Okay, don't know where this came from. I think I should put it with 'Needed' and "Prayer' and call it my incredibly sappy arc or something. Disclaimer: Gundam Wing is not mine. Warnings: Duo uses some swear words- like you've never heard them before?

It started that first night that I got him out of the hospital. I don't know where he found the time between raiding my gundam for parts and fixing his, but he did. He slipped into my room, managing not to wake me up until he got into bed with me.

It crossed my mind to protest at the time, but my mind wasn't the part of me in charge at that moment.

I wasn't too surprised after I woke up and found that he had taken off- with the stolen parts from Deathscythe. Yep, completely fucked me over. I didn't really care too much. Was he that good? This is the Perfect Soldier we're talking about. Of course he was.

The next time I ran into him was at that school. He wasn't thrilled to see me, but it wasn't like I was going to just say 'oops, that was your target? I'll be on my way then.' I had a job to do too, and I was going to do it.

He ended up as my roommate- the two new kids stuck together. I didn't really mind and I don't think he did either. How do I know? Well, the first night, when he finally closed down that laptop, he came over to my bed where I was reading for the next day's English class and kissed the breath out of me. I still can't pick up a copy of 'Just So Stories' without a smile.

Yeah, I know, he was using me. I was there, I was willing, and it was convenient. Yeah, maybe it was stupid of me, but it didn't matter. In a world where any day might be your last, you take what you can get.

And he was so gentle. No one had ever touched me like that before. It was addicting. I couldn't believe it sometimes, how gentle he was with me. Of course, bed was the only place that he was gentle with me.

Then she showed up at our school. I knew who she was- the Vice- minister's daughter was often in the news at that time though I hadn't recognized her on the docks. And she knew Heero. Seemed to have some kind of special understanding with him. She was nice to me, too, don't get me wrong. Relena may be naive and silly, but she's still a nice girl. It was hard to be jealous of her. She was really more his style in my opinion- never mind that he was pounding me into the mattress at night. I never thought we had anything more than an understanding of sorts. Nothing like he had with her.

We left the school and I didn't see him for a while. Then I thought he was gone for good. I don't even want to remember that part. It sucked. Of course, I should've known better at the time. Nothing can stop the Perfect Soldier.

Then I got captured. I still to this day don't understand why the hell my gundam didn't self-destruct. As far as I could tell that section of my ship had never been damaged. Not that I got a chance to examine it again. Poor Scythe.

Heero came and saved me. I'm still a little surprised by that. I thought for sure he was going to kill me, but then, maybe he realized that would be a bit too cruel- even if I was just the guy he used occasionally. He was gentle then too, even though we weren't in bed. I must've looked bad. Then he was gone again.

It took awhile, but we all met up again, that time right before the Libra battle. Heero and I ended up sharing a room on the Peacemillion- I think the other pilots were a bit wary of him. Or it could've been that Quatre and Trowa wanted a room to themselves and that Fei just preferred being alone. Once again, without us even talking about it- which is really odd when you think about how much I like to talk, he started sharing a bed with me again.

Why didn't I ever say anything to him about it? I don't know. It just wasn't something we ever talked about. Not that our time in bed was quiet- I'm not a screamer, but let's face it, it's hard for me to be quiet at the best of times. Heero wasn't either, but he would lapse into Japanese- something I'm not fluent in and frankly, I could never figure out was he was saying. He could've been cursing me to hell for all I knew. I don't think so, since I had managed to pick up quite a few swear words from him, and those didn't sound like anything he whispered in my ear at night, but I could never guess exactly what he was saying.

After the war was over, we joined the Preventers. We still had to go to school- the Preventers wanted us well educated, but the classes were advanced and it was only a matter of months before we had our diplomas and were working on our college credits. Heero and I were partners- I guess we had proved that we could work well together.

We shared an apartment. He still came to my bed every night, unless a mission interfered. He never stayed until morning, he'd be there when I dozed off, but I always woke alone. It was something I never quite got used to, even in all that time. It made the incidents seem almost dreamlike sometimes. Like I was just fantasizing about him being there.

I guess it was a bizarre relationship. During the day, we worked together, did our class work, bickered, discussed and argued a numerous amount of topics- all except one. He never held me, hugged me, or kissed me unless we were in bed. I touched him all the time- punches, arm over his shoulder, things like that, things that I did to the other guys too. What can I say? I'm a bit of a touchy-feely person I guess. But he never reciprocated, though he never shoved me off either.

Why didn't I say anything then? Because by now I had figured out that if I did, the Perfect Soldier would end our relationship, friendship, what have you- and more than likely walk away without looking back. I loved him by that time, and I didn't even want to think about that possibility. I had his friendship during the day and his body at night. It was enough.

One day, everything changed.

It was a normal Friday morning in the Preventers office- everyone rushing around, trying to get cases wrapped up, started, solved, etc. It's always a little chaotic and I enjoy it. I was working on a report to wrap up our last case and Heero was starting the research for our new one. We were both typing away quietly in our shared office when someone tapped at the door. I looked up and smiled at the newcomer, Heero didn't stop.

"Hey, Jay," I said to the Preventer in the doorway, "how can we help you?" Jay was one of the newbies, freshly recruited from college, a year or so older than Heero and I.

"I was actually hoping you could help me, Duo," he smiled and walked over to my desk. I turned away from the computer and smiled back. Jay was a tall blond, with green eyes that always reminded me of Trowa's.

"Sure thing, what can I do for you?" Jay glanced at Heero who was still typing away, and then back at me.

"I was wondering if you'd like to have dinner with me tonight?" It was kind of rushed and he turned slightly red as he said it. That could mean only one thing.

"I'm sorry, Jay, but I can't," I said as nicely as I could.

"Oh," he turned redder. "I thought... uh.. the girls said you always turned them down so..."

"It's not that," I assured him. Heero had by now stopped typing and was watching us. I couldn't read his expression. "You're a really great guy, Jay and I'm really flattered."

"You're seeing someone else?" He asked.

"Nah. Nothing like that. Just- no time. You understand?"

"Got it," he smiled back. "Can we have coffee sometime? Just friends?"

"That'd be great," I told him and after a few more minutes of small talk he wandered out of the office. I looked over at Heero to find him looking at me almost angrily.

"What?" I asked him.

"It's nothing." He replied and went back to his report. An hour or so later he asked me about a case detail and everything seemed fine. I thought whatever had been bugging him was gone.

But that night he didn't come to my bed.

I almost said something to him the next morning. He was at the table, with the newspaper same as he always was.

"Toast," he told me as I wandered in, bleary from a night of no sleep, and went back to his paper. The words died on my tongue. I simply sat down at the table and started to read my half of the paper.

He left after breakfast- had errands to run, he said. I tried to get some sleep, but I couldn't. I just ended up staring at the ceiling.

He didn't show up the next night either, or the one after that, or the one after that. I found I couldn't sleep at all, no matter how tired I was. I don't know how I managed to get through the week.

Thursday morning I was staring at my computer trying to read the report in front of me. It kept blurring in front of my eyes. My lack of sleep was truly catching up to me now, but my body just wouldn't let go. I would've put my head down on my desk and slept if I could, but it wasn't working. Heero had left yesterday on a bodyguard assignment for Relena. He had looked oddly at me before he left, but he didn't say anything about my appearance, just that he'd be back in a few days.

Fei must've said my name several times before I heard him. His voice was downright worried by the time I looked up at him. He was leaning over my desk.

"Maxwell! You look like death warmed over," he snapped when I focused on him.

"Well, being Shinigami and all, that's kind of good then, huh?"

"What the hell is wrong with you?"

"Haven't been sleeping," I told him.

"Nightmares?" He asked, his voice concerned.

"No, just can't sleep."

"At all?"

"Nope."

"When did you stop sleeping?" I had to think about that. When was the last time...?

"Friday," I muttered.

"Six nights?? No sleep at all?"

"Don't think so," I told him. A minute later and I was being taken forcibly by the arm and down into Sally's office. Wufei was talking to her in a clipped, worried tone and I just kind of tuned them out. My pager beeped and I looked down at the number.

"Crap," I said and got myself my feet. "Une wants to see me."

"Duo, I need to look at you first," Sally protested.

"I'll be right back, Sally, honest. Let me just go see what Une wants."

I got to Lady Une's office, and thankfully adrenaline had started pumping in my veins. Une still kind of makes me nervous. Ah hell, she makes me very nervous. I still expect to look up and see Col. Une sitting on the other side of that desk.

"Maxwell, I need you to run an errand for me," Une said the minute I stopped in her office. Then she looked up at me and blinked. "You look awful."

"Haven't been sleeping well," I told her.

"Duo," her voice softened. "Just do this one thing for me and then go home and get some sleep, okay?" Man, I must look awful.

"Okay," I took the package she handed me. "Where does this go?"

"The bank. Our safety deposit box. It's a valuable piece of jewelry that we needed as evidence. Legal says it needs to go to the bank." She rolled her eyes. I agreed with her. What place would be safer than Preventers HQ? "I called and told them you were coming down. Are you okay to drive?"

"Sure," I had gotten to work all right after all.

"Great Duo. Drop that off and then go home and rest. Take tomorrow off too if you still don't feel good."

"Thank you Commander," I told her, leaving off the part that I doubted I'd be able to sleep ever again.

I got down to the bank okay. They were expecting me, as Une had said. The clerk took me back to the box and I deposited the package as Une had requested. Easy, right?

Wrong. I walked out of the vault and right into a holdup. And of course, I was wearing a Preventers uniform. It was like a big freaking target. The gunman immediately turned on me and the nice lady who had gone into the vault with me.

I pulled out my gun, got in front of the clerk and fired back.

The robber went down, I had managed a nice disabling arm wound. It wasn't until the clerk grabbed my shoulder and started to scream that I realized that I had been hit as well.

Blackness curled around the edges of my vision and all I could think of was - at last, I'm getting some sleep....

My eyelids felt heavy. Very, very heavy. I didn't want to open them. I was laying somewhere comfortable, I was warm and damnit I was still tired. I was NOT opening my eyes. But something was making it hard to sleep.

"What did the doctors say?" That was Wufei's voice.

"They got the bullets out okay- just a few stitches in his shoulder." Sally's voice.

"Then why isn't he awake yet?" That was Relena. What was she doing here?

"When I talked to him on this morning he said he hadn't slept for 6 days." Fei answered.

"6 DAYS?!" Quatre sounded astonished. So was I actually. How had I managed not to sleep for 6 days? "Heero, what the hell was going on with him?" Oh, that's right. Now I remember why I couldn't sleep.

"I don't know," Heero's voice was calm. "He didn't say anything to me."

"You didn't notice? Yuy, he looked like shit!" Fei again. Heero didn't answer, Relena did:

"Heero wouldn't notice unless Duo passed out right in front of him," she laughed. "Sorry darling, but you are kind of oblivious." Darling? Heero? My chest started to hurt. If he called her sweetie, I was going to hurl.

"Still, he's been out for 8 hours," that was Trowa. "He should have woken up by now- even for a minute or two. Have the nurses logged anything?" Sound of pages being flipped.

"Nothing. He's been out since they got him in here." Heero replied. "If he's missed 6 days worth of sleep, eight hours is not sufficient."

"What would keep him from sleeping for 6 days?" Quatre fussed. "Nightmares? What?"

"Even with nightmares, you'd still be sleeping. Unless you were trying not to. It didn't sound like he was trying not to." Wufei was pacing, I could hear his footsteps. "Damn it! I should've gone to Une when she paged him!"

"Hindsight is always best," Sally soothed him. "I was ready to drug him when she called. The commander feels guilty enough- she says Duo promised that he'd go home and sleep- he didn't tell her how bad it was."

"I'm sure he'll wake up soon," that was Relena again. "Visiting hours are almost up and we have reservations, Heero." I heard Trowa snort softly.

"I know," Heero's voice. "Take your coat and we'll go." I heard them leave the room.

"I didn't know that they were dating," Sally said.

"For awhile I guess," I heard Quatre chuckle. "Though it's odd to hear anyone call Heero 'darling', isn't it?"

"Still, that was kind of cold of him. I mean Duo's his friend and he's going out to dinner." Trowa observed.

"Visiting hours are nearly up," Sally's voice was soft. "I told the nurses to call me when he wakes up. I'll make sure to call you two and Heero as well."

I heard them leave the room, still talking softly.

Heero and Relena. Awhile. All those body guarding trips- were they official business?

I knew it. I had known all along that he was just using me, but it still hurt. It hurt a lot. I opened my eyes cautiously and glanced at the clock. 8 pm. God, I hated hospitals. I heard footsteps in the corridor and closed my eyes again. I didn't want anyone knowing I was awake. I didn't want Sally called. I didn't want to hear that she called Heero and he wasn't going to bother to come back to the hospital. After all- he had reservations.

How could I work with him again, share an apartment with him? I couldn't even go to sleep without the man unless I was heavily drugged. What the hell would I do if he moved in with her?

I lay in my hospital bed and wondered what the hell to do. There were a few options, but only one seemed right. Only one was going to solve my problems. Once I decided on it, my plans fell into place.

I waited until it was way after midnight, about 2 am, and the nurse had just done her round. I unhooked myself from the machines, got out of bed, and found my clothes. My pants and jacket were okay, but my T-shirt was gone. They had probably cut it off me. The jacket had a new hole in the shoulder, but that wasn't a problem. I dressed quickly.

I've snuck in and out of so many places in my life that getting out of the hospital was a cakewalk. The toughest part was yet to come.

I got back to the apartment easily enough. My wallet had been with my things and the cab driver didn't even look twice at me. I just needed to get something out of the apartment without waking Heero. I snuck in as quietly as I could, using every bit of training I had.

I shouldn't have bothered. He wasn't there.

His bed was empty. My bed was empty. I knew where he was and what- or rather- who he was doing. It made my task easier I told myself. I stripped out of the ruined Preventers uniform and into my old war clothes. Black pants, shirt with the white collar, black cap. They still fit, just a bit tighter, which was almost funny. Guess I hadn't changed all that much. I brushed out my hair and redid the braid. Then I opened the box that I had hidden under a stack of shirts in my drawer and took out my gun. The same one I had shot Heero with all that time ago. I slipped it into it's pocket and grabbed my bike keys. I was ready.

I thought about leaving a note, but then decided not to. They would figure out soon enough what I had done. There was nothing else to say. Heero and I had never talked about- whatever you would call what we did- there was no point in starting now.

I was opening the front door when the phone started to ring. Curious, I went and checked the number. Sally. The nurses must've called her when they found me gone. My time was running out. I was back to the door by the time the machine kicked on. I left to the sound of Sally's voice ringing in our cold apartment:

"Heero? If you're there pick up! Duo's gone!!"

I took my bike out of the garage and headed out. I had a definite destination in mind. That made it easier. It was only a few hours away.

It was tough to handle the bike. My shoulder ached, but the pain gave me something to focus on. Otherwise I might've just driven myself right off a cliff. That wasn't in my plan. I had to stop a few times to give my shoulder a rest and eat breakfast. Otherwise there was no way I could've made it to my destination.

I got to the beach a little after noon. There were people on it. That was surprising. I had expected to have it to myself. Ah well. I found a place out on the sides, sitting in the rocks. No one paid me any mind. I was too far away from that strip of sand where I had picked Heero up and told him that I was the best friend he had at that moment. Kids were playing there now, running around and laughing. I watched them for a bit before I turned my attention to the ocean.

That was one of the things I loved about the Earth. All that water, visible from space, all that blue. I wasn't a great swimmer, but I still loved it. I sat and watched the waves crashing over the rocks, admiring the sheer elemental power of it. I could hear the kids laughing off to the side, the noise mixing with the crash of the waves. I pulled my knees up against my chest and put my chin on them.

I wanted to sleep. But I couldn't. There was only one way I was ever going to sleep again, and I couldn't do it with the kids watching. I didn't want to give them nightmares. I could wait. So I waited and watched the ocean pound against the rocks.

I was still sleep-deprived. That's my only excuse. I had forgotten that I had left my motorcycle up in the parking lot for the beach. And, it was rather distinctive. Black and grey like my gundam had been, a silver scythe painted on the gas tank. Quatre had teased me about it, Heero had called it silly. But after having to give up Deathscythe himself I needed something to remind me of him.

I had been sitting watching the ocean for a few hours when someone joined me. I didn't notice him at first, I was too caught up in the waves. I didn't notice him until he sat down next to me.

"Duo." I blinked and looked over to my right. Heero was sitting next to me on the rocks, in his Preventers uniform.

"Heero- what are you doing here?"

"Looking for you," he replied calmly.

"Well, you found me, so go away."

"You weren't supposed to leave the hospital."

"So?"

"You worried the others." But not you, I almost said.

"So?" I heard him sigh.

"What are you doing?"

"Waiting for that family to leave," I answered honestly enough.

"Well, it looks like they're going." I looked over. The family was packing up to go.

"Good. You leave too."

"Why?"

"Because I'm asking you to, Heero. Go away." He didn't move. "Damn it Heero! I have never asked you for anything! The least you can do is go away when I ask!"

"And have you done something for me in return? Do I owe you?" I sat upright. How dare he!

"I've let you use me, Heero. You've used me without a thought, taking what you wanted and I never said anything about it! I just let you do it."

"You didn't want it?" He was looking at me, his eyes cold and hard. "You didn't enjoy it?" I stared at him for a moment.

"You're right. I did want it. Guess that makes me just another L2 whore." Heero's expression didn't change.

"And now you want your payment?" That hurt. Oh god, did that hurt. It was if he had punched me. I turned away from him, facing the ocean.

"Sure, if you want to think of it like that. Go away Heero. Leave me alone." I managed. I was not going to cry in front of this cold-hearted bastard.

"No."

"Fine." I got to my feet and scrambled down off the rocks, heading for that small strip of beach. I didn't look to see if he was following or not. I reached my destination and yanked the gun out of it's pocket. I checked the clip and took off the safety.

"What are you doing?" Heero had followed me. I pulled the hammer back on the gun and placed it against my temple. I didn't bother to answer. He was a smart boy, he'd figure it out. Heero stepped in front of me, his own gun in his hands. He mirrored my position, gun against his temple, eyes staring into mine.

"What are you doing?" I asked him.

"If you go, I go." He was perfectly serious. Oh hell!

"Heero, please. You don't have any reason to do this." I tried being reasonable.

"And you do?" That sarcastic tone again. Screw reasonable.

"Yes, damn it!" I snapped at him.

"Then so do I."

"YUY! WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON DOWN THERE?!?" That was Fei's voice yelling at us from the cliff tops.

"You brought the others?"

"Like they'd stay behind."

"Duo!! Heero!!" Quatre was yelling now.

"Oh, good lord." I lowered the gun cautiously. Heero lowered his as well.

Sucker.

I kicked at him, knocking the gun out of his hand and rocking him backwards. I reached down to grab his gun and suddenly, his hand was over mine, squeezing hard. I kicked out again, but lost my grip on his gun. He took it from me and tossed it out over the sand. Then we were wrestling over mine.

I may be fast, but I'm not strong. Not as strong as Heero is, anyway. He got the gun out of my hands and tossed it away too. I lunged for his throat. If I could just knock him out, I'd have a good chance.

He had the same idea, unfortunately. We ended up rolling down towards the water a ways before he managed to pin me. One hand held my wrists over my head, the other was at my throat. My injured shoulder was screaming with pain. Heero was straddling me, knees pressed tightly against my sides.

"Let me go, damn you!" I yelled at him.

"No," again calm and cool, "I will not." I heard running footsteps on the sand, the others had come down.

"Heero?" Trowa said cautiously.

"Trowa. Find the guns. Keep them away from Duo."

"You bastard!" I hissed at him. I tried to buck free, but it was like struggling against a stone.

"Duo? Are you okay?" I heard Quatre's voice.

"I'm fine! Get off me Heero! Or I will kill you, I swear to God."

"You are sleep-deprived and irrational," Heero informed me calmly, "as well as injured. I'm not getting off of you until Sally sedates you." I twisted my head to the side. Sally was kneeling a little distance away, pulling things out of her med bag.

"No!" I protested.

"Yes," he countered. Sally was beside us now. Heero shifted his hand off my throat and moved it towards my wrists. He pulled one of my arms down so that Sally could get at the vein. He leaned flat against me and I found I couldn't move at all. Damn he was strong. I felt the needle prick my skin.

"There Duo," Sally said softly. "Just sleep."

"That's what I was trying to do!" I yelled at her. "Why didn't you all just leave me alone?" The meds were making my vision blur. They were blurring out, going away, leaving me alone. "I'm always alone. I always wake up alone." I managed.

I passed out cold.

I awoke for the second time someplace warm and soft. This time I opened my eyes and blinked them, trying to get the ceiling to come into focus. I realized that it was my ceiling. I was in my bed. I sat up and immediately laid back down again. My head was spinning.

"You're awake," a familiar cold voice noted. I turned my head. Heero was sitting in a chair next to my bed, an open book turned over on the armrest.

"Damn you, Yuy," I growled at him and tried to roll on my side. Oops- bad shoulder.

"You've been asleep for 14 hours. You should be over most of the sleep-deprivation. How is your shoulder?"

"It hurts," I muttered.

"Hn." He leaned forward and slid an arm around my shoulders, lifting me up. He handed me a pain pill and a glass of water.

"Thanks," I said, rather ungratefully. Heero sat back down in his chair and picked up his book. "You don't have to stay here," I told him.

"Yes, I do." He replied. "You were very upset about being left alone. I told Sally I'd make sure to stay with you." He put the book down. "Not to mention the whole running off to shoot yourself thing. That made everyone nervous." I flushed slightly.

"Aren't you supposed to be body guarding Relena somewhere? Why are you here?"

"Wufei took over for me."

"Why not just let Wufei stay here so you could go?" I closed my eyes. "Relena is not going to be happy about the change."

"So what?"

"Well Heero-darling, I think she'd prefer to have her lover with her than some angry Chinese man who carries a huge sword." Heero moved then, quickly, leaning down over me in the bed.

"She's not my lover."

"It's okay Heero." I gave into impulse and reached up to touch his cheek. "I've always known how you felt about her."

"How I felt about her?" He repeated. "Is that why you never talked about- us?"

"Us?" I was feeling very groggy from the pill. "What us? You love Relena. You fuck me. Just using what's available."

"Is that how you feel about it?" He asked, eyes narrowing.

"That's how you feel about it," I yawned. Damn the pill was making me sleepy again.

"No, it isn't." His tone made me open my eyes. "How do you feel about it Duo?"

"I love you. I'll take whatever you give me." I replied honestly, which made me blush later just thinking about it. Stupid pills.

To my surprise, he slipped into the bed next to me, pulling my head down on his shoulder.

"I feel the same, Duo," he murmured in my ear. "I always have." I looked up at him, trying to fight off the effect of the pill. He just smiled. "Sleep. I promise I'll be here when you wake up."

And he was.