Title: It'd be Nice
Author: Becka
Pairing: 1x2. 3+2. 4+3. 5+1.

Warnings: Angst. Dark. Deathfic. OOC. Quatre-bashing. Yaoi.

Disclaimer: Gundam Wing does not belong to Becka; characters are used without permission for a non-profit purpose. No infringement is intended.

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/ It'd be nice if he loved me. /

The thought flickered briefly through Duo Maxwell's mind, surging up from the depths of his subconscious to taunt him. It was quickly dismissed, however, as he reminded himself not to ask for so much, to be content with what he had.

He balanced lightly at the foot of his bed, long legs dangling over the edge of the mattress as he watched his silent partner. The computer screen cast an eerie glow across the otherwise dark room, outlining the shorthaired boy with a soft, transient light. He reminded Duo of an angel in that moment, an ethereal creature untouched by the war, though in truth, Heero was anything but. It was a nice image even if it was false: a Heero Yuy who hadn't killed his emotions to further his training, one who smiled freely.

The gentle lullaby of key stokes urged him to close his eyes and sleep, but he was loathe to disturb the hushed atmosphere by moving to slide beneath the covers. His lips curled in a hesitant smile and he remembered, belatedly, that he should probably be talking, filling the silence with endless chatter, bouncing from subject to subject without really saying anything at all.

He couldn't bring himself to do it.

Heero seemed to have forgotten his presence and it was so rare that he could just watch his lover like this, with quiet understanding, that he would do anything to stretch the moment.

So he sat there, unmoving, and waited for Heero to finish his report. He shallowed his breathing until it was a whisper in his own ears and slowed his heartbeat until it was no more intrusive than the soft patter of rainfall on the earth. In a display of control that, had they witnessed it, would have floored any of the other pilots, he remained motionless for the better part of an hour, not even the flicker of an eyelash betraying his presence.

Heero reached forward and shut his laptop. He was tired and wanted nothing more than to bury his face in his lover's hair and sleep, forgetting everything but the feel of another's body against his own and the sweet whisper of breath against his skin. Turning in his chair, he expected to see Duo's outline beneath the rumpled, cotton white sheets, and started abruptly when two indigo eyes met his.

"Duo," he said blankly, surprise eliciting his small admission. He did manage to keep his voice carefully neutral, though inwardly he wondered how long the other boy had been watching him. It unnerved him; he hadn't felt anything out of the ordinary. Usually he had an instinct, a sixth sense that warned him when he was being watched. Was he slipping?

"Heero," the braided youth responded with a small smile. "Come to bed?" he invited, scooting until his back touched the head of the bed's framework. Elfin fingers pulled the sheets aside and he slipped under them, half-lidded eyes watching the other boy.

The Japanese boy said nothing, but he slid from his chair and moved to lie down beside the braided youth. Steely arms wrapped around him and Heero allowed himself a brief, obscured smile as Duo snuggled against his chest, tucking his chin in the crook of Heero's shoulder. Cobalt blue eyes drifted shut and he let himself sleep, surrounded by warmth and lulled by the rhythmic beat of his lover's heart.

Duo remained awake, staring blindly ahead. His gaze inverted, he didn't really see Heero's bronzed skin or the cotton pillowcase in front of him. Lost in his thoughts, he tightened his hold on the other boy's body. Only at night when they were hidden from curious eyes did Heero allowed Duo to touch him like this, like they were lovers. Duo treasured every moment, but sometimes it wasn't enough. Sometimes he wanted more.

"I love you, Heero," he breathed, knowing that he wouldn't receive an answer. He kept hoping, though. He kept praying that maybe the Japanese boy could give him that much at least. Even if he didn't mean it, just to hear those three words...

/ Sweet Jesus, it'd be nice. /

o

/ To feel less lost and lonely, /

"Good morning, Duo-kun," Quatre smiled sweetly at his friend, extending a cup of coffee to the braided boy. It was accepted with a grateful look; Duo had never been a morning person.

"How's it goin,' Q-man? Y'sleep well?" the American sipped his black coffee, the pleasant warmth flooding through his body. He plopped down into a nearby chair, groping blindly for a bagel from the tray on the table.

"Very well." The blonde's smile showed too many teeth to be comfortable. "You?"

"Like a baby," came the slightly muffled response as Duo unceremoniously shoved a wad of dough into his mouth. "This is good stuff, Q. Who did the shopping this week?"

"Don't talk with your mouth full, Maxwell," Wufei scolded as he entered the kitchen. "Or better yet," he opened the refrigerator door and snagged the milk carton, "don't talk at all."

"Love you too, Wu-man," Duo smirked. He turned back to his breakfast, eating with the vigor and appreciation of someone who's known starvation. Quatre frowned and opened his mouth, about to gently reprimand the braided boy's sloppy table manners, but at that moment Trowa padded silently into the kitchen, nodding a greeting to each of them. His smoky emerald gaze lingered briefly on Duo before he moved to rummage around in the refrigerator.

"Good morning, Trowa. Did you sleep well?" Quatre's voice was honey sweet. He shot a thinly veiled glare of hostility towards Duo, who sipped his coffee, seemingly oblivious.

Trowa nodded. "I did. And you?"

The blonde in question smiled blindingly, all hostility towards Duo forgotten as he glided to stand by Trowa's side. He latched onto the taller boy's arm. "Wonderfully, thank you." His mouth open, about to say more when he noticed Trowa's eyes drifting towards the maniacal braided youth. Frustrated, he tugged Trowa's arm, leading him away from the kitchen. Softly, he entreated, "Would you come with me to the music room? I found some fascinating duets yesterday and I'd be honored to share them with you."

"Du... et," Trowa echoed softly, letting the word roll of off his tongue. He allowed himself to be led from the room.

For a moment the only sounds that filled the room were muted chewing and small slurps. Surprisingly Wufei was the first to break their self-imposed silence.

"Where is your..." the Chinese boy paused, then rephrased his question. "Where is Yuy? He's usually awake before you."

"Heero was tired so I didn't wake him, y'know?" Duo grinned impishly. "I can't help it, Wu-man! He looks so cute when he's asleep, without his 'I will kill you' scowl..."

Wufei looked away, his cheeks infused with deep red. He said nothing more, but he didn't have to. The soft scuffle of sneakered feet alerted both of them to another presence approaching.

Glancing up, a smile curved Duo's lips as the Perfect Soldier in question entered the room. He bounced from his seat at the table and leapt on the unsuspecting boy, laughing, "Oi, sleepyhead, glad to see you've joined the land of the living! We were-"

A rock solid fist caught Duo squarely in the jaw and he stumbled back, wincing and rubbing the abused area lightly. Indigo eyes that concealed his pain met with steel blue. "Oi, oi, when did I become a punching bag?" he joked.

"Hn. Control yourself, baka."

Calloused hands grabbed a muffin from the tray on the table and Heero whisked out of the room as suddenly as he'd entered.

Wufei cast a side-glance at Duo before following the other boy out of the kitchen. Duo heard a slight pause as the Chinese youth caught up to Heero and he frowned when they began to walk away together, leaving him in the kitchen feeling lost.

/ Sweet Jesus, it'd be nice. /

o

/ Sometimes I wonder if anyone loves me. /

Later that day, he made his way back to the room he and Heero shared, when a voice from behind him said, "You're such a terrible houseguest, Duo-kun."

He spun, his braid slicing through the air like some sort of whip. Quatre stepped out of the shadows, light from the chandelier casting an angelic light around him. He seemed to glow, golden and pure, perfect in all the ways Duo was not.

"Honestly," the blonde chided, "I wish you wouldn't keep up such bad habits. It's embarrassing to have a whore in my house."

"Wha...?" Duo was abruptly cut off as his friend stalked forward, forcing him back through the nearest doorway, the one that led to the library.

"Throwing yourself at Trowa when you've already got Heero." He accused, his lip turning up as he sneered, "Just because you're pretty doesn't mean you can have whatever you want."

"Q-man," Duo raised his hands up in front of him, palms forward in surrender. "Y'got it all wrong. I've never done anything to Trowa. I love _Heero_." Speaking slowly, he emphasized his lover's name to make his point. He didn't know what was wrong with Quatre; the blonde had seemed normal at breakfast that morning.

"Yes, you have, Duo-kun," Sandrock's pilot said in placating voice, "The Zero System showed me, you know. I saw how Trowa dreams about you, how he watches you, how he tries to pair with you on missions." The blonde head to the side, listening to a voice only he could understand. "The Zero System tells me all sorts of things. Even now it tells me you're the enemy."

The braided boy made a move as if to step forward, but Quatre pulled out a small handgun and pointed it steadily at the other boy's chest. He shook his head and made a tsk'ing sound.

"My enemy, Duo-kun," he continued. "I opened my home to you and you took away the one I care about, the one I cry for at night. What does he see in you?" The voice began to rise. "What does he _see_? You're street trash, the waste of L2, while I was born and raised to be a gentleman. I'm _better_ than you. What. Does. He. See?"

Duo bit off a disparaging remark and shifted his weight to his other foot, never taking his eyes from the blonde's weapon.

"Don't you have anything to say for yourself, Duo-kun?" Quatre needled.

/ Sometimes I cry at night. /

"Master Q-man in the library with the candlestick," the braided boy deadpanned.

"Ever the joker, Duo-kun," Quatre spat. "I loath your laughter. You make him smile where I fail. You're my _enemy_." He grinned suddenly as if struck by inspiration. "To make Trowa love me, I have to eliminate the problem."

He pulled the trigger.

Heartbeat pounding rapidly in his own ears, Duo staggered back. Searing pain burned through him and he touched two fingers to his chest, unsurprised when they came away covered in red. Thoughtfully he contemplated the blood, the tip of his tongue darting out to taste it. A taste of life, even his own, was not to be wasted.

His legs gave out on him and he crumpled to the floor, the plush carpeting cushioning his fall.

The blonde stared at the smoking gun in his hands. "Oops," he said.

Duo groaned.

/ Sometimes I wonder why I bother. /

"Quatre," Trowa rushed through the doorway, touting a small handgun, "I heard a gunshot. Is everything -" He stopped when he caught sight of the recently fired weapon in the blonde's hands, the twist of a smile on the cherubic face, the blood on the walls.

The angular face went stark white. "Duo?" he asked in a small voice.

The braided boy whispered thoughtfully, "Is psycho in... ah... in the blonde criteria...?"

"Aren't you happy with me, Trowa-kun?" Quatre said, smiling beatifically, "We can be together now!"

Heero and Wufei burst into the room, side by side, panting heavily. "Trowa," the Japanese boy intoned, "is everything -"

Heero froze, caught like a deer in the headlights. His lips moved but no sound came out. Trancelike, he stepped forward and knelt beside his lover's prone form, his knees causing the carpet to squish unpleasantly. The palm of his hand moved to press down on the ugly wound in an attempt to slow the bleeding.

Duo's fingers fluttered to caress Heero's neck, lightly running over the deep bruise that hadn't been there that morning. The purple, impassioned mark of another's mouth. The braided youth glanced at Wufei through unfocused, hazy eyes, not surprised when the Chinese boy flushed guiltily and stared at the floor.

He threaded his fingers through his unfaithful lover's hair and whispered softly, "Lie to me, Heero."

Heero stared blankly at Duo, and the pressure of his hand faltered a little. It didn't matter, really. The blood that pumped through the American's veins had slowed considerably, sluggish and defeated.

"Lie to me," the tired boy pleaded, violet eyes growing heavy. "Tell me that... you luh...love me. Even if you don't mean it." The proud voice broke. "Please... give me that."

The Japanese boy shook his head, jaw clenching as his heart constricted. It wasn't supposed to be like this. Duo was supposed to _know_ that he was loved, that he was cherished. He wasn't supposed to ask for it like a starving beggar, clearly believing his plea wouldn't be answered. He was supposed to _know_ that he was loved.

But he'd had to ask.

"Duo," Heero said, the pain in his heart suddenly unbearable, "I'm sorry."

There was a wet cough followed by a deep rattle, and Duo responded quietly, "Ah well... it would have... ah... been nice to hear, just... just this once..."

Cobalt blue eyes widened as Heero realized what his lover meant. He hastened to explain with a voice that sounded too rushed even to his own ears. "No! Please, I meant... I'm sorry for this." He touched his neck, the bruise there damning him in his own eyes. He squeezed his eyes tightly shut and hugged the other boy as tightly as he dared. "I love you, Duo. I do. Please... please, don't-"

Drained, Duo relaxed his hold on his lover, his fingers slipping numbly through silken hair. It was so hard to breathe now, so hard to keep his focus with darkness teasing the edges of his vision unmercifully. From the corner of his eye he saw Quatre slide to the floor, tucking his knees to his chest as he rocked back and forth dementedly. Trowa's gaze flickered back and forth from Duo to the blonde, and Wufei was nowhere to be found.

/ But to be loved, sweet Jesus, /

"I love you, Duo, I love you," Heero whispered fiercely, repeating the phrase again and again like some sort of broken record. Twin streams streaked the sides of his face and the arms around Duo's waist tightened marginally.

Duo closed his eyes, the corners of his mouth curving slightly. He listened to his lover's voice, reveling in it even as his consciousness faded. Listened blissfully to the little, white lie uttered with such conviction.

Peaceful, he sighed.

/ That'd be nice. /

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fin

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