DISCLAIMER: I don't own gundam wing or any of its characters. I don't even own my car so don't sue me*_*
By: Lara Winner
I sigh softly as I turn the open sign on the glass door to closed. I glance at the clock, it's a quarter to six. I have a few more things to pack at the house and then I have to made a few trips to St. Vincent's with everything I'm not taking with me. Come this time tomorrow morning I'll be on my way to Austria. My flight arrives in Vienna and I will be taking a midnight train to Kufstein, my home town.
I decided I need to go home. I need to surround myself with something familiar so that I won't feel so lost once I'm on my own. I hold the memories of my childhood dear to my heart. I think it will do me good to go back and maybe I can find a happy medium between the innocent child I was then and the jaded, bitter woman that I am today.
I'm fighting back tears as I look around the office. Everything is in its place. I told Nathan if he wanted he could buy it as it is and he agreed. I'm leaving everything here for him. Even the furniture in the house is staying. The only stuff I'm taking with me is whatever I can fit in my two suitcases. I want nothing to do with this place once I leave.
With reluctant steps I walk into the back room putting the last of my personal things into the cardboard box sitting on my desk. The very last thing I pick up is a picture in a plain silver frame. It's a picture of Duo and I. It's nothing new, this picture as been sitting on the same spot on my desk since it was taken five years ago. And every time I look at it I smile. This was taken about a month before Heero showed up looking for him.
I'll never forget that night. I answered the door and found myself face to face with a silent boy who was strikingly handsome. But it was his eyes that caught my attention. They were cold and empty. His voice was much the same and he only said one word. "Duo?" I nodded and let him in. Then I watched Duo's face light up when he laid eyes on Heero and I knew, I knew right there that I was going to loose him.
But this picture symbolizes the calm right before the storm. This was when I still believed in happily ever and knights in shining gundams... A sweet illusion but an illusion none-the-less. But it still brings a smile so I may as well take this one reminder with me. It's a nice picture, Duo is leaning over the back of my chair and we're both looking at the computer screen before us, unaware of the camera trained on us. That was so long ago.
Before this surreal feeling fades I want to get as much done as I can tonight. I know that when this finally hits me I'm going to be a mess. I start to move the box out of the way so I can straighten the last of the billing slips that have to be mailed out by tomorrow. I have to drop them off at the post office on my way to the house. I just set the box on the floor when the tiny bell on the front door chimes letting me know someone has walked in. I curse to myself as I realized I forgot to lock the door.
"I'm closed!" I call out in the silence.
I don't receive an answer and the bell doesn't chime indicating the person left. All I get is silence. With an angry sigh I make my way to the main room.
"I said I'm clo-… Duo?" I gasp in surprise.
He's standing awkwardly, with his hands in his pockets. His braid his handing over his left shoulder and he looks just as handsome as ever. I'm sure my jaw has dropped and suddenly I'm unable to do anything but stare into his expressionless face. Oh God, I think I'm going to cry.
"Hey Hilde." He says softly.
I swallow the lump that has risen in my throat and nod my head. I motion for him to follow me to the back room. A thousand questions are running through my mind. Why is Duo here? Why now? Where is Heero? But only Duo can answer those questions. I wait for him to say something but he just leans against the door frame watching me silently. I resume organization of the stamped envelopes until I can't take the silence any longer. I will my voice not to waver. "So what brings you here?"
He takes a deep breath and straightens where he's standing. "I wanted to talk to you."
"You could have called." I say tonelessly. "Or were you afraid I'd hang up on you?" I see him wince through the corner of my eye.
"I should have called but I…I haven't been stationary. I don't live on L1 anymore." He pushes away from the wall pacing slowly as he speaks. "Heero and I split up a few months ago. Things were getting worse and I couldn't take it anymore, ya know."
I know how he feels. That's why my heart is beating hard enough to come right out of my chest and my throat burns from the urge to cry. Does he want me to be upset? I can't. I hate myself for it but that little spark of hope is getting brighter. I force a sympathetic smile and I glance up at him. "I'm sorry to hear that."
He looks at me, a small smile curving his lips. "Yeah well it's been a long time coming and I've been a lot better off since I left."
I take note of that little factor. Duo left. He seems to be really good at that. I wish I could be waspish enough to say that out loud, just to give him a little piece of the anger and pain he's put me through. But instead I look away from him and bite my lip to keep my mouth shut.
A moment awkward of silence passes and finally he says, "I ran into Nathan earlier and he said that you're selling the business to him and you're thinking about moving to Earth. What brought that about? I thought you were settled in here?"
I thought I was too until you gave me taste of what I can't have,I thought angrily. So that's why he's here. Duo didn't want to see me, or talk to me. He's curious about what's going to happen to this place. I just know I'm going to cry. Any second I'm going to burst into tears and I can't answer him because I'm afraid if I talk it will be my undoing. So instead I begin blinking my eyes rapidly and look down so that my dark hair hides my face.
"Hilde?" He asks, his voice is velvety soft and filled with concern. When I still say nothing his mild concern turns to worry and I hear him step closer. "Hilde what's the matter?"
I open my mouth but nothing comes out. I can't make my voice work. The tears won't be stopped as they spill over my cheeks. Duo breathes my name again and tentatively places his hand on my shoulder. I was wrong, that was my undoing.
I jerk way quickly brushing at my eyes. I don't dare look at his face, instead I focus on the check that Nathan had given to me earlier. It's sitting on the end of the desk. It's reminding me of just how close I am to getting away.
"You wanted to talk about buying the property back because you need a place to stay right? Well, I have the papers right here. I'll sign it all over to you. I don't want any money for it, I mean this was all yours to begin with. What you do about Nathan is up to you." I say in a rush as I make my way around and open the to draw pulling out a manila folder filled with legal documents. "My flight leaves tomorrow morning and I still have to finish packin-"
I ignore him. "-so I really don't have time to waste. Just sign these at the bottom and you'll be s-"
"Hilde!" He jerks the papers out of my hand and slams them on the desk effectively putting a stop to my rambling. His eyes are a dark and stormy purple as he insists, "Don't give me the run around. You're crying and that tells me something is seriously wrong. What's going on babe?"
I've never seen this look in his eyes before. I've never heard his voice this dangerously soft. My heart skips a beat and I'm forced to look away as I whisper, "I'm sorry I didn't let you know about my decision but you said if I wanted out I could sell the yard remember. You said you didn't care and I need a change Duo. This isn't where I want to be twenty-three years old. I feel like I've lived two lifetimes already and I need to get away. That's' what's wrong."
"Okay this time look me in the eye when you say it and maybe I'll believe you." He counters.
I stiffen. All right, he wants the truth, then he'll get the truth. He'll get an earful. "You want to know why I'm upset? Because you have a way of showing up when it's the last thing I need. Just when I pull myself together you come waltzing back into my life like you have every right to. Well you don't. I'm leaving because I'm not happy here and because I want my own life. I want to get away from everything, including you!"
Silence follows my outburst as Duo doesn't say anything. He just looks at me with this blank expression on his face. I don't think I ever hated myself as much as I do at this moment. But I wanted to hurt him and I know I did, even he's not that detached. I love him so much that I hate him for it. It's my fault I let him hurt me and ripping him up too won't do any good. I need to get out of here. "I'm sorry."
He shakes his head and takes a step back. His eyes look glassy and I can barely hear his voice. "Don't be, you're being honest and you're right, coming here was a bad idea."
"Then why now?" I ask softly, unable to help myself. "It's been almost a year and not one word from you. Whatever you have to say can't be that important."
"Maybe it's taken me this long to figure it out." He looks down at his feet, scuffing the steel toe of his left boot against the dark brown carpet. "I've made a lot of mistakes that I can't change and I'm sorry about that. I don't expect an apology to make up for it. I understand why you hate me, I just hoped you wouldn't."
He looks up at me with those eyes of his and I can feel my heart melting. Just like that my anger drains and I want to throw my self in his arms. But he's only saying he's sorry, not that he wants me. I smile bitterly. "You're doing it again. You know just what to say to get what you want.. Well I don't hate you okay. Lord knows I want to, but I can't."
"That's reassuring," he sighs, then flashes me a tight smile and begins backing his way toward the door, "I'll get out of your way, I'm sure you have a lot to do."
For a split second time seems to slow to almost a stop. I watch him turn away and yet I can't seem to make myself move to stop him. This is what I want right? I need to be free… but he's here now and you never thought you'd see him again… He's leaving and I'm going to let him? Yes…No.
He turns to me once more and just like every other time I've tried to say what I feel, the words refuse to move past my lips. My fear and uncertainty holds them back and I can't do it. In a lame attempt so salvage the last of my pride I pick up the legal documents and ask, "You're not going to sign them? I thought that's why you came here?"
"I didn't come here for the property and I'm not singing them. Sell it, trash it, burn it to the ground, I don't care. I only have one request. What ever you do, don't sell it to Nathan."
Nathan is the least of importance as I replay Duo's words over in my head. I was so sure I knew his reason but now… "Why?
"He's an asshole who's talking shit and when I'm through with him he's gonna need a body bag." Duo says defensively.
"Forget Nathan," I mumble absently, shaking my head, "What else could you have to talk to me about?"
As he realizes what I mean his eyes look everywhere but into my own and he begins twirling the end of his braid between his fingers. It's a nervous habit he has and seeing it makes me confused, but not nearly as much as his response. "Like I said it was a bad idea. Trust me, it's definitely the last thing you need right now."
I could take his words so many ways and my traitorous heart leaps with the hidden possibilities. I trample the feeling in favor of reality and tell Duo bluntly, "I'm leaving tomorrow and I doubt we'll see each other again so if you have something to say then you better say it now."
He swallows hard and manages to raise his eyes to my chin. He grips his braid tightly, actually stuttering. "You…I…s..s.sometimes you don't realize how bad you want something until you loose it and sometimes you have to let it go even when you don't want to… are you following?"
I nod not trusting my voice.
"I've missed you like crazy and it's not just because of that night. It was seeing you again and talking to you… That always meant a lot to me and I never had that with Heero. We were just together but there was never any depth to it. But you and me… we were friends. You were always there for me and there wasn't a damn thing I couldn't tell you, except how I felt about you. And when I saw you that night at the party I knew the feelings were still there. And I wish I could do all of this over again but maybe it wouldn't make a difference, I don't know… I'm sorry to bring this up now but I had to talk to you so I know where to go from here." He says softly.
I'm speechless. I'm barely aware that I'm crying again.
He looks stricken. "Aww…Don't cry Hilde. I didn't say this to make you feel bad. You don't feel the same and that's okay, I knew that all along. You deserved to know that's all."
Don't feel the same? I want to strangle him and at the same time I want to laugh and throw my arms around him. But I do neither. Instead I narrow my eyes advancing a step closer, "After all these years how can you be so clueless?"
I try not to smile at his thoroughly lost expression. I don't give him a chance to reply to my rhetorical question. "I've tried to be patient with you and I've tried to show you how I feel for you in every possible way without actually spelling it out for you but you never did get it." I say with a sniff as I wipe at my eyes, trying to regain my composure as is Duo.
"Maybe I needed to you hear you say it." He whispers, taking a hesitant step toward me. I can't read his expression anymore but I'm hoping he meant everything he said and that I took it the right way. If he lets me down now I'll die.
"I loved you and I always will…" I whisper
He smiles sadly. "But?"
Duo knows me too well. I sigh returning his smile. "But I need to go home. I've put this off and I can't anymore. Its time I face all the ways I've changed and try to figure out where I belong now."
"So this time you're leaving." He says with a bitter little laugh. He rubs the back of his neck in agitation and looks everywhere but in my eyes.
I swallow my pride.
"No because I'm hoping that you'll come with me."
I don't think I'm reading him wrong but it's so hard to take this fall. He could still say no. He could blow me off and say that he's not ready to take such a liable risk. He could even say that we won't make it together. But as the seconds tick by he doesn't say anything and that scares me worst of all.
Then I watch, blinking back tears as Duo takes my left hand in his. He runs his thumb over my palm and with the gentlest persuasion entwines his fingers with mine. Slowly I raise my eyes to his and his smile melts my heart. He pulls me close and my eyes drift shut as his lips capture mine is a soft kiss. I've never felt so …beyond content in my entire life.
"Does this mean yes?" I sigh when he pulls back slightly.
"Well actually more like you couldn't get rid of me now if you tried, I'm sorry I've been a complete asshole, I promise I'll make it up to you and I love you."
I can't help but laugh. My tears are gone and so is the pain I was beginning to fear would stay with me all of my life. For the first time I can really breathe. And now I'm no longer afraid of what tomorrow holds. I love someone who loves me too. He wants to be with me. He wants to make me happy and in all honesty he doesn't have to do much. Just being here is enough.
I pull him down for another kiss trying to show him what I can't put into words. My lips are demanding as I hold him tightly. I wonder if he really knows what he's in for? If he can handle me? Of course this is Duo, maybe I should be concerned if I can handle him. Nah, I can give Shinigami a run for his money any day.
"I love you." I say breaking the kiss.
He looks at me thoughtfully. "Ya know, you're the only person who has ever said that to me."
I'm surprised but I hide it behind a reassuring smile. "I'm saying it because I mean it."
The shadows leave his eyes and suddenly he smiles in a way I've never seen before, like its coming from the inside. His hold on me tightens. "I know, that's why I love you too."
Then he's kissing me again, drowning me with new feelings and I never want it to end. And I know in my heart where I belong now. It isn't any place, country or colony. I belong right here in his arms and wherever we are that's where I need to be. And one day we may settle down but I have the feeling that we'll never live our life just… quietly.
A.N.- So what ya think? Too sappy? Too corny? Too predictable? I know, I'm a sucker for a happy ending and I have to be in a really bad mood for me to make it completely sad. However Chlorine is dying to inspire me to write some real angst so who knows. Well, thanks for reading and to all my reviewers.. *big hug* I love you guys!!!*_*