LSE // 4-6-03
(Another Side - Chapter Ten: Once Again You)
rated: PG13 - language, content
shounen-ai/yaoi

Once Again You

-

"Did he take anything?"

"Just some money... Quatre, he doesn't have a change of clothes or a
toothbrush or even know where he's going!" Duo knew he was rambling,
but he couldn't help it. His entire day had been spent in a city-wide
search of all the buildings and streets he thought Heero might have
gone to. Returning to the apartment in defeat at dusk, his first
instinct had been to call Quatre.

"Hold on, Duo," Quatre said quickly, and Duo could hear a faint,
muffled conversation in the background between Trowa and the blond.

There was the sound of a quiet scuffle and then Trowa's soft voice
came over the phone, "Duo. You shouldn't worry. Heero can take care
of himself."

"Trowa!" came Quatre's shocked cry, "that's so insensitive of you!"
Another scuffle, and then Quatre was in control of the phone, "I'm
sorry, Duo, he means well..."

"No..." Duo mumbled, "he's right. Heero knows what he's doing...
Just, keep a eye out for him, okay? He might have gone back to
whatever life he had before all this started."

"Duo, you have his old address, correct? The one you sent a Christmas
card to? Have you ever thought about looking into that?"

Duo smacked himself on the forehead with the phone, "Of course!
Thanks, Q, I'm such an idiot! I knew calling you was the right idea."

Hanging up, Duo felt better than he had ever since he found Heero's
note... and noticed all his cash was gone. The money wasn't important
though, if it helped Heero stay... safe. Duo sighed and stared down
at the phone before hesitantly punching in a well-memorized number.

On the fourth ring, and just before was about to give up, they came a
deeply annoyed, "WHAT?!"

"Gah!" Duo shrieked, jerking the phone away from his ear, "Hilde!"

"Wha? Oh! Man, sorry, Duo, I thought you were someone else."

"I think I'm deaf now..."

Hilde laughed, "Whatever! Oh, I got your Christmas card and meant to
call, but I've been busy. So, what can I do you for? Or is this just
a social call?"

Quickly, Duo sketched out the events in question, omitting the
non-vital information for the sake of time and privacy. He finished
with, "And I was hoping you could check out the address for me. I
don't have a computer here or else I would do it myself."

"No problem! But, Duo... I'll look up the address for you, but I have
to ask... What are you going to do if it turns out that's where Heero
is staying? Do you plan on flying over there and knocking on his front
door just like that? I mean, the guy left. He wants to be alone."

Duo sighed and debated arguing with her, but that traitorous half of
him agreed with what Hilde was saying. "Yeah, whatever," he mumbled
instead, "Thanks, Hil."

After a few minutes of exchanged pleasantries, Duo was off the phone
and staring at an empty apartment again. It was strange how empty the
place looked with Heero gone. Duo knew he was being over-dramatic,
but he couldn't help but worry about the boy. Hilde and Quatre's
scenario, that Heero was going back to his home and life, was a
painful thing to think about, but not concerning. It mean Heero would
be okay.

But what Duo was afraid of was that Heero didn't know where he was
going and would end up... Duo kicked the sofa angrily, trying to
drive the thought from his mind and therefore decreasing the chance
it could be true. Heero was going to be okay.

He had to be okay.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

A week after Heero's disappearance, Duo came home from his new job to
see the flashing red light on the answering machine. He'd bought the
device with the hope Heero would try and call and, seeing the
flashing light, Duo couldn't help but feel a thrill of hope.

That hope was crushed, however, when he played the message and it
started with Hilde's voice. Remembering that Hilde was checking out
the address for him, Duo regained some of that hope. "Alright, Duo,"
Hilde's voice, tinged metallic by the machine, announced, "I got as
much info as I could off what you gave me. Call me back, 'cause I
guess I found something good."

Duo immediately snatched up the phone and called Hilde, holding his
breath while it rang. Fortunately, she picked up on the third ring
with, "Yo, Schbeiker."

"What did you find?" Duo blurted out, screwing an actual greeting.

"Gah, calm down. I didn't find Heero."

"Oh..."

"You sound like I just kicked a puppy."

He sat on the sofa. "Sorry..." Hopes crushed, Duo hardly dared to ask,
"Well, what did you find?"

"Heero did live there for a while. I talked to the land-lady, she
says she hasn't seen Heero since he moved out since late December. He
lived there for about four months. Apparently he was doing some work
in the area, but she didn't know what."

"Oh... Well, thanks, Hilde. I really appreciate it," Duo tried to
feign actual gratefulness, but came up short. He was back to square
one... worse than one, because he definitely did not have the
computer to investigate electronically, and a trip to Japan was out
of the question with his finances.

"Ah-ha, that's not all! You're gonna love me, Duo, I went ahead and
hunted through whatever I could for any activity under Heero's name
in the past four years."

"...Hilde, I do love you! Did you find anything?"

Duo could almost hear the grin in her voice, "Well, not anything
useful for finding Heero, but I thought you'd like to know anyway.
You'll never guess, so I won't even bother, but it turns out Heero's
been doing security work."

"Security?"

"Yeah, I got pay stubs and employee records from all over the
colonies and spots on Earth," Hilde said proudly. "Shopping centers,
some important political stuff. His last gig was out in Sapiro--

"Sapporo?"

"Whatever, Japan. Anyway, he got fired in December and moved out a
few days later according to the land-lady. Funniest story, though...
Some bum tried to steal an elf from the Santa's workshop display and
Heero cracked the guy's arm in half."

Duo laughed despite himself, "Anything else?"

"Nope, sorry. I couldn't find anything on him after December. I'll
keep an eye out and let you know if I spot anything, though, okay?"

"Sure, great. Thanks, Hilde."

If I were Heero Yuy, where could I be...? Duo thought to himself,
saying goodbye to Hilde and tossing the phone on the couch. Duo
chewed on his lower lip in debate, trying to think like Heero Yuy.
Complicating matters was the fact Heero might have his memories
back... or at least most of them. Or none at all.

Duo stared up at the ceiling, unable to stop himself from wondering
what Heero was doing at that moment.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

"You have amazing credential. Several years experience... many
references... Well, you look to be an answer to our prayers! I can't
give anything final yet, but it looks like the job is yours."

"Hn," cobalt eyes flashed as Heero removed his stare from the man's
face to gaze out the window. For some irrational and stupid reason,
he found himself wondering about a certain...

"Welcome to Renalt Security, Mr.Lowe!"

Heero snapped his eyes back to the manager and gave a short nod.

...Baka.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Winter gave way to the warm breezes and live-giving rains of spring
without affecting Duo's routine. Every day he came home to stare at
the answering machine, which, every day, did not hold a message from
Heero. Every week he called Hilde only to get a negative response.
Heero Yuy might well have dropped off the face of the earth for all
Duo knew and feared.

April showers brought May flowers, and Duo slowly stopped thinking
Heero would call, then the calls to Hilde dwindled before ceasing
completely. He sold the apartment and moved back into brilliantly
crummy one which was cheaper without hesitating to think, "What if
Heero came back?" Duo didn't talk about it with Quatre when they
talked on the phone, and Hilde didn't mention it either.

Just before moving into his new, crummy apartment, Duo, cleaning out
the closet for packing, found the cobalt silk shirt Heero had worn on
their first real date. Standing there in the empty apartment amid
stacks of boxes holding that shirt, Duo felt a strong sweep of grief
and longing. As if Heero had died instead of...

Closing his eyes, Duo had clutched the shirt to him and tried to
visualize what Heero had looked like in it. The image came willingly
and incredibly vivid, as if Duo could just reach out and... His hand
closed over empty air, and he opened his eyes. Tears tumbled down on
to the silk, probably ruining the fabric. With a strangled cry, Duo
had hurled the shirt away from him and sank to the ground, overcome
with emotion.

And spring fell away in favor of early summer.

Duo got into the habit of visiting the park after work and on
weekends, going and sitting beneath one of the cherry trees for
hours on end. Sometimes, he would take a book, but mostly he just
watched the clouds go by. At first, he would look at the sky and
think, "Maybe Heero is watching the same sky as me. Maybe he thinks
that cloud looks like a rabbit, just like me."

But those thoughts fell away in the face of reality, and Duo accepted
the fact that Heero was never going to stop and stare at the clouds
and think, "What is Duo doing?" Because Heero was either dead or he
didn't want Duo Maxwell in his life. Or he was still out there,
wandering around, unable to remember who he was. All of the scenarios
were equally possible, and all were the reason Duo stopped thinking
about cobalt eyes and chocolate hair. Kisses and...

Summer turned to fall.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

In late September, Duo found himself under his favorite tree, just
enjoying the breeze and the shade. The day was warm, the summer
weather having yet to give way despite the fading coloring on the
leaves. He had brought a book with him, but he had yet to pick it up.
It was a weekend, and the park had a bit of a crowd, but few bothered
to wander off from the trail and picnic areas.

He found himself staring at young couple tongue-locking on one of the
benches and quickly looked away, unable to stop a sharp pang of envy.
Unexpectantly, Duo was thinking of soft lips, sharp eyes, wild hair...

Duo lunged for his book with an almost violent speed, snapping the
covers apart to expose the print within. However, he was unable to
concentrate on the story and ended up placing the novel aside. Looking
out at the park, he scanned, with disinterested, over the smiling
faces in the crowd.

Slowly, his eyes stopped moving and Duo blinked once before jerking
his head to the left. Duo's heart leapt into his throat, unable to
believe what he was seeing. Standing over on the path, back to Duo's
tree... Heero! Hardly able to breath, Duo started to jump to his feet,
shout, dance, anything--!

Heero turned and...

Duo stopped in mid-movement, sinking back against the tree. A very
not-Heero face lit up and the young man started walking towards an
equally happy looking young man. Duo glared daggers at them both as
they walked off down the path.

"It must be that phone call from Quatre," Duo muttered to himself
with a sigh. That morning, the Arabian had innocently asked if Duo
was having any luck tracking Heero down. It was the first time he had
really thought about Heero in nearly... a week. Even though Duo
promised himself he would move on; get a life. Forget...

The afternoon wore on as he plowed through his book, but every so
often his thought would drift... to Heero. And Duo would mentally
chastise himself before trying to unsuccessfully turn his full
attention to the novel. It wasn't his fault the man on the cover of
the book bore a slight resemblance to Heero.

Finally, Duo could stand it no longer and got up with a stretch,
resolving himself to going and spending the rest of the day holed up
in his apartment watching seedy television. Duo started to leave, but
remembered half-way out of the park that he'd left the stupid book
laying under the tree.

He was tempted to just abandon the God-forsaken thing, but it was a
library book. With an annoyed sigh, he turned around and trudged back
to the cherry tree. Glaring down at the book, which just lied there
innocently, Duo swiftly knelt and picked it up.

He started to leave, thoughts turning the gourmet cuisine of frozen
dinner awaiting him, but hesitated, looking back over his shoulder.
He had the most peculiar feeling of eyes watching him.

Duo turned around completely, dropping the book, which laid there in
the dirt forgotten. Standing no more than a few yards away was Heero
Yuy, clad in black spandex shorts and a green tank top.

Duo was obviously hallucinating. Maybe he'd died, underneath the
cherry tree, and this was either going to be heaven or hell.

The wind gently plucked at the green fabric, rolling it over the
muscles of Heero's chest, flicking at the waist of the shorts. Dark
brown bangs fluttered low over stern-looking cobalt eyes, which were
locked on Duo with a breathtaking intensity.

Slowly, Heero was walking towards him. Duo could only stare, hoping
his face was not as pale or shocked as he felt it should be. Surely,
this had to be a dream. Either he was dead or dreaming... Duo's
spirits fell as he marveled at the cruel face of Fate.

"Duo."

He looked up, staring in shock at that one single word. The eyes, the
face, the voice... everything was so perfectly Heero... Heero during
the war, the Perfect Soldier. Unable to stop himself, Duo reached out
and poked Heero squarely in the chest.

Heero looked at the slim finger stabbed against his sternum before
Duo removed it with a flush, hastily managed to gasp out, "Heero?"

"Hn," Heero nodded slightly. Duo thought Heero looked uneasy despite
there being no discernible difference in his face or voice... grunt.

"So..." Duo said slowly, drawing the word out, raking his eyes up and
down the familiar stranger before him, "Got them all back?"

Heero nodded again, even more faintly, "Hn."

"...I'm glad," Duo tried to sound sincere and knew he failed
miserably, but didn't care.

"Hn," and Heero didn't even bother with the nod.

Amethyst sought cobalt, but Heero's eyes darted away. "Oh..." Duo
breathed carefully, putting everything into that one, small sound.
His own gaze fell into the dirt, and he found himself struggling
against tears. He was not going to start crying in front of Heero.

Strong fingers gently lifted his chin until Duo was forced to meet
Heero's unreadable stare. "Baka," he said softly, "just because I'm
myself again..."

Everything shimmered, and then Duo knew there were tears spilling
down from the corners of his eyes.

"Doesn't mean that I don't..." Heero paused, his other hand coming up
to brush away the tears with one thumb. Duo could only stare, shocked,
as the hard cobalt eyes softened and Heero's mouth slowly formed a
rare, beautiful smile.

"I love you, baka," Heero whispered.

Duo made a sound between a choke and a laugh, throwing himself at
Heero to clutch his arms tight around the other boy's neck. Heero's
arms carefully encircled Duo's waist and then, unable to stop himself,
spun them both around. "I'm sorry," he whispered in Duo's ear, "I had
to find out... for myself."

The chestnut braid danced as Duo shook his head, not wanting to hear
apologies or excuses. They didn't matter. It didn't matter... Heero
loved him...! Duo pulled his tear-smeared face away from Heero's tank
top, using his shoulder to brush at his cheeks. "I love you, Heero."

"I know," Heero murmured faintly, capturing Duo's lips with his own.
Pulling away just enough to stare into Duo's eyes, he said softly,
"Baka, I always knew."

-

-

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Author's Notes: Okay, really proud of myself for finishing this. My
ego definitely needed this 'fic and everyone's warm praise.

...here's the thing, though. I'm going away. A hiatus, if you would.
GWyaoi.org is having a 1x2 Alternate Universe Novella contest that
I'm going to be entering. As per contest rules, I cannot archieve my
'fic until it has been completed and turned into Nitid & Co. The
deadline is June 30th, so that's the longest my hiatus could
possibly be.
Of course, I plan on finishing it *before* the deadline!
::cough--wishful thinking!--cough::

So, this is good-bye for a while! Thank you, love you all!
I'll be back and, if you want to know when, just pop an email over to
ManzokuBiscuit@aol.com and I'll add you to the UpdateML, which is
just a little something I send out to let people know when and where
I've updated anything 'fic related.

Feedback/reviews are very much appreciated!
copyright 2003 - Gundam Wing and characters copyright other people.
Email me to join my Update ML!
LSE - Violet Nyte (ManzokuBiscuit@aol.com)
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