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Breaking Point, Epilogue

And now, the end.  Not one of my best fics, over all, but it was still fun.  I do remember that much.  And angsty, but that's generally a given.  Anyway, here you go.

Breaking Point:
Prologue Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six
Epilogue

Gundam Wing Fanfiction
By: Memory Dragon
Disclaimer: Gundam Wing belongs to Sunrise and Bandai. I don't own it and make no claim to.

Heero woke up slowly, not comprehending where he was. First of all, he was laying on a comfortable bed. The room smelled of lavender, not sewers. And he could have sworn that there was a pillow under his head. And no voice of his tormentor. Duo would have never left him alone for that long. Heero had this vague sense of emptiness from the past couple of hours. Or maybe it was more then that. What was going on?

He opened his eyes and tried sitting up. Bad idea. He willingly let a pair of unknown hands push him back down. He didn’t care if it was Duo being rough. That hurt. But for some odd reason, the hands seemed gentle. Wha? ...

There was a voice, he guessed it was the same person who pushed him back down. He couldn’t understand what they were saying though. Heero didn’t understand. He was never this disoriented. After all, what was the fun of torturing him if he couldn’t comprehend what was being done to him? Forcing himself to focus, Heero shoved dizziness away and opened his eyes again.

Quatre?

Quatre was with him in this living hell? Did that mean a fake blond had come to taunt him as well? Heero started to shake uncontrollably at the thought. Duo was one thing, but Quatre? He shut his eyes and waited for the barrage of verbal abuse he was sure to follow.

But all that happened was a soft voice that finally made sense speaking urgently to him. “Heero! Heero, can you see me? Heero, I’m real. Duo got you out of there. You’re safe now.” He felt something squeeze his hand. “Heero, please say you understand me...”

It couldn’t be true. Duo was playing with him. Making him think he was safe. He would come out of the shadows the second Heero started to believe and go back to making Heero’s life a living hell.

“Heero, please...”

There was a pleading note in Quatre’s voice that he just couldn’t ignore though. There was no harm in answering the fake Quatre. After all, he had long gotten over the fact that they were just creations in his mind. And ignoring them did not make them go away. And maybe it might bring out Duo so he’d stop with the painful illusion. “It’s a trick. He’s doing this to-to trick me. To hurt me more...” Heero had long ago stopped caring about how awful his voice sounded. It cracked several times before he could finish the sentence.

Tears swelled up behind his closed eyes. Why? Why did Duo have to hurt him like this? And it did hurt. It hurt almost as much as when Duo was taunting him. To have the closest thing Heero had ever had to a friend take malicious pleasure when he was suffering. And now this fake sense of hope... “Please stop...”

“This isn’t a trick, Heero! You’ve got to believe us.” Was that... Sally? He would have thought his subconscious would bring up Trowa or Wufei first. “I’m sorry about your headache, but we had to keep you drugged a bit longer then you should have been in order to let the antidote take it’s course.” Antidote? There was something to counter this curse? Highly doubtful. Though even the Doctor said the disease was curable... “Heero!”

Painfully, he shook his head. None of this was real. It couldn’t be. There was no possible way. If he started to believe it, it would only hurt worse when the illusion started to crumble. Best just not to believe it at all.

“Heero...”

That voice sent a jolt through his entire body. He had been right. Duo had just been waiting for him to start to believe. Now he had grown tired of the game. Heero carefully opened his eyes and prepared to see Sally and Quatre vanished with Duo standing triumphantly next to him.

He felt his eyes widen. Quatre and Sally were still there. And not only that, but Duo wasn’t wearing that strange outfit he had been in the dreams. And he looked battered and worn. “Heero, come on, buddy. You’ve gotta believe us...” But...

He was already broken. What was a little more pain?

He push aside the headache and for the first time in his memory, he looked for someone else to be comforted. He threw himself into the unsuspecting Duo’s arms and broke down crying.

* * *

Duo woke up about an hour before Heero did. He was still tired, but that didn’t matter. What did was if the antidote would work. All other emotions could be locked away til a later date. When he’d have time to think about them.

Quatre had greeted him with a wary nod when Duo joined the vigil. He looked briefly concerned, but the braided pilot brushed it off. Sally didn’t even look up from her book. But he doubted much escaped her attention. As a matter of fact, he doubted she was actually getting much read at all. She hadn’t turned the page once in the first thirty minutes he’d been awake.

He didn’t know where Trowa and Wufei were. But they had to be doing something constructive, or they would be here. He was sure of that.

His shoulder hurt like hell. He had changed out of the blood stained outfit, but it had been a painful experience. Duo would have Sally look at it after Heero woke up. But for now, he could deal with it. If Heero could deal with a broken bone and set it straight by himself, it was the least he could do to a shoulder that was probably only fractured.

It was always Heero who took the brunt of everything. He was always hurt the worst, fought the most, and trained the hardest. And what did he get in return? More pain. For himself, Duo didn’t care. But for Heero... It should have been Duo in that torture. Hell. If Heero had been the one on the rescue mission, he would have gotten him out long before then. If it had been any of the others, really.

He guessed there wasn’t anything that Heero didn’t excelled in. But the fact he was Heero. The guy who nearly killed himself for the colonies half a dozen times. The guy who was willing to give his life at anytime. The one who never realized that the world would crumble if he did die. At least, it would for his close friends.

Trowa and Wufei used to idolize him, whether they realized it or not. After the clown lost his memories he was sort of disillusioned, but for Wufei, Duo could have sworn it was stronger. To him and Quatre, Heero was a good friend, even if he never realized that. Even though Quatre was the one who came up with the plans, Heero was the real leader. Heero was the one who pushed everyone to their limits. Heero always knew exactly what to do.

And Duo hadn’t a doubt that there would be a big hole where the earth had been if Heero had died when he self-detonated.

And, damn it! Hadn’t they all been through enough already? Couldn’t the world just leave them alone for five seconds? Was that really too much to ask?

Don’t think. None of that was going to help Heero. All it would do was depress Duo more than he already was. Ha. Duo depressed. He doubted Hilde would recognize him like this. Serious, yes. Depressed? Never. But right now he couldn’t even bring himself to believe Heero would even wake up. What a fun mood to be in. Was this how Heero spent everyday? Depressed 24/7? He didn’t know wether to laugh or to cry. Though randomly breaking down crying was beginning to seem good right now.

At first, Duo was so spaced out that he didn’t even notice that Heero had, in fact, woken up. Quatre speaking brought him out of his thoughts. “Heero. Heero, can you see me? Heero, I’m real. Duo got you out of there. You’re safe now. Heero, please say you understand me...”

No response. Duo’s voice was caught in his throat. He couldn’t say a word to break the long silence that fell. Heero’s eyes... He had them closed now, but before... They were so scared. And now he seemed to be fighting back tears.

Quatre finally broke it after what seemed like an eternity. “Heero, please.” He was pleading, trying to keep back the emotions he was getting from the pilot. And from the shocked and scared look on Quatre’s face, Duo could tell they weren’t pretty. No...

“It’s a trick. He’s doing this to-to trick me. To hurt me more...” Hope flared up. Heero recognized Quatre was there. Now all they had to do was to get him to believe that he wasn’t delusional anymore-

“Please, stop...”

Duo was once again frozen. Heero’s voice had been bad, that was what he attributed the flat depression and stuttering to in the first sentence. But that wasn’t it. That voice on the recording really had been Heero’s. Somewhere in the back part of his mind he still half-hoped it was someone else. Irrational, but who needed rational thoughts?

“This isn’t a trick, Heero! You’ve got to believe us. I’m sorry about your headache, but we had to keep you drugged a bit longer then you should have been in order to let the antidote take it’s course.” He wasn’t even listening now. Heero just laid there in apathy, waiting for whatever torment he been through to start up again. “Heero!” Now even Sally’s voice held a note of desperation.

Heero just barely shook his head. For some reason, that unfroze Duo’s tongue, even though all he managed was a soft, “Heero...” That got a reaction. Heero opened his eyes again slowly. And then they widened. They finally came to rest on him. There! This was his chance! “Heero, come on buddy. You’ve gotta believe us...” Should he keep talking? There seemed to be something about his voice that got Heero’s attention. Couldn’t for the life of him think of what it was, but the fact remained.

And then hell must have frozen over, for Heero flung himself on Duo and burst into tears. Duo was in such a state of shock that he didn’t even note that the movement had really hurt his shoulder. Awkwardly, he used his good hand to stroke Heero’s head.

Quatre... Quatre! Where on earth was he? This was his kind of thing, not Duo’s. But when he’s frantic eyes finally found him, the blond only shook his head. “You need to comfort him, Duo. I just know it.” What the hell did that mean?! Duo was still trying to get over the fact that Heero was crying.

Just what had Heero seen?

Eventually, he exhausted himself with all the crying and fell asleep in Duo’s arms. The braided pilot untangled himself gently tucked Heero in. “Duo, your shoulder-”

Sally just had to say something. He had completely forgotten it and now the pain was coming back ten fold. He finally gave in and let her fuss over it. But he didn’t hear much of what she or Quatre said. Duo guessed he was in shock, but he could have cared less.

All that mattered was one small figure that lay on the single bed in the hotel room. All that mattered was that Heero might just have woken up from that awful nightmare. All that he was safe.

All that mattered was now he could get a little sleep.

* * *

It was nearly two months before Heero started acting like his usual self. And even then there were still relapses and nightmares. Duo had insisted that he stay with him and Hilde. He also immediately began cooking world class cuisine, “to get Heero back on his feet.” The braided pilot tended to hover over Heero as he ate, making sure he polished off all of the meal.

And to Heero’s great surprise, Duo was an amazing cook. It had taken his stomach a bit to get used to the rich food, but he found himself now looking forward to meal times. The only thing that bothered him was the fact of Duo’s constant presence.

He knew Duo had noticed his awkwardness. But there was nothing Heero could do about it. Try as he might, all he could picture was the cruel smile coming back and Duo telling him the past couple of months had been a dream... That thought was enough to chill Heero’s blood every time Duo walked in the room.

The first week they had stayed on earth. Sally had been reluctant to move him in that condition and Trowa, Wufei, and Duo apparently were searching for someone. Heero was never told who and he never asked. Everyone always seemed distracted when the subject came up, so he just left it.

The news reports had it that the leader, Dr. Kotanay, was killed in the blast. Most of the others were either dead or too weak to take up leadership. Without a leader, there was very little threat from that corner.

From there Heero was whisked back to Duo’s new apartment in the L2 colony where Hilde cordially invited everyone to stay for awhile. It was bigger then the last one and much fancier. He sensed Quatre’s hand in this, but either Duo didn’t mind the bit of charity or he hadn’t noticed.

Trowa had been the first to leave. He had to get back to the circus before Catherine started to worry. Quatre left when he felt Heero’s health was stable, saying he had to get back to business. They still got a call once a week from him making sure everything was alright.

Sally stayed for a while longer before Lady Une needed her back in the Preventers. The real surprise was when Wufei turned her down when she asked if he was coming back as well. “I have a few weeks leave from the Preventers,” he replied. “I see no reason why I can’t spend them now. Just call me if any major crisis pops up.”

Heero just happened to overhear Hilde questioning Duo about the Chinese boy’s behavior. He merely shrugged and said, “Maybe he feels a bit guilty for not preventing this. Maybe he’s a bit scared. I kinda figured Wufei and Trowa sorta idolized Heero. Trowa lost it when he lost his memories and can understand what happened to Heero. Wufei on the other hand just realized anyone can be broken; it’s just a matter of finding their weak spot.” Heero found it difficult to believe someone idolizing him. But that still left the reason why Wufei stayed a mystery.

But even Wufei had to go back at sometime. Which left Duo and Hilde to watch over him. He found that between the two of them he was never left alone. Even Duo’s company was preferable to being alone. If he was alone, Heero could never tell what was real or not.

No one asked him to tell what happened. He had the feeling Sally hadn’t needed to warn the others against that. Even so, Heero had to face it sometime. And it took him a while to find the courage to face Duo.

Why Duo? They had originally gotten off on the wrong foot. Heero supposed it didn’t help that the other pilot had shot him several times. And he took revenge by way of stealing Deathscythe’s parts to fix his own Gundam. But after all of that, Duo was the first person Heero considered a friend. He hadn’t realized it at first, but it was true.

It was hard now; every minute spent in his company tried Heero’s frail courage. And Duo could do nothing but sit back in frustration. He had realized that he was part of the reason Heero was always a bit jumpy. And Duo couldn’t imagine what was bugging him either. If this lasted much longer, it could tear apart the fragile friendship.

He steeled himself that morning as he walked down to the breakfast table only to find Duo had gone out early. Hilde put out a bowl of cold cereal in front of him, taking up the braided pilot’s task of making sure he ate. She offered to go with him to the junk yard, but Heero politely refused. He would much rather face Duo alone. Even if it meant walking by himself for a few minutes.

Taking a jacket from the closet, he started off. Heero found walking more enjoyable then driving. He could think clearer and wasn’t as much as a hassle. With all the people walking by, he wasn’t really alone either. It took him longer then it would have to call a taxi, but then he wasn’t exactly in a hurry to get there. As it was, he got there quicker then he wanted.

Duo was there, working on one of his latest projects. Heero hesitated in the door way for a while, before walking in. Finally, he got up the courage to talk. “Duo...”

The other pilot nearly jumped out of his skin. “Ack! Heero! Don’t sneak up on me like that! You’ll give me a heart attack!” When Heero opened his mouth to say something, Duo shut up and waited. But no sound came out. Finally, he just gave up sat on a cleared table, looking at the floor.

He heard Duo sigh and start working again. For a while neither of them said anything. Come on, Heero. It’s now or never. If he didn’t tell Duo now...

Finally, he spoke up.

* * *

Duo had been so close! So close. He could feel it. Heero had been about to tell him. So damn close! He stole a glance at the silent pilot out of the corner of his eye while looking for a replacement for one of the components in the TV. Heero was sitting on a table near by, legs held tightly against his chest and eyes staring intently at the ground. So unlike the old Heero. But the new one...

The new one was worse. At least the old Heero never got that depressed. At least the old Heero had something to live for. Duo half expected to wake up on day to find out that Heero had wasted away while he slept. And he was always the worst when around Duo. It hurt to admit, but it was true. There was something about Duo that kept the other pilot from completely recovering. He was half tempted to send Heero to Quatre. Maybe then he wouldn’t be so miserable...

But the new Heero was too fragile for that. If it sounded like Duo was trying to get rid of him...

He went back to concentrating on his work. Duo would never get the TV repaired at this rate. He was so focused on it, that he nearly didn’t hear what Heero said next. But it was a good thing he had. “It wasn’t all that bad at first.”

It took a moment for the phrase to register. When Duo realized what he meant, his voice suddenly stopped working. He caught his breath. It can’t be... Heero was... He couldn’t... Why to Duo of all people?! He wasn’t sure he could handle it, much less Heero!

But Heero continued without a response from Duo. “At first it was just voices accusing me. Voices are easy to block out.” His breathing became jagged and rough. His eyes... so scared.

“Heero,” Duo said, finally regaining his voice. “You don’t have to tell me this.” Please, don’t tell Duo. He was the last person Heero wanted to break down in front of. Duo was horrible at this kind of thing. Why not go to Quatre? He would understand what to do...

“Yes, I do. I-” Heero’s voice cracked as he wrestled visibly with himself to regain control. He finally just gave up and let his voice loose the monotone. Taking a deep breath and refusing to look at Duo, he continued. “But then you came.”

...

Wha? Okay, that made no sense. What the hell did that mean? He had to be joking or something. Why else would he say Duo was there? He hadn’t been after all. Duo had been trying to get Heero out of there. But he hadn’t actually been there for awhile. And from the sound of the recording, it had gone from good to bad way before he got there...

Heero still refused to look at him and started to shiver slightly. “I-It wasn’t the real you, but... I don’t know... I guess just my imagination. You... You told me about... everyone. The voices. Gave them faces. Told me about all those lives of the people I killed. Y-you laughed and hurt me... You s-said it was all my fault...”

Oh, damn. Heero saw - it was him? Duo felt his eyes widen at every word that was said. Everything from the past two months clicked. That was why when Heero saw him, he broke down. That was why Heero was so jumpy around him and practically fearful. Hell, no wonder he had been downright depressed. Duo was appalled for not realizing sooner.

“I felt every t-time he - th-the other Duo - kicked me or hit me... I don’t know w-what is reality a-anymore... This could all be a tick he-he set up for me. I-” He bit his lip and hugged his legs tighter in an effort to keep what ever control he had left.

Come on, Duo. Don’t just stand there like an idiot.

Duo hesitantly put a hand on Heero’s shoulder, startling him. He had to steady the other boy before he fell off the table. Still, Heero looked every where but his eyes. “Heero... Heero, damn it! Look at me!

And after taking a deep breath, Heero did. Those eyes... So scared and uncertain... Now was not the time to think about it! “I don’t know how to get you to believe this, but you are out of that place. I’m sorry! I should have found you sooner, or something but - Heero!” He was losing him! He had to think of something quick...

“Heero, I’ve said before that I may run and hide, but I never tell a lie, right? I don’t lie. You’ve gotta believe me when I say you’ve woken up!” Please let that be the right thing to say. Duo searched silently for some sign that Heero believed... something... anything! He was about to give up when something flickered in Heero’s eyes. He felt the other pilot relax marginally.

It was small, but there. There was a frail hope in Heero’s eyes. That was enough to make Duo’s hopes sky rocket.

* * *

Duo never lied. Even when he was dreaming, Duo had told him that he wasn’t real. This Duo was telling him that he was real. So maybe... Hope sprung up before he could stop it. And the look of desperate urgency in Duo’s eyes kept him from squashing it like he had every other time. Heero felt his muscles loosen up and quickly looked back down.

Duo let go of him abruptly, but not enough to knock him off balance. “Er... sorry ‘bout that.” He was laughing nervously. Heero took a quick glance up at him to find a slight blush on the other pilot’s face. “I didn’t mean-er... never mind.”

Duo went back to work. But there was something different this time. Instead of an uneasy silence, Duo started to whistle. Was it all because Duo thought he had gotten his point across? Did he? Didn’t he himself say that the only way to live a good life was to live by one’s emotions? Should he trust it?

Yes.

Duo started to chatter on about random things. Heero only half paid attention. He had made up his mind. He would believe. And for the first time in a long time, Heero felt safe.

“So then Hilde started to yell at me for not getting the right kind of tape-”

“Duo?”

“Yea, Heero?”

“Thank you.”

“No problem.”

* * *

Heero sat on a bench at the park and watched the children play. The day had been nice and Hilde had practically thrown him out of the house. Said something about not getting enough sun and fresh air... Silly sentiments considering they were in an artificial environment, but he’d learned sometimes it was best just not to argue with her.

Since it was his day off and had nothing else to do, he just started to wander and found his way to this park. Now he sat in the shade and thought about life in general. And right now, it was pretty good.

He had started working with Duo at the junk yard. It didn’t hurt to be near him anymore. In fact, it really nice to have someone he thought of as a friend around. And Heero had grown rather fond of his cooking. He didn’t suppose he’d ever weigh enough to please those two, but at least they couldn’t scold his appetite.

Living with them wasn’t so bad either. There was no romance between any of them, but instead a solid friendship that would last. All in all, the arrangement worked well for all three of them. And everyone else always knew where to find him for visits, which were frequent now. This ordeal had certainly brought everyone a lot closer...

And if life were a dream; one that would pop one day and send him back to that nightmare-

“Excuse me, sir. But are you Heero Yuy?”

Baffled, he looked up to see a young woman about his age standing in front of him. She seemed vaguely familiar, but for the life of him Heero didn’t know where he’d seen her before. He nodded.

“I just wanted to tell you that I’m... sorry. I never knew...” Her eyes shaded over. Heero got up and reached out to her but she backed a way. “I hope you can forgive me.”

“What do you-”

She cut him off. “Please tell Duo that I’m okay. I don’t want him to worry. Again, I’m really sorry about what happened.” She looked up at him one last time, tears streaming down her face. Then she smiled and walked off.

If he hadn’t been so surprised he would have followed her. But by the time he had finally gotten over the shock, she was gone.

When he told Duo about the puzzling encounter, all he did was smile sadly. “She was an old friend of mine. Say, if you get the ingredients, I’ll cook whatever you want tonight!” And Heero left it there.

And that night when Heero sat at the table watching Duo and Hilde tease each other and himself in turn, he continued his train of thought from that morning. If life was just a dream, then it was a very nice one. After all, dreams were supposed to be pleasant things.

And this dream couldn’t get any better.

~Fini~

"All life is transitory. A dream. We all come together in the same place, in the end of time. If I don't see you again here, I will see you in a little while, in the place where no shadows fall."
–Delenn, Babylon 5