Disclaimers:  I still don’t own anything.

Author’s notes:  Well, here’s part 5.  Hope you like it.



Painful Memories
Part 5



The months had passed by slowly for Heero.  Duo was gone, without a single trace.  It was all Heero’s fault, he knew that.  He
should have said something, anything.  But he had chickened out.  He should have stopped Duo from leaving, but he had been
too much of a coward.

Heero was now sure that something had happened to Duo.  There was no way that Duo would just disappear for two months
without word to anyone.  He would have at least come back for his Gundam.  For all Heero knew, Duo was dead.

He pushed himself away from his desk, away from the laptop.  There was nothing, no trace of Duo, not one piece of evidence
to tell him where he was.  It was as if he had vanished into thin air.

He rubbed his eyes, wearily, tired of this search.  His hopes for ever finding Duo were diminishing with every passing day.  But
they were still there, even after two months.  His hope was the only thing keeping him going.  Without that, he would have given
up long ago.

Heero stood, closing his laptop as he moved.  He picked up his laptop, then turned to the bed that had belonged to Duo.  It was
empty, like Heero’s life was now.  Heero had never thought he’d miss Duo so much, his laugh, his smile.  Everything about him,
was just wonderful, but now all Heero had were memories.  

He bent slightly, and picked up the suitcase that had been sitting beside the bed.  Time to go, he thought.  There was nothing left
for him here, not with Duo gone.  He didn’t need to stick around here for his missions.  He could accomplish them just as well
on his own.  Besides, this place only reminded him of how much of a fool he had been, how he had wasted his only chance with
Duo.

Heero walked to the door, turning back one last time before he left.  “Where did you go Duo?”  He whispered aloud, although he
knew he wouldn’t get an answer.  


*****


As Duo buttoned the front of his shirt, he yawned.  He wiped at his watery eyes, feeling the sweat on his face.  He had to get
back to Carl quick, he knew that.  The symptoms of withdrawal were already beginning, as the time of his next scheduled dose
got closer.  He was already addicted to the drugs Carl had given him, and he didn’t care.  As long as he didn’t feel the pain, he
would do anything for Carl, for the drugs.

He glanced over his shoulder, seeing the sleeping form of his latest client.  It didn’t matter to him what that guy had done to him,
how he had used his body.  All that mattered was getting back to Carl so that he could get a fix.  He didn’t want the memories to
return, the pain to come back.  As long as he did what Carl said, he would be rewarded with relief from the agony he had
known for so long.  No nightmares, no longer caring what happened to him.

He reached over and grabbed the money on the bedside table.  Then he turned and quickly left the hotel room.  His loose hair
flowed behind him as he made his hasty exit.  Carl wanted him to keep his hair down at all times, saying that it attracted
customers.  If that was what Carl wanted, that’s what he would do.

Carl owned a building in the city, a hotel.  He had an office in the back, with a backdoor just in case the police showed up.  It
was where all his employees lived.  Duo, now Carl’s favorite once again, got the largest room and didn’t have to share it with
any others.  This made some people jealous, especially Jack.  He used to be the favorite and used to have the largest room.

Duo walked into the lobby.  Several of Carl’s other employees were lounging around, just waiting for their next assignment.  
Most of them were on drugs, but a few were still clean.  None of them mattered to Duo anyway, so he just kept on walking.

“Well, look who it is, Carl’s little pet.”  A snide remark from an uncouth bastard.  It was Jack, with his bleached blond hair and
thin muscular body.  

He was just a few years older than Duo, at least he looked older.  You could never tell by looks anymore.  This kind of work
aged a person much faster than normal.

“Jack.”  Duo said, not bothering to reply to the jerk.

“Need a fix, I assume?”  He sneered.

“It’s none of your business Jack.  Why don’t you crawl back into that hole you call a room?”  Duo replied, without taking a
glance in Jack’s general direction.  He continued on his way to Carl’s office.

As Duo walked into Carl’s office, he held out his hand.  “Here’s the money.”  He said, his voice wavering, as his hand trembled.

Carl took the money from his sweaty palm.  “Good, I have another job for you.”  He said, quickly counting the money.

“But what about . . .”  Duo asked, raising his arm slightly.

Carl looked up at him.  “Don’t worry, you’ll get your fix.”  He smiled.  “Roll up your sleeve.”

Duo did as he was told, quickly rolling up the sleeve of his shirt past his elbow.  Carl reached into a drawer of his desk and
pulled out a syringe and a strip of rubber.  Duo held his arm out, trying to keep it from shaking as Carl tied the rubber around it.

As he pushed the needle into Duo’s arm, Carl spoke.  “This is a new client, so I don’t know what this guy likes.  Whatever he
wants you to do, you do it.  He’s paying a lot of money for you.”

“Yes, sir.”  Duo replied, as the shaking in his hands slowly subsided.

A smile spread across his face as the drugs took effect.  All worries slipped away, all fears, as he was left with a curious
detachment to the world.  Nothing truly mattered anymore.  Anything could happen and he wouldn’t be the least bit concerned.  


*****


Duo walked along the street, checking the address written on the piece of paper in his hand.  Where was this place anyway?  He
had been walking for hours, and still hadn’t found it.  Maybe he had taken a wrong turn somewhere.

A strong wind swept past him, brushing his hair over his shoulder.  As the wind died down, he tossed the chestnut strands back
again, not really caring if he got any knots in them.  He would have to find this place soon, or else risk the client leaving.  If he
didn’t get paid, Duo knew he wouldn’t get his next fix.  “No money, no relief.” Carl had told him repeatedly.

He shuddered, thinking of the only thing that scared him anymore.  If he didn’t get his drugs, he’d remember, and he didn't want
that.  He didn’t want the painto come back.  

Duo sighed, as he saw what he had been looking for.  Finally, he thought, as he approached the small house.  It was rundown,
and looked to be falling apart.  But Duo didn’t mind as long as he was paid.

He walked up to the front door and knocked.  Silently, he waited, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, nervously.  It
was an uncontrolled response, he hated waiting around.

The door slowly opened, its hinges creaking loudly as it swung.  Duo squinted as he looked into the dark house.  Something
wasn’t right about this.  Why weren’t there any lights?  But he knew he couldn’t just turn and leave.  He needed the money.  So,
he stepped inside, slowly, wondering what was going on.

The door slammed shut behind him, and he jumped, startled.  Someone grabbed him, and forced him to the ground as a light
was turned on.  He struggled against the hands, but found out that whoever they were, had very strong grips.  

“Who the hell are you?”  Duo asked, not liking this one bit.

A familiar voice whispered into his ear.  “You should never have come back.”

Duo turned his head, his eyes meeting with Jack’s.  “What do you think you’re doing?”  Duo demanded.  “When Carl finds out
about this, he’ll . . .”

Jack smashed his fist into Duo’s face, silencing him.  “But Carl won’t find out.  He’s never going to see you alive again.  My
friends here will make sure of that.”  He gestured to the five men that were holding Duo down.

“Why?”  Duo asked, although he already had a very good idea as to why Jack would do something so stupid.

“I was his favorite after you left.  All those years, it was me, and no one else.  Why couldn’t you have just stayed away?”  A
tear fell from Jack’s eye, but Duo couldn’t bring himself to feel sorry for the guy.  Jack was about to kill him.

Without another word, Jack nodded to his friends.  Only seconds later, a number of fists and feet collided with Duo’s body.  
Duo tried to block them, but there were too many punches, too many kicks.  

“Go ahead boys, have fun.”  Jack laughed.

The clothes were stripped from his body, as he lay there, bloody and beaten.  He coughed, spitting up blood.  This was not
good, definitely not good.  His body ached as four of the men continued to beat him, while the fifth man positioned himself
behind Duo.  The pain tore through him like a white-hot poker, and he screamed out, unable to contain the agony, as one of the
men forced himself into Duo’s sore body.  

The beating stopped momentarily, as that man found pleasure in Duo’s body, causing him nothing but pain.  Then, when he was
finished, another took his place, once again roughly pushing his way into Duo.  Then another, and another.  Each one used him,
and when they were done, the beating began again.

Finally, it stopped.  Duo lay on the floor, his body filled with pain.  He coughed again, blood splattering on the floor.  He could
taste it in his mouth, the blood, and knew he probably had internal injuries.  

“You’re going to die here, Duo.  And then I’ll be the favorite again.”  Jack said.

Duo struggled to stay conscious, knowing that he would probably die if he blacked out now.  But he couldn’t stop it, couldn’t
stay awake any longer.


*****


He didn’t know how long he had been unconscious, didn’t know how long he had been lying there.  But when he woke up, the
first thing he noticed was that Jack and the others were gone.  They left him to die.  Stupid fools.  It wasn’t that easy to kill a
Gundam pilot, even if he was on drugs.

Duo struggled to push himself off the floor.  He could barely move, his body hurt so much.  He knew for sure that his left arm
had to be broken with the way it hurt.  At the very least, it was a bad sprain or a fracture.  

As he sat on the floor, he slowly reached up and touched the side of his face.  Already, he could feel the swelling around his eye,
in his lip and cheeks.  Those men had worked him over good.

He looked down at himself, wondering just how badly he was hurt.  His abdomen looked as if it was just one massive bruise, his
ribs throbbing painfully.  The inside of his thighs were covered in blood, caused when those men had forced their way into him.  
He was hurt bad, he could see that.  He needed a doctor, or some kind of help.

His could see his clothes on the floor beside him.  He reached over and grabbed them, his hand shaking as he moved.  Oh, God,
did his body hurt.  Slowly, and carefully, he got dressed, trying not to hurt himself further.

Then he stood, his legs threatening to give out on him.  He stumbled out of the house and began the long walk home, back to
Carl’s.  He needed help, but he knew he couldn’t go to a doctor.  Carl wouldn’t like that.

By the time, he reached Carl’s building, it was nearly dawn.  It was agony, trying to stay on his feet.  But he knew he had to
keep going.  He walked down an alley, intending to go to the back entrance.  He wouldn’t let the others see him like this.

Duo knocked, leaning against the wall beside the door for support, cradling his incredibly sore arm against his body.  When Carl
opened it, Duo could see the anger in his face.  He couldn’t help but feel scared.

“What the hell happened?”  Carl demanded.

“Jack, the little punk.  There was no client.”  Duo replied, his words slurred.

“That little bastard.”  Then Carl looked to Duo.  “Well, you’re no use to me anymore.  Get out of here.”  He pushed Duo away
without a hint of regret or remorse.

Duo fell to the ground, his body screaming in pain.  He couldn’t believe that after all he’d sacrificed, that Carl would just toss
him away like he was nothing.  But then again, how would he make any money for Carl if his body was so badly damaged?  No
one would want Duo right now.

He stood and turned away from Carl’s place, as the door slammed shut.  This was it, time for him to die.  Duo’s life was now
over.  Without the drugs he would go into withdrawal soon.  And with the injuries to his body, he doubted he could survive.  In
only a few hours, he’d feel the first symptoms, and then it would only be a matter of time before he died.

He stumbled down the alley, keeping his hand on the wall so that he wouldn’t fall over.  He had to find someplace, anyplace.  He
didn’t want to die on the streets.  If he had to die, he wanted to die in a bed, in a warm house.  

Only one place came to mind, as he thought of where he could go.  One of the safe houses.  And there was one not too far from
here.  It would only take a few hours to get there.  Just in time for him to collapse from the oncoming withdrawal symptoms.  

A crash of lightning and a rumble of thunder startled him, and he had to force his body to stop shaking.  It hurt too much to
move, too much to shudder.  He had to keep calm, at least until he made it to the safe house.  

By the time he reached the safe house, he was soaked to the bone from the pouring rain.  He was shivering, unable to stop
himself.  And it wasn’t just from the cold.  The effects of withdrawal had begun.  In a little while, he’d feel a whole lot worse,
although it was hard to believe.  Duo didn’t think he could feel worse at the moment.  Every inch of his body already hurt.

He grabbed the doorknob and turned it, not bothering to check and see if anyone was inside.  He didn’t care at the moment.  All
he wanted to do was get inside so he could die quietly.

Suddenly, the door was yanked from his hand, as it was flung open.  Duo looked up, and his eyes widened in shock at the sight
of the person before him.  This was the last face he had expected to ever see again.  His heart pounded in his chest, seeing the
man he loved standing before him.  He was overcome with shame, as he looked into those beautiful blue eyes.  

“Heero?”  Duo whispered.  

He knew Heero would hate him so much for what he had done, for what had been done to him.  Then, everything quickly went
black and he felt himself falling.

“Duo?!”  He heard Heero shout, as he felt himself being caught in a pair of strong arms.  The arms he had wished so long ago to
hold him, the arms of the man he wished had loved him.  But then everything faded away, all sensation, all the pain, as he lost
consciousness.



To Be Continued . . .