Disclaimer: Guess what, I don't own them either!!! So, no money to be had here. Fan Fic, look it up.

Here we go, my first one shot. Let me just warn you, that I am terrible at one shots! I'm a novel kinda gal. I write epics, not snippets. But I really can't afford to be putting more on my plate at this point. So it's short and…well, maybe it's just short.

Warning: There is a random flashback towards the end, I've been told its confusing.

Silent Night

Heero stomped his feet on the front steps of the apartment building and brushed the show off his jacket before unlocking the door and going inside. He quickly climbed the stairs and got into the much warmer apartment he shared with his best friend, Duo.

Heero unzipped his Preventor's jacket and hung it as he always did in the small closet just inside the door; he also unlaced his boots and left them there on a small piece of cardboard to save the carpet from staining. Heero went in stocking feet to his room, one of two, and changed out of his Dockers and Preventors shirt into a comfortable pair of dark jeans and a simple green t-shirt.

He glanced outside the window on his way to the kitchen to heat up leftovers for dinner and his thoughts drifted to Duo, still at work, doing reports he'd neglected all day. He was staying late, as he usually did, to catch up on everything he pushed aside during the day when so much was going on. He said it was something about it being dark and there being fewer distractions that let him work better.

Heero wondered if the snow was going to be a problem for the cars still parked at Preventor Headquarters, Duo had a tendency to offer coworkers a ride home in his jeep and ended up getting home even later than he usually did. It had been snowing on and off all day, and now it was picking up again.

Duo didn't know, but Heero usually stayed up to wait for him to get home. However tonight he was going to have to go to bed early to get up tomorrow for an early day, he was meeting Wu Fei for a case review. So Heero decided that Duo would get home just fine in his jeep, sometime after midnight no doubt, and he should get some sleep. So after a quick meal and twenty minutes of reading, Heero turned off his light and went to bed, piling his finished book on top of the others he'd already read and the head of his bed. He reasoned that Duo would make noise as he always did when he got in and it would wake him and then he could go right back to sleep. Duo seemed unable to come home and not trip over something eventually.

Two heavily bundled figures stumbled through the snow and shoved their way into Preventor Headquarters around 11:46, the wind trying to follow them. They were accompanied by enough snow coming in the front doors that the desk clerk could have built a small snowman at the front desk. Brittany, Britt to her friends, looked up from her book and watched the two figures catch their breath. She was surprised; she usually didn't get people coming in on the night shift, not unless it was the cleaning crew or a delivery, which was why she always had a book.

She thought they might have come in to get away from the growing blizzard outside, any port in a storm and all that, the snow drifts on the side of the road were high enough to hide small children now. But she soon forgot that thought as a gun was produced out of a puffy green jacket and a muffled voice was telling her to raise her hands up over her head.

Britt kept her mouth shut and her hands up, complying with gun holder; she couldn't even tell what gender these two were with all their layers. She watched closely as they began to strip off jackets and scarves. She tried to watch them closely, memorizing as many details as she could, as she'd been trained to for situations like these, without blatantly staring.

"Perfect weather my ass!" A voice suddenly spat, one face finally clear of all that winter clothing. It was a woman, dark eyes, black hair tied back away from her face, bangs pushed to one side and a large scar that passed over her bottom lip.

"Well, if we'd stayed south, we wouldn't have to deal with this!? I'm making due! You brought us here, why do I get grief for trying to make this work!?" The gun man turned out to also be a woman; she had blonde hair, pulled back in a high ponytail and bright green eyes. She had no scars on her face, but Britt watched as she lost more layers till she was down to a white tank top and revealed bare arms that were covered in scars to an extent that mocked some of the agents Britt knew.

"Just shoot her will you." The dark haired one spat back, stripping down to a fishnet shirt over a spaghetti strap top.

"All right already." The blonde turned to Britt and Britt's heart leapt into her throat as she realized there was joy in her captors' eyes. "Hey, gimmie a key card and I won't kill you." The blonde ordered Britt.

Britt slowly reached over and grabbed an envelop that had been waiting for one of the agents that had gone home early that day; it had a replacement key card for the agents lost one. Britt knew she was supposed to comply with everything they asked, but she felt ashamed as she handed the envelop over with the card that would get them through all the right doors.

"Thanks." The blonde smirked and shot Britt in both legs through the desk. Britt screamed and fell out of her chair as bullets ripped through her thighs just above her knees.

"Come on." The dark haired one said and they disappeared into the elevator at the end of the entry hall.

Britt lay under her desk as still as she could, trying to remain conscious. If she could wait out the pain, she might be able to reach the two buttons hidden under her desk that would call for help, but that was only if she could stay awake…

Kitty tapped her gun against her thigh as they rode the elevator up. Ember tapped her foot standing next to her, both were twitchy, excited.

"All we have to do is find someone who's working late, still logged on to their computer and it's gold." Ember cautioned her partner, "This doesn't have to be a blood bath like the last time."

"I know," Kitty growled, "But where's the fun in that!?"

Ember rolled her eyes and went back to watching the numbers over the elevator doors. Kitty smiled as the elevator slowed, she brought her gun up and sited down it as the doors opened and found a man with a long dark brown ponytail staring back at her in surprise. Ember was right, their job was to get information, this wasn't a bounty collection, but they couldn't leave behind witnesses, right? She laughed to herself and pulled the trigger.

Duo jerked in surprise as he heard a shot outside in the hall, his hand instantly went for his gun, but he only grabbed air and remembered that he'd taken off his holster and draped it over the back of his chair and the gun was now at a difficult angle to draw from. He'd been typing out his report for Une, idly chatting with some self proclaimed hacker online; his holster had been digging into his shoulder. He probably shouldn't have been tilted back in his chair, keyboard pulled out into his lap with his feet propped up on the corner of his desk, but it was the only comfortable way to type. But now, it made him slow to sit up properly and he paid for that lost time.

Duo had wrapped his left arm around the back of his chair, reaching for his gun when his door swung open, slammed against the wall and he was shot in each shoulder, one right after the other. Duo bit back a cry of pain and waited for the death blow, eyes wide open, watching as two women walked unabashedly into the office he shared with Heero.

"Nice shooting." The blonde complimented her partner. "You were late, but good aim."

"Oh shut up." The dark haired woman laughed. "I pinned him to the chair, yours was the fun one."

"True." The blonde stopped in front of him while the dark haired one went for his computer. He really didn't like the smile on the blonde's face; the dark haired woman was barely giving him a second thought and somehow, that was more comforting. He remembered all too well from the war, people who didn't care about you were careless and more likely to shoot you quickly. The one's who paid attention to you were the ones who wanted to watch you die slowly.

It was then that Duo realized he had not been shot with bullets. The "arrows" that were firmly lodged in each shoulder sent a wave of nausea rolling through him; they were a little piece of horror directly out of his days in the war.

The arrow in his right shoulder went clean through and was firmly wedged into the back of his chair; the other was stuck halfway through his shoulder. But these were arrows taken directly out of OZ's collection, the were designed so that upon impact they released four spikes at the tip that secured their anchor into whatever they'd penetrated, be it wall, chair or Duo.

He watched as the dark haired woman expertly navigated his files and found her way into the database, but he was brought up to stare into manic green eyes when the blonde grabbed the arrow she's shot into his left shoulder and pulled on it. Duo gasped for air, fighting not to let lose a scream of pain that was building up at the back of his throat. He had a moment to realize just how good a shot she was that she had fixed her shot exactly halfway through his shoulder and just below the joint in a spot that wouldn't cause permanent damage, just a lot of pain.

She let go and he tried to focus his eyes past the blinding darkness that was trying to overcome him. He unconsciously reached up with his right hand and wrapped it around the arrow to keep her from pulling it again.

He just hoped she didn't notice his other hand still searching for his gun. But she seemed too wrapped up in his face, watching him no doubt sweating and swaying from the pain. He could imagine his eyes, wide and dilated, searching frantically for some way to end this and finding nothing. Her grin made a shiver run down his spine that only made his pain worse.

"Like them? I saved them from the war, pretty easy to replicate once you know how it works." Her smile was all teeth for him; she stood over him, their knees almost touching.

"Shut up." The dark haired woman suddenly spat, she was looking past both of them out into the hall. Duo didn't take his eyes off Kitty, but tried to hear what had drawn the terrorist eyes to the hallway. The woman suddenly pulled out a four inch blade that shone out of the corner of Duo's eyes.

Kitty smiled down at Duo and held up one finger in the international 'be quiet' gesture. The other woman left the room, leaving Duo alone with Kitty. She was gone for about three minutes and then came back with blood splattered on her cloths and arms and cleaning her blade on a piece of Preventor jacket. Duo felt nausea rise and fought not to think about who he'd seen working late when he'd gone out for a soda earlier. It had been perfectly silent, no screams, no chance. It wsa like the snow outside muffled everything, like the stark whiteness of the storm muted everything.

Kitty laughed. "And you said no bloodbath!"

"Kitty, shut up!" The dark haired woman ordered as she went back to Duo's computer. "I'm trying to concentrate, just ask him some questions and kill him. See if there's a record on us or something."

Kitty rolled her eyes at him, scowling at her partner and then raised an eyebrow at him, "Well!?"

Duo made a decision, these two were looking to kill everyone they meet, destroy what they could, and get out quickly. He vaguely wondered if Britt was ok, she brought him snacks sometimes, she was supposed to be at the front desk tonight.

Duo looked up into Kitty's eyes, she was crazy, maybe the other one wasn't, but she was, he wondered if he could've ended up that way, had he taken to his role as the God of Death a little more. Odd thoughts were bouncing around his head now, fighting back the dark oblivion that was gradually trying to overtake him. Some part of him was trying to talk itself up into an idea, but Duo kept trying to find some other way out of this.

"Ember, he's not talking, should I kill him?" She never took her eyes off him, crazy, but intelligent, probably a genius. She was the direct product of the war, like he was, like Heero and all the other pilots were, her partner, Ember, probably was too. Who would she have been if she'd been allowed to live?

"Yeah, I got what we need, hand me the drive." Duo gritted his teeth and braced himself to do what he always did, something spontaneous and stupid.

Britt reached up and found that she'd pulled herself around just far enough to reach the closest button. She preyed it worked, it hadn't been tested yet, a drill had been set up for the day after tomorrow. Britt hit what the higher ups called the "All Call" button. If it worked, it was going to send out a call to every pager for every agent they had to come in on an emergency.

Britt fell back to the floor and fought to stay awake a little longer, just long enough for the first agent to get here. The feeling of her own blood cooling against her skin was very unsettling, not to mention, she was losing feeling very quickly. She hoped they came in like they were supposed to and didn't just call to see what was going on; because there was no way in hell she was going to reach the phone!

Heero jerked awake as his pager went off, he reached over, grabbed it from his bed side table and glanced at the little screen on its side. He was instantly up and getting dressed. He didn't bother with anything more than jeans and a shirt as he grabbed his gun and raced for the front door.

He quickly registered the time; he'd been asleep for two hours. Heero was pulling on his gun holster when he noticed Duo's open door. He wasn't home.

Heero was well aware of the drill set up for the "All Call" button, day after next, and he also knew that Brittany was manning the front desk tonight. She was smart, wasn't prone to accidents, if she had pressed the button, there was a reason.

Fear and adrenaline coursed through his veins as he shoved his feet into his boots, forgetting the laces, grabbed his jacket and left the apartment at a run. He sped through the empty streets, hoping he wouldn't get pulled over by some well meaning cop. He ignored the snow strewn roads and navigated them expertly, actually using the ice to his advantage as he swung around a corner and pulled into the parking lot.

Heero meet Wu Fei, parked just as oddly as he near the front doors. "Yuy! What's going on!?" Wu Fei called, dressed haphazardly in black pants that looked like pajamas and a wrinkled shirt under an open jacket. His shoes told the same story of his rush to get there with their untied laces. Heero shook his head, saying he knew as much as Wu Fei did, watching as other agent began pulling up, in the same state as them. They looked more panicked than tired though, and Heero guessed they were as worried as he.

"Where's Maxwell?" Wu Fei asked as he fell in step with Heero who was now walking quickly for the front doors.

"He didn't come home." Heero said quietly, trying to ignore the lurch in his stomach as he said those words, seeing Wu Fei's surprise out of the corner of his eye, but he was staring at the front desk through the glass front of Headquarters.

"Why is there no one at the front desk?" He asked the agents around him.

"Shit!" Someone cursed; Heero thought it might be Jefferson. Heero tried to ignore the way the wind and snow kept stopping the voices out in the parking lot mid sentence. The silence was disturbing, as if winter itself were trying to reach down their throats and steal away their voices.

Heero reached the door and pulled it open against the wind, ignoring the change from cold to warm. He pulled out his gun as he walked in, Wu Fei following suite and people began to catch on. He heard people talking quietly to each other behind him, some staying at the doors, watching as more people arrived, and others spread out against the walls.

Heero froze as a sound came from behind the desk; everything went quiet as Heero's hand shot up in silent signal. Heero sighted the desk and waited. The sound came again, and then "Hello!? Someone there!?" Heero recognized Brittany's voice.

Heero rounded the desk and found Brittany on the floor, halfway under the desk, her legs pooled in blood, a trial leading around in a circle of confusion on the carpet that told of her struggle. She stared up at him with tears in her eyes.

"Oh Thank God!" She whispered and then passed out. Heero told for someone to call for an ambulance and then instructed someone else to take over cover for the entry hall. Jefferson came up and agreed to take charge down here with some men and wait for the medics.

Heero and Wu Fei took point leading a team up the stairs. They already knew what floor they were on, Heero knew that if whoever did this had gone to any other floor, Duo would have called before Brittany had hit the "All Call" Button. That only left one option, they'd already found Duo working late.

Heero broke out onto the third floor, he made his way down the hall with Wu Fei close behind him at a quick trot and they left people behind at regular intervals to watch each area. There was no telling where anyone was or who was there. Just outside of the stairs they had come across a body someone had identified as Brown, they'd recognized he cloths and a necklace, for there'd been nothing else to recognize. He'd taken a shot to the head with ammunition designed to explode on impact.

Heero made his way towards his office, a surreal feeling overcoming him. He felt trepidation building as he neared the open door of his and Duo's office. It wasn't like walking in every morning; he didn't feel the ease, the assurance or the familiarity he felt when he came in for work. Instead it felt as if he were in some other building that simply resembled Preventor Headquarters.

Yet, overlaying everything, Heero realized his worry for his partner and best friend was stronger than anything else. He was having horrible bouts of imagination with Duo's body being found much like they'd found Brown's. He swallowed hard and signaled for everyone to stop as they got close. Heero concentrated on breathing; he was working himself up to taking those last few steps to look inside the open door.

Light was streaming out, but there was no moment that implied that anyone was inside. Wu Fei was close behind him, but made no rush to push Heero to movement, he just waited, gun up, safety off.

Heero was about ready to move again, prepared as he would ever be to find Duo…He pushed all thoughts aside and buried a pain that felt like and aching hole that was growing in his chest.

"Fuck You!" A voice yelled, Heero jerked, his gun coming down to point at the open door, several guns followed, waiting, trained, steady on the door.

"Right back at ya babe." Heero instantly recognized Duo's voice, his heart leapt but he stood stock still pressed up against the wall. He waited a few heartbeats for something else but then began moving along the wall when nothing else followed and walked into the room, gun ready, but less tense than he had been.

"Heero!" Duo smiled at him and Heero felt his heart slam against his ribs. There were two women in the room with him, both bloody, one against the wall by the door, and one laying absolutely still on the ground in front of his desk. People weren't that still, even unconscious. Duo was a bloody mess, sitting in his chair as if Heero had just come back with lunch. "Is Britt ok!?" Duo's face suddenly went serious.

Heero wanted to scream back at him but nodded once; she would live, the sooner the paramedics got there, the better. It was just like Duo to instantly start worrying about others rather than himself. But Heero was sure he was worrying enough for both of them, there was way too much blood soaked into Duo's cloths and more was beginning to soak into the carpet underneath him. Dripping down from where it had already soaked into his chair.

Movement brought Heero's eyes around to the woman sitting next to the door with her back to the wall, she had a bar sticking out of her abdomen, just a little above her stomach, she was clutching at it as blood pooled around her.

Heero realized there was a similar one stuck in Duo's shoulder, and from the look of it, it was pinning him to his chair. The bloody hole in his other shoulder made rage boil in Heero's veins, that wound wasn't in and out, only in.

"Arrows Heero, OZ arrows." Duo answered Heero's unasked question. Both Heero and Wu Fei frowned and then turned to glare at the woman. If memory served right, those particular arrows had points that expanded, which made Duo's messier shoulder all the worse.

"Oh just shoot me." She snapped at them, her blonde hair bouncing against the wall behind her. The twitch in her right eye and the way she spoke past her teeth were the only signs she gave that she was in pain.

"Chang." Heero left Wu Fei to deal with her, Wu Fei nodded and then stood over her, gun ready while someone pulled out plastic zip cuffs and bound her.

"Duo…" Heero moved to touch the arrow sticking out of his shoulder and hesitated. He felt as if someone where squeezing his heart inside his chest with one hand and using the other to try and keep his lungs from expanding too far, making him take small, shallow breaths. He wanted to forget everything, to wait with Duo till the paramedics got there, but Une would be there soon, and she'd want answers.

"One more, a team of two, that one's called Kitty, other one was Ember. Don't know if they're real or code. Came in, shot me twice, one didn't go all the way through." Duo paused to breathe, Heero could see what it was costing him, he wasn't about to interrupt. Not that he could anyway; he was suddenly finding it very hard to swallow. "Ember was trying to get something off my computer, I think that's what they were here for, I think they're hired. I waited until they were both distracted then I shot Ember and pulled the arrow from my arm and stabbed her." Duo motioned with his head to Kitty, he looked dizzy, and Heero knew he needed rest. He grunted and suddenly found himself brushing blood coated bangs out of Duo's face.

"I got point, rest. Medics are on their way." Duo's eyes widened in surprise and then he smiled up at Heero. Heero felt his heart jolt and then he stood over Duo as his braided partner slouched as much as he could in his chair and closed his eyes. Duo's job now was to breathe and stay awake till the paramedics got there. Heero didn't even notice when his hand stayed lightly on Duo's shoulder, away from the injury, but unconsciously reassuring himself that Duo was still there, still alive.

"Fuck you!" Kitty's anger was now directed at Wu Fei. She wasn't making things easy. Heero was almost sure she was bleeding out even as she fought against Wu Fei who wanted her to lie down until medics got there. Duo had shot the other woman, Ember, in the back, directly through the heart and into his computer. Heero could see where he'd taken the gun from his holster hanging on his chair, he'd hit both women at the same time, probably the only way.

Heero felt the room go quiet, he was sure he had missed something, he'd been thinking so hard. He was sure that Duo's wounds weren't life threatening outside of blood loss, but would they immobilize his arms? The silence was heavy, bringing Heero away from his worries and he looked down.

Duo's violet eyes were wide open, staring down at Kitty, she was looking right back up at him with her bright green eyes. Heero moved to stand between them, but some shift in Duo's body told him no.

They all watched as Kitty slid down the wall till she was lying on her side, smearing the wall behind her with blood but still keeping eye contact with Duo. "You're pretty good." She whispered.

"You too." Duo whispered back.

"Not good enough." Kitty smiled, her face still manic, but something else showing though her vividly green eyes.

"Goodbye Kitty." Duo smiled down at her. And Kitty Died. Duo tilted his head back and Heero thought he might be crying, but there were no tears.

Duo was taken to the hospital with Britt, the only two who had encountered the women and lived. There were three more bodies on the third floor, their throats slit, and their deaths silent. The loss was mourned by all the agents and a service was held a few days later. Three agents, one civilian and one political figure and one night desk clerk did not attend. Britt was put in the same room as Duo, both very glad to see each other once they'd woken.

Heero stayed with Duo, Wu Fei came and went between reports, meetings and sleep. Quatre and Trowa came to visit and Britt's friends and family came and went. There was also a long stream of agents who came in to visit both Duo and Britt and in all of it; Heero sat next to Duo, wondering why the squeezing in his chest hadn't lessened. Duo was safe now, wasn't he?

Heero looked up and around to find the room empty except for him and Duo, he was instantly alarmed that he'd managed to space out enough to ignore the changes. Heero looked over at Duo's bed to see Duo looking up at him, his bed barely tilted up at the head, he was almost lying flat on his back.

"Hey, you back now?" Duo asked, he smiled up at Heero. Heero felt a jolt run through his stomach muscles, he nodded and stared back at Duo.

Duo waited, Heero seemed to be thinking about asking him something, but he was taking the long way about to get to it. Duo just lay there waiting, he was glad everyone had stopped coming, the visits were nice, but the constant traffic wore him out.

His wounds weren't as bad as Britt, they'd come and taken her away for another MRI to check on her wounds, it was still questionable whether she was going to ever walk again. He was recovering quickly, glad that the wounds he'd gotten weren't going to mess with his motor functions; he had not been looking forward to early retirement.

Duo waited, thinking about how much his IV's itched and trying to push away the part of his brain that wanted to prod Heero. He was going to lie there quietly and let Heero get around to it in his own time, he wasn't going to push like he always did, and he was not going to get Heero mad at him.

It was true, Duo was confused by Heero's presence, but he wasn't so confused that he was going to poke it till Heero got fed up and left. He liked having Heero there, it made the whole hospital experience bearable. Also, focusing on Heero kept his thought busy when all the people stopped coming, so even when they were alone he didn't have to remember…he didn't have to remember that last look in Kitty's eyes.

It had been easier when he had had to take people out before they knew what was going on, shooting Ember in the back had taken him right back to the war. Infiltration required a quiet entrance, which meant he'd taken down numerous guards without ever having to see their faces. But Kitty, staring up at him like that, there had been so few that he'd actually had to know and see before he'd killed them, seen their dieing looks that he remembered them all.

Duo shuddered, trying to shove those thoughts away; he'd been doing his damnedest to forget, to not dwell on those thoughts, to not see her eyes. That little hint of fear, of acceptance, of the woman who was under the killer.

"I don't understand why you said goodbye to her." And then Heero turned around and brought it right back up. Duo sighed heavily and regretted it when he saw Heero flinch and withdrawal; he thought he'd said the wrong thing. In a way he had, but if Duo bothered to think about it, it was ok because he'd been the one to ask.

"That could have been us Heero." Duo whispered. Heero looked up at him in confusion. "We could have easily gone the same way with our lives after the war was over. We were lucky enough to be invited to join the Preventors, to have something to do with our skills, a purpose. There's no real place for people like us during times of peace, there was no place for Kitty and Ember."

Heero looked so surprised it made Duo smile, but it was a sad smile; he couldn't seem to remember how to bring up his patented grin.

"Duo, they did a check on those women, both were soldiers who sided with OZ during the war." Heero sounded so condescending, so sure about what he knew was right and wrong.

"Heero, what if OZ had won, do you ever think of that?" Duo stared up at the ceiling, "I know I do sometimes. We probably would have been the first to be executed…well, maybe the Peacecraft's would have gone first, but that's beside the point. We would have been the ones who were the terrorists, the murderers, the ones who were wrong in the publics eyes instead of becoming the 'war hero's' we are now. We could have ended up like Kitty and Ember, just trying to live in a time we don't really understand."

Heero looked shocked, scandalized even. Duo just kept staring, watching the life flow out of Kitty's eyes as she died; the image forever burned into his memory.

"Duo…"

"Sorry, I just get to thinking sometimes and I can't help it." Duo laughed, it was sharp and harsh and Heero flinched at its sound. He watched and though there were no tears he knew Duo was crying, had been crying since Kitty had died.

"Duo!" Heero barked at him, scaring Duo into looking at him, his eyes wide and red with unshed tears, tears that wouldn't come. "They made the wrong choices, they didn't accept peace, didn't realize that we can lead normal lives. We have as much right to them as…"

"Normal!? What exactly is normal about hitting a mark two buildings away through a window and a fish tank!? Huh Heero!? And who said we made the right choices!?" Duo shook his head and pushed himself up on his elbows looking over at his partner. "There are only five of us, five Heero. We're like some freaky kind of endangered species. Not to mention the war ended before we were even legal! We came out of there without homes, without family, without money, hell we didn't even have drivers' licenses until after we joined the Preventors! I don't think we qualify under normal." Duo scoffed and lay back down.

"Duo, we have a right to live our lives, we bought it with blood and bullets several times over. I've learned that now." Heero stared down at his hands.

"Oh yeah, who taught you that, sounds like you had a better teacher than I got, I still can't believe they made us finish school, we're way smarter than…"

"You." Duo stopped mid sentence, mid insult really and turned to look at Heero.

"Huh?" He asked articulately.

"You taught me that. After the war, you taught me my life did have meaning, that I was more than a by product of war, that I had more worth than a gun, that I had a right to live just like everybody else. You told me that I had a life to live now and I better learn to live during peace otherwise you were going to kick my ass." Heero smirked at Duo who shut his mouth quickly and looked away, embarrassed. Heero plowed on; now that he had Duo's attention and silence he wasn't going to stop until he had it all out, because now he knew. That memory had sparked another. "From now on we go home together."

Duo looked up in surprise. "I'm not waiting up for you anymore, I'll stay with you and we'll carpool. I don't want another call that like only to find out you're not even home yet." Heero had moved so that he was leaning over the bed, staring into those violet eyes, making sure Duo got the message.

"Sorry, I had to finish those reports." Duo was pushing away, trying to distance himself, so unsure. He didn't even know how attractive he was, how smart, how sexy.

"Duo, I was scared." Heero watched confusion turn into realization in Duo's eyes. "You weren't home, and then we found Brittany, and then Brown and I knew you were still there, still doing those damned reports!" Heero bent his head down, scared of the emotions that were flooding him now, but sure of what would make them stop.

He remembered, finding Duo during the war, in the snow, covered in blood. The image had been haunting him all night, even since he'd woken to snow outside his window and Duo missing from his bed.

Duo had been dieing, halfway frozen and missing a hell of a lot of blood. Shoot, beaten and dumped in the snow, left to die. Barbed wire binding his arms and legs, Heero had found him and had felt his heart stop. He'd been sure Duo was dead, sure that he would have to finish the mission by himself and then go back and tell the other pilots. But that had all paled when he'd realized Duo wouldn't smile at him again. Even if it was a grin thrown over his shoulder with a passing comment about how anal he was, or how he couldn't put his lap top down long enough to eat dinner.

He'd felt it again when he'd woken and realized Duo wasn't home, maybe hurt, maybe dieing. Heero had driven so fast that night, with no thought about his own safety.

When he'd found Duo cold in the snow he'd kneeled there for what seemed like ages and then Duo had spoken to him.

"Password is…Solo." Heero had opened his eyes to find Duo looking up at him through half lidded eyes, his breath coming out in little white wisps in the cold air. Heero had quickly realized that Duo was giving him the password to Deathsythe. Heero had leaned closer, seeing that Duo had more to say. "Hid your present under the seat…"

Heero had been confused, had asked what Duo meant about present.

"Christmas…" Duo had answered and then he'd passed out. Heero had picked Duo up and carried him all the way back to safety, to a small safe house, their Gundams hidden in the foot hills less than a mile away. He'd filled the fireplace and dragged the mattress out into the small living room.

He'd tended to Duo's wounds then he'd lain down next to Duo and pulled him close, telling himself that Duo's heart needed be protected from the shock of all that cold blood rushing to it. He'd carefully wrapped Duo's hair in an extra shirt until it dried and had changed both their cloths to fresh, dry ones. He'd stayed with Duo through the night, trying to ignore Duo's dreams, and through the next day.

Duo had slept with his face tucked into Heero's neck, his quick, hot breaths playing over his skin like a playful wind and had curled into the warmth of Heero's body, one hand fisted into his shirt. Heero had shoved away anything he felt, even the very source of his reason for fighting to keep Duo there with him, alive. He'd told himself over and over that Duo was imperative, couldn't be lost. Had skills that were vital to the war, that no one else could pilot the Gundam Deathsythe. He'd told himself anything he had to for justification for staying there, in the warmth of that mattress on the floor, to stay with Duo just a little longer, even when Duo's breath picked up a steady rhythm and his heartbeat returned to it's normal, steady beat.

When Duo had woken and they had left that little safe house behind, Heero had shoved the memory of it away, doing what he had too to keep fighting. He was sure Duo remembered very little, but he had remembered to give Heero his present. It had been a book, an author Heero had never heard of. At the time he'd accepted it, pretended not to give it another thought. But that book had gotten him through some tough times.

He'd read it at safe houses, he'd read between missions, he'd read it in the long hours between colonies and earth when he'd been traveling through space. It had been lost eventually, in one battle or another…or was it during his self detonation. He couldn't really remember now when he'd lost the original because when he lost it, he'd gone right back out and found another copy, and another when he'd lost that one.

It had spurred him to find other books, to read them, wondering if Duo had read those too, but always he had a copy of that one book, had one at the apartment even now. All the other books he'd read and discarded, but he'd always had the one on hand to reread.

Heero pushed his memories away, unwilling to let that old fear fill him again, that constant knowledge that any day could be their last, that any time they woke it was another day they could fight.

"No more." Heero told not only Duo, but himself. "I can't lose you, I won't!"

"Heero…" Duo was back on his elbows, trying to get a good look at Heero, questioning and poking, unwilling to believe in what was in front of him, old habit making him wary of the hurt that was sure to come later.

But Heero shoved away both their hesitation and their insecurities and kissed Duo full on the mouth. He reveled in the taste, in the heat where their lips met. He probed with his tongue and was granted entrance when Duo parted his lips. He was eagerly kissing Heero back, lying back as Heero pushed down. Time seemed to stop and the rest of the world faded away.

"Are you sure about this…" Duo asked breathlessly, pulling away to stare up into Heero's Cobalt eyes.

"More sure than I've ever been." Heero promised. He kissed Duo again, amazed that he was allowed to, that Duo was kissing him back, that Duo's long fingers felt so good tangled in his hair. Amazed at how soft Duo's hair was, his memory reminding him that it had always been so, it had just never been acceptable for him to touch it, to pull it between his fingers in large bunches and hold Duo to him.

Heero broke away only when he was breathless and a little wobbly in the knees. He smiled down at Duo and said, "Merry Christmas."

Duo's eyes flew wide in surprise.

"We've been here three days, it's Christmas Eve."

"I didn't even know you knew when Christmas was!" Duo laughed and Heero gave him an annoyed frown which only made Duo laugh harder.

"Believe me, I know when it is, and I'll never forget." Heero assured him and bend to kiss him again.

Duo met him halfway, reveling in Heero's scent, his overpowering presence. Duo felt as if he were being dragged down to the depths of an endless ocean, but willingly. Turning to its dark depths as someone else might turn to the light of the surface, struggling for air. Duo welcomed the pressure, the dark depths that held secrets no one would ever know. He kissed Heero till he was dizzy. Duo pulled away reluctantly, a thought coming to him.

"If we're carpooling, then we're taking my jeep, your car is shit. And you have horrible taste in music."

"Fine, but I'm driving." Heero told him.

"What!?"

"With your road rage we'll never make it to work."

Duo threw back his head and laughed and then kissed Heero's hand which was tightly holding his on the hospital bed. He pulled on that hand and brought Heero down for another kiss, this was not something he was going to tire of, not ever.

Britt sat at the front desk, the chair pushed to the side so her wheel chair could fit. She looked up and smiled as Heero and Duo came in the front door.

"Good morning sirs." She said in mock formality.

"Morning Britt!" Duo smiled, Heero nodded at her, they also threw greetings to Valdis who manned the desk with her now. She smiled, Duo would be back down later to talk, he always visited her during her morning shift. She watched the couple say goodbye at the elevator. They were no longer partners, it wasn't allowed since they now had an "intimate relationship". Britt had remembered that conversation with Duo on the day he'd been released, about how fast Heero had been to talk to Une and get them reassigned to different partners. She'd laughed as Duo swore he'd get Heero back for that, about how he was going to hold it over Heero's head for a couple of days. She'd been released a few days later, with a new wheel chair and was adjusting to her new life. She'd gotten a medal, but she still didn't like to look at it, it was tucked away at home in a drawer. Britt went back to greeting people who came in out of the snow for another day of work; her desk was already decorated for New Years.

Heero knocked softly on Duo's office door. Duo mumbled something and kept on typing, keeping his eyes trained on the moving cursor on his computer screen. Heero smirked, quietly walked in and bent down till he face was level with Duo's; he leaned in close and captured Duo's ear lobe in his mouth, sucking on it gently.

Duo jerked at the sudden warm wetness surrounding his sensitive ear, but didn't move other than his hands coming up off the keyboard as his eyes flew open and an involuntary cry escaped his lips.

Heero pulled away slowly, pulling on the lobe with just a hint of teeth and smirked down at Duo who was looking up at him with a mix of outrage, pleasure and embarrassment on his beet red face.

"Ready to go home?" Heero asked, pleased with himself.

"Now I am." Duo scoffed and quickly shut down his computer. He picked up his jacket and closed the door behind him. "You do realize I'm paying you back for that." Duo warned as they walked down the empty halls.

"I was counting on it." Heero smiled and they left for home.