Disclaimer: Don't own Gundam Wing, or any Gundams. Robots that big haven't been invented yet.
Got a random idea sitting around at home and couldn't help myself. Let me know if you guys think it's good.
Chapter 1: Is That You?
Duo looked down, sixteen floors was a lot more intimidating when you were looking straight down from the edge with nothing between you and the drop. But Duo wasn't scared, wasn't anxious and wasn't looking around to see who would notice. He didn't feel anything at all as a matter of fact. Just the breeze against his face, which felt nice and cool.
Duo closed his eyes, thinking, preparing himself. It's not that he was buying time so someone could stop him, it's that he was preparing himself for impact. Because impact was going to hurt. Just for a moment, but it would be filled with the sound of breaking bones, there would be blood and before he died he wasn't going to be able to breathe. He knew all these because he'd thought about it so many times, because he'd dreamt it and because he'd secretly lived through it each time looked up at any tall building.
Duo lifted his head to the sky, just one more minute and he'd be ready. Duo watched the colors flaring behind his eyes, enjoyed the tingling thrilling down his arms and the feeling of the world tilting beneath him even though he knew it wasn't moving.
He'd been trying to stay in this state of mind for so long, but really, all he was doing was avoiding the inevitable. He already knew what the end looked like, and he was ready to skip the game and go straight to finish. Fuck the rest of the world. Duo breathed in relief, soon he'd be where he belonged and all this meaninglessness could just stop.
Heero turned right, headed downtown, watching traffic driving towards him and merging quickly when there was a gap big enough for his car. Heero was going back to the Preventors building after lunch, but found his way blocked by orange cones, police tape, emergency vehicles, and an officer directing traffic around the block.
Heero would have driven right by, not having been called to the scene, either on his phone or on the radio under his dashboard. But just as he was pulling into the line that was detouring around the taped off area he glanced over and saw a hassled looking Ember Easton running her hands through her short, cropped and feathered hair. Her bangs looking frazzled and sticking that was from the sweat from standing around in the hot sun.
Heero frowned as he pulled to the side of the road where other unmarked vehicles were parked haphazardly. Ember never looked that upset, even in the middle of a gun fight she'd kept her cool at Heero's and Wu Fei's side as she covered them. Heero got out, pulled out his badge as he got to the police tape and was let by so he could quickly walk over to Ember.
"Ember, what's going on?" He asked, only worried about her and not bothering to look around for himself. He'd meant to only ask what had her so upset, but the moment she looked up, her eyes big and her mouth snapping shut, Heero instantly began to look around. A chill went down his back as her looked turned from panic to overly friendly.
"Heero" Her voice cracked in the middle of his name as she walked quickly towards him, hands out in front of her to clutch at his arm. "What are you doing here?"
"I saw you, I was driving by, back from lunch." Heero explained in clipped words, trying to see past her and finding her face right in his whenever he tried to look. "What is going on? Why are you so upset?"
"Upset, I'm not upset." Ember shook her head, her hair swinging forward and catching on her eyelashes where she batted it away impatiently. Heero gave her a look and she crumbled.
"Ok, maybe a little upset, but you should head back to the office, it's… there's a…." Ember stumbled over her words.
"Easton, hurry, did you think of anything?" Celeste came running up behind her, not seeing Heero. Her short fish tail braid flying behind her. "This guys gonna jump, he's not even responding to anything our guy says. This isn't a normal vie for attention."
"Who is going to jump?" Heero asked, pushing Ember aside, seeing what was upsetting Ember so much. It sounded as if it was someone was actually committed to attempting suicide by jumping and Ember had probably been placed in change. A mistake, Ember was good at a lot of things, but this was not one of them. Especially considering her history.
"Oh, Hi Heero." Heero balked when Celeste suddenly used the same tone as Ember upon seeing him. "What are you doing here?"
Heero looked back and forth between the two women, two women he respected and worked with on almost a daily basis. Both treating him the same with the same panicked look in their eyes and Heero knew they were keeping something from him. Something that made this scene different from all the others, something more than just a suicide, something bad.
"What is it?" Heero demanded, knowing the two women would know what he really meant.
Celeste and Ember looked at each other, Celeste nodded to Ember and Ember turned to Heero her eyes suddenly gentle and Heero suddenly felt worse than he had a moment ago. His stomach dropped out, just from the look on her face, and he was almost afraid to hear what she was about to say.
"Heero, the man on the ledge…" Ember reached out, but pulled back from the look on Heero's face. "Um… it's Duo."
Heero stared, nothing moving behind his eyes, nothing coming out of his mouth but one breath after the other. He just stared at her, willing her to take it back.
"Heero?" Celeste coaxed next to Ember and it was enough, Heero turned from the both of them and looked up where he saw someone standing on a ledge, well away from an open window, face turned up to the sky. No fear, no clutching at the building behind him. Black jeans and a red t-shirt making him stand out against the gray concrete and the tell tale braid whipping around in the wind that battered everything that high up.
Heero choked on his breath and coughed, fighting not to be sick. He didn't like this sudden onslaught of emotion, but he understood it. He felt so stupid for thinking that there was so much time ahead of him. So many chances to make his move and take his time, to ease into things. And now here he was, standing, looking up at Duo, suicidal. And he was so ashamed that he hadn't known. Hadn't known that things were this bad for his friend, that things were falling down around someone he cared so deeply for when his own life was going so well.
"Ember." Her name came out sounded breathy, like he was winded from running. But he cleared his throat, needing his next words to be heard. "Get me up there."
"What?" Ember demanded, Celeste just stared at them, ready for this to turn into a screaming match.
"Please Ember, let me talk to him." Heero's hands became fists at his side even though what he wanted to do was draw his gun and force his way up there.
"You know I can't Heero. You're too close to this, it goes against every regulation there is for this situation." Ember honestly looked conflicted, but she was sticking to the book, even if her heart was telling her not to.
"Ember, I'm the only one who's going to be able to talk him down." Heero protested.
"You don't know that." Ember countered, "You just think that, because you're too close to this situation."
Heero felt as if he'd been struck, mostly because he knew she was right, but he wouldn't let it show. He just let his shoulders slump and let himself look deflated.
"I'm sorry Heero, but I'm not bending the rules on this one." Ember turned to Celeste. "Tell them I'm on my way, I'll try talking him down myself."
"Ok." Celeste walked off, leaving Heero and Ember facing each other, each unsure of what to say.
"I'm sorry Heero, maybe you'd just better get back to work." Ember tried.
"I can't." Heero admitted, but had said it quietly, hoping she hadn't heard. But Ember just nodded, understanding and not saying anything about it.
"How about you just wait here and I'll see if I can talk them into letting you come with us when we take him in." Ember waited for a nod from Heero and then sighed and walked away, towards the building that the police had locked down.
Heero watched her leave, waited a minute and then followed after her, dodging a few people he know and flashing his badge to get past security.
"Duo? Duo Maxwell?" Ember called over the wind to the figure standing on the ledge, and she felt suddenly like she'd gotten there just in time as the figure paused with one leg out, a single foot suspended over the drop like he was walking on air.
"Yes?" The man looked around and Ember was shocked by how good-looking he was for one second. His hair was coming out of its long braid down his back, whipping around his elfin shaped face, his vibrant violet eyes blazing out at her, his lithe body leaning towards the edge.
"Hi Duo, I'm Ember. Can I talk to you?" Ember asked as she leaned out the window, feeling someone adjusting their grip on her belt as she tried for a better view.
"Sure, what's up?" Duo asked, his foot coming back from its single step that would end everything. Ember wondered about how easy that had been and then a closer look showered her that the vibrant eyes were actually dazed, glazed over and looking around at anything that moved. He was distracted, calm and almost sleepy looking, dazed and all that added up to only one thing. Duo wasn't just high in the air, he was high on drugs.
"I was just wondering what you were going out here, it's pretty high up." Ember smiled as best she could at him. How long had he been high? Was he going to crash soon? Did Heero know that his friend was abusing drugs?
"I'm going to kill myself. Can we make this quick, I gotta do it soon before they get a catch set up down there." Duo smiled at here, a bit lop-sided, but he seemed so sure of himself.
"Yeah, I was wondering if you could put this off for another day?" Ember asked, wondering, even as she pushed forward, how to best to approach this situation.
"No, sorry. But I think it has to be today." Duo apologized and got ready again to make his final leap, totally ignoring her.
"No wait…" Ember called out, suddenly ready to reach out and grab him, not for Duo's sake, but for her friend, Heero.
But another voice suddenly overtook hers and made Duo not only stop, but turn around and stare at the figure that was leaning out the window in front of her.
"Duo, Stop." Heero yelled, his hand and arm out the window, reaching for Duo, willing him back, trying to keep eye contact as confusion washed over Duo's face.
"Please stop." Heero asked and Ember could only stare at him in surprise, Heero never lied. Never went back on his word. She had trusted him to stay where he'd agreed to down on the street. He'd looked crestfallen, but had given up.
And now, for this man, staring back at them, in surprise and hesitating where he'd been sure before, for this man Heero was where he shouldn't be. Despite his promise, despite his job and despite all the consequences. Ember had never seen Heero like this, and it threw everything she knew into the wind, right where Duo had been determined to go just a second ago.
"Heero?" Ember was surprised to hear the change in Duo's voice. It was clearer, more in control and full of recognition that actually made him take a step towards the window. "Is that you?"
"Yeah," Heero almost laughed, relief clear in all his body language. Ember started to ease back out of the window. Obviously Heero was going to have a lot more luck then she'd thought. And even through she knew there was going to be trouble for this, right now their objective was to get Duo inside.
"What are you doing here?" Duo asked, trying to think clearly through his drug haze and not really succeeding.
"I came to see you." Heero smiled the best he could, unsure of how it would look, but pleading with his eyes. "Can you come here so we can talk?"
Duo looked around, as if looking for something he'd dropped or an appointment book as if he'd forgotten some important day. "Uh… sure, I guess."
"Great." Heero smiled and reached out, watching with eager breaths and anxious muscles as Duo tottered over to the window. Fighting everything inside not to reach out too early and grab him.
But as soon as Duo's hand was in his he pulled Duo almost violently though the window and wound up falling backwards onto the ground with Duo clutched tightly in his arms. His breathing fast and heavy and his heart thumping out a hard cadence.
"Hi Heero, how're you?" Duo asked from where his face was pressed into Heero's chest.
"Better now." Heero closed his eyes tightly and let out a sigh. Duo was still alive and even though they were going to have to take him back to the station now, the fact that he wasn't sixteen stories down on the pavement made it bearable.