Shinigami, the Perfect Soldier and Crimson Waterfall are back from hell. Well... they are back from hell, I've just returned from the horrid world that I call my life. No, that's not fair, I am a very blessed person, I just don't admit that as often as I should.

To answer the question of what I've been up to that kept me from updating: I kinda got sucked into school, there's this report we have to write for school. It's not just any report, you have to put 80 (!) hours into it. People who invented THAT are sick and deprived of social interactions. Anyway, that's what I have been up to. If I don't rock that report I AM allowed to take my exams, but no matter how good the results are, I won't get my diploma. That would suck. My other excuse is that I have been to America during the christmas break. Oh. My. God. I did NOT want to go back to the grey coloured country AKA The Netherlands! Despite the tornado touchdown not far from where we were in Orlando, Florida, it was the BEST vacation ever. I could talk about forever and STILL wouldn't be finished. I went to Seaworld and Bush gardens in Tampa bay, you know, like the true tourist that I was and to crown off my holiday I swam with dolphins. Ah... still can't believe I actually had the oportunity to do something as amazing as that... Lastly and most plainly: I had a serious writersblock and I'm not sure it's over yet.

This is like... word vomit turned into a story, but I hope you like it anyway.

Warnings: unlike the title might suggest this is not a happy fic and there will be no, I repeat: there will be NO chibi Duo, or him in any other deformed state for that matter. It used to be 'unbeta'd' but I've taken the time to do some basic checking. But still, don't expect the spelling and grammar to be perfect as that is a constant struggle for me.

All the feedback will be treated with the gratitude it deserves.

ADOPTING DUO

This place is eerie. Perhaps it's the eeriest place I've ever been. And that says something. I've lived on L2 after all. It's strange how death lingers in this room. Every single object reminds me of the fact that now they are gathering dusk, as is has been a long time since their owner handled them. A once living owner. Now dead.

The room is small and simple, only the basic necessities are present, but I wouldn't have expected it to be any other way. I don't think I would have wanted it to be either. After all, I've come to think of the former, passed on, owner of someone who is in need of nothing but the basic, primary goods of life. A roof, a bed, food, water and oxygen, were all the things it would take to complete such a persons life. If I had stumbled across relics of a long forgotten youth or pictures of smiling relatives, I don't think I would have been able to handle the remorse, but now I'm like this detached ghost that roams through the apartment of a dead person.

I am not completely comforted by the surrounding I encounter however. The bare walls and lack of furniture give me a feeling of deep regret and at the same time shame. Shame that there was no person in this world, not even me, that cared enough to colour the black and white sketching of his life. Regret, for the same reason. Maybe if I had bothered to stop by... or even a call or something as emotionally vacant as an email... perhaps it could have made a difference.

But I did nothing, like everyone else we were all bystanders he strategically ignored. I wish he would be the one to blame, but we must live on bearing some of the guilt on our shoulders.

'There's not much to take.' A voice spoke behind me, coming from a presence I knew was there long before the words broke the dead quiet.

I turned my head just slightly and strained my eyes to roll sideways as far as they could so I could make out the blurry picture of the landlord of this rundown complex, standing against the backlight coming from the bright hallway. The man dares to speak again in this forsaken sanctuary.

'But I'll give ya two days to uh... for closure.' He finally decided. He tried his best to sound compassionate, but failed miserably. He just wanted the apartment emptied out so it could start earning him money again.

'Yes. Thank you.' A raspy voice replies. I know it's mine, but it hasn't sounded like mine in a very long time. I ignore him completely, standing still somewhere in the middle of what could be described as the livingroom. I waited till he got the picture and took a silent step backwards, into the hallway, and closed the frontdoor behind him.

I felt a rush of panic go through me as the apartment went dark, dead, like the closing of the door had cut off the oxygen supply. Like a suffocating man I rushed towards the single, lonesome window in the apartment, hidden behind thick, dark blue curtains that allowed only a minimum amount of sunlight to stream through. As I opened them in one swift movement I was hit with the thought that this is probably the first time since long since sunlight had seen this apartment and I had a sudden feeling of trespassing, doing the forbidden, but I refused to close the curtain. The sunlight brought me at ease and breathed some life into the place.

With effort I turn myself around and for the first time the apartment was clearly revealed before my eyes. Right in front of me was a low coffee table, though I have no doubt no one ever drank coffee here. It looked brand new, as did the couch standing in front of it. The same went for the comfortable seat across from the couch. Both were grey, a darker shade than the grey colour of the carpet, that covered the entire floor. The coffeetable was made of beautiful ebony wood, but it probably wasn't picked out for it's beauty. It seemed a pity to let it wither here, never seeing true life or the underside of coffee mugs. I made a mental note of taking it with me, though not entirely sure where to put it in the limited amount of space of my own apartment.

The kitchen was beyond the livingroom. Again, nothing more than the basic equipment. Microwave, stove, sink. It was a fairly large kitchen and all the cabinets, except for one, were empty. Neatly lying in that one cabinet was one fork, one knife and one spoon. Next to it was one large plate and a smaller one, stacked on top of each other. On the higher shelf in the cabinet was a mintgreen mug. What struck me was the fact that the ear had once been broken off, but somebody had taken the time, patience and care to repair it, back to near perfection, the breakline barely visible. That was all. No extra forks, plates or glasses, to make it painfully obvious that he wasn't even expecting any one of us to stop by for a visit. From all the things I have encountered so far, this revelation wrenched my heart the most. I gently touched the glued on ear of the mug with the tip of my index finger, but pull back, as if burned. I'm not superstitious, but for some reason it felt as though a piece of him was inside the mug, after he must have used it daily for many years.

I move on in search of something that will be a better reminder of a loyal comrade than an antique coffeetable. I avoid the bedroom, getting near the door alone makes my heart beat uncontrollably. So it's the bathroom instead where I'm heading. The door is wide open and the first thing I notice is how clean it is. This makes me realise that, despite the layer upon layer of dust, the entire apartment was clean enough to perform surgery in. He must have had a lot of time on his hands. I smile sadly and lay a hand upon my chest as I step inside. With that one step I'm in the centre of the small bathroom. Straight ahead, only one more step away, is the combined bath and shower. To my right I register the presence of my reflection in a mirror hanging above a sink. Other than that, the room is bare. I turn my attention to the mirror, but instead of seeing my reflection, I see his. I had mistaken the brown hair and messy bangs for my own, but it's clear now, I'm not staring at my own face. I blink, and gone he is. Blue has turned violet, tanned skin has turned pale and dark brown hair has turned amber. I nod at my reflection, as if acknowlegding the fysical presence of another human being. The mirror turns out to be a medicin cabinet, so curious as I am, I open it. Only to find it to be as empty as most of the kitchen cabinets.

I take a deep breath and turn around. This has proven to be tougher than I thought it would be. I am preparing to leave the apartment, to inform the landlord the only thing I'll be taking, and the only thing there is to take, is the coffeetable. But as I walk through the short, narrow hallway the bedroom door calls to me. It's frightening and alluring at the same time and before I've regained controle over my body, I'm standing in the doorway, only now realising why some people called it the twilightzone. The door is open, I'm still holding the golden knob in my left hand and I'm staring right in...

The bedroom is relatively large. Large enough for a double bed, a closet and a desk. A desk that had been well used, the varnish on the surface has begun to wear from where I can imagine his elbows occasionally brushing it while his fingers fly over the keyboard of the laptop that is still standing there. With quickened pace I walk over there and lay a protective hand on it's black top, as if comforting a yowling pet that missess it's master. Like the desktop, the seat of the chair is also showing signs of wear. I spot another window, with the same dark blue curtain in front of it. This time I don't dare to open it though, afraid what demons I might cause to start screaming when the sunlight bruns their skin. My comrade is no longer here, he is in a better place, but it's obvious he has left his demons behind. For the better I guess, no one should carry that burden up to heaven with them.

The bed. I can smell it from where I'm standing. It still smells like... him. Like his sweat and other odours that were, no, are uniquely his. I spot a few drops of blood on the white crumpled sheets and a sob escapes my lips before I can stop it. I cover my mouth and remain silent for some time. I approach the bedside and lift the sheet, to uncover more blood. Still only mere drops, loss of blood was not what killed him, but it's enough to make me stagger back. I end up sitting down on the chair, the laptop in front of me. That thing I'm sure as hell taking home.

Once I have regained my composure I continue to confront myself with reality. I fling open the closet doors and my eyes sadden seeing the few clothes he has, hanging there, or folded neatly on a shelf. All arranged by colour. Three green tank tops, three white T-shirts, one black T-shirt. Two faded jeans, one dark pair, four pairs of spandex. Two denim jackets and one leather. At the bottom I spot those ugly mustard yellow sneakers and the simple brown shoes I had grown familiar with.

With the closet doors still open I take steps back till the back of my legs make contact with the bed and I gently sit down, staring at the contents of the closet. I mind not to step on the glass, lying on the ground, that I had spotted earlier.

I'm scared. I'm so scared. I'm scared that his life was even more miserable than my worst expectations. I'm scared that he hated us for never showing that we cared. I'm scared that he hated us for not being the comrades that he needed us to be. I'm scared that his death was long and painful. I'm scared that he's not happy in wherever his soul may be right now. I'm scared that he regrets his actions and wants to go back, now that he is looking down upon us from above and sees that we all miss him.

I break out in tears. My entire body is shaking as I sob like a child who's most precious stuffed animal is missing. I sob harder at that analogy and more tears stream down my face. God, I never even hugged him. Of all the times I acknowledged the fact that we both wanted to, I never hugged him! I never hugged him, even those times when I saw he needed me to. I never shook his hand. I'm not entirely sure if I ever touched him beyond the necessary hauling about when he had gotten himself into trouble again. And those touches don't count, a touch is meant to be comforting but I kept making it clear to him, every time we made fysical contact, I was only doing it because it was necessary. Now why would I do that?

I stroke the surface of the bed. The cold, abandoned bed. I wonder if he had ever shared it with anyone. If he ever felt such a strong desire to be touched that he went into shady clubs to get the closets thing to affection he'll ever receive. Did he get past his own inhibitions, or did he allow hismelf to go crazy and just savour every shoulder brushing contact he made with strangers on a busy sidewalk?

With my eyes I follow my outstretched arm from shoulder to fingertips, that are gently carressing the sheets as if carressing human skin. A splash of colour attracts my eye to the nighstand. I notice there is only one and it's on the right side, giving me reason to believe that he slept on this side of the bed, which I was now occupying, lost in thought.

The nightstand was empty except for three items. A lamp, an ugly lamp that the previous owner of the apartment might have left here, an alarmclock, even though there was no need since his inner clock was just as reliable and lastly... my eyes shift away and squeeze shut tightly in pain. My heart is clenching, it's so painful it gets hard to breathe.

A medicing bottle, the label peeled off, leaving only a bright white lid and seethrough, orange coloured plastic, that revealed that the failry large bottle was completely empty.

I open my eyes and it takes conscious effort to steady my breathing.

I don't remember the name of the medicin, the amount of pills or the sequence of events that went on inside his inner organs, even though the docter described it vividly to me, but for some reason I can imagine everything taking place. "He must have gotten the pills from a drug dealer", the docter had said, "these pills are illegal in the United States."

When I close my eyes I can see him shoving a roll of valuable bills into the hands of some shady, faceless person, who in exchange gives him a labelless bottle of white pills. He would inspect them, just like we'd all expect him to do, with everything. He identifies the pills, as the ones he has ordered, to the best of his abilities. With a curt nod, the deal is done and they go seperate ways. When he returns to the huge empty void he might have called his home, he placed them in the medicin cabinet, merely because it was a logical place to store pills. He was all about logical. He would have gone about his daily routine. He might have done that for several days, till finally the night arrives when he's standing in his black sweatpants and T-shirt, in front of the mirror medicin cabinet, after thoroughly brushing his teeth for the exact two minutes that are required. After filling the single glass from his kitchen with water, he opens the cabinet, takes the medicin in his hands and without further ado or goodbye to his reflection he is in his bed in only a few large strides. In stead of lying under the sheets, he goes to lie on top of them. I don't think there is much time between him lying down and taking the first series of pills. He just wasn't that type of guy.

As soon as he was comfortable he would have placed the glass on the table, the ring was visible on the wooden surface to this day, and opened the bottle. He would shake out as much as he could swallow in one gulp, which I reckon was about half the bottle, if he really wanted to do things quickly, which I think he would have. With the first load of white pills gathered in the palm of his left hand, he takes hold of the glass again with his right and brings it halfway up to his face. He shoves the pills into his mouth, followed by half of the content of the glass. He throws his head back, to ease the pills down his throat.

According to the docter there was some time between the first and the second series of pills. So he might have contemplated taking more, but decided to see first if the ones he had taken already would be enough to do the job. After half an hour he would have felt the burning in his stomach, a fever would have started and a drowsy feeling must have flooded over him, but not enough to indicate near death. This is when he took the second series, the docter had told.

He takes hold of the pills and the glass once more and repeats the actions of thirty minutes earlier. He didn't have to wait long for the pills to take effect. After about ten minutes excrutiating pain would have started, pulsating in his abdomen. Only then did he think of putting away the glass, but as he bent over, pain struck him. I imagine he gasps and the glass missess it's target. The pain causes his hand to tense and then go limp, dropping the glass that made a cushioned landing on the carpet. He holds his stomach and brings his legs up. For moments that take too long he turns and trashes in the bed, hoping the end would come soon. He was suddenly attacked by a viscious coughing fit, nearly causing him to suffocate. When he had steadied his breathing he opened his eyes and I reckon a grim smile would have spread across his face at the sight of the blood he had coughed up.

A few more coughing fits, a little more blood and then his vision turns blurry and he loses track of reality. He is so out of it the docter assures me that at that stage there was no more pain involved, he did inform me with sad tone that he had been conscious till the moment death took him.

I turn my head and gaze at the sheets and the dried blood on the left side of the bed. In total it had taken the drugs an hour to do their magic and claim his life, but the last fifteen minutes he should have been too delusional to notice the pain or even realise the opcoming death. Blurry pictures of his life flashes before non-comprehensive eyes as he made incoherent comments.

I snort. Him making incoherent comments... I don't think any drug could make him speak more than the necessary... that was just... silly.

It was his neighbour who had found him, cold in his bed. She had heard screams and moans that night and decided to go check it out. Perhaps she was naive, or knew of Heero's reluctance at having social interactions, that it never even crossed her mind that Heero could be in the proces of sexual intercourse with someone. She knocked on his door. No response came. Her knocking grew more demanding till she finally fled into her own apartment and dialed 911. An inexperienced team of paramedics arrived, half an hour later, who didn't recognise a corpse when they saw one. The heart compressions they performed throughout the race to the hospital were endearing, but futile attempts. He would never breathe on his own again.

At first I had been nervous about visiting this place by myself. I was not able to convince Quatre, Trowa, nor WuFei to come with me and see what had become of him after the war, besides the obvious... Now, I am grateful for their absence. I wouldn't want them here. Sitting here, feels like having an intimate moment with him. It feels like he is sitting right next to me and the sheets are ruffled for whatever reason a young male like myself could imagine. And he had just told me something significant. That he cared for me. Or maybe even a confession of love.

"I love you too Heero." I choke.

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"Hello?" I ask groggily. Who dared to call Shinigami this early in the morning?

"Hello. Is this Duo Maxwell speaking?" Asked an unfamiliar voice.

I retorted with a suspicious: "Yes." Seeing no need to inform him on the fact that at six am my identity could best described as the God of Death, whom I share a very important trait with. We both aren't a morning person and damn the people that are!

"I'm glad I was finally able to reach you. Unfortunately I contact you for the reason of passing on bad news." He said in politically correct terms. On the surface he sounded genuinely concerned, under that lay a thick layer of detachment that not many poeople would catch on to, but I did.

Struck with a bad feeling I sat down in the nearest chair but I ignored the coiling of my guts, not allowing myself to grow emotional before I knew exactly what was going on.

"I'm docter Redderick, calling from Chicago county hospital. My call is conerning a certain mister Heero Yuy?"

He pronounced his name in the worst way possible, but he got his point across and my heart skipped a beat. Calling all the way from earth, I thought, only really bad news travels that far. "Yes." I urged, alarmed.

"You know him?"

"Yes, we were-" I stopped myself. What were we? Friends? Did we ever do something to suggest our relationship came near friendship? No. Not friends. Comrades? That sounds so distant. Finally I went with: "Yes, I know him." I remained cool and composed on the outside. Inside, I was shaking.

"I'm afraid I couldn't call you with sadder news than I am. I was given the unfortunate task to inform you that on April the second, mister Yuy's neighbour called the paramedics who rushed him to the hospital.We did everything we could but..."

"He's gone...?" I finished for him. My voice was raspy, reflecting the emotional turmoil that I was experiencing. Though a shiver went down my spine as I uttered those words, I had difficulty grasping the concept of the Perfect Soldier being 'gone'.

"..." There was a long silence coming through the phone line. He was thinking how to explain this in the most scientific way possible so he could hang up before I'd start to break down.

"H-how... what... How? Was he sick? Was he in an accident?" I stuttered. Heero couldn't be gone! Suicidal as he was not even an explosion and flying debri of gundanium alloy could kill him, so what could possibly...?

"Please, mister Maxwell, allow me to finish. The situation is more complicated than that..."

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The clinically whiteness of the entire interior left me shaken, if I wasn't already. I had immediately booked a shuttle and came as fast as I could, even though me rushing down to Earth, Chicago, wouldn't help the situation in any way as it was already too late. Yet, we were all required to come here. I was the first to arrive, the first to sit down in those mint green, plastic chairs in the waiting room, looking expectantly at every docter or nurse that passes you by, hoping they would throw some information your way. But no such luck.

It could have been minutes, it could have been hours, it could have been days. I was too out of it to notice the striking of the clock or the difference between sunlight and artificial light of the bright lamps all through the hospital. Finally the doors opened and though they have been opening and closing numerous times, this was the time I turned my head, because I felt a familiar, soothing presence entering. Two, to be exact.

My face somewhat lit up when I spotted a stricken Quatre and a jetlagged Trowa, scanning the mass of people, looking for me. I made it a little easier for them by giving a halfhearted wave. Quatre nodded and approached me with quick strides. I stood up, wanting to give him a strong, masculine handshake, but I didn't stand a chance. The blonde wrapped his arms tightly around me and I could do nothing but accept the embrace by returning the favour.

"Oh Duo..." Was all he muttered, emotions evident in his wavering voice.

I cast a glance at Trowa, who seems uncomfortable with the intimacy of the moment and was purposedly looking away, pretending to be interested by something else. I detached myself from Quatre and gave Trowa the handshake I've been meaning to give before.

"Have you heard anything?" Quatre asked as we took our seats next to eachother.

I shook my head. "I've been here for... quite some time and they haven't told me anything..."

"I'll see if I can get one of them to talk." Trowa declared. He rose and made his way to the counter with heavy footsteps to engage in an argument with the receptionist and some of the nurses.

I was watching Trowa, hoping his actions would have effect, but Quatre forced me to redirect my attention as he spoke to me.

"I can't imagine how you must feel."

I frowned deeply. How I must feel? In what way could my feelings differ from his or Trowa's? "What do you mean: How I must feel?"

His eyes widened and he looked away. "I'm sorry... I thought... you still harboured feelings for him."

"What do you mean STILL? Did I ever?!" I was getting upset over nothing, but it was to be expected, I have been up for the last fifty hours and that hasn't been the case since the war. Your body forgets a lot in two years. Including how to deel with sleep deprivation.

"I'm sorry." Quatre said again. And that is how the conversation ended, leaving me with many questions, but no urge or energy to have them answered.

The two of us lifted our heavy heads and tired eyes to look at Trowa as he returned to us with a vague look of accomplishment in his eyes. The words he spoke still lay a heavy weight on my heart as I remember them, as they were the beginning of the most horrible period of my life.

"We may see him."

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I've seen Heero sick and dying many times, but I had never seen him in a hospital bed, wearing one of those light blue gowns while he was tightly tucked in under the white sheets. The room was dark and the peaceful expression on his face put me at ease, because it allowed me to believe that he was merely sleeping. Any moment now he could open his eyes, or that's how it seems. That was deceiving though.

"Oh God..." Quatre was the first to voice his shock when laying eyes on the pale skin as Heero rigidly lay in his hospital bed. He approached him with cautious steps, as if he was afraid the former Wing pilot would suddenly jump up like some kind of devil-possessed zombie.

I took a deep breath, breathing in not only oxygen, but hopefully courage as well as I stepped in closer and could clearly make out his serene face. I hadn't even known the docter was still with us till Trowa quietly asked him to leave. I focussed my attention on the war hero in the bed. The last time I had seen him was after the second war and he was being carried to an ambulance on a gurney. I had stood at a distance, watching two of them pushing the gurney, one of them walking along side with an IV drip and a fourth securing the oxygen mask on his face and starting heartcompressions. A visibly shaking Relena was walking after them, but no matter how long she begged, she was not allowed to come with them in the ambulance. But at least she tried. I didn't try. WuFei already left and Quatre and Trowa were too busy celebrating the obtained peace while pretending they didn't have the hots for eachother. I just watched as they carried him away, I was aware of a sense of freedom, bu not the one we had obtained that night by forceful actions. I saw a way out. A way to get out of the emotional mess that I had gotten myself into and wasn't in the least bit ready, nor prepared for. An escape path unfolded before me and I hurriedly took it.

Never did I went to visit him. Not in the hospital where he was recovering after that eventful christmas eve. Not at his house in the years after, where ever that may be, of course I also didn't bother to look for him, since I had no intentions of visiting...

And here I am. In the situation I had been working so hard for to avoid. I'm in it and it feels like plunging into the deep end of the pool and then spontaneously forgetting how to swim. I was a drowing man. With no idea what to feel or how to act, a problem I have been struggling with all my life, causing me to make jokes at all the wrong moments, this one no exception.

"Guess he toop 'uppers', he looks pretty content, not as uptight as he normally does." With uppers I referred to the drugs he took to end his life. It was such a wrong joke, thankfully Quatre and Trowa ignored my insensitive comment as they knew of my social tactlessness in emotionally difficult situations.

I swallowed as Quatre took hold of Heero's limp right hand. I watched the joined hands for a while, letting all the feelings wash over me. I was jerked awake by Quatre soft voice speaking the exact words I did not want to hear. "Why won't you hold him Duo? I'm sure he'd appreciate it."

"He's dead Quatre." I stated.

Quatre gasped. "Duo," he hissed, "don't say things like that, he can hear us."

I looked at the dead face. "I doubt it." I replied sarcastically.

"Duo, please, do us all a favour and just hold his hand. I'm sure he can feel it and I'm sure he'd especially like you to touch him."

I shot Quatre dangerous look, I thought we had agreed not to mention that. I sighed in defeat, I walked around the bed to Heero's left side and unceremonically grabbed his left hand. "Happy now?"

"Very."

I ignored Quatre's tone and looked at Heero's face. Suddenly, the emotions that had been welling up inside forced their way out and I could feel tears burning in my ears. I hurried to wipe them away, but from the way Quatre took a few steps back to grant us some privacy, I gather he saw them.

"Talk to him." He urged.

I shot him another look, this time of disbelief. I couldn't belief he was making me do this. Did he like to see me cry and struggle with emotions? Did it give him some sick enjoyment?

"Hey Heero." I heard myself saying. I groaned inwardly, but the words kept coming with this gentle, loving, soothing tone that I didn't know my nasal voice could make. I vaguely register Quatre ushering Trowa out of the room and closing the door behind them.

"Not as such a spectacular way to go as selfdestructing, don't you agree?"

No answer, no movement. Just like when he was still... alive.

"Yeah... the docters told us everything. The pills and all... were you in pain?"

Silence. Nothing different about that.

"Why did you do it Heero? Quatre... he told me that once you had recovered you had this mission of finding your humanity... Didn't you find it or... did you realise being human only made things more difficult?" tears were streaming out of control. The floodgates had opened and spilled silently.

"I can't begin to describe what went through me when the docter told me about your... state."

A long silence.

"Maybe you don't want to hear it, but I would have felt better if you were just declared dead. Then at least all this suffering, of you, me, the others... that would be over and we could all go on. That's a selfish thing to say... but I guess you are used to me acting selfish... huh?"

The background noise of beeping monitors and laboured breathing was all that filled the room till I finally spoke up again.

"Everyone is just kidding themselves. The docters... the nurses... Quatre and Trowa... And knowing WuFei he'll bu just as stubborn about acknowledging the truth... You're gone Heero. You are no longer on this planet!" My lower lip trembled. "You are gone, your soul has moved on!!" I hit the chest of the limp body in the bet, not violently, but definitely hard. I pried the hand away from my own. Even though it had been limp in my grip, it felt like Heero was latching onto me.

The monitors beeped and the breathing continued at the same steady pace, reverberating through the entire room that had three more beds, but no other patients.

FLASHBACK:

"Please, mister Maxwell, allow me to finish. The situation is more complicated than that..."

"What do you mean?"

"The acid of the pills was burning holes in his stomach, causing him to vomit blood, but also causing dangerous infections in the abdomen. However, thanks to miss Graham, mister Yuy's neighbour, quick response we were able to fix the damage that was done in time."

"He is alive?!"

"Not exactly..."

"... what is that supposed to mean... didn't you just say-"

"Allow me to finish. What I mean with complicated is that Heero Yuy has been clinically dead an estimated amount of time of half an hour. That means no blood and thus no oxygen was going to the brain, causing severe neurological damage. Mister Yuy is in a deep coma and the chances are zero to none that he will ever regain consciousness. Even more unlikely is that if he does, he will be able to live like a normal human being. We can't determine just how much damage is done, we will only know if he wakes up, but by the look op it, IF he ever, again, I remind you, that would shock me and the whole world of medicine and science, he would be unable to speak, eat, walk he might not even be able to think. He will be as much as a vegetable as he is now."

"I don't know what to say..."

"You have time to concider your actions. I kindly request, though you are not obliged, to come here so we can settle this."

"Wait, what is there to settle?"

"... whether or not it will be worth all our time and mister Yuy's pain and suffering, to keep him alive..."

"You're telling me to pull the plug?!"

"As a docter I can't tell you what to do. However, I can strongly advise you to."

END FLASHBACK

This time he hit the chest with both his fist, causing a temporary drop of the heartrate, but it picked up soon under the influence of the LVAD he was hooked to as the respirator kept up his steady breathing. The numerous machines all around them added to Duo's rage as they all claimed Heero was alived, yet his eye could not be betrayed.

"HEERO, YOU ARE DEAD SO WHY WON'T YOU DIE?!!!!!"

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"Are you okay now?" Quatre asked in low tone as he stroked my back in soothing circles.

I nodded, my cheeks burning with shame as I remembered Quatre, Trowa and the recently arrived WuFei had to forcefully pull me off Heero. I had totally lost it. I could see myself hitting Heero, but I was not in control. I was nothing but a spectator as my body acted on it's own.

"Duo, it's gonna be alright. This is Heero we are talking about, he'll be fine."

"No, Quatre."

"Duo, he-"

"NO!!!" I fixed a wide eyed glare on my blonde friend who leaned away from me as the intensity hit him.

"Duo calm down. Let's not make any rash decisions." WuFei reasoned.

"He is dead WuFei. DEAD. There is a corpse in there wasting valuable equipment."

Quatre gasped in shock "How can you say that! Heero is our friend!"

"Is he? Really, give me one reason to believe he saw US as friends and we should see HIM as friend."

Both Trowa and Quatre fell silent as they were unable to give concrete reasons, but after a moment of contemplation, WuFei spoke up. From his upright position, leaning against the wall that separated Heero's room from the hall, his arms were crossed over his chest, his gaze was fixed on the floor, but his voice was firm. "If Heero didn't see at least you as a friend, he wouldn't have written in his will that if this day would come, the decision of life and death would be up to you. That means he trusted you. He literally laid his life in your hands."

I snorted. "And what a valuable life it is, huh. Don't you get it? He committed suicide. He WANTS to die, that is the final wish we should respect."

"Are you sure that's you're reason?"

"What do you mean, Chang?" I snarled.

"Aren't you just looking for the easy way out again?"

WuFei should be very grateful that Trowa was quick to block my way when I rose to let the Chinese ex-pilot exactly know how I felt about him making a comment like that.

"Take it easy, we didn't come here to fight. We came here to support Heero."

"There is nothing to support." I said, crying again. The tears cooled my burning cheeks as I felt so shameful, such a criminal because I seemed to be the only one to realise this was a lost cause. At the same time I feared WuFei's words held some truth. What if, subconsciously, my decision was being affected by the fact that Heero and I have complicated, unresolved business between us that I am not able to handle and have been avoiding for the last two years? I didn't know what to think of myself.

"Mister Maxwell, Winner, Barton, Chang." The docter acknowledged us all with a nod and then turned towards me. Poor pityful me who sat with hunched in the seat. "Have you reached a decision."

I bit my lip and shakily looked over the others. Their eyes were begging me to give Heero a chance. But there were multiple factors I had to concider. Heero had wished to die. And the chances that he'll wake up are almost nihil. I did not want him to suffer.

He is already dead. I reminded myself. Not only his body, but his soul as well... there was no reason to prolong the inevitable...

"Mister Maxwell?"

I nodded and rose. I looked at the others before closing my eyes. "...It's time to say goodbye..."

Now you might wonder what the title has to do with the story. The answer would be: absolutely nothing! ;) Really, nothing. I owe you an explanation. This isn't really a oneshot, as I might like to let on, which could explain the unsatisfactionary ending (it FEELS like there's no real end).

I had intended this to be a prologue of the story I was gonna call "Adopting Duo". The story isn't working but I was pretty pleased with the prologue so decided to post it as it's own story. Why I didn't rename it? I could say that would bring bad luck, like renaming a ship, but mostly I kept the name because I am secretly hoping I can still make the rest of the story work and hope to be able to post it under this name some day.

Love,

Crimson Waterfall