Halfway To Hell

Warning this fic may contain: angst (Sorry, the last chapter wasn't really very angsty but that because I had intended to have this chapter as part of the last one...ah well), depression, shonen-ai, cursing, and traces of child abuse, rape, etc. etc.

Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing.

Review Responses

HitokimiGrins Your guess was right on! Congrats!

Lil' Hanyou Girl – I'm glad you liked the last chapter, and I hope that this one is up to par! Oh and don't worry, I managed to actually get out everything I wanted to say in this chapter, finally!

CrazyDreamin– You bet I did! And isn't he adorable! Or at least he will be, after a decent meal. Oh, and congratulations! You were the first one to get the right answer! Cookies for you!

Abi2 – I'm glad you found the last chapter so amusing; I hope this one is just as good.

Beastiewolf– Ah… no. He's not a pixie or a demon or anything supernatural like that, in fact, he's really rather ordinary in comparison to all that, but the answers are all below so just keep on reading!

Recap


"Maxwell…" He began warningly, hoping to calm the other teen down before he started anything.

His warning was met with muffled shouts that he couldn't quite make out. Well that plan backfired.

It took a few moments, but Duo managed to free himself form the masses of black cloth and stood upright to his full height of…40 inches? (That's roughly 101 centimeters)

"Duo?"


Chapter 3: Anchor in the Storm


The being that Heero addressed as Duo froze at the inquiry, his attention suddenly focused directly on the Wing pilot.

Heero blinked at the form of pilot 02 in confusion, and honestly, who could blame him? The being in front of him was Duo Maxwell and yet, it wasn't.

Besides the obvious difference in height (made even more obvious by the way Duo's black priest clothes hung off him like some sort of dress), his hair was, well it looked the same color wise, but it was half braided (far too sloppy, Duo would never allow his hair to get in that condition. ) And it was too short, only falling to the middle of his back.

Then there were his eyes. They weren't Duo's eyes.

Well, they were, but they weren't, if that makes sense.

This Duo had the same color eyes, true, the same unique violet color that was Duo's alone. But his Duo's eyes were filled with light and humor. And even though most of it was a mask, Heero couldn't help but feel that some of that happiness was true. (He was quite serious about this feeling too, since Heero Yuy feeling anything and admitting it, if only to himself, was quite a rare thing.)

This Duo though, his eyes were hard and guarded…haunted. Furthermore, these eyes were filled with something Heero had rarely seen in them, hatred. Annoyance, yes, coldness, yes, but he had never seen hatred filling those eyes, least of all aimed at himself. And then worst of all there was something he had never seen in them no matter what the situation; fear.

Tearing his eyes form those violet orbs he examined the rest of the stranger, the Wing pilot took in the small, clever hands, barley distinguishable because of the long black sleeves, hanging over them, and the muscle development apparent through the cloth and realized with no little shock that the Duo before him was nothing but a child. A very young child.

The perfect soldier was so caught up in this discovery that it took him nearly a minute of examination to notice the clearest attribute of this stranger.

He looked like he was dying.

The boy's face was gaunt and on closer inspection those small clever hands were emaciated and stiff. The hair that Heero knew to be the American's one true pride and joy was dull and wild. And although the boy was unsoiled, it took almost no imagination to be able to picture the boy in filthy rags, covered in grime.

It was almost like watching an animated corpse. The only difference between the two being that the dead can't feel hatred…or fear.

"Duo…" Heero began softly, but never finished. For the first time, in a long time, the perfect soldier was faced with a situation that he didn't know how to deal with. Had Duo been here, the real, happy Duo that wouldn't shut up and brightened everyone's day, had he been here, he would have made some smart-ass comment about a cat having stolen the pilot's tongue, or something along those lines.

This recollection of Duo only drove home the fact that Duo wasn't here. Instead there was a child who looked like Duo, but couldn't be Duo. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, the teen was distracted from his thoughts by the object of his contemplation.

At the Japanese youth's words, the boy had jerked back into reality with a flurry of life that almost destroyed his likeness to a walking corpse (almost but not entirely, his clamor only detracted notice away from that aspect of him).

The child's stance lost its uncertainty and fear, as he shifted into a posture that reeked of assurance and arrogance. The sudden change was really what had brought Heero out of his reverie; looking upon this face of the tiny brunette, the teen could make out some traces of the Duo he and the other pilots knew. He was so startled by this revelation (as if the fact that Duo had been switched with a five year old look alike wasn't enough) that he was even uncertain of how to react to the boy's reaction to him.

It took a moment for the boy to break eye contact with the teen, but even after he did, the Japanese pilot was unsure of what to do. Heero's uncertainty allowed the child enough time to deal with his own uncertainty. And just as the Wing pilot had begun to regain his equilibrium, the child Duo acted.

Without a moment's hesitation, the boy dove to the side and into a pile of the real Duo's things. Only once the teen had begun to worry that his miniaturized comrade had drowned did he reappear, with an ancient M-9 pistol clutched in his hands.

"Eat lead Alliance scum!" and with that charming pleasantry, the child pilot opened fire on his the teen.

The shot was surprisingly accurate and as such Heero was forced to dodge, thus relinquishing some of his strategic placing in the room. In the time it had taken the blue-eyed teen to dodge, Duo made a mad dash toward the corner he had previously been concealed in. Heero being slightly preoccupied with keeping track of the rogue youth that he didn't even bother contemplating the reference to the Alliance, he would think about it later, since now was hardly the time. He had a brat to catch.

The child was surprisingly quick on his feet considering his physical state and the cumbersome cloth he was ensconced in, however the perfect soldier was faster. Heero rapidly maneuvered around the piles of junk that littered the Deathscythe pilot's floor, until he was blocking the longhaired child's escape route.

The boy's eyes widened in shock when he realized almost too late that he had been cut off, and took a step back. "Bastard! Leave me alone!" The boy raised the gun again to shoot, but the Wing pilot was ready for him this time.

Like lightning the terrorist had crossed the distance between him and the armed youth. An instant before the Duo look alike pulled the trigger, Heero got hold of his arm, managing to throw off the boy's aim. The sound of shattering glass, most likely from the sole window in Duo's room (if Heero had bother to investigate the sound), echoed the resulting wild shot, but neither Heero nor the child had been injured.

Once the shock of Heero's interference had passed, the boy realized what had happened and began to struggle wildly, vainly trying to free himself from the older boy's iron tight grasp. However, Duo quickly realized that his efforts were fruitless and tried something else, using his free hand to make a grab for the weapon still clutched in his captured hand.

Unfortunately for him though, the Japanese teenager seemed to know what he was planning before he himself knew, because the moment he made to snatch the gun out of his other hand, it was already gone. Belatedly, he realized, that his tormentor had removed the firearm and had disposed of it so efficiently that the child had no idea where he had stashed it.

With this realization, the boy's struggles became even wilder, but his thrashings remained unchecked due to Heero's uncertainty in how to deal with a child. He just couldn't help but compare the child-Duo to a little girl he had once met. Her and her puppy.

He probably would have continued contemplating that terrible mistake, but he was distracted by his captive's retaliation, as the child had picked up on his captor's distraction, and had acted accordingly.

With a startled grunt, the pilot released the boy and winced as he inspected his hand. In a fit of very un-perfect solider behavior, he swore. He was bleeding and dammit, he reserved the right to express his displeasure over that fact simply because if Wufei was right, he might actually get rabbis. (AN: Duo bit him, in case you couldn't tell )

In his inattentiveness, Duo had scrambled away from him, backing himself against the far wall of the room. Heero growled lowly in annoyance as he gave his hand one last half-mournful look and made a mental note to wash it thoroughly after he had dealt with… shit.

He couldn't let the kid get away, with his luck, the brat would probably try to kill them all and endanger the mission. Heero decided that if the little monster really was somehow Duo, he would have to pound some sense into his idiotic brain, the second everything got back to normal…however, before he could do any of that, he had a cornered animal to catch.

Cautiously, the Japanese pilot approached the boy, doing his best to cut off any and all escape routs, meaning the window and the door. As he approached, the kid began yelling at him in a plethora of languages, many of which even Heero didn't recognize. From what he could make out though, most of what the mini-Duo was saying was insulting and offensive. Choosing not to wonder about how Duo Maxwell knew more languages than he himself did, Heero prepared himself for anything.

As he had advanced the yelling had become gradually louder and more frantic. Finally, when Heero was almost an arm's length away, the boy made his move. He took off with the same surprising speed that he had used the first time. It hardly mattered that the teen had no idea where the kid was planning on running to, considering that the mini Duo barley got a foot away from the wall before Heero caught him. This time determined to not let the boy get away, Heero grabbed him by both arms and held them behind the boy's back in an iron grip.

The boy struggled wildly for a moment, then calmed enough, to be methodical in his attempts, getting creative enough to try maneuvers that had Heero mildly impressed. However, when it became clear that nothing was working, the child did something that the blue-eyed pilot wasn't prepared for.

The mini-Duo stopped struggling, instead he began to shake. That shuddering was faint, but Heero, being Heero, noticed it all the same.

After a moment, he spoke. "Please," the boy's voice was ragged and his accent was thicker than ever, "Please stop, please go away, I'm sorry. I am, I mean it, I am, please stop, I don't mean no harm really, I didn't."

The Wing pilot could hardly have expected this response, and it put him in an even more awkward position than anything else the kid had done. He had no idea why the boy was acting like this, or whether or not this was an act, or if the miniature Duo really was breaking down before his eyes. After careful deliberation, he decided it was best to just let things play out; he was never good with emotional matters anyway.

While Heero made this decision, the boy seemed to become even more frightened by the second, his words becoming slurred and harder to distinguish, "Please, please just let me go, I didn't mean to, whatever I did, I'm sorry please don't hurt me please, oh please mister please don't touch me, please don't rape me!"

The teen's blood ran cold at those words, and his grip on the child loosened marginally, but the boy didn't even seem to notice as he just began to shake harder and continued to beg in slurred speech, only now he wasn't bothering with pleading in coherent speech.

Heero closed his eyes and swore silently, this explained a lot. Not everything, but enough. This boy, whether or not he was Duo, he was in pain and scared and holding him like a prisoner was not the right way to handle him.

Dammit, why did the others have to leave him to handle this on his own? Even he knew enough to tell now that this kid wasn't faking it. This kid was genuine deal. The boy was also genuinely sure that he was going to get raped. But it didn't matter if Heero knew the truth, because he had absolutely no idea how to handle said truth. Winner and Maxwell were the emotional ones, not him. He noticed distantly that the kid was becoming even more panicked as time passed, but he was at a loss as to what to do. He knew the boy needed comfort but being a perfect soldier didn't involve knowing how to console small children.

The situation would have stayed the same, Duo begging and Heero holding him still, unsure of how to act, but then Duo did something even more startling or shocking than anything else he had done that day.

He began to cry.

It started off so silently that the perfect soldier didn't even notice that the quiet pleading had stopped. However, he couldn't help but notice when the boy's sobs became louder and even more ragged.

At the sound of the child's sobs, the pilot felt his heart tighten in a way that he couldn't recall it ever having done before. Cautiously, Heero let go of the boy, still half expecting him to make a break for it.

The boy didn't run. Instead he fell to the floor, wrapping his arms and around himself, his sobs continuing to flow unchecked.

Unsure of what he was doing or why, Heero warily, stood to his full height, and then carefully maneuvered his way around the crying child. The teen knelt before the boy, hesitant but following an instinct so definite, that he could not ignore it. And thus, with halting movements, Heero reached out with a foreign gentleness and pulled the shaking child to himself.

Awkwardly, Heero held the boy close against his chest, and at first the boy froze, terrified at the unexpected action, but the pilot did not allow himself to be distracted, for fear that any distractions would destroy this opportunity. It didn't matter if this was his first hug, the perfect soldier never did anything half way, simply as a rule.

Even with his lack of experience, he quickly realizing that the hug on its own would not be enough, he tried something else. Almost warily, the teen began to rub circles on the boy's back; he kept up the action for an unknown amount of time, unsure of whether or not it was working. However eventually, he felt the boy's skeletal body begin to relax ever so slightly. A little more confident, Heero stopped the circular movement of one of his hands, in favor of gently petting the boy's hair, in as comforting of a motion as he could manage.

And slowly, almost imperceptibly, the kid began to relax into Heero's embrace. Though, instead of claming down, the tears continued to flow. The pilot could tell, even though he could not see the child's face, because he could feel the tears soaking into his green tank top, and hear the boy's quiet sobs, echoing through his being, striking a chord, that Heero hadn't even known existed.

Forgetting himself, for perhaps the first time in many years, the perfect soldier set aside his mask and allowed himself to be human.

Quietly, Heero began to speak; he wasn't sure what he was saying exactly or even if he was still speaking English, but he didn't think it mattered. The words were tender and soothing and they flowed out from place deep inside of him.


Heero didn't know how long they sat there on the floor.

He didn't know when himself began to cry, just a few tears, but for him it might as well have been an ocean.

He also didn't know when the child in his arms had quieted his sobs, calmed his shudders and had started holding onto him, or at least his abused tank top.

And finally, he didn't know how long it was until the flow of words came to an end and he reluctantly let go of the boy, carefully setting him down and backing off, to give the boy room.

However he did know that it took only a moment for him to miss the minuscule weight in his embrace, but he knew better than to suffocate someone as broken as this mini-Duo apparently was. Everything till this point had been instinct, but now he was unsure of what to do, unsure if his intuition had been wrong. Almost afraid of what he would find, the teen lifted his eyes to meet those of the boy's.

The boy's eyes, the ones that had previously been hard and guarded, were sill the cautious, as well as red and puffy from crying, but beyond that, there was a look in them now, a look of intense hope, bordering on needing. Gazing into them, Heero could not help but feel the raw need emanating from those violet orbs. He wasn't sure exactly what the need was, but he could feel it in himself as well, for all that that makes sense.

Before the hesitant pilot could figure out what to do, Duo acted first, impulsively, but that was to be expected of the longhaired American, teenage or miniaturized.

The boy looked unsure for a moment, but only a moment. The boy raised his head and stared into Heero's blue eyes and searched them with a demanding gaze. The Wing pilot had no idea what the boy was looking for, but he apparently found it, since after a short eternity, the child broke the eye contact, only to throw himself back into Heero's arms. The teen could only blink his miniaturized comrade clung to him with a desperateness, that threw the older male completely off guard, it was almost as if the boy thought that letting go of Heero would mean being lost forever. "Please, please," begged the boy, "Please, don't let them hurt me. Please don't go, please!"

Heero's eyes widened at this new entreatment, but he understood the boy's pleading, because he could hear the same cry resonating from the very bottom of his soul.

And it was with absolutely no reservations that the Japanese youth returned the little American's hug, and with just as much desperation as he received.

"I won't," he whispered back, "I promise."


Well there you go, the secret is out, I chibified Duo!

Heh, I'm sorry, I just always wanted to say that.

Okay, now that I've got that off my chest, I have to say first off that I am incredibly sorry about the super long wait for the update, but I had writer's block (and a raging headache, but that's another story).

Anyway, how was it? I tried to keep Heero in character, but toward the end, it was necessary to the plot that he be at least slightly out of character. Though personally I think that a sobbing Chibi-Duo could move anyone to tears, but that's just me. Also, did the ending come out right or was it corny and stupid? (If you didn't like it please tell me nicely, I'm not really good with bluntness.)

Oh, I also need some help from all my lovely readers; if you're interested in reading more of Halfway to Hell, I need some help coming up with nicknames for all of the pilots, and if you have any ideas they would really be appreciated.

And finally the most important question of all (though I think I'm just repeating myself) was this chapter any good and what did you think about it? However no flames please, just constructive criticism, because I don't think my poor heart can handle blatant cruelty!

R&R