by Circle Gynocrat
Heero walked up the dune and spotted Duo in the sand. Long strands of silky hair danced in the wind about his thin frame and he could see that Duo had forgotten his shoes. He took a deep breath and pondered how he should approach him. Since coming to the beach house and making his announcement, Duo found himself an outcast among his friends. It hurt most that Heero, the one he considered his best friend, said little to alleviate his feelings of isolation.
"Hey." Heero said.
"What's up?" Duo asked. He didn't bother to turn around and face Heero. He kept his eyes fixed on the wild surf and the perfect beach break. Duo felt Heero coming to his knees on the sand beside him.
"Quatre didn't mean it the way it sounded." Heero said quietly.
"Oh no." Duo smirked. The burn in his nose signaled that tears were on the way. "I know what he meant."
"No you didn't." Heero sighed. He wanted to touch Duo's shoulder, but he held back. He felt strange about Duo now, and yet at the same time, he wanted him now more than ever.
"Its okay to touch me you know." Duo hissed. "You won't catch it by just touching my shirt."
"Knock it off." Heero snapped.
"Why?" Duo cried. "Wasn't that why you hesitated?"
Heero looked into Duo's pain soaked eyes.
"You're letting this thing kill you." Heero said.
"It is killing me Heero." Duo sobbed. "It's HIV and it's fatal. It killed Fei and now it going to kill me."
"Fei had AIDS." Heero remarked. "He was sicker than you could ever be."
"You just don't get it do you?" Duo snapped. "Its over for me Heero. Everything I ever wanted. Going to school, going back to L2 to teach, having you..."
Heero's looked up startled. After the war he made attempts to engage in a relationship with Duo, but Duo had chosen Wufei and now that Fei was gone, Heero was certain that he stood some sort of chance with Duo. Then Duo arrived with the news. He was HIV positive. He hadn't known until Wufei had gotten deathly ill from just a minor bout with the flu. Duo was convinced he had killed Wufei. Even now, four years later, Duo hadn't gotten worse physically, only his emotions suffered with each passing day.
"Quatre's nephew got his polio vaccination today." Heero said. Duo looked up at him once more. "Quatre didn't want his nephew making you sick so he asked his sister to stay in town."
Duo let it sink in. That morning Duo found the note Quatre had wrote his sister. In usual Duo fashion he jumped to conclusions. Yet the note was plain and obvious, or so it seemed, and his anger at the time seemed justified. The note said 'Duo is coming up for the weekend, keep Ahmed in town.' Duo assumed that Quatre didn't want his infant nephew exposed to his 'disease.' Duo just couldn't believe it. Quatre and Trowa never struck him as an ignorant couple, but then again, since coming out about his illness, Duo had lost many a gay friend to ignorance.
"Shit." Duo whined.
"Iria warned him that if you were around Ahmed that you could get ill." Heero explained. "So he asked Fatima to stay at their house in town."
"Shit shit shit…" Duo brought his knees to his chin and cried into his arms. "Was I this much of fuck head before I got sick?"
"Sometimes…" Heero answered.
Duo looked up at him sadly. He had never apologized to Heero for Wufei. Duo suspected that Heero had been in love with Fei, since he always hung around the pair on Preventer assignments and eventually the both of them were partnered together. Duo had been jealous at first, but he let it slide when Fei confessed he had no interest in Heero Yuy. Heero, on the other hand, still kept tagging along until Fei and Duo moved from L3 to Earth. Duo glared out at the choppy waves. The sea was never calm. He suddenly felt Heero's hand on his shoulder. He glanced up into Heero's blue eyes. They were near the color of the unruly ocean just a few feet away.
"I always wanted to say I was sorry." Duo whispered.
"For what?" Heero asked.
"Coming between you and Fei." Duo said.
"What?" Heero grunted. "What are you talking about?"
"I know you wanted him." Duo said sheepishly, "I just didn't --"
"I never wanted Chang Wufei." Heero chuckled and sat down beside him in the sand.
"Liar." Duo laughed.
"I am not lying." Heero relented. "Wufei was a good officer and a friend. Nothing more."
"Could've fooled me." Duo sniped.
"Yes. You were a fool." Heero leered.
"Excuse me?" Duo said.
"I wanted you baka." Heero smirked and now he too peered out into the ocean. It was easier for him to say what he wanted when he wasn't in the thrall of Duo's glare. "I told Fei how I felt and we both decided 'may the best man win.' I thought I stood a chance since you and I were so close during the war…"
Duo felt his eyes water and his throat tighten.
"We actually drew straws at one point." Heero laughed at the memory. "Chang was always too lucky for his own good."
"I guess you were the lucky one this time out." Duo sighed quietly.
"No." Heero said stern. "Chang won. He is still winning because he is all you think about."
"Heero what are you saying?" Duo asked.
"I am saying that I am still in love with you." Heero replied and this time his eyes were fixed on Duo's. "I never knew what love was until I realized the pain I felt without you at my side."
"Heero..." Duo sighed.
"During the war I always counted on you showing up when I least expected it." Heero frowned. "Often you irritated me, but when you weren't around, I actually missed you. After the Eve War you took off. I missed you so much. Lena said that it was called love and that I shouldn't fear it. I fear nothing you know."
"I know..." Duo croaked.
"I decided that I would have you. Then Fei got in the way. He had so much more personality than I could ever be programmed for. He was better suited for the mission." Heero explained and stared back at the surf. "He was the lucky one. Yes. He still is."
"Heero?" Duo asked. Heero looked down at him with a strange tenderness in his eyes. Duo had never seen that look before, not even when he and Heero had been closer than he thought they could ever had been.
"You think all of us are avoiding you." Heero said shaking his head. "Quatre and Trowa want to make sure you live forever, and I just want you to live with me."
"I could never give you what you --" Duo felt Heero's finger on his lips.
"Listen to yourself." Heero smiled. "Wasn't you who always said where there is a will there's a way?"
"This is different." Duo snapped.
"Why?" Heero demanded. "There are precautions we could take."
"You always call me a baka!" Duo yelled. "Do you hear yourself?"
"I've done my research." Heero said. "I am ready at all times with the necessary equipment."
Duo stared in shock at his skinny best friend. He couldn't believe his ears. To Heero Yuy this was just another mission that could kill him. He wasn't scared. He feared nothing and certainly not death.
"If your life is that empty go take up skydiving or swimming with sharks." Duo exclaimed.
"My life will always be empty without you." Heero then said.
"You're insane Yuy." Duo smiled and wiped the tears from his eyes. "You realize that making love to me could kill you. Spontaneity as you know is history!"
"Explain." Heero asked.
"Right now for instance." Duo said. "Soft warm beach, you looking so incredible, and me infected with HIV."
"So." Heero said and pulled out a silver foil square. "Medicated condom."
"Where did you get that?" Duo asked.
"I asked Sally how I could go about making my move on you." Heero said, "She proved the proper source to go to for this sort of information. She told me that these were required at all times."
Duo couldn't believe his ears. Heero had been actively trying to seduce him, even though he had known for some time that Duo was a carrier. Duo then thought about Heero. Did he have a death wish? Was he bored with being a Preventer? Or was he just being sincere as only Heero Yuy could be. Duo scolded himself. He was thinking way too much. Jumping to conclusions that there was no need for.
"I want to kiss you." Heero said.
"No…" Duo whispered as Heero's lips gently brushed his own.
"I want you." Heero sighed, the heat of his breath against Duo's neck.
"I…not yet…'kay?" Duo pleaded. Heero backed off.
"Then will you let me hold you?" Heero asked.
"Yes." Duo sighed and allowed Heero, still on his knees, to take hold of him and pull him close. Together they both sat there, watching the uncertain tide and the unruly waves. The sea's loud roar served to remind Duo that love had its ups and downs, an no matter how dangerous it may look today, it was still worth swimming in.