Disclaimer: Gundam Wing is not owned by me, nor by anyone I know, much to my dismay!

Thanks to Serene80 who let me know that what I had posted had been corrupted! It should be fixed now.

Time of Dying
1x2 One Shot
Inspired by Three Days Grace

Even though Duo knew he probably could have taken the car jacker out, he didn't want to chance it with several broken fingers. A hacker's livelihood depended on his WPM and this injury had already set him back five jobs. He didn't want to really screw up and damage something permanently.

So that left Duo the option of jumping out of the back of the car. Which bought the thought that he probably shouldn't have been sleeping in the back of his car in the first place. And that was quickly followed by the realization that the car thief had just turned onto a long stretch of road along the foothills where there were no stop lights.

Duo mentally cursed his drinking buddies for leaving him high and dry without a safe ride home while he tried to think this through. He knew where they were and the thief didn't know he was in the backseat under the old mattress pad, the problem was the terrain and how fast they were going.

But Duo really couldn't see going unnoticed much longer. This guy had to be good, Duo hadn't woken till they'd already been driving, or maybe he'd just been that drunk. Either way, this stretch of road lead straight out of town, another problem.

Well, now was always the best time. Duo reached out from under the mattress pad he always kept in his car and unlocked and opened the back door in one swift motion while also pushing himself right out of the car. Duo briefly head loud cursing before he hit pavement and then he didn't even hear the car anymore, all sound was gone as he ate asphalt.

He tried to roll with the fall, tried to predict when he'd hit the slope, but in the end it was jumping out of a car that had probably been going sixty. Duo waited an eternity to stop moving, waited for the sun to stop jerking around in a blinding dance, waited for sound to come back.

But when it finally did all he wanted was to be in motion again. A dislocated shoulder was the fist thing Duo noticed, then the road burn on his face, arms, shoulders, and even his legs where his jeans had been eaten away. The head wound made itself known by pouring blood into his eyes and the gouge in his hip protested when Duo tried to move and see where the road had gone to.

Duo found that the road had disappeared from his view when he'd apparently rolled down into the ditch that ran along side the road. Duo groaned at this and allowed himself a rest with breathing as his only goal. It made him think about the cold that was starting to creep into his skin and why he'd been sleeping under a mattress pad in the fist place.

Damn the cold. Duo found himself thinking about how this would have gone had he accepted that full time position from Une with the Preventors. For one thing, someone would notice him missing a whole lot sooner than they probably would now. For another, this whole thing might never have happened since he probably would have had some one to call for a ride home instead of having to sleep it off in the backseat of his car. He'd probably have a great friendship with Heero and the other pilots, not the distant one he and now. In fact, he and Heero would probably…

With that 'probably' Duo had to wonder just how long he had to have been laying there to have come back around to that old 'probably'. Just when would someone notice him gone? Most everyone knew he wasn't taking work because of a couple of broken fingers; they'd probably leave him alone for another week or so.

Duo shivered, the sun was high, but in the shady ditch it didn't help much. Not to mention Duo and left his heavy coat in the car and he only had on his sweater. At least he hadn't taken off his boots this time. But wasn't it due to snow soon, any day now? The first of this year…

Duo cursed and decided to try moving again. He used his good leg to push and his good arm to guide. The road was his goal and even if he wasn't going up the right side of the ditch it would at least put him into view of passing cars. So he pushed and tried to ignore the pain; he was doing a good job too. Until he hit an ice patch. The grass had collected dew in the night that had frozen and the spot had survived the morning in the shade of the ditch. It was Duo's undoing.

His foot slipped and the sudden shifting of his weight had him rolling right back down to where he'd started. At the bottom again Duo's shoulder slammed into the ground making him yell in pain. His hip screamed and his skin burned, even in the cold, and Duo was gasping for each breath with a little cloud of white steam dancing on his every exhale.

Duo cursed silently and then very loudly when his breath became steadier and deeper. He lay as still as he could, watching heavy clouds moving in to blot out the sun as it had just started to sink back towards the horizon. Duo ached from cold and pain now, his blood freezing against his skin as he strove to stay still and somehow warm at the same time

He'd realized he couldn't get up to the road, couldn't without injuring something more or passing out from the pain before he got there. So he had to face the fact that he would just have to wait right there until someone found him. Which of course was highly unlikely.

"Shinigami." Duo whispered to the darkening clouds. The weather report he was remembering had said there would be snow today. People didn't survive injured in the snow.

Well, maybe he and few select others did, but Duo knew he was almost two years away from the war, away from the most brutal training a human body can undergo. He was in no shape for this, hell, his fingers had been the real awakening to how far he'd let himself go.

Being on call for the Preventors kept his hacking skills up, but it was Heero and the others who were still in top shape. Duo wondered again why he hadn't taken that job. Une hadn't even offered him a field job. Ok, she had, but that had been right after the war, the last one she'd offered him had just been a position hacking exclusively for the Preventors.

Would that have been a bad thing, even with a desk job he still would have been closer to Heero than he was right now. Especially right now. Duo shivered violently and the tears from the pain it caused his shoulder froze on their way down to his hair line.

Damn the cold. Duo wondered just when he would be found. He was almost one hundred percent certain that it wouldn't be before he died in the cold. None of his wounds were really life threatening, maybe the hip, but the cold seemed to be slowing the blood in his veins enough so that he wasn't going to die of blood loss.

A car thief and a trip out the backdoor on the highway. What a way to go. The snow started to fall and Duo watched it circle slowly down towards him. The world was that perfect grey just at the beginning of a storm. Any storm, rain, sleet, hail or snow, it was just perfect. But the kind of perfect you watched through your window in your nice warm apartment while listening to music or watching a movie.

Duo couldn't stop the shivering this time, it became something constant that he all too soon forgot was there until his teeth got away from him and started chattering again. Didn't they say that people who died from the cold just drifted off to sleep and never woke up again, what was with all this spastic crap!

Duo listened to the few cars that passed by, knowing them all to be shut tight with heaters on. Had it been early fall or late spring he probably could have caught someone with their windows rolled down, but winter was just settling in and no one was going to drive around with snow falling and getting thicker by the minute.

Duo pondered 'probably' again. Would he have really made his move by now if he was any closer to Heero? Would he have had the courage to admit to something he was sure Heero would deck him for? Sure, Heero was ok with Trowa and Quatre in theory, but what would he have done had Duo just walked up to him and blurted out, "Love you, always have, always will."?

Naw, fear was funny that way. For instance, Duo was getting used to this death more and more as the hours ticked by, but he still couldn't imagine confessing to Heero. Not even now, in his time of dying.

Even if it was getting harder and harder to pretend that he didn't care when the only time he felt alive was when Heero was near. Hacking just didn't seem to do it anymore. He was finding excuses more and more lately to get close to the other pilot. But it was also getting harder and harder as every day passed and they seemed to have less and less in common.

Quatre, Trowa, and Wu Fei all seemed to be doing ok with this whole friendship and relationship thing, but Duo was finding it hard, was finding he had to really work to talk with ease to Heero like he'd used to when he'd once just babbled on and on. It just didn't work, and Heero was appearing to lose interest in any kind of friendships with him. It hurt. A lot.

Duo jerked awake and found that he'd drifted off some how and woke to darkness. Not only that, but the feeling in his hip was gone, and that numbness was starting to spread to the rest of his leg. He was reassured by the pain he got from his shoulder at the jerk, but it wasn't that helpful in relieving his anxiety.

Would he even last the night at this rate? Did he really live such a solitary life that no one would notice his absence while he lay here dying?

Duo tried to play word games, tried to move his good leg and arm enough to keep his blood moving. He didn't want to die here. He wanted to see Heero again, wanted to visit with Quatre and Trowa again, wanted to live another day to test how far he could push Wu Fei. Why couldn't this just be one big nightmare! Why couldn't he just wake up now, realize he'd kicked off his covers again, and pull them up and go back to sleep!

Duo shivered and tried to will himself to stay awake and alive each minute that passed. He wouldn't die; he'd wait here as long as he could, wait for someone to miss him, for someone to realize his car wasn't where it should be.

But sleep was tempting, beckoning him down into oblivion where it didn't hurt, where he didn't shiver constantly from the cold, where the tears and blood on his body didn't mix and make him colder running down his skin.

OOOO

"I FOUND HIM!" The yell jerked Duo back awake, he'd fallen asleep again, he'd let sleep take him, he'd been blissfully free of this pain for a time.

"DUO!" There was a clambering of underbrush and boots and a bright light dazzled him as he tried to turn his head towards the sound. His body wouldn't obey him, but Trowa's face was soon in front of him. "Duo!" The white cloud that Trowa breathed was so much bigger than his own….where was his?

"Heero! Over here!" Trowa turned away from him for a second and then turned back to him. "Duo, can you hear me?"

Duo tried to answer, but the 'y' in yes caught in his teeth and rattled around. But Trowa seemed to know what Duo was trying to say past his violent shivering.

"DUO!" Heero, that was Heero. Duo tried to look again and pain shot through his neck from his shoulder and down his spine where it connected to his hip and his whole body jerked as he cried out from the pain. He fought to bite down on it, cut it off, but it wasn't working.

"Get the Ambulance over here!" Heero's voice ordered. Duo looked up and realized that both Heero and Trowa were covered in snow. Was he? How had they found him? Wasn't he on the side of the road in the…well, not the middle of no where, but in the middle of a pretty long stretch of road.

Heero was undressing, why was he undressing? Duo tried to ask, but Trowa just shushed him and started to brush snow off him. So he was covered in snow. How long had it been? Now Heero was laying his coat over Duo and it was so amazingly warm where it touched his face.

Duo couldn't help the whimper that escaped him. Trowa's coat joined Heero, settling across Duo's legs. Duo found Heero watching him with such intensity in his eyes. Duo finally found the words.

"L-l-l-l-l-ove…y-y-y-yo-yo-you." Duo stammered, trying to make himself heard over a growing sound which must be the ambulance Heero had ordered.

"W-what!" Heero demanded, kneeling down next to Duo and pushing snow and hair out of his face, his hands so hot against his cold skin.

"D-d-d-d-dy-dy-dying." Duo tried to make Heero understand. "A-a-alllwaayss l-l-loved y-y-you." His words slurred and stumbled over one another, but the look on Heero's face said he'd heard him perfectly.

"Heero! Trowa! Is He Alive!" Quatre's voice, but Heero didn't seem to hear, he bent over Duo and kissed him, hot lips dancing over trembling blue ones.

Heero pulled back and pressed his forehead to Duo's with his eyes closed and Duo shivered violently, though not from the cold this time.

"Shut up Duo, you are not dying. And if you ever keep something like that from me again, I swear I'll kill you myself!" Heero's tears fell onto Duo's cheeks, freezing and mixing with his own.

Duo couldn't help the slightly giddy laugh that escaped him and turned into a hiss of pain. Duo moved for another kiss and got one when Heero opened his eyes and saw the need there. Then he was being pushed aside for the paramedics, but he reappeared again in the ambulance.

"By the way." Heero told him while the ambulance raced for the hospital. "I got your car back. The next time you need a ride home, call me." Heero scolded him.

"H-h-how…" Heero stopped him from trying to form the question.

"I called you to see if you were thinking about taking that position Une offered you." Heero was flushed from the cold, but his cheeks went deeper in what Duo suspected might be a blush. "When I couldn't get a hold of you I called your friends and they said you should have been home last night. Trowa helped me trace your car. Took some time to actually get the guy, but we had some help from Wu Fei. He was waiting when the guy stopped to get more gas." Heero's smirk was ruthless and triumphant.

"I-i-is h-he…" Duo could just barely follow Heero's words, he was getting sleepy again.

Heero's face darkened and Duo saw anger trickle into his cobalt eyes. "He wasn't going to tell us where you'd gotten off. I may have to be written up." Heero didn't seem bothered by this prospect at all. It made something low in Duo's stomach tighten and warm.

"We're here." One of the paramedics interrupted, but the smile on his face said clearly he found them amusing. Heero scowled at him but then was walking along side them as they pushed Duo towards the swinging doors of the ICU.

Just before they pushed him through Heero fought his way back to his side and kissed Duo, whispering against his lips as Duo slipped into unconsciousness again.

"I love you too. Always have, always will."