Categories > Anime/Manga > Gundam Wing

When You're Loved

by Jukebox 0 reviews

The annual pilot's feast isn't the same for Duo when his lover is missing

Category: Gundam Wing - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst, Romance - Characters: Duo, Heero - Warnings: [!] - Published: 2006-04-19 - Updated: 2006-04-19 - 4721 words - Complete

Feedback: Always appreciated
Archive: If you think it's worthy, then absolutely. Permission granted. Just let me know where so my fragile ego will be stroked.

Disclaimers: Doing this only for therapeutic value. Not making any money off it. All the characters in this fic don't belong to me. I'm broke so suing me would be like trying to squeeze blood from a turnip. And, I usually think poorly of my own writing, so I'll never make money off of this or any others like it that I write.

Notes: The story was inspired by The Magic of Lassie. The prayer that is said is verbatim from the movie, voiced originally by the great Jimmy Stewart. The song at the end belongs to Debbie Boone. This fic was written in response to the First Annual Spring Songfic Challenge issued at The Vault (, for which it won first prize!

Summary: Thanksgiving isn't the same for Duo when his lover is missing
Warnings: Characters may seem OOC, Angst, Duo POV


There's an old Earth saying that Sister Helen once told me. I don't remember the exact wordage of it, but I recall that it was the most profound thing I ever heard, even before I knew what the word profound meant. Oh I'm sure there would be many that would disagree with my thought on that. After all, at the time I was pretty young and uneducated. But, it still made an impact. L2 was the poorest colony in the entire Earth sphere. Owning a pet was almost unheard of, that being a luxury that only the wealthiest could afford. Coupled with the fact that we were a man made entity floating in space, there was just no such things as birds or squirrels, butterflies or lizards, not even dogs or cats. That didn't mean there weren't critters on our little chunk of steel in space. Somehow, rats, roaches, and spiders managed to prosper, a testament to the endurance of those species. I suppose there is really no way to keep them from hopping a ride aboard a freighter or two in an unconscious display of migration.

Not long after I came to the orphanage, all fifty-five undernourished pounds of me, I managed to capture a baby rat that I named Jasper. I had actually become rather adept at such a feat, seeing as that was my main supply of food for the longest time. But, I didn't need to eat Jasper as I would have in the past. I now had two square meals a day and was steadily gaining the weight a kid my age would normally gain. Not that I really knew how old I was, it was just what Father Maxwell would tell me to encourage me to eat what was offered. Like I would refuse free food anyway. But I digress.

I remember keeping the little 'joker' in a box I had punched some holes in, taking him out every once in a while to pet him or play with him, giving him some scraps from my plate that I would sneak into my pocket when no one was looking. Sister Helen happened to walk in on me during one of those moments, when I was feeding my little pet. I remember the sharp gasp of air and the look of extreme disgust on her face before she schooled her features into one of tolerance, and understanding. She came closer to me, though not close enough that the animal could touch her, and sat down on the floor with me as she eyed the rodent.

"Duo, what are you doing?" she said gently, as if any inflection in her voice would cause my pet to suddenly become a ferocious beast, snarling around a mouth full of razor sharp teeth and ready to rip her throat out.

I almost had to laugh at her look of near terror at such a tiny little creature. I mean, I guess Jasper isn't the prettiest bow in the box, what with his hairless tail and dull gray color. But, he was mine, the first real thing I ever owned, and I loved him. "I'm feeding Jasper, Sister Helen."

"Well yes, honey, I can see that. I mean, why are you playing with a....a....with him? We really can't afford to feed any pets, sweetheart." At the crestfallen face I gave her, she started to backpedal. "You know that a ra...that Jasper could find his own food, don't you?"

I guess I must have teared up because I remember her face softening, the terror over her proximity to a rodent melting away as she reached a cautious hand out to stroke my braid. It was the first time I recall her stroking my hair when I didn't flinch away from the touch. Odd, how something so insignificant sounding as a woman stroking a child's hair can be one of the few warm memories I have as a kid. "Duo...a creature such as Jasper is meant to be free. It's a shame to keep him in a little box, keep him from running and playing with all his creature friends."

"But he's mine Sister. I don't want him to go away. I found him and I want him to stay with me. I love him." I had clutched Jasper to me so tightly at the thought of him leaving, that I think I frightened the poor animal. It squirmed a lot in my grasp.

Sister Helen reached down and lifted my chin so that I was staring into her mesmerizing eyes. And that was when she said the one thing that made such an impression in my little brain. "Duo, if you love something, you should set it free. If it comes back to you, then it belongs to you. If it doesn't, then it never did."

I think I blinked at her a few times as it sank in. But she smiled at me in encouragement, and it was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen. I remember boxing Jasper up in the little makeshift home I had imprisoned him, and carting him down the stairs to the backdoor. Sister Helen was with me the whole way. When I got to the bottom of the stair, I opened the lid of the box and put my pet on the pavement. Jasper sniffed around a bit, before scampering off to a nearby cubby hole. I lost sight of him shortly after that. And then a pair of slender arms came around my shoulders and hugged me tight, the warmth of the body behind me chasing away the numbness that had somehow found its way inside my chest. I think I did cry then. I had never owned anything before, and she had just convinced me to release into the wild the one thing I could claim as mine. For almost a week I would go outside and sit on that lower step, staring towards the hole in the wall where my Jasper had disappeared. I was waiting for him to return. And everyday Sister Helen would come sit with me for how ever long I would endure, all the while reminding me how thoughtful it was that I had given one of God's creatures back its freedom to live as it was intended to live. I guess I never did really believe in her god.

Jasper never returned to me. It was a hard lesson to learn at such a tender age, but one I cherished and never forgot. As much as I had wanted to keep my little rat, I knew what Sister Helen was saying was true. And despite the loneliness, the sadness at losing something precious to me, I was satisfied with what I had done; proud even, and happy for my pet. In the end, I guess it was enough.

It wasn't long after that I lost everything that was dear to me. I joined the war and sought my revenge, but in the back of my mind I kept Sister Helen's wise words. I used that to help me through. As much as I loved Father Maxwell and Sister Helen, along with all the other kids, they didn't belong to me, and they weren't coming back. So instead, I put on a mask for the rest of the world to see, something to keep everyone out, and I resigned myself to being alone. I had to be satisfied with the thoughts that where ever they were now, whether in their heaven they so firmly believed existed, or just loose specters of energy floating around in space, that they were happy. This in turn made me happy. I knew they loved me, and somehow that made all the difference in the world.

What a strange thing it was to make friends during a war. The five of us were brought together for a common goal, and from that became as close as any blood bonded family, only without the blood bonded part. I never thought I would feel about anyone, let alone four anyones, as I did about my fellow Gundam pilots. All the resolve I had to harden my heart and not ever let anyone in again melted away like ice in the sun. Before I knew it, they had become closer to me than even Solo and the gang I ran with back on L2. And, even more than that, I fell in love.

Damn I was such an idiot. How I ever fell for such a stoic, emotionless soldier I'll never know. Lucky maybe? Who knows. My luck always ran a little on the downside. But there it was, in all it's fucked up glory - I was in love with pilot 01, the driving force behind Wing Gundam. Funny thing is I'm pretty sure he loved me right back, though he didn't know it....or show it. In the end, I guess it didn't really matter.

The war finally ended, as wars tend to do. People eventually get tired of the killing and destruction, causes and reasons are forgotten. And everyone moves into a new era of peace and rebuilding. It never lasts. It's just a continuous cycle of ups and downs. Like those stock markets of old Earth that I read about in a history book once. One minute you're going along all peachy keen, and the next you've lost everything and the bottom falls out. Bitter much, me? Not really. I guess I'm just realistic. I lost the ability to be optimistic at a tender age when I turned my first trick so I wouldn't starve to death. But I guess I can't complain. The man was nice enough, for a pervert, and actually taught me a few moves that I later put to good use to become the best thief on L2. Not like there was really all that much worthwhile to steal, but it was a hell of a lot better than whoring.

We had all made a connection, the other pilots and I, and that stayed with us after the war. When Wufei joined the Preventers, I followed suit. What else was I going to do? Selling junk on L2 with Hilde was not so appealing and I guess I had become somewhat of an adrenaline junkie. Flying a Gundam into the heart of a battle over and over again will do that to a man. Wufei and I even became very close friends, the best of friends really, as well as partners at the bureau. Quatre went on to lead his family's empire, as he was always destined to do, and Trowa ran away with the circus. That always makes me laugh to think of that. Ok, what child doesn't want to run away with a circus? Well, what child other than me. Hell, I didn't even know what a circus was until I met the green-eyed pilot. Still, he and Quatre have a solid relationship, for which I'm totally happy. There were no two people more right for each other than those two.

And Heero.....ah, now that one tends to make me melancholy. We had always felt a connection. Or at least, I always felt one to him. He was pretty difficult to read. I think I confused him. Heero wasn't one for emotions, something I totally blame Dr. J for. If it weren't for that maniac, Heero might have actually been a normal human being like the rest of us. Well, as normal as five boys trained to fight and kill in their early teens could be. Still, I saw it when the war ended. And I think the other guys did too. He was so lost. His one purpose in life was over and I really don't believe he thought he would live to see it.

We actually started something, Heero and I. Initially, there was his dedication to the queen of the universe. But, eventually, Relena didn't need him anymore; yet one more purpose that ended. She loved him. I know she did. But they weren't compatible, something I think was obvious to both of them. Heero just couldn't live in the limelight that revolved around her. It just wasn't his thing. Something to do with his need for anonymity from the war days I suppose. I remember her saying to me once that she wished she could have helped him grow emotionally; to learn all there was to showing your humanity or some kind of shit like that. She always had a way with the dramatics, her vocabulary an extensive thing. Surprisingly enough, I really did understand what she was trying to say.

When he left her employment, I offered my place to him. My thoughts at the time were to give him the opportunity to get his life together and decide what he wanted to do now that there was no mission that needed fulfilling. All of us started a tradition then, where we would meet every Thanksgiving at Quatre's cabin in the mountains and celebrate the season without anyone else. Just the five of us, and sometimes Sally since Wufei was dating her and all. We chose that day because of what it had represented in history; a day of thanks for all we had been given, and a day of recognition for all that had been lost. For nearly five years after the war, this was our tradition. It was really special for all of us, but perhaps mostly for me, because this was my family.

During those five years, Heero and I became very close. In fact, we became lovers. It was a new experience for him, I could tell. And truth be told, it was new for me as well despite the fact that I wasn't exactly a novice when it came to sex. He tore down the last of the walls around my heart and I learned what it truly was to worship another. There was nothing I couldn't do with him at my side. For him, I managed to bring out the hidden passion that lay dormant under the intense training that still over rode almost everything. It was a time of confusion for him, this I know. I could see it in his eyes, feel it in his sometimes hesitant touch, and hear it in his almost wistful comments when he stared outside the window of our tiny apartment. He was happy with me, but he wasn't happy. I laugh at that. Talk about a contradiction in terms. Ok, maybe he wasn't exactly unhappy, more like unsatisfied. I still don't quite know what the hell I think about that time.

I think I felt it coming before it actually did. Heero needed to find himself, needed to understand all the emotions I had awakened in him. And so, I really wasn't all that surprised to come home one day to catch him on his way out with a large duffel bag in hand. We stared at each other for a while, me trying to wrap my brain around the fact that this creature I loved with my heart and soul was leaving me, him trying to find the words to help me understand that it wasn't about me and it was something he needed to do if we stood any chance together. There were tears on both sides. I recall now that it was the first time I had ever seen the man cry. There were passionate kisses and fierce embraces, before we finally released each other. I followed him down to the garage, watched him straddle his bike after securing the bag, heard him start the engine even over the loud ringing in my ears, and watched him start to drive away. I remember he stopped just at the exit and turned around to look at me one last time, as if to memorize my features, as if to make an unspoken promise. And then he was gone.

That was almost two years ago. There was no sign of Heero, despite Wufei's best attempts to find him. And Wufei is the best at what he does. But, so is Heero. And if Heero wanted to disappear, then that's exactly what he would do... exactly what he did. I was in a deep depression for the longest time. I couldn't eat or sleep, became dangerously close to death before Sally and the rest of the guys intervened. They saved me, as they had many times during the war, and brought me back from the brink. But I couldn't forget that unspoken promise. It said he would return one day. And I wondered if it would be in my lifetime.

So here we were at the cabin; our annual tradition upon us, though it seems less now that it's missing one. And here I am, sitting on the window bench and staring out the front window while the rest of the gang prepares the feast. It wasn't long before my best friend approached me. Good old Wufei.

"Credit for your thoughts."

I closed my eyes and sighed, my voice cracking slightly. "I can't help thinking about him, 'Fei. I know he never said it, but I saw the promise he made to me when he left. It was in his eyes, a promise that he would find a way home to me." I know it wasn't fair to the others on this of all days, but I just couldn't help the despair I was feeling; couldn't help the tears that start to trickle down my cheek.

Holding back tears of his own at the sight of me, Wufei leaned down and placed both his arms around me, embracing me from behind as he placed his chin on my shoulder. "Duo, you have to let him go. It'll be two years in just a few months. We all adored him and he would not want us to stop living our lives waiting for him. He would want us to honor his memory and move on."

As much as it hurt, I knew he was right, but I just couldn't help myself. I had never had closure and there was always the thought in the back of my mind that Heero would come home, as he promised. "I know, 'Fei. It's just hard to celebrate when he's not here. I feel so alone."

Wufei released me and turned my chin up to look him in the eyes. "You are not alone. Now, come. Help us prepare for the feast and let us help you find peace."

Reluctantly, I gave up my perch, stood up and followed him to the kitchen. The meal would be served shortly, the excitement of the day flowing through everyone. Despite the smiles and joy I felt from all around me, I could not climb out of this depression and moved like an automaton, setting the table and bringing out dishes.

Quatre, ever cheerful, wandered in from the den, tired of watching the game that Trowa insisted upon, and caught up with me. "Duo! What a glorious day. We should all be thankful!"

I could only frown at him. "What is there to be thankful for?" At the sadness in those aquamarine eyes, I immediately regretted the bitterness falling from my mouth, but I guess I couldn't help myself.

Quatre rubbed his chest unconsciously, his space heart telling him more than I ever will, and moved closer to me, clasping my arm. "Faith, Duo. There is a plan for everything, but you must have faith."

A smile that did not reach my eyes was all that I could manage. "Lost my faith a long time ago, Q-man." With that, I moved away from him and retreated to the kitchen. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him bow his head and return to the den. Guilt became my best friend.

Dinner was finally ready and placed on the table. Everyone was called into the massive dining area and sat around the oversized table. It was quite an intimate gathering despite the spacious furnishings.

Wufei looked over all of us and smiled. "Let us all hold hands." It still amazed me that this was the same man who held everyone at arms length during the war. After we each connected with our neighbor, fingers intertwining to form one ring, the Chinese philosopher looked at Sally. "If you would be so kind, Sally."

"Please bow your heads." she requested. I had always teetered on the edge when it came to religion. With the loss of nearly everyone so dear to me - Solo and the gang, Father Maxwell and Sister Helen, Heero - I found that I really had no belief at all. But tradition demanded I at least follow custom. So, I bowed my head along with all the others and waited for Sally to say grace.

Taking a deep breath, she slowly said the blessing. "Thank thee Lord for the feast we share. For those we love, and the friends who care. Thank thee Lord for the sun up above, and for the vines and grapes that you touch with love. And thank thee Lord for this day of rest, with all our gifts we are truly blessed. But most of all in our hearts we pray, you protect the one we love who is far, far away. Amen."

There was complete silence as everyone reflected. I was on the verge of more tears when I suddenly picked up on a faint sound. Raising my head, I looked toward the curtains. There it was again, a very low, almost inaudible rumble. I made to stand, moving in slow motion towards the window. The others noted my attention drawn elsewhere and began to question me. As I neared the window, I paused to listen and was rewarded with the distinct sounds of a motorcycle coming closer. Rushing to the window, I threw the curtains back and peered intently towards the front driveway. The others started to stand as well, concerned by the way I was acting I suppose.

Pressing both hands to the window, my eyes scanned the terrain in front until I saw the figure in the distance entering the main gate. "Heero" I whispered.

"What?" Quatre questioned as he moved closer to me.

I turned my head to look back at them all, my mind whirling and dizzy. "Heero" I said more clearly, emotion breaking the word as a tear escaped down my cheek. I turned and ran for the door and flung it open, moving briskly onto the porch where I paused to squint at the figure growing larger as it neared. A smile began to form on my face and I screamed "HEERO!"

Breaking into a run, I flew down the steps and darted down the driveway towards the approaching rider. The other pilots filed out of the front door behind me, filling the porch as they watched everything unfold in front of them.

Half-way up the drive, the motorcycle stopped. Heero dismounted and ran to meet me. "HEERO!" I yelled again and launched myself into his arms, wrapping my long legs around his waist. Heero swung me around in a circle as he hugged me tightly to his chest.

After a moment, he released me to let my body drop back to the ground, then kissed me deeply right there in front of everyone. To say I was shocked was probably the understatement of the century. When we finally broke apart for much needed air, my breathing was labored, but I ignored it. "Heero...where....what...whe..." I just stopped as my breath hitched and the tears fell unrestrained down my cheeks. I again hugged him, unable to believe my eyes, unwilling to release the man.

The others had surrounded us by this time, a thousand questions flying. Heero held up a long fingered hand to silence them all, and then cupped my cheek as I sought out the exotic, cobalt blue eyes I loved so much. He kissed me gently on the tip of my nose before speaking. "I really don't know where to begin. I had so much to overcome, to learn and there is a lot I don't remember. I was wounded so badly in my mind. I was in a dark place for a long time while I warred with my training. It was so hard to come out of that hole, Duo. But I had to. I had a promise to keep. And it centered me, helped bring me back." Heero took a deep breath before continuing. "When I finally came to my senses, my body and soul were healed completely and I started the long road back to you."

Burying his face in my long braid of hair, he inhaled deeply. And I imagined that he was refreshing his memory with my unique scent. The other team members had been forgotten as the two of us continued to hold onto each other. Finally, he pulled back and acknowledged the rest of the pilots. There were hugs and kisses all around as they were overcome with relief, and I marveled at the change in Heero.

"Well" Quatre started, ever the perfect host, his voice full of emotion "let us all return to the feast that has been prepared. Heero? You will join us I hope?"

"Yeah, I am starved." Heero actually smiled, a full row of beautiful, straight teeth displayed proudly, and I almost fainted with the sight of it. He was truly a whole person and I felt like I was meeting a brand, new creation; honored to be one of the first to witness and recognize the significance of it all.

As everyone turned to make their way back to the house, I briefly glanced at Quatre, noting the look in his eye. I smiled at him and nodded, before intertwining my fingers with Heero's. Both his and Sister Helen's words came to the forefront of my mind. With his return, I guess Heero really did belong to me. And perhaps faith was truly all that was needed.
When you're out there on your own
Trying to make it all alone
Cause you seek the missing pieces of your life
It's a rough and tumble journey
On a road that never ends
It's a cold, cold world you're walking thru my friend

But when you're loved, when you're loved
You always walk in love's reflection
And when you're loved, when you're loved
Somehow you find the right direction
This crazy jigsaw puzzle life
With all it's pain and all it's strife
Becomes a beautiful scene
What I mean, only when you're loved.

There's a time you start to doubt
You say what's it all about
And you'd like to throw those fading dreams away
Cause the road keeps leading nowhere
Empty days and endless nights
With that happy journey's end so far from sight

But when you're loved, when you're loved
There's not a storm you can not weather
And when you're loved, when you're loved
The missing parts all fit together
This crazy jigsaw puzzle life
With all it's pain and all it's strife
Becomes a beautiful scene
What I mean, only when you're loved.
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