forever

So tell me have you ever really, really, really ever loved a woman?

~*~

To really love a woman

Let her hold ya till you know how she needs to be touched

You gotta breathe her, really taste her

Till you can feel her in your blood

And when you can see your unborn children in her eyes

You know you really love a woman

~*~

When you love a woman you tell her that she's really wanted

When you love a woman you tell her that she's the one

Cause she needs somebody to tell her that you'll always be together

So tell me have you ever really, really, really ever loved a woman?

~*~

You got to give her some faith, hold her tight

A little tenderness, you gotta treat her right

She will be there for you taking good care of you

You really gotta love a woman

'Gee, ever hear how a song can fit someone's situation SO perfectly...' The emotional side taunted.

Duo could almost FEEL that part of him gloating, grinning that smile that made his anger rise in frustration. 'I. DON'T. Like. Hilde.' He weakly defended. Being in such an emotional state already, feelings and emotions were coming to the surface, some that he recognized and paired with her face, her eyes, that smile... 'It's not like she likes me ANYWAY. I'm pretty sure she sees me as a mere annoyance for not letting her help in the yard and having to take care of me...' He gave a small sigh and finished the rest of his forgotten drink in a rush to keep occupied on anything but the object at hand. 'I just don't want her to get to close in case I don't come back from the war.' There, he said it. It was a fear that gripped him when they hung out and watched tv in a cozy way, or when he'd allow her a rare amount of time to work in the back with him. He didn't want to get to close; he really DIDN'T. People always left at one point or another, or he did to them. It was inevitable...

Sensations enveloped him and he started feeling down. What if he DIDN'T come back from the war? Every time Deathsycthe was called to battle, he always came back to Hilde. Every time he did, he pictured her happy face as he misteviously knocked on the door instead of using his key. The joy on in her eyes and smile was too bright to describe. Realization dawned and his eyes widened a fraction. It was in her eyes...that emotion he saw. They always lit up whenever he was around, paired with an original smile. She didn't smile a lot due to the war's agony, but she once mentioned to him, when he joking questioned if she was going to be sad forever, that she'd smile for him if it made him feel better.

'Get it now?' Part of him teased. 'Took you a while. You ALWAYS look over every detail when it doesn't involve your Gundam.' Fisting the Styrofoam, he got up and tossed it in the garbage bin before leaving the cafeteria. The feelings weighed on his heart. Worry and confusion coursed through his veins, along with a small stab of guilt. He hoped Hilde was going to live; he didn't mean to hurt her as bad as he had. Guilt took up residence in his being over everything else and his feet took him to the nurse's station to see if there was ANY word on Hilde's condition. Now that his thick head got a few ideas into his head, his worry for Hilde's well-being held a different level to it.