Disclaimers:  I still own nothing.

Author’s notes:  We’re getting close to the end.  Enjoy.  



Painful Memories
Part 8



Relena stepped out of the limo, and looked up at the house before her.  So this was where Heero had been for over a week,
Relena thought to herself.  

In truth, she hadn’t seen Heero for months, not since Duo’s disappearance.  There had been no calls to her from him, nothing.  
Sally had called her yesterday, that’s how she had found out what was going on, that Duo had been found about a week ago.  
And when Relena had heard about his condition, she had shuddered violently, hoping Duo would pull through somehow.

She just wished that Heero would have told her himself.  Of course, she knew that Heero had never really loved her.  She had
tried to deny it for so long, wishing that he’d learn to love her.  But it just wasn’t working out that way.  He’d let her hang off
his arm, let her give him quick kisses.  But Heero obviously loved Duo more than he could ever love her.

Relena walked to the front door and knocked, holding tightly to the package that she carried so carefully in her arms.  It was a
gift for Duo, something he might need to get through this horrible situation.  It had helped her through some dark days, nothing
to compare with Duo’s troubles, but maybe it would help him somewhat.

Sally answered the door.  “Relena, what are you doing here?”

“I have to see Heero.  And I have a gift for Duo, something to make him feel better.  How is he doing?”

Sally sighed, as Relena entered the house, and she shut the door.  “His wounds are healing fine.  His drug addiction is wearing
off, slowly.  But his emotional state seems to be deteriorating.  Quatre says that the self-hatred he picks up on, whenever he’s in
the room with Duo, is getting worse.  Duo just isn’t getting better.  And frankly, I don’t know what to do anymore.”  

“And Heero?”  Relena asked, hoping she didn’t sound too selfish.

Sally looked away for a moment.  “Actually, not well.  He’s not sleeping or eating properly.  And the others are no better.  
Quatre is having a tough time dealing with all of this, feeling everyone’s mixed-up emotions and it’s slowly wearing down his
health.  Trowa knows something and it’s tearing him up inside because he promised Duo he wouldn’t tell.  And I know it
sounds crazy, but I think even Wufei is upset by Duo’s condition.”

Sally went on to continue to talk about Duo’s health.  Relena found out that Duo had been in restraints up until yesterday, when
he finally showed signs of improvement.  He was still weak, but now he could get around on his own.  Sally still had someone in
the room with him at all times, but at least he could feed himself.  And that was good for him.  Sally said that she had hoped it
would boost his morale a little now that they weren’t treating him like an invalid, but it wasn’t working.  He just never got up.  
Always laying there, staring at the wall beside his bed.

“Where is Heero?  I really need to see him.”  Relena asked, interrupting Sally while she was talking about what else had
happened in the past week, while Duo had been recovering.

“Upstairs.  First door on the left, directly across from Duo’s room.”  Sally said, gesturing toward the staircase.

Relena didn’t wait to hear any more.  She walked upstairs and knocked on Heero’s door.  No one answered, so she knocked
again.  

“Go away.”  Came the answer from inside the room.

Relena wasn’t about to listen to that.  She had come all the way out here and she wasn’t leaving before she told him what she
came to say.  She opened the door and walked in, ignoring Heero’s statement.  She closed the door behind her.

Heero was sitting at a desk, his back to the door.  Relena could hear the typing and knew he was doing something on his
laptop.   She could see a bunch of papers scattered across the floor, but didn’t give any of them a second glance.  She was only
concerned with Heero, not the mess he had made of his room.

“Go away.”  He repeated, without turning to look at the door or who stood in front of it.

“I won’t.”  Relena replied.

He spun around in his seat.  Relena could see the dark circles under his eyes.  He looked tired, and his skin was so pale.

“Relena?”  He gasped.

She stepped closer to him, as he stood.  “What are you working on?  Or do I not want to know?”

“I’m trying to find the bastard that hurt Duo.”  He said, surprisingly showing emotion.  She had never seen him so angry, his
eyes burning with rage.  

It was so strange to see him finally showing emotion.  All that time she had spent with him, she had hoped she’d be the one to
bring his emotions out.  But she hadn’t.  It seemed that Duo had succeeded where she had failed.  Even if he hadn't done it on
purpose.

“I need to talk to you, Heero.”  She stated, getting back to the reason for why she was there.

“About what?”

“Us.”  She replied.  

He didn’t reply, so Relena continued.  “It’s just not working out.  I mean, you excited me in ways I never dreamed.  You gave
me a sense of danger.  I know now that it was just a case of . . .”  She paused to stop herself from smirking at her next choice
of words,  “a case of hero worship.  It would never really work between us, and I’ve just been fooling myself thinking
otherwise.”

His only reaction was to blink.  But she hadn’t really expected anything more.  He hadn’t been serious with her.  She knew his
heart lay elsewhere, that he was in love with Duo.  Relena had to break up with Heero, so that he wouldn’t have to do it
himself.  She could at least spare him that awkward experience.

“What’s in the box?”  Heero asked, to Relena’s surprise.

She smiled.  “A gift for Duo.”  She replied.  “I don’t need it anymore.  I thought he could use it now.”

Heero turned away.  He sat again, and resumed typing on his laptop.  Obviously, he was finished talking with her.

Relena turned and walked back to the door, knowing that there would be no point in trying to continue a conversation with
Heero.  He was done, he would just ignore her.  She knew that from experience.

She quickly crossed to the other side of the hall and entered Duo’s room.  Of course she knocked first, she didn’t want to be
rude.  But since Duo didn’t answer, she just opened the door and walked in.

Relena saw him lying on the bed, just as Sally had told her.  He was just staring at the wall, not even turning when she entered
the room.  She could see all the bruises, although many of them were fading.  They must have been awful looking a week ago
when they were still fresh.

“Relena?”  A voice said, startling her.

She placed her hand against her chest, trying to stop her heart from jumping as she turned to the source of the voice.  Trowa
was sitting in a chair near the door.

“Trowa, you startled me.”  She said, taking her hand away from her heart.

“I apologize.  What are you doing here?”  He asked, as he rose from his seat.

“I came to talk to Heero, and to see Duo.”  She replied, taking a glance at Duo who still stared at the wall.

“Well, I’ll leave you two alone then.  If you need me, I’ll be outside.”  He said, his face as calm as she remembered, although his
eyes seemed different.  If she wasn’t mistaken, she thought she had seen sorrow in his beautiful green eyes.

“Thank you.”  Relena said, as Trowa exited the room.  She watched as he shut the door behind him, then she turned her
attention back to Duo.

“Duo?”  She said, stepping over to the bed.

“What do you want?”  Duo asked, his voice bitter.  “Come here to gloat or something?”

“What are you talking about?”  She asked, raising an eyebrow in confusion.

Duo turned to face her, “I know you’ve never liked me.  Why else would you be here, but to gloat, to see me in pain?”

“Duo that’s not true.  I know we’ve never gotten along well, but I would never enjoy seeing you in pain.”  Relena replied,
forcing herself to keep her hands to herself.  She knew Duo wouldn’t want her to touch him.  

“Yeah, right.”  Duo sneered.

Relena held out the box she had carefully wrapped herself.  Might as well give it to him now, she thought.  “Here.”  She said.

Duo narrowed his gaze, eyeing her carefully, as if he didn’t trust her.  “What’s this?”

“A present.”  Relena replied, placing a kind smile on her face.

Duo took the package, hesitantly.  He slowly opened it.  This was not how she remembered him opening gifts.  Relena had
thrown a Christmas party once, and she remembered how Duo tore through the wrapping paper of each of his presents.  He had
been excited that he had received any gifts, even if some of them had been from her.  But now, he didn't look like he wanted it,
like he didn’t truly care about it.

He casually tossed the wrapping paper aside, then opened the box.  His brow furrowed as he pulled out what was inside.  It was
a teddy bear with a red bow tied around its neck, the same bear that Heero had given to Relena on one of her birthdays.

“A bear?”  He huffed, glaring up at Relena.

“Heero gave it to me.  I don’t need it anymore, I thought you could find some use for it.”  Relena said, taking the box from Duo
and picking up the wrapping paper he had dropped on the floor.

Duo dropped the bear on the bed beside him, as if it were nothing.  “Goodbye.”  He said.  Then he turned back to the wall, once
again ignoring Relena.

“Good bye.”  Relena replied.

She turned and left, knowing that Duo didn’t want to talk to her, didn’t want to see her.  He just wanted to be alone.  It was
obvious that he was in pain, not just physically.  She could only hope that he would get over this someday.

“I take it things didn’t go as well as you had hoped.”  Trowa commented as Relena exited the room.

“I don’t blame him for being angry.  Not after what he’s been through.  I just hope he gets better someday.”

“As do I.”  Trowa replied, casting his gaze downward.

Relena noticed his sad expression.  “Are you okay?”  She asked, seeing that something was wrong.

“It’s Quatre.”  He replied, although he seemed reluctant to talk.

Relena placed a hand on his shoulder.  “Sally told me he wasn’t doing well.”

“He can’t take all the pain.  He’s sensing too much suffering.  Every day he just gets worse, weaker, because this whole mess is
just wearing him down.”  Trowa said, still keeping his eyes on the floor.

“Why don’t you take him away from here?  I’m sure that would help.”

Trowa looked up at her.  “I can’t leave Duo.  I’m the only one who knows his secrets.  What if he wants to talk and I’m not
here?  He might do something drastic.”

“I see your point.”  Relena agreed.  “But if Quatre’s health keeps getting worse, he’ll have to be taken from here.”

“I know he can’t stay.  But I can’t leave Duo.  I just don’t know what to do.”  Trowa whispered.

Relena could see his pain.  It must be so hard for him to admit this, that he was torn between the man he loved and the friend
that needed his help.  “I’m sure you’ll come to a decision when you have to.”  Relena said.

Trowa stepped past her, her hand falling from his shoulder as he moved.  “Thank you, Relena.”  He said, his back to her, as he
opened the door.

“For what?”

“For being kind enough to listen to my problems.”  He said as he stepped into Duo’s room and closed the door behind him, not
giving Relena a chance to reply.

Relena left the safe house, satisfied that she had done all she had come to do.  She had talked to Heero and Duo.  And that was
all she had truly come to do.  The fact that Trowa had spoken with her was just an added bonus.  There was nothing else
remaining, so she left, knowing that Duo and the other pilots would have to get through this on their own.


*****


Trowa opened his eyes to the strange sounds disturbing his sleep.  He turned his head, looking at the angel that slept beside him.  
Quatre was tossing and turning in his sleep, like every night for the past week.  Trowa was concerned.  It was obvious that this
whole mess was affecting Quatre.  His health was getting worse and worse.  

Abruptly, Quatre sat up and began talking in his sleep.  “Heero, he needs you now, more than ever, and you’re just turning your
back on him.”  

Trowa’s heart wrenched, hearing that even in his sleep Quatre found no peace.  The blonde was still worried about Duo and
Heero.  As Trowa watched, his angel laid back down, his body shivering as he whimpered in his sleep.

Trowa wrapped his arms around Quatre, holding tightly, wishing he could take the pain away from him.  He hated seeing Quatre
like this.  Slowly, Quatre’s whimpers faded, and Trowa drifted off to sleep.

In the morning when Trowa awoke again, Quatre was no better.  Trowa got dressed and returned to stand by the bed.  Quatre
hadn’t gotten up.  He was awake, but still remained in bed.  He just hadn’t been able to dredge up enough strength to get out of
bed that morning.

Trowa sat on the edge of the bed, looking worriedly at his love.  Poor Quatre.  His face was so pale, a sheen of sweat covering
his skin.  His breaths were ragged, and not coming to him easily.  

He was sick, and Trowa knew that it was because of the emotions going on in the safe house.  This was just tearing Quatre up
inside, all the pain and self-hatred from Duo, all the shame and guilt from Heero, the sadness from the others.  Even Trowa’s
torn emotions, the way he wished he could tell Quatre the secret he knew but not wanting to betray Duo, were a burden to the
young blonde.  Quatre was just overloaded by all the pain surrounding him.

Trowa had offered to sleep in another room, to spare Quatre some of the pain.  But Quatre wouldn’t hear of it.  He refused,
saying that he didn’t want to be alone, that he didn’t care if he felt Trowa’s pain or not, as long as he wasn’t alone.  So Trowa
stayed, wishing that he could tell Quatre the secret he knew to get rid of the torment in his own heart.  But he couldn’t betray
Duo, even though Quatre suffered because of his silence.

Trowa laid his hand against Quatre’s cheek, wishing he could do something.  He hated seeing his love like this.  Trowa couldn’t
just sit by and let this happen. But he didn’t know what to do.  

Quatre looked up at him, his eyes reflecting sadness.  “Do me a favor?”  Quatre asked, weakly.

“Anything.”  Trowa replied, knowing that whatever Quatre wanted he’d do.

“Talk to Duo.  Get him to talk to someone, anyone.  He needs to let it out, it’s killing him.”  Quatre said.

Trowa nodded, overcome with worry for his angel.  Quatre wasn’t doing well.  If his health continued to deteriorate like this,
they’d have to take him away from there.  He couldn’t be allowed to suffer like he was.

Trowa stood, reluctantly leaving Quatre’s side.  He had to do this, had to talk to Duo, no matter how much he wanted to stay by
his angel’s side.  

He went to Duo’s room, not bothering to knock.  He just walked in.  Trowa was angry, not at Duo really, but because he was
just so frustrated at not being able to tell Quatre the secret he knew.  He couldn’t stand to see Quatre in so much pain.

Wufei was sitting in a chair near the door, reading a book.  It was his turn to watch over Duo.  He looked up at Trowa, then
glanced at his watch.  “It isn’t your turn yet, not for a few hours.”  Wufei said.

“I need to talk to him.  Alone.”  Trowa replied, keeping his eyes locked on Duo.

“If you insist.”  Wufei sighed as he stood.  He left the room without another word, leaving his book on the chair.

When Trowa heard the door close shut, he walked over to Duo’s bedside.  “We need to talk.”  Trowa said, trying to keep
himself under control.

“What about?”  Duo asked, pushing himself up to a sitting position.  He winced as he moved, but didn’t make a noise at the pain
he was obviously in.

“Duo, I’m sorry, but I can’t take this anymore!  You’re keeping all this to yourself and it’s killing Quatre!”

“What?”  Duo gasped.  “What’s wrong with Quatre?”

“He feels your pain.  Have you forgotten about his empathic abilities?  He can’t take it, the secrets I’m keeping from him, the
sadness he gets from everyone in the house.  He’s sick, very sick.  He’s too weak to even get out of bed.”  Trowa replied, his
heart aching with worry.

Duo averted his gaze, “I didn’t know.”  He whispered.

Trowa took in a breath, and exhaled slowly, knowing that he had to say this.  “You’re my friend, Duo, but I won’t forgive you
if he gets any worse.  Now, either you tell Heero what happened, or I’ll do it for you!”

“I can’t!”  Duo nearly yelled.  Then he lowered his voice.  “What if it causes him to hate me more than he already does?”

Trowa couldn’t believe this.  How could Duo think that?  Trowa’s voice nearly came out as a growl as he spoke. “Who do you
think kept searching for you even after the rest of us gave up?  Who do you think is on the Internet during every waking
moment trying to find out who Carl is?  I don’t know how, but he knows something about what happened.  If Heero hates
anyone at the moment . . . he hates himself.”

Duo let out a sarcastic chuckle, then spoke, “Yeah, right.  That explains why he wasn’t here when Sally was operating on me!  
If he cared . . .”

Trowa couldn’t listen to that.  Duo didn’t know the whole truth.  Trowa grabbed Duo’s shoulders, not caring if he hurt him.  
Duo had to understand.  “Heero wasn’t in here with us because Sally had to tranquilize him to prevent him from going out and
doing something stupid while he wasn’t thinking straight.”

Trowa paused, taking in a deep breath.  He saw Duo’s confused expression and the way his eyes were clouded with fear, and
took his hands away.  He knew he shouldn’t have touched him, Duo was still afraid of being hurt.  

But Trowa continued to speak. “I’ve seen a lot of things in my life, Duo.  But that night when we got here, was the first time I
have ever seen Heero so upset that he couldn’t breathe right.  I bet if he walked in right now, you wouldn’t even know it was
him.  Just talk to him.  If not for your sake, then for his  . . . Or at the very least for Quatre’s.  He can’t take much more of
this.”

Trowa turned and walked back to the door.  As he opened it, he heard Duo say,  “I don’t know if I can.  He hates me.”

Trowa paused, his hand on the doorknob.  He closed his eyes a moment, then opened them again as he spoke.  “Either you tell
Heero, or I will.  He might surprise you.”  He left, closing the door behind him.

Wufei was standing in the hall, leaning against the wall with his arms folded over his chest.  “Done with your little talk?”  Wufei
asked.

Trowa didn’t like his bored tone.  Of course, that might be because he wasn’t in the best of moods.  “Yeah.  I’m done.”  Trowa
replied.

Wufei passed him and went back into Duo’s room, as Trowa went back to his own.  Trowa sat on the edge of the bed, just
watching Quatre as the blonde slept, hoping that Duo would be able to talk to Heero.  Maybe if they talked, some of the pain
Quatre sensed would be alleviated.  But if Quatre wasn’t better by morning, he and Trowa were leaving.  They had to.  Trowa
couldn’t just sit by and let Quatre suffer like this.


*****


Heero pushed his chair away from the desk, and rubbed his tired eyes.  He wouldn’t go to sleep, couldn’t sleep until that Carl
bastard was found and punished.

He stood, and left his room.  Outside in the hallway, he stared at the door across from his.  It was Duo’s room.  Every night he
did this.  Every night he went to Duo’s room and watched him.  Why should this night be different?

He opened the door and silently crept in.  He stood in the darkness, letting his eyes adjust.  And soon, he could see Duo.

The long-haired pilot slept, but not peacefully.  In his arms, Duo tightly clutched the stuffed bear that Heero had given to
Relena.  Must be what she brought him, Heero thought.  He looked to be in such pain, plagued by nightmares, holding on to the
bear as if it were the only thing stopping the dreams from becoming real.

He just stood there and watched as Duo tossed and turned in his sleep.  This was his fault.  Why was he such a coward?  Why
hadn’t he told Duo how he felt?  The questions circled his mind constantly, never giving him a moment of peace.

Suddenly, Duo’s eyes shot open, and he sat straight up, groaning in pain since he moved so quickly.  His eyes, already adjusted
to the darkness, locked onto Heero.

“Heero?”  He asked, as if unsure of who it was.

Heero didn’t say anything.  What could he say?  He turned and left, not wanting to burden Duo with his presence.

He walked back to his own room, and went back to his laptop, not bothering to turn on the lights.  It didn’t matter.  He didn’t
need them on.

But after a few minutes of typing, he couldn’t take it anymore.  He tried to push the frustration away.  After days of searching,
he hadn’t found anything.  Not one solid lead on who Carl was.  He had hacked into police records, had done background
checks, Internet searches, and still nothing.

Tears came to his eyes, but he couldn’t keep them away this time.  He was so incompetent.  He wasn’t even able to help Duo by
killing that bastard that had hurt him.  He couldn’t even find this Carl person.

He stood quickly, the chair flipping over at his sudden movement.  In a fit of rage, Heero grabbed his laptop and threw it across
the room.  It hit the wall hard, several keys flying off at the loud impact.

Heero slumped to the floor, his tears falling freely now.  He felt like such a weakling.  A soldier shouldn’t cry, shouldn’t be
vulnerable.  But he couldn’t stop it.  He just couldn’t hold them in any longer.  He was so tired, so he just let them fall, wishing
that he had been a stronger person all those months ago.


*****


Duo was shocked to see Heero.  He was also scared, afraid that Heero had come to hurt him.  But before he could say anything,
Heero left the room.

Well, Duo knew that he had to find out why Heero had been in his room.  He got out of bed, moving slowly so that he wouldn’t
aggravate his wounds too much.  His legs almost gave out from underneath him, he was so unused to walking.  He had spent
too much time in bed.  He was still going through withdrawal, although now the worst was over.

Duo stumbled across the room, hoping he would make it to Heero’s room.  He was already nearly out of breath, his body
sweating.  As he moved, he clutched his stomach, his ribs paining him with every step he took.

Outside Heero’s door, he stared at it for a moment, not sure if he was ready to go in.  How could he tell Heero what had
happened to him?  How would he be able to take it if Heero hated him even more?

A loud crash startled him and he grabbed the doorknob, feeling worried.  As he stepped into the room, he flipped on the light
switch, not even realizing he had done it until the lights came on.

The sight before him, shocked him.  Heero was kneeling on the floor, tears streaming down his cheeks.  There were papers
lying all over the floor around him.  Police reports, background checks.  A chair was overturned and a completely smashed
laptop lay on the floor beside one of the walls.

“Heero?”  He whispered.

“I’m so sorry Duo.  I should have gone after you.  This never would have happened if I had stopped you.  You wouldn’t be hurt
. . .”  Heero said, turning his head away from Duo.  His words drifted off as his body shook.

Duo couldn’t believe his eyes or ears.  Heero Yuy was actually crying and apologizing.  This was so unlike Heero.  But Heero
shouldn’t be the one apologizing.  Duo should.  

He walked over and knelt down next to Heero.  But as much as he wanted to, he couldn’t bring himself to touch him.  He was
still so scared.  “No, I should apologize.  I should never have told you how I felt.  I should have known you didn’t love me.”  
Duo said, his own tears threatening to come forward.

Heero turned to him, and that terrible fear overwhelmed Duo again.  Maybe Heero was angry with him, maybe he would hit
him.  He shrank back, his body trembling under Heero’s gaze.

Heero grasped his shoulders, gently.  “Duo, don’t you dare blame yourself for being honest.  You should always follow your
feelings.”

Duo looked up, looking into Heero’s eyes for the first time since he had awakened that night he had arrived at the safe house.  
He saw compassion in those Prussian blue orbs, he saw sadness.  

He threw his arms around Heero, unable to stop himself.  He just wanted to be held, wanted to stop being afraid of human
contact.  Duo let himself cry onto Heero, hoping that Heero wouldn’t push him away, that he wouldn’t be angry with this show
of weakness.

Heero didn’t push him away.  He slowly wrapped his arms around Duo, holding him gently.  After sitting that way for a few
minutes, Heero stood, helping Duo up along with him.

Duo pulled away from him, worried.  Heero just looked at him, his face showing remnants of the tears he had shed.  “You need
rest.”  Heero said.

But Duo could see the circles around his eyes, the paleness of his skin.  “I think you need it more than I do.”  He replied.

“I’ll help you back to your room.”  Heero said, wrapping his arm around Duo’s waist.

Duo pushed his hand away.  “No.  I don’t want to be alone anymore.”  

“What are you saying?”  

Duo could feel the tears again, the fear that still taunted him, saying that Heero would push him away.  “Please, let me stay here
tonight?”  He pleaded.

Heero nodded, then led Duo over to his bed.  As they lay down together, Heero carefully wrapped his arms around Duo, as if he
were afraid of hurting him.  Duo couldn’t help but sigh, being in the place he had dreamed of for so long, wrapped in Heero’s
arms.

“And here I thought you hated me.”  Duo mumbled, as he lay his head against Heero’s chest.

“I can’t hate you.  I could never hate you.”  Heero yawned, as his obvious exhaustion overtook him.  “I love you too much to
hate you.”

Duo blinked, not believing what he had heard.  “Heero?”

The only reply he got was a light snore, as Heero snuggled closer to him, enveloping Duo in his strong arms.

Duo pushed his hopes aside.  Heero had been nearly asleep when he said that.  He didn’t love him, it was the exhaustion talking.  
If he had been wide awake, Heero never would have said that.

Duo closed his eyes, and let himself drift off to sleep, listening to the sounds of Heero’s breathing and the beating of his heart.  
Even if Heero didn’t love him, he would treasure this night as the only night he was allowed to get this close to Heero, to be so
close to the man he loved.



To Be Continued . . .