title: Duo's Smile
fandom: Gundam Wing (fusion with Cardcaptor Sakura)
characters/pairings: Heero/Duo, one-sided Relena/Heero, one-sided Dorothy/Relena, Zecha, Quatre/Trowa, past Wu Fei/Duo, Catherine, Sally, Noin, Rashid
rating: G/Teen
warnings: sap, sex
summary: Duo and Heero come together, from the past.
notes: i'm not procrastinating from all that you can't leave behind! i'm still working on it! possibly right now! ^_~ i just had to do this, too... and this is short! (for me...) i know i'm not the first one to think that Li and Heero were the same person. but, i've been obsessing over gundam a little too much lately, and when i saw the latest ccs dvd, i couldn't help thinking, Heero is so cute when he was a kid, and a magician... and then i was reading this Li x Eriol fic, and i started to think, hm, Heero is Li, and Duo is a pretty cute Sakura...
thus...

It was hard for Li to sit up on his own now. He remained motionless in the bed, waiting for Sakura or Kero to help him out. Sometimes, Yue would assist, but for the most part the Judge was nearly catatonic. Ever since Touya and Yukito died, the shell that was left behind was merely able to perform his function as a guardian.

He didn't mind old age particularly. It was natural to grow old, and so he had. He had outlived most of his friends, and family, however.

It was a bit... difficult, however, that his wife was still as young and beautiful as she was the day he married her, but that was the magic of her own star, sustaining her. She still loved him, and he still loved her, so what were a few grey hairs between soul mates?

He was weary, though. Sakura's father had died, returning to his wife, and he had held Sakura tightly for days as she grieved. Tomoyo's partner died young, and her spirit had remained behind with Tomoyo for years. That had creeped Sakura out to no end; she never got used to the sight of the specter that accompanied her best friend everywhere. When Tomoyo was at the end of her life, Sakura had cast a spell to bind Tomoyo's spirit to the spirit of her partner, and she had borne witness to their departure to the next life. Sakura had told him how she felt their spirits going to a wondrous warmth, bliss. Sakura and Yue had worked some magic to allow Yukito to age with Touya, once they had worked out that Yue and Touya were inexorably linked anyway. When Touya had died suddenly, Yukito died immediately. What was left behind of Yue was... nothing, just the power of the guardian in the form of their friend. Sakura had promised Yue that she would release that power as soon as she was ready to pass the Sakura cards onto her heir.

Li had actually gotten to the point in his life where he was looking forward to death. He wished that he could pass through with Sakura, but he was willing to wait, as Sakura's mother had waited for her father.

Kero, in his true form, nuzzled his hand, falling limply over the edge of the bed. He knew that the guardian beast was fearful of his death, but there was little that he could do to console him. When one reached the ripe old age of 142, one had to accept that life would end at some point.

Sakura slipped into the room, carrying a tray. Li tried to gather a smile, but it was difficult, he was so tired.

Setting the tray down, helping Li to sit up, and arranging the blankets, Sakura sat down next to her husband, preparing to feed him his dinner.

"Miso soup, Syaoran-love." Her gentle fingers and tender smile fed him.

He wasn't much for conversation these days, but the meal passed quickly as he didn't have much strength left to eat even soup.

"Sakura..." Li closed his eyes, letting the saliva gather in his mouth. "It's been such a long time..."

"I know, love." She smiled, that Sakura-smile that could make the sun shine in a thunderstorm. "I know."

"You are still so beautiful..." He wanted to touch her face, but his hand was feeble.

She lifted his hand, knowing his heart, and placed it against her cheek, grasped in her two hands. "And you, my love, are still my strength and my guide."

"Sakura... my magic preserves me, even though it no longer sustains me."

"I know."

"Sakura..."

She leaned down and kissed his forehead. "I know, my love. I... can't pretend this is something that I want to do, though. I have so little of life to look forward to, without you by my side."

"You have our children."

"Grown, and carrying on their own lives. I understand now why Clow Reed left his home when his family began to age, and went to England. But, I wouldn't have had the strength to leave you." Sighing, she settled onto the bed next to her husband. "I know that I must release you, Syaoran, and I will. I will send you someplace wonderful, where you can be the hero, the star you were born to be. I will make sure that you have a future, even in death."

"Sakura..." Even with so many years behind them, there was still so much to say, and so little opportunity to say any of it.

She kissed her husband, gathering her magical energy. For the last time, she straightened the bangs that fell over his eyes. Keeping her breath to herself, she willed her husband's spirit to a place where he could shine, where he could be the hero, the star.

A place where his heart would be indomitable.

When it was over, she was alone with her guardians. Kero at her side, his face in her lap, and Yue at the door, distant.

She met his eyes, the wide violet-silver cat eyes drenched in understanding.

She nodded to him, and pet Kero.

It was over.

It would begin again.

That was how Clow Reed had designed it.





Heero stepped back from the canvas, considering. Lately, his work had dissatisfied him. It always seemed to be missing... something.

Most of the time, he pretended not to know what that was.

Knowing that he wasn't going to make any further progress today, he cleaned up his paints, and headed to the basin to wash his brushes.

When the Last War had ended, Heero had decided that he needed some... retraining. Odin Lowe had trained him his entire childhood to be the perfect assassin, and J had trained him to be the perfect weapon.

Now, though, he wasn't going to kill anymore, and there was no more need for weapons, so he needed retraining. He needed to learn how to be a person.

Duo had often teased him about not being human, which was funny since Duo was the only person Heero knew who actually treated him like a human being and not a weapon or a champion or an ideal...

He pretended that he didn't just think of Duo.

His retraining had entailed working odd jobs, going to school, and now he had settled into a comfortable life as an artist. He had enough money saved up from OZ so that he didn't need to worry about paying the rent for his airy loft, and he found that he could look at each painting as a mission. He had an image that he wanted to convey, and it was his mission to use the paints to do so.

He rarely went out, doing his grocery shopping at two in the morning, and procuring his supplies over the net. He was never really lonely, because he preferred the solitude, and anyway, there weren't many people that he wanted to see.

He didn't think about the people he did want to see often, since he wasn't sure he was ready.

His retraining might not be complete.

But he had hit a wall.

His work was suffering, and he knew why. He had explored all there was to explore in himself. For him to continue his work, he needed to expand his scope.

Flopping down on the futon, he considered his options. The problem was, as well as he considered his retraining to be going, he still lacked many social skills that seemed required to achieve certain goals. Additionally, he was out of touch with his former comrades, and uncertain as to what his reception might be.

It had been five years.

More than that, he worried about rejection. In the solitude of his loft, he could cover canvases with swaths of violet and honeyed brown, and in some small way find peace with the leanings of his heart, but in real life, it was quite likely that his former friends had moved on and settled down.

Without him.

And when he was particularly honest with himself, he admitted that there was only one former friend that inspired this fear of rejection.

Still...

His mission required a widened scope, and he couldn't deny that without the mission, his days would be deadly dull.

Leaning up to see the canvas he was working on, he studied the geometric designs and the intense colors.

It lacked.

Shaking his head, he decided.

There was one saving grace. He did know where to start, even if there were certain ancillary risks involved with the plan.

In the Sanc Kingdom, Relena would soon be celebrating her birthday. The capitol of the kingdom was newly rebuilt, and so he knew that Relena would be there, with at least a few of the other pilots as well. Someone there would surely know how to locate the one he needed to see.

He shuddered, thinking of Relena. If the gods were merciful, she would have forgotten about him and moved on by now.

But then, if the gods were merciful, his life would have been quite different, wouldn't it?

At least there was going to be a psychic fair there at the same time.

Heero had, of late, become nearly obsessed with the notion of past lives.





Relena hadn't been so happy in years. Unlike Noin, she didn't count the days since she had last seen the man of her dreams, but she knew that it had been too long. She had long since given up the hope that Heero would come back to her, and yet, here he was! Five years since she had last held him, and now he was back in Sanc, and on time for her birthday, no less!

Her smile was too firmly etched on her face to even dwindle.

Of all places to find Heero, to run into him at a psychic fair! Relena was glad that her advisors had dissuaded her from canceling the event. She had never had much use for psychics, or notions of destiny or fate. If the stars had stories to tell, her father who had raised her told her, their stories are in the history of man as he gazed up at them. Although Relena had outgrown the time in her life when she believed everything her father said, blindly, she still believed the bulk of it. Still, though, Heero couldn't possibly be there for psychic advice. Of this, Relena was quite sure. So, logically, that meant that he was there for her.

She was so happy.

She tried to latch herself onto his arm as she escorted him through the newly rebuilt Sanc capitol building, formerly the palace, but he shrugged off her arm with a casual movement and a sharp glare. Relena understood, even if she could see Dorothy frowning, that Heero was just like that. He didn't like to be touched much. Didn't matter, to her, just being with Heero had always been enough.

There just wasn't any other man like him. His eyes, his hair, his boyish face... his body...

Relena didn't care if Dorothy objected. Relena was almost sure that there was a completely unrelated reason for Dorothy's resistance. Heero was with her again.

Wouldn't the rest of the pilots be surprised when they saw him?!?





Dorothy scowled as she sat next to Relena at lunch. She had seen Heero nearly drop Relena as the silly girl threw herself at him, she'd seen him squirm his way out of Relena's embrace as they'd walked from the fairgrounds to the lunch Relena had planned for the 'reunion group', as she called it, and she'd seen Heero pick up and switch seats three times to avoid sitting next to Relena. And still Relena cooed at every grunt and half-word the boy sputtered as if he were speaking the words of an Almighty God.

She had also seen how Heero had agreed to joining Relena for lunch only after Relena had mentioned that the other former pilots, as well as a few other allies and friends, would be there, and she'd also noticed how Heero seemed to detach himself from the proceedings when he heard that Duo was going to be late.

Dorothy prided herself on many, many things, but being a keen observer of people was probably the most important thing. That, and her perfect waistline and impressive bust line, but she really couldn't take complete credit for that.

She sat next to Relena and endured the luncheon, knowing as well as everyone else there except Relena that her favorite Queen/politician would need a shoulder to cry/bitch on later.

Everyone had, as Relena predicted, been surprised to see Heero, but no one had been as happy as Relena expected. Everyone else seemed to be a bit peeved that Heero had disappeared after the Last War as he had. But that didn't stop anyone from enjoying the festivities. Quatre and Trowa sat close to each other, the blonde businessman acting as the spokesman for the pair. Wu Fei sat slightly apart from the group, participating as little as he could get away with, with Sally and Noin teasing him constantly. Zechs sat on a couch to the side of the group, maintaining elegance effortlessly as he delicately ate his lunch with his hands, something that he considered to be uncouth, but for his sister he would do it. Once a year. Catherine had accompanied Trowa, and was busy comparing notes with Rashid and Abdul about her 'brother' and his blonde 'friend'. Quatre and Trowa pretended not to notice and fear their unholy alliance.

Lady Une and Mariemaia were off on their own as well, quietly commenting on various things and their comrades as they ate.

Really, the only entertainment was watching Heero avoid Relena.

When Quatre mentioned that they needed Duo to liven things up, and why didn't Wu Fei get on Duo's back to be here on time, anyway, Heero shot Wu Fei a deadly look that both Zechs and Dorothy noticed.

Sadly, Relena did not, a fact that was also not lost on her brother or friend.

Quatre had been in the middle of attempting to question Heero about his whereabouts and doings for the last five years, when Hurricane Duo made its entrance.

"Hey! Sorry, guys, time just is not my friend! Did Fei tell y'all I'd be late? I hope so, I hate ta stand up friends... Man, the 'ports have all been insane! Did any of y'all go to the psychic fair? Is it lame? I know this chick from L2 who is supposed to be there. I went to her once, and she told me I'd find love with a beautiful woman and have ten kids by the time I was 20. I felt bad telling her I was already 21, and not really into the girls. So, did I miss anything fun?" Duo had managed to put down a bottle of wine, get a plate of food, kiss Catherine's cheek and give Dorothy a high sign, and put down his plate next to Wu Fei's before he took a breath or really looked around.

When he did, he was rendered speechless.

Heero stood up as soon as Duo's voice rang out. It wasn't like he remembered. The voice was a bit deeper, the braid a bit longer and darker, the young man taller than the boy that Heero had known...

He was still as slight and thin as Heero remembered, he was still as bright and energetic, his smile as devastating, his eyes as deep and expressive...

Heero had to take two deep breaths before he could speak.

"Duo."

The braid whipped around and thwacked Wu Fei in the face, eliciting a startled cry, but Duo wasn't paying attention.

"Heero."

How was it possible that Duo could say so much with just that one word? Relena could, and would, cry his name from mountaintops until she passed out from lack of oxygen, but she would never be able to say as much as Duo did with one quiet statement. It was Duo's magic.

"I thought I'd never see you again. I was half afraid that you had found some quiet corner to kill yourself in."

"I thought about it."

"I'm glad you didn't."

"Me, too."

Before anyone else could say anything, the two young men were standing in front of one another, gazes locked in one another's eyes. In the next breath, Duo had flung his arms around Heero, pulling the young man into a tight embrace that threatened to suffocate him.

And Heero, who had shied away from Relena's slightest touch, who had looked at Quatre's offered handshake as if it might be a trap, and who had glared at Sally for putting her hand on his shoulder, wrapped his arms around Duo and melted into a sweet hug.

"I've missed you, Heero." Duo spoke directly into Heero's ear, sending shivers down his spine.

"I missed you, too."

Duo nearly sobbed at the sound of Heero's sexy deep voice, whispering next to his skin. Gods above, he'd been so alone all this time...

Wu Fei looked away from their embrace, not wanting to intrude. Zechs managed to avoid leering by couching his appreciation for the scene in front of him with his practiced grace. Sally and Noin were nearly giggling, but when the hug continued, they merely gawked. Lady Une and her charge began whispering furiously to one another. Dorothy smirked, then quirked an eyebrow at Zechs, chiding him with her eyes for being so perverse, at the same time winking at him.

Quatre and Trowa exchanged glances. Much was said in those sparse looks.

Catherine grinned openly, because she really had gotten to like Duo a lot over the years, and Rashid and the other's followed Wu Fei's example and turned away.

Heero and Duo couldn't care less what anyone else said or did, which was good because if they did they might have felt the need to break apart and respond to Relena's shocked face. After they had mopped up her jaw up from the floor.

As it was, they remained locked in a full body hug for minutes on end, and when they did separate, their cheeks brushed up against each other and their fingers entangled. Duo's smile was like the sun bursting forth after the rain, the world slick and shining in the rays. Heero had that relaxed expression that reminded everyone of a smile.

"It's so good to see you again, Heero." Duo spoke softly, so only Heero could hear without straining.

He bent his head down, hiding his face with his unruly bangs. "Same." When he spoke, only Duo could hear.

Grinning like the madman he pretended to be, Duo stepped away and slapped Heero on the back. "Well, our prodigal son has returned! All right, Miss Princess, where's the fatted calf? It's time to party!"

A small cheer was raised, and Duo plopped down on the floor, leaning slightly against Wu Fei's legs. Heero glared at Wu Fei, causing the Chinese boy to wish that Duo had sat next to Quatre, then felt guilty about thinking that. Conversation began again, never flagging or wavering as Duo was there to ask pointed questions that kept people talking, and making wry observations that kept people smiling.

When Duo turned his attention to Heero, who never let his eyes fall away from Duo, even if he did shade them, everyone was only moderately stunned that Heero was much more forthcoming.

"It's good that you are back, Heero. I think Relena was beginning to forget about you, man! So, did you come back to sweep the princess off her feet?" Duo winked, a saucy grin gracing his elfin features.

Heero scowled as Relena blushed and pretended to be embarrassed. Why was Duo always trying to get him together with Relena? He had never shown the slightest bit of romantic interest in the girl. She had been the icon for peace, so he'd made her defense his mission, but that didn't mean he was in love with her! It was Duo who he'd watched, Duo whose name he'd taken, Duo he had saved instead of killing when he was in prison, Duo who he'd teased, Duo who made him smile (granted, he had his back to Duo at the time, but it still counted!), Duo who he worked with by choice, Duo who he had trouble hitting unless provoked! Did Duo miss all of his signals! "Not exactly," Heero replied succinctly.

When Duo asked Heero what rock he'd been hiding under, he actually answered. Sort of.

"I finished school. I went to college. I worked. I live in Tokyo, now." Heero spoke as if none of it really mattered.

"Really?! How great! So, what do you do there in Tokyo?" Duo's eyes were on Heero, but his back was still against Wu Fei, who was looking down at him with something akin to affection.

Heero was suspicious.

"I'm an artist."

That stopped all semblance of conversation dead.

"An... artist? Really, Heero? Um... What kind?" Quatre's voice didn't shake, exactly, but it was clear that he didn't quite believe Heero.

"I paint."

"Like, paintings? The kind that are in museums and stuff?" Noin looked stupefied. She believed that Heero Yuy was capable of anything, but that didn't extend to art.

"Yes. Paintings."

"Wow, Heero, that's so cool! Can I see them sometime? Do you have them on disk, or something, or, uh, could I visit to see them?" Duo smiled shyly as he asked, not wanting to impose on Heero.

Heero nearly sighed with relief. "Of course, Duo, you'd be welcome."

Quatre quirked a smile at Trowa, whose eyes danced with amusement. Neither had missed the fact that the invitation seemingly was directed at only Duo.

"So, Heero, were you at the psychic fair seeking your muse, then?" Dorothy really couldn't have cared less, but she was mildly annoyed that her time with Relena before lunch had been interrupted by Heero's presence.

"No." Heero grunted, resenting a little having to turn to answer Dorothy. "I was there to see psychics."

"Heero! What's happened to you, man?! Becoming an artist, seeing psychics... I think you were in one too many explosions during the war, man... Either that or that Zero system really did drive you crazy! Why did you want to see a psychic?" Duo shook his head, trying to imagine Heero in a psychic's booth. He kept seeing Heero threatening to kill the poor psychic when they told him that he would live a long and healthy life.

Heero shrugged. He didn't mind answering Duo. "I've become interested in past lives. I've been having dreams about a past life of mine, and whenever I see a real psychic, I learn more and more about it."

No one knew quite what to say about that, although Trowa noticed that Duo seemed to have gasped softly.

Quatre fidgeted in his seat, trying to figure out what to say. "Your... past life, Heero? You... remember a past life?"

"Yes." Heero talked as if there was nothing even remotely odd about what he was saying. Perhaps if his audience were different, there wouldn't be. "I was a magician. I had been born in Hong Kong, but I spent most of my life in Japan. I think it might have been a different world than this one, or maybe from the very far past. At any rate, the world I lived in before was absolutely nothing like our world here."

There was a pause for a moment, and then Quatre cleared his throat. He could tell that Heero was being perfectly plain with them, but it was still a bit strange to hear the logical and methodical former assassin talk like that. "You were a magician? That's funny. Even in a past life, I have a hard time picturing you working children's birthday parties and such!" Quatre smiled in that perfectly innocent and sweet way of his.

Heero scowled. "Not a party magician. A real magician. I had come from a long line of very powerful magicians, and studied since I was a very small child to uphold my family's traditions, and be the heir to my family's power. I was supposed to find these cards an ancestor of mine had made, that had great power and importance, but the cards chose someone else to be their master. A girl from Japan who was also, by a different manner, a direct descendent of the magician who created them. I ended up falling in love with this girl, and we spent our lives together. She was pretty amazing."

Silence reigned for a moment, and then Relena, who had been at a loss since the conversation had begun and a bit irked about his response to Duo earlier about her, burst out, happily, "See, Heero, you are destined to spend your life with a strong woman!"

Heero barely looked at her. "People don't always get reincarnated together, or as the same gender, even."

Quatre sighed. "This story is... well, surprising. So, you've... been seeing psychics about this?"

Heero shrugged again. "I've had dreams. I've seen a psychic or two over the years. The dreams are where I remember the most. One psychic helped me to see more in my dreams, so I've seen a few others, but there aren't that many real psychics anymore."

Duo felt this wild pressure fill him, as if something were expanding inside him. "Wow! Heero, I guess you've been too busy to worry about us! This is so exciting!" Duo jumped up, suddenly. "Wow, I am so hungry today! Anyone else want anything? I think I'd like a cheese sandwich. It's weird, but whenever I'm someplace fancy, I always just crave simple things. My upbringing, or lack thereof, I guess!" Duo fidgeted over the buffet table.

Trowa had a thought. He caught Quatre's eyes for a second, sharing a brief conversation with eyebrow twitches and quirks of their lips. "Tell us more about this girl that you loved."

Heero seemed to space out for a moment. "She was bright, like the sun, and she always had a smile for everyone. Her smile, too, could make even stones happy. Her eyes were the most brilliant shade, and she was the most beautiful person I had ever met. She wasn't as studied as I was, but she never faltered from her quest, determined to do her best for the people that she cared about. She had a heart that could conquer even the most impossible situation."

"She sounds like quite the girl, Heero." Trowa caught Heero's eye, holding the gaze significantly, before purposefully turning to look at Duo. "Bright, strong of heart. Beautiful smile." Trowa let his voice drift, his eyes still on Duo.

Duo was fumbling with his plate. He was starting to get really nervous. Bad enough that he'd been taken by surprise with Heero... Not that he wasn't thrilled to see him, but he hadn't prepared for it at all. And now, to hear Heero talk about past lives... His hands were shaking so much that when he turned to rejoin the group, his fingers slipped and his plate and cheese sandwich went diving for the floor. "Oh! I'm so sorry, Princess! I didn't mean to... Just call me butterfingers!" He bent down to pick up the pieces, smiling brightly at everyone to mask his nervousness.

Heero's eyes widened, as there was an almost audible click inside his brain. Staggering up, he stumbled over to Duo, his heart thumping wildly in his chest.

Duo looked up, uncertain. "Heero? It's ok, man, I can get it..." He tried to grin again, but Heero's intense gaze dried the words in his throat, leaving him parched and thirsty.

"Sakura?" Heero's desperate whisper sounded unbelieving, like he couldn't fathom that it was true, even though he was thinking it.

Duo stood, shakily, not knowing how to say it all. "Syaoran..." The one word sounding like a plea and an apology at once.

All at once, Heero enfolded Duo in a tight embrace that made their last hug look G-rated. Clutching the other boy as tightly as he could, he breathed in the scent and the feel of him, suddenly completely overcome. "I didn't know... you didn't tell me that you would be coming with me!" He spoke in Duo's ear.

Duo grinned. "I assumed that love would conquer all." He tried to shrug, but Heero was holding him too tightly.

Heero wondered if he should cry. It wasn't something that he was familiar with. He decided to kiss Duo instead.

Between Duo's gasp, which left his mouth open for Heero, and Heero's wandering hands, the kiss soon became something not suitable for children to view in a matter of moments.

When Heero began to tug and tear at Duo's clothes, there was little doubt to anyone in the room that a quick departure was in order. Quatre, Trowa, and Wu Fei quickly jumped up as Heero wrestled Duo to the ground. Rashid began to organize his troops to move the lunch to another locale, as Trowa and Wu Fei began to shepherd everyone out.

Dorothy and Zechs needed to have Catherine snap in front of their eyes before they regretfully got to their feet.

"They don't seem to mind the audience," Dorothy grumbled, which Noin secretly agreed with, but she knew that Wu Fei wouldn't allow them to watch Duo being taken, so she and Sally helped to get everyone out.

Quatre had to go to Relena's side, gently lifting her. "Miss Relena, I think we should go, don't you?"

"What's Heero doing to Duo? Why... Why are they wrestling? Why were they hugging like that? Were they... were they kissing?" She stared, absolutely stunned as Heero began to nibble on Duo's neck, his hips grinding into Duo, making Duo moan loudly.

Quatre sighed. "Yes, I think they were kissing. We should take this lunch outside, don't you think, Miss Relena? It's such a lovely day..."

"But they're both boys!" Relena's eyes began to fill with tears as Quatre dragged her out the door.

Quatre shared a look with Trowa, letting his tall lover roll his eyes for the both of them. "Yes, yes they are. My, look at that sunshine! Let's go outside and enjoy it, rather than be trapped indoors, all right?"

Back inside, Heero had successfully removed Duo's shirts, and was methodically working on the other young man's chest.

Duo was barely able to control himself. He was marginally aware that everyone had seen them, and they had chased them all away, and that 'all' included Relena, but he couldn't be bothered with it now.

Heero remembered. Heero still loved him.

Everything was going to be all right.

As Heero began to work on the buttons of Duo's pants, Duo started to think that maybe there were a few things they should talk about first.

If only he could remember how to speak...

"Heero?"

"Hn."

"Um... Are you sure? I mean... just because, in the last life..."

"I love you."

"Oh... Heero..." Duo felt tears coming to his eyes, which he tried to hold in, but was finding it hard. He had missed his Syaoran.

Heero brushed Duo's tears aside, momentarily distracted from his explorations. "Are you all right?"

"It's just... I never thought... I thought that you were in love with Relena..."

"Why would you think that? What indication did I ever give?" Heero was exasperated.

"Well... when we were on Peacemillion, all the guys were so sure that you were... and you seemed to always be interested in her..."

"She was the world's icon for peace! It was the mission I was always focused on! Was I ever nice to her, did I ever talk to her or give any reason to believe that I was interested in her besides not standing by and letting her get killed?"

"But... you never seemed to like me when I was Sakura, and then you told me that you loved me... I thought, well, that you just didn't show emotion when you liked someone. I don't know. She was what you were fighting for. I thought that meant..."

"I fought to protect her. I fought to make sure that she would survive. At first, I didn't understand, but she really was an innocent. She was the opposite of everything I had ever been, and I wanted to make sure that the new world we were fighting for included her. But I fought for you. So that you could return to space, like you said. You... you took me by surprise, Duo. I didn't think that anyone who knew what fighting and killing was could smile like you do. But, you knew and you were still able to sacrifice everything to protect the colonies... I fought so that your smile could survive." Heero paused, thinking.

"Oh, love..." Duo melted. He felt a little girlish, but considering his past life and the fact that he had a built boy between his legs, he guessed it was forgivable.

"I'm surprised I didn't recognize you sooner, actually. How long have you known that I was... me?"

"Since I first saw you." Duo shrugged, sheepish. "I've remembered my past life for as long as I can remember. Maybe I was born knowing. Why do you think that when I shot you, I didn't kill you?" Duo's grin almost blunted his words.

Heero looked horrified. "But... why didn't you say anything ever?!"

Duo laughed a little. "What was I supposed to say? 'Hey, Heero! I know you don't really trust me, but you should, because in a past life, we used to be married. Wanna get it on?'"

Heero considered. "Well, the last part at least..."

Duo giggled through a grimace, attacking Heero with tickles that sent them rolling over the plush carpet, as they started to laugh again.

When they had settled into an embrace again, Heero slipped off his tank top and held Duo close to him, letting their bare chests rub against each other. "Oh, love... It must have been... growing up on L2, living on the streets, remembering life as Sakura..."

Duo was quiet for a moment, before shrugging. "I don't know. I took refuge in the memories sometimes. When things seemed bleak, like they could never get any better, I would remember a time when life was simpler, and I had a father and a mother, and they loved me, and a big brother, who was a pain in my ass but who was also a pretty great guy, and there was this boy who loved me, and he was a pretty remarkable guy, too. I remembered the magic... It made it possible to smile."

Heero watched his love's face, his breath stolen. "You... I wondered where that smile could come from. I love you."

Duo pulled Heero's face down, kissing him wildly. "I love you, too, my Heero, my Syaoran..."





Relena paced, back and forth, as her brother and Dorothy watched.

"I just..." She so far hadn't been able to get more than four words strung together at any one time.

"It doesn't..." She turned, pacing the other direction.

"How can..." She clutched one hand in the other, winding her fingers over each other like snakes.

"But I..."

"Relena. Sit down, you are making me dizzy."

"Sorry, brother! I just... don't understand..." She sat between Zechs and Dorothy, still wringing her hands.

"Miss Relena..."

"It must be some kind of trick. Or joke. That's it! A joke, and Duo must be in on it! It's nonsense, that's what it is, past lives, and being in love with Duo... Heero loves me, I know it, this whole thing... it's just a misunderstanding!"

Dorothy had had it. "Miss Relena, you do realize that they are in there, having sex on the floor of your sitting room, don't you?"

Relena winced. "No, no, they can't be, they're boys! It's a joke, a stupid joke, Heero loves me, maybe these psychics..."

"Relena, stop it! They are having sex right now! Heero doesn't love you, he never did! He loves Duo, he probably always did!" Dorothy's forked eyebrows were knitted in a severe v, making her face appear dark and ominous.

Relena's face went red. "You're only saying that because you don't want me to be with Heero, but even if he didn't love me, which he does!, I still wouldn't be with you!"

Dorothy stood and slapped Relena. "It's for you own good that I'm saying this! It's time you put aside this ridiculous obsession with your fantasy white knight! It is unbecoming for a lady to chase after a disinterested suitor. Such behavior in a Queen is embarrassing, for her whole country. Miss Relena, I never wish to cause you pain, but Heero is not in love with you! He barely tolerated your presence today, but as soon as Duo came into the room, he was all over him!" Dorothy sat down again, taking Relena's hands as the girl's eyes began to fill with tears. "I know that you love him and only want to be with him, but if you truly love him, then you would want him to be happy above all else. Isn't that what Duo did when he thought Heero loved you? Didn't Duo constantly try to get the two of you together? But now it seems his efforts were foolish, and it is your turn to be graceful and let Heero go."

"Oh, Dorothy!" Relena was both shamed and pained at her friend's words. If only they weren't true... She broke down, flinging herself at Dorothy, who gathered her up and put her head on her chest.

Zechs gave Dorothy a look, which she replied to with a wink. She could comfort Relena and enjoy herself at the same time...





"Oy, Heero, next time, we're finding some sort of cushioned surface... A bed, a couch, the backseat of a car, a grassy plain... I'm gonna have bruises for a week!"

"Sorry." Heero didn't sound particularly sorry.

"That's all right, it was certainly worth it."





Heero and Duo decided not to stick around long after their... reunion. For one thing, neither of them had come for Relena's birthday party, per se, and for another, neither was particularly sure of their welcome anymore. Not that Relena would throw them out, but Duo certainly didn't want to cause the princess anymore pain than necessary. He had always thought the Heero was in love with her, as she had, so he knew how she must feel at this point.

Heero was just horny, and he wanted Duo to himself. He doubted that Relena would approve of them staying in a room in the palace and screwing for a solid week, so he took Duo home.

To his home, in Tokyo, specifically.

He gave Duo the super quick tour, which was only 14 seconds shorter than the full tour.

"Here's the apartment, the kitchen's over here, there's the bathroom, and here's the futon. Ready?"

Heero was always good at getting straight to the point.

Duo had no objections.

Lying in Heero's arms later, with the moonlight washing through the tall windows, he looked around the apartment for the first time. His eyes always drifted back to Heero, Heero's smooth, muscular arms, Heero's powerful chest, Heero's legs shifting between his legs...

"This place has great natural light. That must be great for your art."

"Aa. That's why I picked this place, actually. So, what have you been up to since the Last War?"

"Oh, nothing remarkable." Duo shrugged as he kissed Heero's nose. "I've been working at Hilde's salvage yard, helping traders and pilots in the area make repairs and get parts, working with this orphanage this priest started to commemorate Father Maxwell's and Sister Helen's work, tending bar in this great piano bar near my place..."

"Hn. Sounds busy."

"Sometimes. But it's good to stay busy. Keeps the thoughts from coming."

"Are you still living with Hilde?"

"Oh, no! She shacked up with this guy shortly after the Last War. He's a trader, goes from colony to colony, that sort of thing. She's really gone on him. He's very large, apparently." Duo made a face, making Heero grin. Almost.

Heero brushed at the long locks of hair that had come free from Duo's now demolished braid. He had dreamed of this hair for a long time now, and it was almost surreal actually touching it, drenched in sweat and loose. "Would you have ever come to find me?" His voice was soft, a nearly silent whisper on the edge of Duo's hearing.

"I... thought you wanted to be alone. I thought you would think that in a time of peace, there was no need for a killer. I hoped that you were off, learning to live life, but I was afraid you were off killing yourself." Duo shivered, and snuck closer to Heero.

Heero tightened his grip. "I was retraining. But I thought about you all the time. I wondered where you were and who you were with. I was." Heero paused, thinking the words before he said them. "I was afraid that you had moved on, that you had fallen in love with someone that wasn't me, and were happy. I wanted you to be happy, but..."

Duo kissed him, silencing all doubts.

Duo sighed, burying his face in Heero's shoulder. Gathering up his courage, he spoke, sounding broken. "Heero... I'm so sorry that I brought us to such a... hard life. Can you ever forgive me? I certainly didn't intend this." He sighed. "I should have let Eriol teach me about forecasting the future, then I would have known better..."

Heero silenced Duo with a passionate kiss. When they broke apart, he cradled Duo's head, absently brushing the wild locks of chestnut that were closest to his fingers. After he had carefully thought out exactly what he needed to say, he spoke determinedly. "I think we were supposed to be here. I think we were needed here. I think that's why you brought us here. I have to believe that. Didn't Eriol used to say that there were no mistakes or coincidences? We had to be here, Duo, we had a role to play in this world, in this time. I wish that our lives had been easier, better, too, but I have to believe that everything we've been through, everything we've suffered, it was so we could be here, now. Peace. And I think... I think it's going to last, too. Isn't that worth everything we've suffered?"

Duo shuddered, holding Heero tight, pressing himself against his love. He would cry if he wasn't careful. "I... thank you, Heero. Thank you."

Heero kissed Duo's head, and held him, waiting for the soft shudders to pass, knowing that Duo wouldn't be ready to face the day until he had gotten himself under control.

When they got up, it was because it was necessary, not because they ever wanted to move again.

Duo was poking through the cabinets in Heero's kitchen when Heero was done in the bathroom. "Do you want something to eat? Maybe some rice... You don't have any peanut butter. But rice would be good too, simple and easy..."

Heero shook his head. "You are so skinny."

Duo laughed. "Everyone teases me about that! But I can't help it, I was severely malnourished as a child." He flung his arms around Heero's neck. "I actually feel guilty if I eat enough to feel full. It drove Quatre crazy when I stayed with him. He wanted to fill me out, and I'd go nuts with all the food, thinking there was no way we could ever eat it all, but not being able to bear the idea of throwing any of it out! Quat finally had to console me by telling me there were dozens of Maganacs, so there was no chance any of it would go to waste!"

Heero shook his head, feeling slightly giddy. It was like being drunk, he realized, although the dehydration was from several hours of aerobic activity on the futon, and the euphoria wasn't unnatural.

It would be unnatural to have Duo in his arms and not be happy.

When Duo tied his messy hair back into a quick ponytail, Heero remembered something he had promised himself he would ask Duo when he got a chance.

"So. You and Wu Fei seemed close. Closer than I remember you being." Heero did remember being stuck in a cell with Duo and Wu Fei, and he and Wu Fei arguing over who would 'get' to stand watch over Duo.

He didn't trust Wu Fei.

"Ah." Duo turned to put the rice in the rice cooker. "Well, we used to... be involved."

"What!?!" Heero made plans to 'visit' Chang.

Duo sighed. "He was stationed on L2. The first night he got there, he came over to my place to have dinner. We got to talking, and reminiscing. We were sharing a bottle of wine and sitting on the couch, laughing over something stupid from the war. I think I may have been teasing him about Mariemaia. Then... we were kissing. I don't remember who started it or what, but we ended up... Anyway, instead of getting a place, he just stayed with me. That was great for a while. We... well, it was great."

Heero tensed, his hands in fists at his sides. Duo sidled up behind him, wrapping his arms loosely around his waist, so his hands fell together over Heero's crotch.

"We were together for about six months when we were at this skating rink, and Fei pointed out this guy to me, and said, 'Man! He's got the best ass I've ever seen!' And I said, 'You should talk to him, ask him out!' It took us three whole minutes to realize there was anything wrong with our conversation. At that point, we decided that we were just friends. Very good friends. Despite what we did together." Duo couldn't help snickering. Heero still felt tense, but Duo's chest against his back calmed him. Much to his annoyance. "A couple of months later, he got a promotion and transferred out of L2. End of story." Duo shrugged against Heero.

Heero tentatively reached up to take Duo's hands in his own. "So... You never loved him?"

Duo turned Heero around, looking into his eyes. "Heero. There never has been any competition. Don't you remember?"

Heero shielded his eyes for a moment with his bangs, a bubble of something rising in his chest. He decided that it was a good thing. "I know. It's just... strange. To think that I might have lost you to Wu Fei just because I was too slow..."

Duo kissed his forehead. "You could have taken 50 years if you needed it, and I would have come to your call when you were ready. I love you, Heero Yuy, all through this life, and into the next."

Heero didn't know what to say to that, except to hold Duo close to himself and sigh gently in Duo's ear.

That was enough.

After they ate and Heero got Duo to eat some ice cream after the rice, Duo asked to see Heero's work.

He wasn't prepared for what he saw.

Canvas after canvas, covered in long swashes of bold colors, Heero's palate seemingly comprised solely of brown, purple, black, and green.

The green threw him for a moment, but only for a moment.

Some paintings were calm, and the ordered geometric arrangements were complex and solid. Others were chaotic, with broken figures and shapes.

But the painting in the center of the room was the most arresting.

"It's not finished." Duo wasn't asking, which pleased Heero in a way he hadn't expected. Most people chided him for being such a perfectionist. He was constantly having to try to explain why he insisted that this piece wasn't finished yet, when it looked done.

But Duo had seen that it was missing something right away.

Putting his arms around Duo's waist, he rested his chin on Duo's shoulder. "Aa."

"What's it called?" Duo tilted his head so that their temple's touched.

"Home."

Duo smiled. Heero could feel the smile pouring into him. "Well, love, I think you'll be able to find what's missing with time."

Heero kissed Duo's shoulder, and pulled him to bed.

He already knew what the painting was missing, but he wasn't going to waste time painting now.

Duo giggled as Heero wrapped his legs around Duo's waist. Pulling Duo's neck down close so that he could kiss and nibble, he whispered in Duo's ear, "I'm glad that you came back to me as a boy. There were some things that I was curious about but never got around to the last time..."

Duo was laughing that bright, cheerful laugh that suddenly reminded Heero of Sakura.

"Hey, Heero... After all our time as Sakura and Syaoran, doesn't this position feel really... kinky?" His near violet eyes sparkled with mischief.

Heero pulled Duo's neck down for another deep kiss.

He felt rather smug just then.





"Hm. I can't believe you used to be a woman. Although, it does explain a few things." Wu Fei grinned as he let his eyes travel down to Duo's ass.

Heero growled, low enough so that no one but Wu Fei could hear, and Wu Fei immediately scooted to the other side of the room.

Duo laughed, shaking his head so his plait swayed from side to side, distracting both Heero and Wu Fei.

"Not only was I a lady, Fei, but I was also the most powerful magician in the world. So, snerks to you!" He stuck out his tongue in a uniquely Duo manner, crossing his eyes as he did, making everyone snicker a little.

Even Heero, though he hid it well.

Quatre, Trowa, and Wu Fei had come to visit Heero and Duo when the party in Sanc was done. The curiosity had been killing all of them, so Wu Fei used his Preventers connections to find out where in Tokyo Heero Yuy lived.

Heero had seemed singularly displeased that they had all showed up, but Duo had put on a shirt and bounced happily around, occasionally throwing his arms around Heero, as if to emphasize that he and Heero were together now.

Actually, Heero realized, that's probably exactly what he was doing.

"All this past life talk..." Quatre cradled his teacup as he stared off into space, shaking his head. "It's amazing. I wonder how many lives we've all had, and if we were together then?"

Duo got that still, serious look on his face. "Well, none of you were with Heero and I in the last life... Sakura sent all of her friends on to the next life, so they are all together in the after life. But, she couldn't send herself or Syaoran there, because their magic was too great for their lives to end, even with their deaths. So... But, Quat, you and Trowa both have old souls. I would guess that you two have been around the dance floor a couple of times together already. And Wu Fei feels... restored. I don't know. That's all I can read off of him." Duo shrugged, oblivious to the way everyone was staring at him.

"You can... you still have some magic?" Quatre had to swallow down a lump in his throat.

Duo seemed startled by the suggestion, before his smile broke out again. "Oh, no! No, but I can sort of... feel auras. I guess I couldn't be without any magic, all things considered. But I can't do anything, I just get feelings about people and stuff."

Heero kissed Duo's cheek and he hugged Duo's neck. "You still have all your magic, love."

Quatre managed to resist the urge to go, 'aw!' Barely. "Can you see the dead, Duo?"

Duo shivered. "Thank the gods, no!"

Heero shook his head, nearly smiling. "Duo has a thing about ghosts. Leftover from being Sakura."

Trowa looked from Heero to Duo and back again, finally turning to Quatre and smiling slightly. "It's good that you guys got together. Finally."

"It's too bad that you have to be going back to L2, Duo." Wu Fei actually sounded like he regretted it. "Long distance relationships are hard. I hope that you two will have time to work out all the details now."

Duo smiled at his friend. Wu Fei had been reticent, but Duo knew that Wu Fei had fallen in love with a girl who was from L5. She had left the colony a year before they self-destructed, and she had known of the Dragon Clan and of Meilan's clan.

She worked in new colony development, and Wu Fei was the hardest working Preventer on staff. There wasn't a whole lot of give in their schedules, so despite their strong feelings for each other, their relationship was suffering.

Duo wished there was something he could do, but he wasn't worried about Heero's and his relationship.

After all this time, he still believed that love would prevail, as it always had in his experience.

He was about to say something to that effect, when Heero spoke in that low tone that meant that he'd already gone over all possible strategies, figured out what was going to work, and so he no longer gave a damn what anyone else was planning.

"Not necessary. I'm moving to L2."

"Wha?!??" Duo spun to catch his love's eye, shock coloring his elfin features.

Heero smiled. He loved to take Duo by surprise. "Your life in L2 is important, you are involved in a lot of commitments that are important to you. My work could be done anywhere, and I don't have any attachment to this place or city. I'll move. It's the logical choice."

"Oh." Duo smiled, that rare smile that meant that Duo was truly happy, not that he wanted someone else to be happy.

Heero could remember living for that smile. He was looking forward to doing so again.

Quatre cleared his throat. "This is really sweet, boys, but let's not forget that if you guys decide to go at it, we don't have anywhere to run off to this time."

Heero didn't roll his eyes, which he considered to be his show of courtesy. Duo turned bright red, and then started to laugh, which got Wu Fei chuckling, Quatre laughing, and Trowa smiling.

"Oh, man, I still can't believe we did that! How's Relena doing? Is she all right with everything?" Duo anxiously watched Quatre's reaction. He really had no desire to hurt Relena, he even liked her. Somewhat. Well, more recently since she had grown up some.

Quatre looked uncomfortable as he quickly realized that neither Wu Fei nor Trowa was going to help him out. Sighing, he spoke quietly. "Well, she wasn't happy. Dorothy was having a good time comforting her, and I think Zechs was getting through to her, but she still feels betrayed... She thought you were her friend, Duo, and she doesn't understand why you would go behind her back like that. She... she thinks that you should have at least told her at some point that you were interested in Heero."

Duo sagged. "But... But surely she must realize... that she wouldn't have understood...?"

Heero put his arm around his love's shoulders. He didn't care at all what Relena thought or felt, but he knew these things mattered to Duo.

"She doesn't now, Duo, but she will." Quatre nodded firmly. "She's only just coming to accept that Heero never loved her. The rest will come in time. It... was a good thing that you guys left when you did."

Duo sighed and put his head on Heero's shoulder. In the past five years, he had often spent time with Relena, reminiscing about Heero with her. In Relena's eyes, Duo was Heero's best friend and her favorite confidante when it came to talking about her feelings for Heero. He could see why she would feel betrayed.

Not that it changed anything.

Heero kissed Duo's head gently, resting his forehead on the crest of Duo's head.

Trowa cleared his throat and stood up. "The circus will be on L2 in six months. We'll get together then?"

Duo looked surprised, but Quatre and Wu Fei were following Trowa's example. Duo wanted to say that they didn't have to leave, but Heero's arm around his waist stalled the words in his throat.

Trowa smirked as he bent down to Duo. "I know what it's like, just starting out. And you guys have a move to plan... But in six months, you better calm down your libidos long enough to be good hosts."

Duo smirked back. "Count on it."

Heero nodded to Trowa and Quatre, who insisted on hugging Duo goodbye, and even hugging Heero, who tolerated it, but was counting to 25. That was as long as Quatre was getting.

Wu Fei put on his jacket, shifting uncomfortably from foot to foot. He wasn't sure how to approach Duo, with Heero attached to his hip like some deranged watchdog, eyeing Wu Fei with absolute distrust.

Duo solved the problem by flinging his arms around Wu Fei, kissing his cheek. "Don't be a stranger, Fei. I expect to be posted on any and all developments, just like always." Winking, Duo tossed his braid over his shoulder, smacking Heero in the face rather deliberately.

Heero got the message, and offered Wu Fei his hand.

Wu Fei nearly laughed out loud as he shook Heero's hand. "All right, Duo, but remember, I don't need to be updated about everything in your life. Especially if I want to live a long life."

When they had finished cleaning up the dishes, Heero lead Duo back to the futon, which he didn't lower to the bed position. Holding his love close, he began worshipping with tiny kisses Duo's face and neck.

"Heero? Are you really going to move out to L2 with me?" A small voice.

Heero heard all the unasked portions of the question. "Aa. It's not like we don't know that it will work out between us. We were married for 119 years."

Duo was smiling, Heero could feel it. A smaller voice, "That was Sakura and Syaoran. I know that I annoy you sometimes."

"Never."

"Yes, I do!"

"Nope."

"Heero..."

"Duo. I've been retraining. My mission is different now."

A pause. "What's your mission now?"

"To live with you."

"Oh. But I still annoy you."

"And I annoy you. Sakura used to annoy Syaoran sometimes, and vice versa. I love you."

"Oh." Duo was beaming now. "I love you too, Heero."

Heero rested his chin on Duo's shoulder. He was itching to start painting, feeling energized in a way he hadn't since he had first discovered oils on canvas, but he knew it would be just as well to wait anyway.

He had a feeling that his best work would come once he was settled on L2 anyway.








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