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fic - kd - segue part 5 - the turnip patch
version 2.0
fic - kd - segue part 5
Series: Kyuuketsuki Duo
Title: Segue Part V

Kyuuketsuki Duo
Segue 4:5

Duo transitioned home before the dust even settled on the ground from the closing of the portal to the Dark.  The stray had been inconsequential, a threat to nothing but the flowers that were planted in the pot it had possessed, but a stray was a stray, and Duo did his job well.  In this case, however, it just wasn't necessary for him to stay and make sure all went as planned.  There was nothing for him to tie up.  Nothing could have gone wrong.  And no, the flower pot from hell will not be making a repeat appearance later in this series.  It will not come back from the Dark to bite the guardian on his posterior.  His justified negligence will not be used against him in a court of law.  It's gone.  End of its story.


Duo disinterestedly let his work clothes return to the shadows and slumped into the meditation beanbag at the foot of the bed.  As he released a mighty exhalation, blowing his bangs up, Heero glided into the room.  Even when he wasn't wearing his flowing robe and one could clearly see his feet, it still seemed as if he was gliding.  He had declined to attend the guardian on this last occasion.

"Another day, another stray," Duo pronounced with all the weight of someone who would much rather be combating things that were at least animate.  No, that is not foreshadowing.  He will not shortly have his wish granted.  Just a statement of fact.

Heero assessed the guardian carefully.  "You sound ... tired."

"Hmm?"  Duo took a moment for a personal evaluation.  "Yeah, maybe," he admitted, idly stretching his arms out.

"Perhaps you should take a short break before it begins to affect your job performance," Heero suggested.

Duo pursed his lips, considering, then shook his head.  "Nah.  I wouldn't worry about it."

Heero cocked his head to one side, almost chidingly in that one simple position.  "And why not?"

Duo smiled sweetly at him.  "Because I know you'll catch me if I fall."

He gracefully folded his legs and sat down next to Duo on the throw pillow Duo had added to the admittedly sparse decor.  Heero would say the place served its purpose without the addition.  Duo claimed that, as a home, it did not.

"How?" he inquired inquisitively.  Sometimes he questioned the guardian because he wanted to know the answers.  And on other occasions, he just wanted to see if his partner had given any thought at all to the matter.

Duo tipped himself over towards the side, and Heero automatically caught him by the shoulders to soften his descent.  From his head's new resting place in Heero's lap, Duo grinned impishly up at his guardian.  "See?"

Heero looked at him wryly, demanding a better explanation.  Duo took the time to make himself comfortable before answering the silent request.

"Do you remember that time you told me about faith?"

Heero thought that maybe he recalled a discussion about such a topic.

Duo continued to clarify.  "You told me that I had to find something and have faith in it, and that would help me get through the good times and the bad."  He pulled the cross out from beneath his light silken shirt and contemplated it as it swung gently before his eyes.

"The first thing I did was look down to my crucifix.  It was a symbol of faith for me all while I was growing up, even if I didn't really have faith in what it symbolized.  But I looked at it in the nonlight of this little corner of nowhere, and all I could think of was how it seemed so lifeless and dull.  Just a tarnished chunk of metal.  And then I thought about it.  I thought about what there was here in this place that glittered with an inner light, sparkled with vibrant energy, filled me with strength... and all I could think of were your eyes.  Your brilliant, beautiful, bottomless, bright blue eyes."

Duo's gaze shifted from the cross as he set it back down carefully, and his eyes met Heero's.

"You'd only seen my eyes once at that point, if I remember correctly," Heero pointed out.

Duo shrugged slightly.  "Yeah.  And?  I still remembered them.  And if I still remembered them even after only seeing them once, under the light of the stars, on a lonely, windswept beach, that should tell you something.  Anyway, that's why I have faith in you."

They each remained like that, trapped in their own quiet contemplations for some peaceful amount of time.

"You've been thinking a lot," Heero stated after a while.

Duo's eyebrow raised.  "Since when is that a crime?  I thought you wanted me to think more."

"You've been thinking a lot about the same thing for a while now, and it's bothering you," Heero expanded.

Duo knew he didn't have to answer if he didn't want to.  Heero hadn't asked him directly.  It was his way of saying that he was willing to listen, if Duo needed someone to talk to, and that he wanted to know what was bothering him, but if he wasn't ready, then he would let the matter drop.  For now, at least.  He hadn't let it drop after the initial attempt at evasion, so Duo knew that sooner or later, he'd have to 'fess up, if he didn't resolve it himself some time soon.  He sighed, toying with the end of his braid as Heero waited patiently.

Well, there was no particular reason not to tell his partner what was going on in his head.  "I'm ... having second thoughts."

"About?" Heero prompted.

"About... that boy."

Heero's mind shuffled chronologically through their recent cases, looking for references to boys that might be bothersome.  "Shinma Koneteki?  That orphan?"

Duo wasn't surprised Heero deduced it on his own.  Heero had a habit of being able to read him well.  "Yes.  That orphan."

When he seemed to drift off into internal contemplation, Heero's voice brought him back to the conversation.  "What about him?"

Duo sighed again.  He'd been thinking about this for some time, as Heero had observed, and unfortunately the question didn't seem to have any concrete answer that he could arrive at.  "I'm thinking that maybe I shouldn't have done what I did.  I shouldn't have taken his blood."

"You shouldn't have helped him forget, you mean?"  Heero read between the lines to find the real issue.  The taking of the boy's blood, by itself, had no real consequence, because he had not meant it to.  He had, however, given the boy a taste of blissful oblivion to help erase the child's troubled past.

One corner of Duo's lips quirked upwards slightly.  He loved talking to Heero.  There was a comfortable level of understanding between them, even when he was explaining things to Heero, that made it almost too easy sometimes, although he would never give it up.  But then he remembered what they were talking about, and he sombered again.  For a long time, he didn't answer.

"I grew up with all that.  All the emotional baggage and stuff.  It was through a haze, thanks to the whatever it was my parents did, but it was still very much a part of my life.  It made me into what I am.  What I was.  Whatever.  Even with getting an old/new personality, that was the stuff that formed its basis."  He was referring to the night the Shinma had broken the seal on his true self and exposed his hidden nature.  The elements of himself that had been buried merely came to light that night.  They didn't just automatically take the place of whatever was already there.  That night, he was simply made aware of it, and he had spent the next several months gradually assimilating it all into the personality that had formed through his experiences until there emerged his current, new and whole personality.

"You think it will stunt his emotional growth," Heero stated.

He shook his head.  "Yes and no.  It's more than that.  It's... Whomever he becomes, it won't ever really be him.  All that stuff made me stronger, or something, for having to deal with it.  But I, I just helped him run away from all of it.  But avoiding it isn't a good solution.  I'm thinking I wouldn't be who I am today if I had just forgotten all that stuff.  And I'm thinking I may have done him a great disservice."

"He agreed to it."

"He was just a boy, Heero.  He had no idea what he was agreeing to.... I didn't even realize what he was agreeing to."

Heero mulled over the dilemma for a moment before shrugging philosophically.  "You can dwell on it all you like, Duo, but it won't change a thing.  Done is done.  No use worrying about it now that you can't do anything about it."

Duo sat up, adjusting himself properly in his seat once more.  "I'm not just going to forget about it, Heero.  I know I can't undo what I did.  It's too late for him.  But thinking about it now will maybe help me in the future, if I ever have to make such a decision again."

Heero nodded once in acknowledgment of the point.  "Don't lose too much sleep over it," he advised.  "You've got time."

Duo heaved a sigh, and tipped himself over again to lean against Heero's arm, his head falling to rest on Heero's shoulder.  "Yeah.  Time.  Got lots and lots of time."

"Well, whatever decision you come to, it will be the right one for you."  Heero made the encouragement a statement of fact, not a statement of belief, because he was sure of it.  The decision and the deciding process would be uniquely Duo's, and the final conclusion, although he might hit a few sketchy temporary conclusions along the way, would be the right one.  "Just do as your gut tells you."

"That's what got me into this mess."

"That's because you didn't stop to think about it before you did it."

"Doesn't that defy the point of doing as your gut tells you?"

Heero shrugged with the shoulder currently unoccupied by Duo's head.  "Fools rush in and act without thought.  You should make sure your gut is telling you something that you can firmly believe in.  You should make sure that what your gut tells you is at least remotely feasible before acting upon it."

Duo lifted his head briefly and looked at Heero with a small amount of incredulity.  "And that makes sense to you?  You don't see any contradiction in that whatsoever?"

His companion considered it briefly.  "It makes perfect sense to me," he affirmed.  "In this sort of situation, your emotions will usually inform you of what end it would like achieved.  Often reason will provide the most successful path to that end."

Duo opened his mouth to argue the point further, then changed his mind.  It wouldn't change anything.  Heero had a peculiar way of thinking.  If it made sense to him, then it made sense to him.  Duo wished sometimes that he had such clarity of thought.  It left little room for the doubts and worries that often plagued him.

"How can you be so sure?  That I'll make the right decision.  I don't think I made the right decision last time," he pointed out.

"Your gut response, your emotions told you to help that boy so that he wouldn't suffer as much.  You just chose the wrong way to go about that.  So you made a mistake.  Learn from it and move on.  You'll get it right eventually."  He was so calm when he said that that Duo knew he absolutely believed that that was possible.

"But why do you think so?" Duo insisted on asking.  Heero got to ask questions all the time.  It was only fair that Duo got to, too.  Where on earth had Heero acquired such a philosophy?  Not just in this matter, but in so many things.  It seemed too well developed for him not to have spent a decent amount of time dwelling on it before, yet seemed so completely appropriate for Heero that it must have been something he came to on his own, rather than having had it taught to him.

Heero smirked very slightly at the guardian.  "Because I have faith in you," he responded dryly.

The braided youth (or at least we'll continue to call him a youth because he looks like one) made a depressed, impolite sound.  "I don't think I deserve your faith," he said rather absently, the statement just slipping out before he had given it much thought.

Heero's eyes narrowed at the statement of lack of faith in himself.  "You deserve everything I have to give you and more," he instantly shot back.  On the one hand, he was glad Duo doubted himself sometimes.  The boy never wanted to hurt or offend others, so he put others' opinions and desires ahead of his own and always worried if he was doing right.  The former Shinma warrior had never met anyone else who did.  The others had always been so arrogantly sure of themselves.  It had always grated on his nerves.  Heero himself was sure of himself, but that was because he knew what he was doing.  It was a confidence born from competence, not ignorance or lack of concern for the consequences.  On the other hand, Duo's rather human self-doubt could get very irritating on occasion.

Duo looked back at his companion strangely, now sitting upright once more, but turned enough to face him.  "How can you think that?" he asked, more out of curiosity than anything else.  It wasn't really that he had low self-esteem, it was just....  When you see enough things that aren't there, and hear enough things that only you can hear, you start having trouble believing much of anything, especially your own perceptions.  But that was what Heero was for.  A long long time ago, he had decided to believe him, and that hadn't changed.

Heero thought about it a moment.  He hadn't really given much consideration to the retort, although he typically chose his words with care.  It had just seemed the most natural thing to say.  A moment's reasoning gave him the answer, however, and he chose to approach that answer obliquely.  "I've been thinking about something for a while, too."

"Oh?"  Duo knew Heero wouldn't speak idly of matters completely unrelated to his question.  He would get to the answer in his own good time.

"You."  Heero turned his head and his piercing gaze pinned Duo to his spot.  He couldn't help but feel targeted somehow.

Duo swallowed.  "Do tell."  He wasn't quite apprehensive, but he had the definite feeling that Heero was about to reveal something momentous.

"You mean a lot to me," Heero said.  His voice was calm and analytical, but in his eyes burnt a prussian flame that stole the breath from Duo's voice and prevented him from interrupting.  "I was wondering why."  Heero made a sharp sound somewhere between a brief chuckle and a snort.  "Then I stopped that.  It was very unproductive."

A small smile couldn't help but rise to Duo's lips.  That was a very Heero thing to say, and suddenly he found himself very calm as well, with a hint of curious expectation as he waited for Heero to finish.  It was not unlike the night they had first met, when he had first seen a shrouded figure approaching him from the sea.  The clarity was beautiful, and almost unavoidable beneath the liberating burden of Heero's eyes.  Oh, how he loved those eyes.  How could he ever think to squirm beneath their intensity?  It was as if their light seared all in its burning path, consuming everything unimportant and leaving only purified essence behind.

"So I began deliberation on what makes you so special.  What there is about you that sets you apart from all others.  I want to protect you, and shield you from harm, but I've protected others before, for no reason pertaining to any mission or the like.  You've done things for me that no one else has ever done, but that's entirely you.  It has nothing to do with me."

Well, Duo had some doubts about the complete semantic truth behind the statement, but he knew what Heero meant.  It wasn't that Duo's own actions meant nothing to him.  Heero just happened to be a very strong believer in the self, that nothing outside of oneself could truly affect oneself unless one internalized it somehow.  Duo's deeds, by themselves, did not explain Heero's emotions.

"I would give my life for you, but I've been willing to die for others and other causes before.  I enjoy being with you, but there have been others whose company I have found pleasing.  I think about you a lot, often at inappropriate or irrelevant times, but there have been other beings, other things that I have found equally distracting at times."

If Heero kept this up, Duo was going to feel very unspecial very shortly, but he had learnt that waiting Heero out usually had its reward.

"But in the end, it all came back to that kiss.  A meaningless act, in and of itself.  You aren't the only one to have kissed me, not even the only one to have done so without any malicious or selfish intent.  But the meaningless act can be given meaning."

Duo remained sedately transfixed as Heero leaned in and brushed his lips fleetingly against Duo's own.  The former hunter's face did not stray far as he set his forehead against Duo's and continued.

::What sets you apart from all of the rest, Duo, is that I would give you all my vulnerability, as I have done for no other.  I would entrust it all to you, knowing that you would not exploit it, and not caring if you did.::  He had slipped into mindspeech unintentionally, but the intensity of the moment and the intimacy of the thought seemed to call for it.  There were things that he could not express with words alone.

Duo tried to absorb everything in the layered thought.  ::I'm not sure I understand that completely.::  He responded in mindspeech as well, feeling the strength of Heero's mind in contact with his own tingle down to his toes.

The impersonal analysis of just moments prior was rendered absolutely nothing compared to the baring of self that followed.  He was hard pressed to begin to wonder how Heero could ever conceal his depths so completely on the outside, before he was quite swept away by and into it all.

Heero had lowered all his shields for him, and the vista given to him was breathtaking.  He could see the overwhelming ... love?  No, it defied being encased in so simple, so inadequate a word, but it permeated everything.  He could see the warrior lurking in the corner, not shut away and festering, nor dominant and controlling, simply there, to provide analytical commentary.  He could see the human, the basis beneath it all.  He could see the experiences, stratum after stratum that had shaped him, and he knew he was invited to pillage it all, to divine his every weakness, to plunder and steal all of its deepest secrets and innermost thoughts.

But how could he ever do that?  The thought of taking advantage of anyone like this, especially Heero, especially when it was so freely and unconditionally offered up, it all was completely repugnant.  He was trembling, physically, but he was barely aware of his body now.  He could hardly be worthy --

::No more thoughts of worthiness.::  A delicate caress across his thoughts swept over him, like a mental finger to his lips to silence him softly, like a summer's sunbeam to embrace him and wrap him in warm security, a deep, rich blue heat with shiny silver trimmings.  ::I have judged you worthy.  That is enough.::

Thought, emotion, response assaulted him all at once.  How could he show Heero what it all meant to him, what Heero meant to him?  What better way than to *show* him.  He answered in kind, his own emotions unable to allow him to do otherwise, and stripped away his own barriers until he, too, lay naked and exposed before the other, with all his faults, all his flaws, all his everything laid bare.

And for several blinding, burning moments that lasted a small eternity, they were one, their souls mingling in a terrifyingly perfect union.

With a reluctant effort, he untangled himself.  Very gently, he took a mental hold of Heero's innermost shields, and pulled them closed once more, covering Heero's core with an awed reverence.  Only when it was safely veiled once more did he shutter his own, and he continued to work his way up through the layers, only brushing ever so slightly against the surface of each as he did, and Heero began to do the same, until they were at the threshold between the outer thoughts and the inner self, still together in heart and mind and soul, but separate.

Dimly, he noticed he was still shuddering.  The trust which had been granted him, the absolute power over another, it was frightening, exhilarating, overwhelming.... He knew without looking, for sometime during the exchange his eyes had unsurprisingly slid shut, he knew without feeling it through his skin and nerves, he knew without hearing Heero's breathless breathing, he knew, *knew*, that Heero was as shaken as he.  Simultaneously, they each reached out to steady the other, physically, emotionally, mentally, and they clung until the tremors stopped and all that was left was a gentle, all-consuming joyous wonder, and slowly, shyly, they began to explore one another.

It was somehow agreed, without thought and without words, that the level of sharing they were at now was more than enough.  Everything deeper had been given freely, and although they had not drunk from that cup, it was more than enough to know that it had been offered, and truly, it was more than they could have handled.  There was plenty to experience where they were right now.

At some point, their bodies began to echo the movements of their souls, and each knew as it happened what reaction every touch, both mental and physical, elicited, and soon, they were joined as one on all their levels of being, each action swiftly responded to in perfect harmony that soothed away all the aches and pains of the past and the present in a single, fluid dance.

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