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Dreams will tell

Gundam Wing [NC-14]

Pairing: 1x2

[angst][sap] [englisch!!]

Inhalt:
Heero träumt immer wieder den selben Traum. Doch was wenn es gar kein Traum ist? 

Beta-Dank:
Betadank natürlich wie immer an Laren, und diesmal auch noch an Sade Kline die meine englische Grammatik und Rechtschreibung überprüft hat. 



Dreams will tell


Slowly Heero opened his eyes, the ghost of a smile still lingering on his lips. It had been The Dream again. And just like each time before it had managed to calm him.

Heero shifted a little on the small cot and cast a quick glance at the clock that stood on the bedside table. Still ten minutes till he had to get up, just as he had expected. He usually woke ten minutes before the alarm went off, but that was how Heero liked it, especially when he had had The Dream. Then he could simply lay there and savor the memory of it.

And he needed to have these quiet moments to himself, especially today. In only ten minutes he would have to get up and start his very first mission, the mission he had been training for since - well forever. In only ten minutes he would have to get up and get into his Gundam, head for Earth, and, hopefully, accomplish the only reason for his very existence.

Or so Heero thought. Dr. J had never said that, but then J hardly ever said anything that wasn't mission related to Heero. Not that Heero blamed him for that. He supposed that J had done a fairly reasonable job of raising him, considering that the old man knew nothing whatsoever about handling children. Ever since he had taken Heero in, he had treated him like another adult, albeit a rather small one. He had taught him everything Heero needed to know in order to be able to accomplish his upcoming mission.

And Heero was grateful for that; J had given him everything he had needed - except affection. Heero couldn't remember if he had had loving parents or someone else who had given him the love and care a child needed before he had come to live with J. He could, however, remember that, during the first few months with J, he had yearned for at least a small amount of affection from the older man.

But it never came. And Heero had learned to ignore his yearnings, especially after J had started to train him. According to him, emotions were just a distraction for a soldier, and Heero had wanted to please J back then to gain his respect, at least, if not his love. And, eventually, it had been completely natural for Heero to suppress every emotion; to become the perfect soldier J wanted him to be. On the outside he was exactly that - a perfect, emotionless soldier who took only orders and carried them out with maximum efficiency.

And the perfect soldier wouldn't have been only on the outside, wouldn't have been just the mask Heero wore in order to accomplish his missions if not for The Dream. The Dream had saved him from losing all of his humanity. Although Heero had buried them deep down where no one could find them, he still had emotions. He still was able to feel even if he wasn't able to show it to anyone.

In The Dream, Heero was happy. He felt never unloved, never lonely. The Dream had helped him when he had been so exhausted from his training that he could hardly move. It had comforted him when the pain had threatened to overwhelm him, when the loneliness had been so heavy he had wanted to curl up into a ball and weep until he wouldn't have left a single tear inside.

The Dream came in irregular intervals and it was always the same. Oh, some of it changed, like the surroundings or what happened in them. But one thing was always the same: the girl. She was always there, waiting for Heero. She smiled for him when no one else did, touched him when no one else dared to come close to him, held him when no one else was there to comfort him.

She was his dream-girl, and Heero loved her. Oh, he knew that she wasn't real; he knew that she was just a dream, but she was perfect and she was his. So how could he not love her? And she loved him too; she always told him so in his dreams. That was also one of the constants in The Dream, his dream-girl always telling him how much she loved him, even when they had both been just small children.

But that was alright, after all, since these were his dreams. It was only natural that his dream-girl had always been the same age as Heero. They had been children together and now they were teens together. And somehow their friendship had changed over the years and the declarations of love had become more than just comfort to a frightened child.

Heero shook his head slightly at this thought. For him his dream-girl was as real as any other person, sometimes even more so. If anyone found out about it they would surely consider him completely mad. But Heero didn't care what others thought - particularly as no one would ever learn anything about it. And he would never give up The Dream because it was the only thing that was truly his. The only thing nobody could take from him. And his dream-girl was the only person who would never betray or abandon him. She was safe.

Heero cast another glance at the clock. Still five minutes. He sighed and closed his eyes again. He was really glad he'd had The Dream tonight. He hadn't dreamt about her for over five weeks and he had almost started to worry. He had never gone that long without seeing her. But now he had dreamt about her again and this time it had been better than ever before.

The Dream had been much more sensual than usually. The Dream had always been about comfort and love but this time... Heero sighed quietly. Sometimes he wished that his dream-girl was truly real. Sometimes he wished that there was really someone who loved him like she did, someone who would hold him and whom he could hold. Someone he could trust with his life. Someone he could make love to... Heero sighed again. After all, he was a sixteen year old teenager, so it was only natural for him to think of sex, wasn't it?

But it would probably never happen and Heero knew it. In a few minutes he would have to go and he knew how low the probabilities were of him surviving the war. After all, he was a soldier and he didn't really expect to survive it. But nevertheless, he sometimes wished he was able to start a normal life after the war.

Heero shook his head again. It was no use, wishing for the impossible. He had his dream-girl and that was enough. In fact, he had still three minutes to go and he would use them wisely instead of thinking about what could never be. He closed his eyes and recalled his dream. For some reasons he was always able to remember every single detail from The Dream, something he wasn't able to do with the other dreams. Somehow it was more like a memory than dream...

The pictures came without much effort from Heero's side. Big, violet eyes, a heart-shaped face, rosy lips and long chestnut colored hair that entwined around its owner and Heero. Strong arms that wrapped around him to hold him close when those rosy lips kissed him; a smile and whispered words of love that were only for Heero. He really wished the dream would have went on a little bit further this time so that he would have been able to explore her body a little bit more thoroughly...

The alarm went off and Heero sighed. It was time to get up and get ready. Time to start Operation Meteor.

--

Heero cursed under his breath. Since his arrival on earth, everything had seemed to go downhill. First the Alliance had somehow found out about Operation Meteor and therefore caused him to crash down on earth. Then they found his Gundam, although he sank it in the ocean. And that meant that he had to destroy Wing even if he was really loathed to do so. And as if that wasn't enough, that annoying girl was following him around wherever he went. Just what was her problem? Did she have a serious deathwish or something like that?

Apparently so, because although Heero had threatened her life more than once, she had followed him even now to this military base where he was currently preparing to launch the torpedoes to destroy his Gundam. And that meant that he really had to pull through with his death threats. He really didn't want to; after all she was just an innocent civilian. But he couldn't allow her to tell anyone about him or what he was doing here.

"You're in over your head." Heero raised his gun and aimed it at the girl. She gasped, a frightened look in her eyes. Heero mentally shook his head. Finally she was frightened but it was too late. He had no other choice than to kill her. Quickly, before his determination could leave him he said, "Say goodbye, Relena."

Suddenly a shot sounded and pain exploded in Heero's right upper arm. The force of the shot threw Heero back and he fell down.

"Heero!" Relena cried, but Heero didn't really notice it. His whole attention was directed at the black-clad figure crouching down on the far side of the pier.

"Who are you?" he pressed out between clenched teeth.

"It's pretty obvious that you are the bad guy here," the other boy said, ignoring Heero's question altogether. "Are you alright, Lady?"

"Heero, are you ok?" Relena cried and rushed to Heero's side, but Heero still didn't pay attention to her. Who was this boy and how had he been able to sneak up on him? But that didn't really matter now. Heero glanced around out of the corner of his eyes quickly. Where was his gun? Ah, there.

In a sudden movement Heero jumped up from his place and reached for his gun, but apparently the other boy had foreseen this move because another shot sounded and Heero felt, again, the bite of a bullet. This time it was his right thigh and it threw him out of his path for reaching his gun.

"Don't overdo it," the strange boy warned him and came closer. "Remember, you're injured."

Heero scowled. He would not be beaten by this boy! Slowly, Heero stood up, raised his head to look at his opponent - and froze. All he could do was stare in utter disbelieve. Forgotten were his wounds, forgotten was his mission, and forgotten was the fact that he had wanted to strangle the boy only moments ago.

Violet eyes, a heart-shaped face, a long chestnut braid - in front of him, a gun aimed at his head, stood his dream-girl! Only she wasn't a girl at all! She was a boy! And she had shot him! No, HE had shot him! Heero's thoughts ran in circles. Just how could that be? Why did this boy look exactly like his dream-girl?

"Stop it!" Relena shouted and jumped in front of Heero. "What do you want to shoot him for?"

If he hadn't been so stunned by the braided boy Heero would have laughed at that. This girl, Relena, had to be absolutely crazy. The braided boy had just rescued her from getting shot by Heero and now she was protecting Heero from him? There must be something really wrong in her head.

The braided boy seemed to be equally puzzled by her actions. "Hey wait a minute!" he said. "How come I end up as the bad guy here?" He scratched his head, confused. Suddenly his watch beeped. "It's already reached the surface," the boy said to himself, looking at his watch. "Must've miscalculated the tide."

Heero followed the gaze of the braided boy, still completely stunned. When he looked out at the ocean he suddenly saw another Gundam rising from the depth - and it had his own Gundam in tow!

"What in the world is that?" Relena asked.

All of a sudden a very bright light appeared and Heero had to shield his eyes.

"Don't look, Lady," the braided boy said and Heero saw that it was him who caused the incredibly bright light. Not a bad idea, Heero had to admit. At least the boy could make sure that Relena wouldn't see the Gundam - which was more than Heero had managed.

"Now, I'm sure you've got your reasons for being here," the braided boy continued, "but you better just walk away. Save yourself a lot of grief."

Heero shook his head to pull himself out of his paralysis. He could think about why he had dreamt of this boy later - he had a mission to complete. With a quick jump he launched towards the torpedoes.

"You haven't had enough?" the braided boy shouted and shot at Heero again, but this time the bullets missed him.

Heero landed on the torpedoes and looked down at his opponent. "It's MY mobile suit!" he shouted back. And then, with a quick punch of his fist he activated the torpedoes.

--

Heero laid down his tool and cast a quick glance towards the door of the hangar. Finally, that annoying boy had left him alone. Maybe now he would be able to work on his mobile suit in peace. Maybe now he would be able to think. And he had a lot to think of.

First of all, there was the fact that, for some unknown reason, he had dreamt about that boy, all of his life as it seemed. And, although he had been thinking about it almost every second since he woke up in that military hospital, he hadn't reached an answer to this problem yet. Just how could that be possible?

Heero sighed silently and raised his tool to work on Wing again. It wasn't very likely that he would solve that problem right now. He should concentrate on repairing his Gundam and not think about Duo Maxwell all the time. Duo Maxwell: that was the name of the braided boy. His name had been almost the first thing that Duo had told him after breaking him out of the hospital - right after raving about Heero's stupid suicide act of opening his parachute too late.

And since that moment Duo had hardly stopped talking. And although Heero had pretended to ignore his chatter he had nevertheless listened to it. He had been intrigued by the boy, Heero couldn't deny it. Maybe there was a rational explanation behind his dreams. Maybe he had seen Duo sometime in the past and that's how the boy had crept into Heero's dreams?

But that still wouldn't explain why Heero had known what Duo looked like right now. If he had met him as a child then there was no way for him to know about Duo's looks as a teen. Heero sighed again.

And these weren't the only things Heero had been thinking about. Why had Duo rescued him anyway? After all, with Heero out of the way, the braided boy could have kept Wing to himself and used him for spare parts for his own mobile suit. That's what Heero would have done in his place.

But Duo had broken into the military hospital and helped him escape. And not just that, but he had also retrieved Wing from the depths of the ocean and offered to repair it. Heero didn't know if the braided boy was either a very kind person or just simply stupid.

Whatever; Heero hadn't the time to ponder over the very confusing personality of Duo Maxwell. He had a mission to complete the next morning and to do so he had to repair his mobile suit. And there was really only one way for him to finish in due time. Heero eyed Deathscythe, the other mobile suit that occupied the hangar. It was the only source for the parts Heero needed.

And still... some part of him was still reluctant to do it. It was the part that insisted on the strange fact that Duo Maxwell looked exactly like Heero's dream-girl. The part that made Heero think about it again and again. Maybe there was a meaning behind The Dream? Something like fate or destiny or...

No. Heero refused to believe in something like fate. It was nothing, just mere coincidence. He had dreamt about someone with violet eyes and long chestnut colored hair. So what? That didn't mean anything. That could have been anyone. And it certainly hadn't been Duo. After all, the person in his dream was a girl, and Duo was a boy.

And it was one thing to seize comfort from a dream and something completely different to believe that the dream really could come true. That would surely cross the line between sanity and madness and Heero wasn't ready to do it. As much as he had wished in the past for The Dream to come true sometime, he had never really believed that it would be possible. And he still didn't believe it.

Heero nodded to himself, squared his shoulders in determination and walked over to the other mobile suit. He really had no other choice. He was sure that Duo Maxwell would hate him for it, but maybe it would teach him to not be so trusting of strangers. With that thought in mind, Heero started to ransack Deathscythe for spare parts.

--

'No! No, no, no, no!' Heero shook his head repeatedly. 'No!' It simply couldn't be true! But regardless how much Heero tried to deny it, he had really done it. He had destroyed a shuttle full with innocent civilians. A shuttle full of pacifists who had been trying to do everything they could to achieve peace between Earth and the colonies. And Heero had just killed them.

Since that fatal mission, Heero had been in some kind of shock. He had returned to the school he was currently hiding in without really thinking about it. He only ran on automatic. Everything inside him was numb. Guilt ate at him, and there was a voice inside his head that screamed repeatedly that it couldn't be true. But it was.

Heero stopped his pacing and looked blindly around his tiny dorm room. There were two beds, two desks and two closets as the room actually was meant for two students. But Heero was the only occupant at the moment - he had seen to it when he had transferred to this school. Heero leant against the wall beside his bed and slid down to the floor.

Worst of all, Heero had known what would happen. He had known it but he hadn't believed it. It had been one of those damned dreams. Ever since he had met Duo Maxwell his dreams had intensified. Not only was he dreaming more often now, but their contents were different too. He had still The Dream about Duo - and after all what had happened Heero had to acknowledge that he had indeed been dreaming about Duo - but in addition he now dreamt about other events too.

It had started small. People Heero thought he had already seen somewhere else, although he had met them just then. Feelings of déjà vu. And then he had remembered the first of his new dreams - what was really odd, because other than The Dream he had never remembered any of his dreams. Not even the nightmares. And when the content of his dream had really occurred the following day, Heero had been more than surprised. But he had shrugged it off as coincidence.

But the dreams had kept on coming. Mostly they were really vague - sometimes just a feeling that something good or something bad would happen. But Heero still hadn't believed it. After all, should he really simply accept that he somehow could predict the future? That sounded too much like science fiction or fantasy - and it was way beyond Heero's view of life. There was a logical explanation for everything, and something like - like 'prophecy' was simply impossible.

And so Heero had ignored these dreams and had kept on accomplishing his missions as always. And then he had dreamt last night. The dream hadn't been very clear, but when Heero had woken he had had the intense feeling that he should stay in the dorm room today. That he shouldn't go after the shuttle, regardless of what his information said. That it would be wrong to destroy it.

But Heero had ignored the warning and had simply done what he was told to do, as always. He had gone and destroyed the shuttle, thinking that he would destroy most of the leaders of the Alliance. But it had been a trap, a trap he had fallen into like a fool. And now he had not only killed innocent people - something Heero never had been able to shrug off cold-bloodedly - no, he had also destroyed possibly the only hope for peace between Earth and the colonies!

Heero closed his eyes in agony and banged his head against the wall that was against his back. Why? Why hadn't he listened to his dreams? Why hadn't he listened to himself? All the evidence had been there, but Heero had preferred to ignore it. Somehow he WAS able to see into the future. Why hadn't he embraced this gift and used it to his advantage? A gift like that could only be useful for his missions, and Heero never ignored something that could be useful for the mission. So why had he ignored it this time?

Heero sighed and opened his eyes again. He knew why he had denied it for so long. It was because of Duo. For when he accepted that his dreams could show him the future then he had to accept that The Dream must be true too. And that would mean that he had really dreamt about Duo all of his life. And Heero hadn't been ready to do that.

But now he had no other choice than to accept it - because innocent people had died due to his denial. And he couldn't allow that to happen again. He had enough nightmares, enough ghosts as it was, and he didn't need to add to them by killing civilians.

Heero tried to calm his breathing. No. He had to stop thinking about it. What was done was done and he couldn't change it. He had to live with the guilt, but he couldn't let it interfere with his performance. And he had to learn from this mistake. He had to make sure that he was absolutely right about his dreams. He had to be sure that he could rely on them.

Heero frowned and tried to remember each of the dreams. Had they always been correct? Had they always predicted the following events precisely? Or had there been differences between the dreams and the events they showed? Heero shook his head again. He hadn't had enough of those dreams to truly analyze them.

But that wasn't really true, was it? There was one dream he had had often enough to analyze it. After all, he'd had The Dream all of his life, and that should be enough to come to a conclusion.

Heero grimaced. He would rather NOT think about The Dream and Duo Maxwell. But he really had no other choice. And so Heero tried to recall every one of Those Dreams. Well, one thing was for sure, he had been pretty exact with the looks of Duo. After all, he had recognized him at once. But what about the fact that he had dreamt about a girl and Duo had turned out to be a boy? That fact had definitely turned out to be wrong.

But had it really been wrong? Heero frowned in concentration. Had there really ever been any evidence that his dream-girl was really a girl or had he just assumed it? Heero gasped when realization hit him. There never had been any evidence! When they still had been children no one would have been able to tell if the child with the long chestnut hair was a girl or a boy. Most children at that age looked and sounded like either gender. And Heero had been a child himself; how could he have been able to tell the difference? He had always thought it to be a girl because 'she' had long hair.

And later he hadn't thought about 'her' gender at all. There had been still the long hair, which grew even longer with each dream, and during the last years Heero hadn't even heard 'her' voice. Because if his dream-girl had talked with Duo's voice Heero would never been mislead in thinking him to be a girl.

But during the last three years 'she' had only whispered to Heero. And Heero had never seen 'her' without clothes - only felt sometimes, and those more erotic dreams were still so new and few that Heero couldn't say if he ever had felt something like breasts. Heero blushed at that thought. So he could say that his dreams were true with reasonable certainty.

But it wasn't enough. He had to be sure at least one hundred per cent. But how should he manage that? There had to be information about his gift somewhere. Maybe it was the result of something J had done to him? Maybe he should simply ask him. But before Heero could come to a decision, the door to his room suddenly opened and one of the prefects entered.

"... it seems that your roommate isn't here right now but you can - oh," the prefect said when he saw Heero sitting on the floor beside his bed. "So you're here after all. Why didn't you answer when I knocked?" He frowned when Heero didn't answer and instead stayed sitting on the floor. "Is everything alright, Heero?"

Heero nodded once. He hadn't heard the knock and he definitely wasn't in the mood to speak right now. He just wanted the prefect - he didn't even remember his name - to go away again... Wait a minute. Hadn't the prefect said something about a roommate? But that was impossible since Heero had modified the school system so it wouldn't be able to put another student with him into his room.

"Anyway, you have a new roommate," the prefect said to Heero and looked over his shoulder. "Come in, he's here after all."

"Great," a cheery, only too familiar voice answered and then Duo Maxwell entered the room. He waved at Heero who could only blink at him surprised and said, "Hiya, I'm Duo Maxwell. You must be Heero. Nice to meet ya."

Heero didn't even notice that the prefect left the room again, all he could think about was Duo. What was Duo doing here? How had he found him? And more important, WHY had he found him? And how had he managed to get assigned into Heero's room? Heero narrowed his eyes slightly.

Meanwhile Duo seemed to be completely oblivious to Heero's silent observation of him. He chattered cheerfully about the school, the students he had already met, the headmaster, sports and so on while he unpacked his things, as if he really was just a normal student with no greater problems than his grades. If Heero hadn't known better, he never would have guessed that Duo Maxwell of all people could be a Gundam pilot.

"Heero? What's wrong?" Duo suddenly asked.

"Hn," Heero said, still sitting on the floor beside his bed. He still wasn't in the mood for a conversation. And why did Duo think that something was wrong? Well, not that there wasn't, but how had Duo guessed it? As soon as the door had opened Heero had put on his emotionless mask again.

"You're not your usual monosyllable self," Duo answered as if he had read Heero's thoughts. "Well, not that you've spoken more than usual, or less - I don't think that's even possible - but somehow your silence is different."

"I'm alright," Heero said monotonous. "Why shouldn't I be?"

"Are you sure?" Duo inclined his head and looked at Heero questioningly. "I know what happened today, Heero. If you want to speak about it -"

"No," Heero said coldly and stood up from his place on the floor. Duo jerked at Heero's abrupt motion and looked at him startled. Heero cursed inwardly. He didn't want to frighten or hurt Duo, but he also didn't want to speak about today's events. He didn't want to speak at all. He had a lot of things to think about, and Duo Maxwell would only distract him.

"Why are you here?" Heero asked to change the subject - and because he really wanted to know.

"Orders," Duo shrugged. "Maybe the scientists want us to complete the next mission together, or something like that. How am I supposed to know? G didn't want to tell me. Although," Duo frowned as if he tried to remember something, "I got the impression that it was J's idea rather than G's somehow. Whatever." Duo shrugged again.

Heero frowned. Why should J want to pair him off with one of the other pilots when he hadn't even informed Heero about the fact that there were other pilots at all when Heero started Operation Meteor? That didn't sound very likely. But he didn't really feel like solving that mystery right now. He had had a long and exhausting day and he was tired. He just wanted to go to sleep and forget everything about the last mission.

Accompanied by Duo's chatter, Heero got ready for bed and when he finally laid down, he surprisingly fell asleep immediately. But, as anticipated, the events of the day didn't let go of him. Again and again he saw himself raising his beam canon and aim for the shuttle full of all those civilians. Again and again he heard himself laugh when he destroyed it and again and again he felt the shock and the desperation when he realized what he had done. He saw the faces of the people he had killed and each one of them screamed at him and called him a murderer. And he could do nothing to stop them.

"Heero! Heero, wake up! It's just a nightmare!"

With a gasp Heero opened his eyes and sat up in his bed with a jerk. For a moment he just sat there, panting, and tried to get a grip on himself. He shivered, but not because he was cold. All those people...

"Heero? Are you alright?"

Slowly Heero noticed his surroundings again. He wasn't in his Gundam, he was in his bed in the dorm room. Duo was also sitting on his bed, right in front of him. His hands held Heero's shoulders and he had a concerned expression on his face. Heero raised his eyes and stared at Duo.

"You had a nightmare," Duo explained.

Heero still stared silently at Duo. He didn't know, but somehow the expression on Duo's face seemed familiar to him.

"You ok?" Duo asked again.

Heero nodded. "Thanks," he croaked. 'For waking me up,' he added silently. And somehow Duo seemed to understand him because he simply nodded and said, "Don't mention it. You would have done the same for me."

Heero wasn't so sure about that but he didn't contradict Duo. Because suddenly he remembered where he had seen the expression on Duo's face before. It had been in The Dream. Only his dream Duo had ever been concerned about him. And now he could see the same concern on the real Duo's face. It was terrifying and heart-stopping at the same time.

Finally, Duo let go of Heero's shoulders and immediately Heero missed the contact. He hadn't known just how good such a simple touch could feel. But at least Duo didn't go back to his bed and leave Heero on his own. Instead he made himself a little more comfortable on Heero's bed.

For some time they simply looked at each other without saying anything. Heero wasn't ready to go back to sleep - he really didn't feel like having another nightmare - and apparently Duo didn't want to go back to sleep either.

"It's not your fault," Duo suddenly said quietly. "It was a trap. Anyone of us would've been fooled by it."

"You're wrong," Heero answered just as quietly. He didn't know why but somehow the darkness made it easier for him to speak with Duo. "It is my fault. And I shouldn't have been fooled by the trap."

Duo tilted his head. "Why?" he asked.

"I simply shouldn't have," Heero said, not able to explain his dreams to Duo.

"Heero, you're just human," Duo said. "You couldn't have known what OZ was up to. You did what you thought was the right thing. Don't wear yourself down because of it."

But Heero just shook his head. "It is my fault, Duo. I wish I could change it but I can't. I killed them. And I probably killed the only hope for peace with them."

Duo stared for a moment at Heero. "You really believe that you should've known about the trap, don't you?"

Heero nodded but didn't look at Duo. He not only should have known about the trap, he HAD known about it. But he couldn't tell Duo about it. First of all, he still didn't exactly understand his gift or how it worked. So how could he explain it to Duo? And secondly, he didn't want to see the disappointment on Duo's face when he realized that Heero had destroyed the shuttle and killed all those people even though he had known about the trap.

For the first time in his life someone cared for him. Not just anyone: Duo. It was Duo who he had dreamt of all his life and who he had wished to be real almost just as long. And now he was actually real. And for the first time Heero dared to hope that everything else from The Dream could be real too.

--

"Calling all Gundam pilots," a female voice sounded over all frequencies and caused Heero to pause in his battle with the strange mobile suit. "We are now positioned to stage an all-out missile attack on the colonies. We have seized all missile satellites from the former Alliance. It's reasonable to say that we control the destiny of all colonies. This isn't a bluff. I demand all pilots to surrender at once and hand over your Gundams!"

Heero took a deep breath and closed his eyes briefly. So this was it. The moment he had silently hoped would not come true. But he had known better. And although he had known that OZ would threaten the colonies, it was, nevertheless, a shock to actually hear those words.

Ever since Heero had accepted his gift, the visions - as Heero had decided to call them - had gotten stronger and stronger. And Heero had discovered that there were two kinds of visions. The first sort showed him the inevitable future, and nothing Heero did or didn't do could change the outcome. But the other ones, they were the sort of visions Heero could work with. Because they showed him only a possibility, something that could happen but not necessarily had to.

Those were the visions Heero could manipulate, although Heero didn't find out which sort of vision he'd had until the outcome. But he always tried to change the future events if his visions showed him an outcome he didn't like, and so far he had been able to actually change them more often than not.

And Heero really, really hoped that it would work this time too. Because if not... Duo would die tonight. And just the thought of Duo dying made Heero hurt all-over. He couldn't allow it to happen!

Ever since they started to room together Heero had been in heaven and hell at the same time. To be so close to Duo, to see him every day, to listen to his cheerful chatter, to watch him sleep at night - it had been pure bliss for Heero. And at the same time it had made him suffer agonies.

Because there wasn't the merest hint that Duo felt anything for Heero. Oh, he definitely had tried to make friends with Heero from the beginning but nothing more. And although Heero had never had a friend before and was really glad that Duo deemed him worthy of his friendship, he nevertheless wanted more. He wanted Duo's love, just as Heero loved him. But he hadn't dared to act on this wish.

And it certainly didn't help that The Dream hadn't changed at all. Quite the contrary, The Dream was more intense than ever, and more erotic. And the hardest thing was waking up after The Dream and realizing that it had nothing to do with reality. The feeling of loss was so strong every time that Heero could barely hold back his tears. Only the sleeping form of Duo in the bed beside his own prevented it.

Heero was at a loss. The Dream still showed him a Duo who told him how much he loved him. But Heero didn't know what it meant. Did it mean that sometime in the future Duo would really love him? Or was it just that: a dream that was only meant to comfort him? Heero really hoped it wasn't the latter; fate simply couldn't be so cruel and show him the love of his life, his soulmate, only to not make his soulmate love him back.

No. Heero had to assume that The Dream was just like his other dreams, a vision that showed him something from his future. But how should Heero make this future come true? What was it that he had to do to make Duo fall in love with him? Or was it something he shouldn't do? Was there anything at all he could do to make Duo love him? Oh why were these dreams always so unspecific? Why couldn't they show him some kind of instruction for once?

Suddenly all monitors flared to life and the image of an old man with long white hair and goggles appeared on them. "Attention OZ," he said and tore Heero out of his musings. "I never would have imagined that you people could be so incredibly foolish. The space colonies have no intention of fighting OZ. This is MY personal battle that I'm staging against you!"

Heero stared at the old man. "Dr. J..." he said quietly. From the corner of his eyes he saw an incoming message on one of the other monitors, but he didn't even bother reading it. He already knew what it was about. J was ordering him to self-detonate Wing. Just like in the vision Heero had had last night.

Heero closed his eyes again. It had been horrible. Just like now Heero had gotten the order to self-detonate. But in his dream Heero had ignored this order. He had ignored it and then he had watched OZ destroy the colonies. But that hadn't been even the worst; in addition he had also watched OZ destroy the other three Gundams, Sandrock, Heavyarms and Deathscythe, which had fought with him - because the pilots had been too stunned due to the destruction of their homes to defend themselves. He had sat there and watched Duo die and he hadn't been able to do anything. But not this time. Not in this reality.

After Heero had woken from the dream, barely holding back a scream, he had vowed that he wouldn't let it happen. He would not let Duo die! Never! And if that meant that he had to carry out the order to self-detonate, then he would do so. Heero really hoped that this was the right action to save Duo.

But it had been so incredibly hard not to let Duo in on anything. All he had wanted to do was to go over to Duo's bed, crawl under the covers and cling to the sleeping boy with all his strength. To nestle to Duo and never let him go. But of course, Heero hadn't done anything like this. He was too afraid. Too afraid to lose even the friendship Duo granted him.

And later that day, when Duo had come to say goodbye and tell Heero that he would take the land route, Heero still had been too afraid. Everything inside him screamed to say something - anything! - but Heero hadn't been able to utter a single word. And so he'd just sat there and watched Duo walk away.

"... I have no choice but to surrender," J's voice sounded and caused Heero to open his eyes again. It was time. Determined Heero opened the harness, grabbed for the remote control of the self-destruction device and opened the hatch.

"I surrender. But I will not hand over the Gundams," J's voice still sounded somewhere behind him, but Heero didn't really pay attention to it. He slowly walked out of his cockpit and stood on the open hatch.

There was so much Heero regretted. So much he wished he had said or done. He wished he would have been able to tell Duo how he felt. He wished he had told him earlier when Duo had come to say goodbye. He wished he had told him the moment he'd realized it. And just for once he had wanted to see the love shining in Duo's eyes in reality and not just in The Dream.

But it was too late now. He had missed his chance, and now it was too late.

"I repeat," J said. "I surrender, but I will NOT hand over the Gundams!"

Heero raised his right hand, the hand that held the remote control. "Mission accepted," he said. Then he pushed the button.

--

Slowly, Heero opened his eyes. Blinking, he looked around. Where was he? He seemed to be inside a small room - no, not a room, it appeared to be some kind of trailer. But... how had he ended up here?

Suddenly everything came back to him. OZ's threat to destroy the colonies, J's refusal to surrender to them, Heero's self-destruction of Wing. But if he self-destructed how could he be alive now?

He tried to sit up - and immediately had to lie down again. Heero winced, and the entire left side of his body screamed in pain. Slowly he looked down and saw that his entire upper body was bandaged except for his right shoulder. No wonder every movement hurt like hell.

Apparently he hadn't survived completely unharmed. Not really astonishing given the fact that he self-detonated his Gundam while still standing in the open hatch. To be more precisely, Heero was more than amazed that he was still alive at all. He hadn't expected to survive, he really hadn't. He hadn't even been thinking of OZ keeping him alive, even if he survived the initial self-destruction.

That left him with the question of who had rescued him again. Someone must have brought him here and attended to his injuries. But who had done it and why? And more important - had it worked? Had his self-sacrifice worked? Or had it merely added his injuries to the deaths of the others?

Heero closed his eyes pained. No. That simply couldn't be. Duo couldn't be dead. Somehow he had to get out of here and find out if Duo had survived. That was everything he could think about right now.

Slowly Heero got up from the bed. He swayed a little - no doubt from the too long stay in bed - and grabbed quickly for the back of a chair. He was only wearing his spandex-shorts, as he'd noticed when the blanket had fallen from his body, but he didn't care. He was sure that he could find something to wear somewhere inside this trailer, and then he would sneak out - after all, he still didn't know who brought him here. Could be an enemy, as far as Heero knew.

Suddenly the door of the trailer opened and someone entered. Heero tensed and looked at the door. He knew this boy - what was his name again? Thomas? Toby? No, Trowa, that was the name of the tall boy with the strange hair. Slowly, Heero relaxed again.

"So you're awake," Trowa said. "You shouldn't be up."

Heero nodded. "Where am I?"

"At the circus. I hide here."

"Why am I here?"

Trowa raised his visible eye-brow. "Where else should I've brought you?"

"No, I mean why did you rescue me?" Heero looked at Trowa questioningly. He really was curious. He hardly knew the other boy - he only knew that he was a Gundam pilot too, but nothing more - so why had Trowa helped him?

Trowa tilted his head. "You surely don't want to say that I simply should have let you die there, do you?"

Heero was silent. For a moment neither of them spoke, then Heero said, "How long...?"

"Two months," answered Trowa his unspoken question.

Heero gasped. Two months! He had been unconscious for two months! That couldn't be! Almost everything could have happened in two months, and he wouldn't have been able to prevent any of it!

"What about...the others?" Heero forced himself to ask. "What happened to... them?" What happened to Duo, he wanted to scream, but he didn't dare.

Trowa shrugged. "They went into hiding. Last thing I heard was that Quatre and the pilot of Deathscythe were hiding in the desert. I don't know if they're still there, though."

Heero closed his eyes relieved. It had worked. His plan had really worked. His sacrifice had saved Duo. Heero was so relieved that he almost wept. And against all odds Heero had survived his self-destruction, too, and that meant that he had another chance to tell Duo how he felt. And Heero decided that the very next time he saw Duo again he would do exactly that.

--

Heero looked down at Duo, sleeping in the hospital bed. Duo looked so small and vulnerable, lying there with all those bruises and scrapes all over his body. He looked innocent. He looked beautiful.

But that wasn't anything new, after all, since in Heero's eyes Duo always looked beautiful. Right now all Heero wanted to do was to take Duo into his arms and protect him against everything that might harm him.

Of course that wasn't an option. As soon as Duo woke up, he would protest vehemently against every notion of Heero's trying to protect him. After all, Duo was a Gundam pilot as well, and a very good one too. He could protect himself just as well.

But that didn't change Heero's feelings. He still wanted to protect Duo - and he would do so, even if Duo would never know anything of it. After all, he'd already done so. He had self-destructed to prevent Duo's death, and he had gone and rescued Duo from his prison cell only hours ago, even if Duo thought that Heero originally had come to kill him.

When Heero had seen the television broadcast of OZ announcing the execution of one of the infamous Gundam pilots, he hadn't been the slightest bit surprised. After all, he had dreamt of Duo's capture only the night before. So he had been warned and the news hadn't been as shocking as it could have been.

Quite the contrary, he had been rather glad to see the broadcast of Duo's capture. He had then known where to find Duo. Unfortunately, his vision hadn't been too specific. It had only shown him that Duo had been in danger, but not why and where. But fortunately OZ had been so generous and given him a good hint.

And so Heero had set off to rescue Duo. He had never intended to kill him. How could he? He would sooner kill himself than harm Duo in any way. But apparently Duo didn't know that - well, not really surprising given Heero's previous behavior towards the Deathscythe pilot.

He hadn't meant to be mean or cruel towards Duo. He hadn't really meant to be cold to him. But Heero hadn't known how to act differently. He never had been really good with words, since action was his forte, and so he had always been at a loss when confronted with conversation.

True, Duo hadn't seemed to care too much about that fact. He had been talking almost non-stop whenever he had been close to Heero. Maybe he didn't mind for Heero to be so quiet just as Heero didn't mind Duo's constant chatter? Well, to be more precisely, Heero loved Duo's chatter. And he had always listened, to everything Duo had said.

Heero sighed. He really wished that Duo would wake up. The longer he sat there, thinking, the more he lost his courage. He had decided to tell Duo everything - but this decision had been easier made than carrying out. This was the first time he saw Duo again after his self-destruction. The first time he had the opportunity to tell him everything. But he still hadn't said anything.

Yeah, right. Heero snorted. Just when should he have said anything? When he had broken Duo from his prison cell? When they had snuck through the military base? During their escape in the shuttle? Well, alright, he could have said something during the flight, but at that time Duo had already been unconscious.

And just what should he have said before Duo had lost consciousness? 'Hello Duo, no, I'm not here to kill you, I'm here to rescue you. Oh, and by the way, I can see the future and did I already mention that I love you?' Yeah, that would have gone down really well.

Heero sighed again. He really wasn't good with words. He so wanted to tell Duo everything, but what if Duo didn't believe him? Or what if he did believe him, but would be frightened or disgusted by him? Heero didn't think he could bear that.

The thought of Duo hating him hurt so much that Heero almost gasped. He couldn't do it! He couldn't say anything to Duo and maybe lose the little that he had - Duo's friendship. Heero jumped to his feet and paced the room. But he had sworn to tell Duo everything if he survived his self-destruction! What should he do? Heero stopped his pacing. He couldn't do it. He just couldn't. And so, when he heard Duo stirring behind him, he turned to the door and ran.

--

With a gasp Heero bolted upright in his bed. He blinked several times and looked around the room, trying to find out where he was. Slowly his breathing calmed and Heero noticed his surroundings again. He was in the tiny one-room cabin, his current safe house. He was alone. Everything was as it should be.

Heero swallowed hard. He'd had a vision again. It had been about Duo. But it hadn't been The Dream. No, it had been one of the visions again that warned him whenever Duo was in danger. And this time it had been even more urgent than the previous ones. He needed to find Duo!

Hastily Heero untangled himself from his sheets and stumbled to his notebook. With shaking hands he contacted Quatre and at the same time he tried to calm himself down. Duo wasn't in any danger. He didn't have a mission right now. He was safe. He and the other three pilots were hiding at one of Quatre's mansions and as soon as Heero finished his current mission they would meet there. Nevertheless, Heero breathed a sigh of relief when Quatre finally answered his call.

"Heero!" the blonde said, surprise clearly visible on his face. "What's the matter? Did anything happen? Why are you calling?"

"I need to speak to Duo," Heero interrupted the worried questions.

"Duo?" Quatre looked puzzled. "Duo is not here."

Heero felt cold shivers going down his back. No! "Where is he?" he pressed out.

"Isn't he with you?" Quatre looked more and more puzzled.

"No," Heero needed all his control not to start shouting. "Why should he be with me?"

"Well, he said..." Quatre paused, a thoughtful expression on his face. "Actually, he didn't exactly say much about his mission. I just somehow got the impression that he was ordered to help you."

Heero gritted his teeth. That was just so Duo. He was sure that Duo hadn't said that he would help him with his mission. That would have been a lie, and Duo didn't lie. But it didn't prevent him from bending the truth a little if it served him. And no one was better in hinting things without really saying anything about them than Duo. It was more what Duo didn't say that made people believe what Duo wanted them to believe.

"Heero, what's going on?" Quatre demanded to know. He was clearly worried now. "Where's Duo?"

Heero hesitated. "I can't tell you. I have to go now."

"Heero! Wait! You can't..."

Heero ended the call. For a moment he just sat there and stared blindly at his notebook. Damn! What was Duo up to? Why would he make the others believe that he would join Heero when it wasn't so? If he had a mission, then he could have just said so to the others. That was nothing he had to hide from them. So what was going on there? And more importantly, where was Duo?

With a determined nod Heero turned his attention to his notebook again. If Duo was on any sort of mission he would find out. He just had to hack into G's data base and get the information. Nothing easier than that.

Twenty minutes later Heero cried out in frustration. That couldn't be! Oh, he hadn't had any problems in hacking G's data base, but that wasn't what frustrated him. He couldn't find any information about the mission Duo currently was on. He couldn't even find the slightest trace that there WAS a mission at all! Damn! That was impossible! Even when the mission was highly confidential there should have been something. But there was nothing.

And that had confronted him with a problem. How could he help Duo if he couldn't find him? His vision had been just like all the visions before. He just knew that Duo was in danger, nothing more. He didn't have any coordinates or anything like that that would help him find Duo.

Heero jumped up from the single rattly chair he was sitting on. Anxiously, he paced the room. He had to find Duo, no matter what. He simply had to. Because if he didn't, then this time he would lose Duo for good.

****************************************************************

Duo stood over his target and pointed his gun at the head of the sleeping man. Slowly, he flexed his finger to pull the trigger, staring with cold eyes at the man. But nothing happened. He couldn't do it. Frustrated Duo lowered his gun again. Damn!

What was wrong with him? He had come here for just one reason - to kill this specific man. So why couldn't he go through with it? It wasn't the first time that his mission required killing someone. And this man was a murderer; he'd already killed innocent civilians and children. He deserved to die. He really did. So why did Duo hesitate now?

Duo sighed and rubbed his eyes wearily. He knew all too well why he hesitated. His target might be a murderer, but Duo was not. And killing this man would be just that - murder. It wasn't Duo's mission to kill him. No one gave him this mission. It wasn't necessary for the outcome of the war. In fact, no one even knew where Duo was right now. Until two days ago Duo hadn't planned on coming here and killing this man.

But then he'd gotten some information. All his hacking and digging inside of OZ's data bases had finally delivered results. He had found one of the men that had destroyed the Maxwell orphanage. He was one of the monsters that were responsible for the death of Father Maxwell, Sister Helen and all the children. And Duo was here to get justice and to finally give his loved ones peace. Maybe then he would stop having nightmares about the day they died.

But now that justice was only the flexing of a finger away he couldn't do it. He could hear Father Maxwell's voice, telling him that killing this man wouldn't be just, wouldn't bring them any peace. It would just make Duo a cold-blooded murderer. And right now, at this moment, Duo realized that neither Father Maxwell nor Sister Helen would want that.

With another sigh Duo put away his gun. For a moment he stood there and simply stared down at the man, and then he turned around and snuck out of the room. He couldn't accomplish this 'mission', so he would go back to his boat and get back to the safe house. And no one on this base would even know that he had been there.

Silently, Duo sneaked over the platform of the base. The base had been an oil rig at one point, and so there was water around it as far as he could see. Duo peered around the rig. There was his boat! Only a few meters now and he would be on his way home!

But just as he finished that thought he suddenly heard voices. And the voices came from his boat! Damn! They had found it! Duo cursed silently. So much for no one would know that he had been there. He couldn't use the boat to get back now. He had to think about something else!

Duo looked around frantically, hiding in the shadows of the oil rig. He could hear the sirens now that alerted the base. In a few moments everyone would be up and searching for the intruder. And this base wasn't really big, no places to hide in. He had to get off the platform and fast!

Then Duo's gaze landed on something. There, a little bit away was a Cancer! It was tied to a buoy. It would be difficult to get to it - Duo would have to swim through the not-so-smooth ocean to get to the Cancer - but there really wasn't any other chance to escape more or less unnoticed.

Quickly, before he could think too much over the fact why a single Cancer would be tied that far away from the others, Duo pushed off from his hiding place and rushed to the edge of the platform. Silently he slid into the water and started swimming towards the Cancer.

Afterwards Duo couldn't say just how long he had been swimming or how he had made it at all, but eventually he felt the cold metal of the Cancer under his hands, and with the last remains of his strength, he pulled himself out of the water and inside the little submarine.

With shaking fingers Duo started the engines and steered the Cancer away from the base. Unfortunately he couldn't notice if he was followed by someone from the base because the Cancer wasn't really operative. Apparently that was the reason why it had been tied so far away from the others. But Duo didn't care. As long as the engines worked and the submarine was able to carry him away from the base, he was content.

But oh, he was so cold! Duo shivered violently. The water had been icy, and the heater in the submarine didn't work. Duo was glad that at least the oxygen supply worked. He should be thankful for that. If he would just stop shivering! His teeth clattered so loud that he couldn't hear anything else, if there had been anything else to hear that is.

Duo glanced out of the porthole. He couldn't see anything outside. That wasn't really surprising, after all he was underwater and he didn't dare to activate the flood lights, if they even worked. But apparently no one had followed him. At least something worked out right.

Duo rubbed his arms and legs and tried to get the circulation going again. He needed to get warm again. Or he wouldn't make it out alive. He didn't know where he was exactly. The navigation systems didn't work either, what a surprise. Duo would have to surface to orientate himself, but he would wait a little bit longer before he surfaced. He didn't want to risk anything.

Suddenly the engines started to stutter and then stopped altogether. Duo cursed and pushed the buttons to start the engines again, but nothing happened. Slowly the Cancer sunk down and hit the bottom of the ocean with a slight jerk. No! Duo bent down and opened one of the panels. If he was lucky it wasn't a problem with the engine but one with the electronics that he could solve from inside.

For some minutes Duo fumbled with the electronics, but his fingers shivered too much, and to tell the truth he didn't really think that it was the electronic's fault. That was just his luck: he had to steal the one Cancer at the base that was nothing more than a piece of scrap!

With a deep sigh, Duo made himself comfortable in the pilot's seat. So this was it. There was nothing he could do, nothing to make that piece of scrap work again. He was going to die here. The only question was, would it be because of lack of oxygen or would he freeze to death first?

Duo made himself as small as possible on the seat and wrapped his arms around his legs. He didn't want to die. True, he had always known that he could have died any minute during this war. After all, he was a Gundam pilot. Risk was his middle name. But he'd never thought he would die like this.

He had thought he would die in battle or during an infiltration mission, killed by an actually attentive soldier or that he would be killed by Heero, just like he always thought he would. Heero... Duo sighed.

He wished he could see Heero again. Just once. He missed him. He missed his silent camaraderie. Duo couldn't say why but somehow he had the feeling that Heero didn't really mind his constant chatter. At first Heero had always told him to shut up and threatened to kill him if he didn't stop talking but lately he hadn't said anything, and it had even seemed as if he had been really listening to what Duo had to say.

Duo shook his head. Wishful thinking, that was all that was. It was doubtful that Heero felt even friendship for him, let alone something more. No matter that Duo wished for more, so much more... It was hopeless. Duo sighed, still shivering.

Of all the stupid things he could have done, falling in love with Heero Yuy was by far the most stupid. But it hadn't been exactly a conscious decision. From the first time he had seen him, Duo had been lost. Well, not exactly from the first time, after all Duo had shot him then, but from the moment he had freed Heero from the military hospital he had been drawn to him.

Duo didn't know why. There was something in Heero that spoke to Duo, something that made him want to protect Heero from all the evil out there, to take him into his arms and never let go again. But Duo could just imagine how Heero's reaction to THAT notion would be. He could be glad if Heero only beat him to a bloody pulp. Duo snorted.

At least he hadn't let on anything. Duo was sure that even Quatre with his space heart didn't know about his true feelings towards the silent Wing pilot. But nevertheless Duo wished that he could see Heero one last time. Then he would tell him and see what Heero's reaction would be. Because there was still that little part inside of him that hoped that maybe Heero could love him back.

But what did they say? Hope springs eternally? Well, in this case it would be correct. Duo would certainly die before he would give up hope. Which wouldn't take too long now as it seemed. He tried to get into a more comfortable position in the seat. He was so cold and tired. He just wanted to lie down and sleep. Duo knew that if he fell asleep now he would never wake up again. But he was so tired. Certainly it wouldn't hurt if he just closed his eyes for a minute or two, would it?

No! With the last of his strength Duo opened his eyes again. He wouldn't give up that easily. He had to stay awake as long as possible. Maybe someone would come and rescue him. Maybe... Oh who did he want to fool? No one knew that he was in danger. More importantly, no one knew where he was. He had seen to that. He hadn't wanted his friends to try and stop him from his revenge. And this was the reward for it. It was his own fault that he was going to die here, in this freezing can somewhere in the middle of the ocean.

His friends would never find his body. They would never know what happened to him. For a moment Duo imagined the reaction of the others when they realized that Duo had disappeared. Would they be worried? Certainly. Would they grieve? Probably. Quatre in any case. Trowa and Wufei maybe. Heero? Duo really wished Heero would grieve for him, but he didn't really believe it.

Duo blinked several times. Was it getting darker inside here or was it his vision? Could the lack of oxygen already show its effect? But at least the shivering had stopped. That had to be a good sign, hadn't it? Duo smiled. He felt really dizzy, but he wasn't concerned. He wasn't cold anymore, and that meant he could sleep at last. He was so tired. So tired...

Still smiling Duo laid his head down on his knees. He would sleep just for a moment, and then after his nap he would be wide awake again and could try to start the engines again! Duo closed his eyes. Just a minute. Or maybe two... That was all he wanted... Then everything went dark and Duo didn't sense anything any more.

--

The first thing Duo felt again was warmth. He felt warm and protected. He couldn't remember the last time he had felt like this. Was this how it felt like when one had died? Then he heard the quiet rustling of paper.

Duo frowned. The rustling of paper? Why would he hear something like that if he had died? That didn't seem right. Duo shifted slightly, and the next thing he heard was a quiet "Shhh," and then he felt a hand caressing his back soothingly.

Slowly Duo opened his eyes and blinked. Apparently he wasn't dead, because he could feel the body of someone holding him. Duo's face was pressed against a warm chest, his arms were wrapped around a slender waist and he was wrapped in a blanket, feeling very warm.

His braid was undone, at least according to the loose strands of hair that fell into Duo's face, and he was half sitting, half lying on some kind of sofa in front of a fireplace.

Duo heard the rustling of paper again and followed the noise with his eyes. He saw a hand - the one that wasn't caressing his back - holding a book. Duo stared at the hand. He knew this hand. And the forearm too. Slowly, still not believing it, Duo raised his head. Heero!

Ok, that proved it. He was dead. Definitely. Because there was no way that Heero would hold him like this if he still was alive. And how had he ended in this position anyway? The last thing he knew was that he was dying in that hunk of scrap metal, thousands of meters below the water. Ok, maybe not exactly thousands of meters, but nearly. He'd died and now he was in heaven. Or he was still alive and dreaming. Those were the only two rational explanations.

He must have made some noise, because suddenly Heero turned his attention away from his book and looked directly down into Duo's face.

Heero laid his book down and smiled. "You're awake," he said, still smiling.

Ok, scratch the still-dreaming-option. He had to be dead. Duo stared silently at Heero, mesmerized by the smile. He'd never seen Heero that open, with so much emotion showing in his face. It was beautiful.

"Am I dead?" Duo croaked. He simply had to ask it. He had to be sure.

"No," Heero shook his head. "But it was close. You were so cold..." Duo could feel a shiver running through Heero's body.

"Am I dreaming?" Duo asked, his eyes wide. It didn't feel like a dream, but then again he didn't really feel as if all of this could be real.

One corner of Heero's mouth twitched. "No, you're not dreaming."

"Oh. Ok," Duo stared at Heero, blinking. Alright, he wasn't dead and he wasn't dreaming. That meant... that meant that he was really lying here, snuggled against Heero! God, how long had he been dreaming about this? To be held like this by the boy he loved! Duo closed his eyes and sighed quietly.

Of course Duo realized that probably the only reason why Heero was holding him like this was because he'd wanted to warm Duo up. After all, Duo could still remember how cold he had been. It was only logical for Heero to warm him up again, wasn't it?

But did that mean that Duo had to let go of Heero now that he was warm again? He didn't want to. He wanted to savor the wonderful feeling as long as he could. Maybe if he didn't tell Heero that he was warm again, maybe then he could stay like this a little longer?

No. That wouldn't be right. Duo sighed again and started to move away from Heero - only to realize that he couldn't. Heero had now both of his arms wrapped around Duo, and when Duo tried to free himself he just tightened them and pulled Duo closer.

Startled Duo opened his eyes again and stared up to Heero. What did that mean? Suddenly he remembered something.

"How did you find me?" Duo asked. It was obvious that Heero had rescued him. But how had he been able to do it? No one had known where Duo was. Duo was really curious.

Heero chewed on his lower lip and looked away. Duo stared at him disbelieving. Heero was squirming! He'd never seen Heero squirm before!

"Heero?" Duo prodded.

"I knew that you were in danger," Heero mumbled finally, still avoiding his eyes. "And so I came to get you."

"But how did you find me?" Duo repeated his question. Why didn't Heero answer it? It wasn't a difficult question, so why the excuses? And what did Heero mean that he 'knew' that Duo was in danger?

For a moment Heero looked like he wouldn't answer at all, then he sighed. "I had a vision."

Duo perked up his ears. "A what?" he asked, not believing what he just heard.

"A vision," Heero repeated a little bit louder this time.

"You had a vision?" Duo asked disbelieving.

Heero nodded.

Duo stared. Apparently Heero was serious. Well, of course Heero was serious. Heero wasn't one to make jokes. But anyway - how was it possible?

"Ok," Duo said slowly. "And this - vision - showed you were to find me?"

"Not exactly," Heero answered quietly. He was still avoiding Duo's eyes, and it drove Duo crazy. How could he tell what Heero felt if he couldn't see his eyes? Well not that Heero showed his emotions for anyone to read, but Duo knew him better than anyone else and was quite good interpreting the little nuances.

"The vision just showed me that you were in danger, but not where to find you," Heero explained. "I found you because I..." Heero chewed on his lip again, then he sighed. "It's a long story."

"Well, I'm not going anywhere," Duo said. As if he could, Heero's grip around him was like steel. Not that he wanted to go anywhere.

"You believe me?" Heero's voice sounded surprised and finally he looked into Duo's eyes again.

Duo returned the look. Heero's blue eyes showed feelings he had never seen in them. Insecurity, hope and longing.

"Yes," Duo answered and nodded slowly. "Why would you lie to me about something like this? No, you're telling me the truth. So please, tell me everything about it. I want to understand it."

For a moment Heero just stared at him. Finally he smiled, pulled Duo closer against his body and tucked his head under his chin. Then he started to speak.

"All my life I had these dreams. No, not all my life; I remember that they first started after J took me in. I dreamt of the same thing again and again - well, the circumstances and some details were always different, but something was always the same: the girl. There was this girl in my dreams. She always smiled at me or hugged me or kissed me. And she always told me how much she loved me. And I knew, from the very beginning, deep down inside that she was the love of my life. She was the person I wanted to spend my life with. Her or no one.

These dreams were what prevented me from going crazy during J's training. These dreams gave me hope and kept me sane. They prevented J from turning me completely into the cold killing machine he wanted to have. Only because of these dreams could I keep a bit of humanity, could hide my feelings so deep inside of me that J didn't notice them and thought he had been successful in his training.

I didn't know then that those dreams showed the future. I don't know if this 'gift' is an accidental side effect of one of J's experiments or if it's something I had from birth. But J doesn't know of them and I never told him about the dreams. And I always thought that those dreams were just products of my fantasy. I didn't know that the girl was real.

Until I saw her the first time outside of my dreams. At that time on the dock of the military base were I launched the torpedoes to destroy Wing."

Duo swallowed, closed his eyes and tried to squirm out of Heero's grip. He didn't want to listen to what Heero was about to say. He didn't want to hear that Relena was Heero's One True Love. But Heero tightened his grip and pulled Duo even closer.

"She shot me," Heero whispered at Duo's ear. "Twice."

Duo opened his eyes wide. "What?" he stammered, confused, and leant back a little so that he could look into Heero's face. "But I shot you..."

Heero nodded and smiled slightly. "Yes, you did."

Duo shook his head confused. "I... I don't understand..."

Heero raised his hand and stroked a strand of Duo's hair out of his face. "You are that girl. You are the person I've dreamt of all my life. I just always thought that it was a girl because..." His hand slid along the braid and pulled it slightly. "Because of the long hair and because I never would have imaged that it couldn't be a girl. After all, that is the usual thing, isn't it? So how should I've known?"

Duo stared at him and swallowed hard. "And... and now? Now that you know that I'm not a girl?"

Heero shrugged. "That doesn't change anything. You're still the person I want to spend my life with. The person I love. Your gender doesn't matter to me."

Duo didn't dare to breathe. Heero loved him? Could it be real? Could he really believe it? Somehow it still felt like a dream - it was too good to be true.

"And that helped you to find me how?" Duo asked quietly. He knew that he should say something to Heero's confession, but he simply couldn't. It was too much at once for him to grasp it all. He still couldn't quite believe that Heero really loved him, and so he concentrated on the much safer topic of Heero's visions.

Hurt seemed to flicker through Heero's eyes, but Duo wasn't sure because Heero quickly lowered his eyelids. Then, after some moments Heero said, "I couldn't find you through standard methods - no one knew where you were - and so I decided to try something new. I tried to feel where you were. I thought that maybe this bond we have - the bond I thought we had - would lead me to you. And I was correct. The closer I got to your position the steadier the bond got."

Heero remained silent for a moment, then he continued quietly, "Or at least that's what I thought it was. But apparently it was just coincidence."

Duo tried to sit up again, and this time Heero didn't hinder him. Duo gasped when he looked up into Heero's face. Heero looked so sad, so hurt. But why would he look like this? Then realization struck. Apparently Heero thought that Duo'd rejected him! And no wonder, after Duo hadn't answered anything to Heero's declaration of love! Heero must think that Duo didn't feel the same for him!

"I'm sorry," Heero suddenly whispered. "After I found you I thought that... I thought you would feel the same. I... I won't bother you with it ever again, I promise."

Duo's eyes widened. No! He had to do something, or say something so that Heero knew that he loved him too! Quickly he raised his hand and cupped Heero's cheek. Heero raised his eyes and looked at him surprised.

Slowly Duo closed the space between their faces and pressed his lips to Heero's mouth. Heero's lips were soft and warm, and when Heero gasped in surprise Duo's tongue entered Heero's mouth.

Duo was in heaven. That was what he had wanted. Heero tasted so sweet, like honey, and almost innocent. Duo would never get enough of him. When Heero wrapped his arms around Duo and pressed him against his body, Duo sighed happily.

After some long moments of pure bliss they broke their kiss to recover their breath. Duo pressed his forehead against Heero's and gasped. Then he looked into Heero's astonished blue eyes.

"What..." Heero asked puzzled.

"I love you too," Duo said.

"You love me?" Heero whispered, hope shining in his eyes.

Duo nodded. "Why didn't you say anything?" he asked. "Didn't you say that in your dreams I always told you how much I love you? You knew my feelings for you."

"I was afraid," Heero answered quietly. "My visions - they don't always come true - fortunately. You never showed anything more than friendship to me and so I feared that The Dream was just a possible future. And I didn't know HOW I should tell you how I feel. I'm not good with words."

"Oh Heero, I've loved you from the very moment I broke you out of the military hospital," Duo confessed. "But I never thought I could get a chance and so I never said anything either."

"We're quite pathetic, aren't we?" Heero said, and Duo saw the corners of his mouth twitching again.

Duo grinned. "Yeah, we are. So, what are we gonna do now?"

"Now you're going to rest," Heero answered. "And after I've finished my mission we're going back to Quatre's house. And from there on - let's wait and see."

"What, you don't already know what will happen?" Duo joked tiredly. Now that Heero had mentioned it he really was exhausted.

"Baka," Heero answered affectionately. "I don't think that I'll need The Dream anymore, now that I have the original."

Duo smiled, closed his eyes and nestled into Heero's embrace again. Heero was right. They would take one step after the other and see what would happen. But one thing was for sure - now that he knew that Heero loved him, the future would be nothing but perfect.