Talya Firedancer

Standard Disclaimers


by Talya Firedancer


"You have the longing
of a broken heart
shined your light on a room
that was frozen dark
Looking into your eyes
I'm crossing the river
of fear and pride."


In the mornings I feel so alive.

Not because Quatre tells me to, but because I need it. With the nip of the dawn's chill rousing my body I can get up, and face the sunrise, and even not think about...things...for an hour or two. But only that long.

I've stopped cutting myself, and Quatre is relieved. I can tell. I've even started smiling again, and joking around. But he still watches me, suspicious, probably afraid that it's a ploy to make him think everything's okay with me again, then I'll undo all his hard work. Or try to, anyhow.

Everything's *not* okay.

I'm not stupid enough to try to fool myself. But I still smile. It's a familiar, comfortable barrier and it helps. Oh, it would be easy to say now, my heart in pieces, that nothing will ever be okay again and that Heero's death took away an essential part of my self. My life, my faith. But Time is a strange thing, like Death, and it can play tricks on a person. Some day - it horrifies me to think it - some day I won't remember the touch of his hands on my face, and how they first woke my body. How he was so careful, so soft to brush out my hair. Sometimes in the middle of the night I would wake up with him in my bed, trapped between his warmth pressing a line up my chest and belly and thighs, and the cold wall at my back. And I'd tease him for never admitting he liked to just hold me, nothing more.

Shit, it's all so clear now. But in a few years - damn it, even months - it won't be so clear, anymore.

To tell the truth, I admire him. It took guts to push that button and to blow Wing to holy hell. Or maybe...I bite my lip, considering. Maybe he didn't feel anything at all. Did he think about it? Was he filled only with the cold purpose I've seen in his eyes, driving out anything else? Or was he afraid?

It's these thoughts that scream inside me. They clustered up thick in the days immediately succeeding Hee-his death. They filled my every smile, my simplest gesture until there was only one thing I wanted to do. Silence the screams.


Make a penance for loving Heero - God! God, was it truly such a sin? Do You disapprove when a person gives up their body and mind to another, taking their fractured heart in return to make the two of you a whole...regardless of sex?

That's what he was to me, God. He shattered my fragile heart into pieces and put me back together, stronger than before. So I couldn't do it.

For better or for worse, Heero...I'm alive.

* * *

Duo pushed open the kitchen door and bounced in, swinging his loosely- gathered braid in one fist. "Ohayo, Quatre!" he greeted the blond with cheer, making a face at the pot of tea kept warming on the stove. He grabbed a cup of coffee.

"Coffee, again?" Quatre made a face, tossing him a muffin.

Duo caught it and took a bite. "Black as Death, sweet as Love!" he replied with a grin, then blinked. He turned hastily to the counter and busied himself with tidying up useless things. His face was a cipher.


"*Don't* say anything!" Duo responded fiercely, then turned back to Quatre.

"I was going to say, Trowa told me he'd be coming today. He needs a place to hole up for a few days."

"Oh." Duo knuckled his eyes and shrugged. "Whatever." He let his hand drop back to his side. He'd taken to wearing long-sleeved shirts, these days, to hide the loose wrappings that still covered his wrists.

Quatre opened his mouth to speak and the long-haired boy beat him to it. "Yosh'! I'd better check up on Shinigami. I got a lot to do today!" He drained the mug in a few swift swallows then flounced out of the room.

The blond sighed. "No, I'd guess you wouldn't want to talk about it." He spoke to the empty room.

"Quatre-sama?" Abdul craned his head around the kitchen door. "Ah, Quatre-sama. You wanted to be notified as soon as Trowa Barton arrived."

"He's here?" Quatre's face lit up.

* * *

Heero lapsed into another doze, sitting in the passenger seat of the cargo truck. He hated this, the dependency on his body's needs, but most of the time Trowa had him so hopped up on painkillers he was too woozy to try anything. Which, he had realized with wry acknowledgement, had been Trowa's intent. And he hated to admit it, but he needed it. After his self-destruction attempt, losing his Gundam in the process - probably to OZ, to boot - it had taken him a month to even wake up, according to Trowa. But somehow he was still alive.

He slumped in the seat and tried to focus his eyes.

It was harder than he'd thought.

Where the hell were they, anyhow? He remembered Trowa saying something about 'a safe place...a few days.' He wanted to hunt up Noventa's relatives but he couldn't manage to stay upright unassisted yet.

To tell the truth, it had been relief to wake up. Relief, to realize he was still alive. There were things he hadn't done yet. First and foremost, of course, was giving Noventa's family a chance to take his own life in compensation. The outright state of war between the Federation and the colonies, before OZ had made their move - that was *his* fault entirely. But more than that, he had killed an innocent. Again.

And too, there was someone...

Shit... Heero wobbled, trying to bring his field of vision back up to the window. He was seeing Duo again.

Which drug had Trowa dosed him with this morning?

At first he could only see a black vaguely human-shaped blob but as he pinned the moving figure with his eyes gradually he could make out a long stream of chestnut hair bouncing behind the figure. And that walk, a cocky stride of confidence mixed with belligerence, and unconscious grace. He would recognize it anywhere. But he couldn't see the face. It was turned away, it was tucked beneath the brim of a dark cap.

Those ridiculous pants.

Those were definitely Duo's wide-flared riding pants.

Whatever Trowa had given him must have had hallucinatory components.

* * *

"Trowa! You're welcome here...I'm glad you trust me enough to come."

Trowa nodded down at the smiling blond boy. "Thank you for having me," he replied quietly, clasping the outstretched hand. Quatre's fingers were warm and firm, the pads slightly calloused. The hands of a boy who *had* worked, despite his obviously rich background. Reluctantly he released it.

"What brings you here?" the boy inquired, then his blue eyes widened and he raised his hands. "Oh, I mean - you don't have to tell me!" he stammered, flushing.

"No, it's all right," Trowa demurred. "It's harder for me to keep a low profile, with Heero still so badly wounded."

"Heero!?" Quatre's eyes bugged out. He blinked rapidly. "What?"

Trowa permitted himself a slight smile. "He's still alive, Quatre. I picked him up from the pieces of Wing Gundam, not knowing if he was dead or still... But Cathrine saved him. She helped me nurse him back to - well, he's not perfectly sound yet. But alive."

"Sou ka!" Quatre breathed, eyes alight. "That's wonderful, Trowa! Is he...where is he?"

"In the truck," Trowa replied. "I need your help to get him inside."

* * *

Duo jumped down from the cockpit of his Gundam, scowling. Shinigami was just *fine.* In good shape, after his recent bout of minor repairs. His partner didn't need him. And being a guest at Quatre's estate, he felt utterly useless.

"Ahh~h!" He stretched in one great big sigh, making a face as he felt vertebrae pop in his upper back, then started back to the house. Trowa's great big cargo truck was blocking the entire driveway...yeah, *real* subtle, man. No sirree, can't hide anything Gundam-sized here!

"I think..." he mused, staring at the cab of the truck. "I think I'll go into town." He laced his fingers behind his head. He had no desire to see the way Quatre's face contained a soft inner glow around the tall pilot of Heavyarms, or how Trowa's posture softened and his eyes were less flat, in the blond Arabian's company. It only reminded him of Heero, it only recalled him to...thoughts he shouldn't think.

"Heero. I miss you." He scuffed at driveway gravel with the toe of one boot. So, he didn't want to be around Trowa and Quatre's impending happiness, the beginnings of what would undoubtedly be a couple.

So, he reasoned, Quatre would hardly miss it if one of the cars from his garage were gone for the afternoon. Maybe he could snag a couple of magazines, play some video games, pilfer some stuff from the local drugstore.

As he started the engine up and grinned at the success of his still-sharp hotwiring abilities, he mused that it might not be a bad idea to stay away for the whole weekend. Hell, Quatre had Trowa. He'd seen the look on his face - reverent, fatuous, a little hungry - when he spoke of the tall, lean-bodied boy. He shifted into gear then cursed. Quatre would worry about him, if he just disappeared, even with Shinigami still here.

But that didn't mean he couldn't lose himself in town, today.

"Wonder if the drugstore has any nudie mags..." he mumbled. A wicked grin crossed his features. Gunning the engine, with the breeze blowing through his hair - yes, this morning he *definitely* felt alive.

* * *

Heero slithered up from the pieces of broken dreams, a grinning braided maniac looming over him with a scythe whispering sweet words of Death into his ear interspersed with that last instant as he had sliced through General Noventa's plane and smiled in triumph. A triumph that had given way to shock, and self-loathing. Failure. He was a failure.

"Heero?" Trowa's voice.

He shook his head, swallowing a hard dry lump and wishing Trowa wouldn't give him quite so many painkillers. The pain didn't bother him. Dreaming of Duo hurt far more.


"We're here."

He roused himself more, pushing himself up and looking out. The house was the same as he remembered it, surveying it earlier. It was a fairly large, handsome mansion. The black-clad apparition he'd envisioned was gone, of course. "Where are we?"

"Quatre's," Trowa replied briefly, and craning his head he could see the blond boy behind him.

Quatre gave him a tremendous smile. "Heero! Yokatta ne!"

Heero gave him a brief nod and lapsed back onto the seat.

"C'mon, we'll get you inside where you can be more comfortable," Trowa told him, opening the door.

He clenched his jaw as he got out of the cab of the truck, Trowa doing his best to support him. His muscles still hurt badly, chest and arms, even through the haze of medication he was riding, so it hurt even to be supported. He refused to be carried.

For a moment he briefly considered asking one of the two boys if they had seen Duo. After all, they were both lucid, and could undoubtedly tell him if there was a long-braided, grinning maniac about the premises, maybe the same one who had stalked past him up the driveway wearing those ridiculous flared pants. He opened his mouth and frowned.

"You can stay here for as long as you like," Quatre was saying. "There's a doctor in town we have connections to, and he's very discreet. I needed his help when Duo..." The blond bit his lip and flushed, averting his face.

Heero looked at him sharply. He was slung between the two boys, and his arm joints ached painfully but he still wasn't strong enough to walk entirely by himself. It was a blow to his pride, but he *had* blown himself up, after all. He couldn't expect his body to work at peak performance after such a setback. "Duo what!?" he demanded sharply, then snapped his mouth shut. It was best not to seem too concerned.

"He...iya. I..." Quatre was genuinely flustered. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said anything."

"You've already said something," Trowa observed, his voice mild.

Heero gritted his teeth. If he had his full strength right now, he'd like to take Quatre by the neck and wring an answer out of him. Was Duo *here?* Maybe it hadn't been hallucinogens in his pain medication.

"Duo tried to kill himself a little over a month ago," Quatre said in a very subdued, small voice. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't be saying this much, because it's his business. He *seems* like he's all right again, but I can't be sure."

"He tried to self-destruct?" Heero blinked. He was appalled. He had never once considered the possible ramifications to Duo. First, there had been no time...then, he'd been unconscious...and now, he was mostly too doped-up.


They were at the door of the house now, and Heero was trying vainly to capture Quatre's averted eyes. "What the hell did he do?"

Quatre leaned over to open the door, mouth pursed, not answering and Heero twisted away from him as he remained silent. He yanked away from Trowa's hands with violence and fell against the railing, breathing heavily. Both pilots regarded him with startled eyes. His chest felt like it was on fire, but he glared at Quatre, bracing himself against the iron railing of the house's front steps.

"Tell me," he ordered, his voice low.

"He tried to slit his wrists," Quatre replied in a tiny, shamed voice, as if it were *his* fault.

Quatre obviously had no idea whose fault it WAS. Heero closed his eyes. Jesus. Duo wanted to die. *Had* wanted...maybe still wanted? And all because of him. His knees started to buckle and Trowa's wiry arm kept him upright. K'so! He railed at his useless body. He needed to heal faster. He needed...

What he *really* needed was to see Duo, and make sure that he was all right, and take the heart-shaped face in his hands and berate the sonuvabitch for doing something so STUPID. Even stupider than what he had done, although that was a moot and debatable point.

"Is he here?"

Quatre nodded mutely, eyes wide. He obviously hadn't expected such an emphatic reaction to his news.

"Take me to him."

* * *

Duo popped the tab on his third stolen drink and settled back with one hand gripping the wheel. The wind plucked at his braid and tossed it over and for a moment he could almost feel it, Jesus, feel human hands tugging at his hair, so soft. He fixed his eyes on the stretch of road the front tires ate up so quickly, always the same patch of tarred asphalt though he was belting down the mountain road.

The tires squealed protest as he took a curve too fast and Duo grimaced. Wherever his morning vigor disappeared to, he wished he could follow it. It didn't take a darkness outside for thoughts of Heero, and warmth, and that last instant before the sky had exploded to overwhelm him.

"Chicken little...the sky is falling," Duo laughed without mirth. Quatre had viewed his abortive attempt at suicide as overreacting. He hadn't said *that,* but Duo knew how things stood. His world crashed to pieces around him, along with the delayed realization that he was mourning his *male* lover.

Shounen ai.

Sodomy was a crime - a sin - and though it had vaguely occurred to him in the morning after he'd surrendered his virginity to Heero, it had only struck him full-force lately. Quatre didn't understand that. He was too pure for Catholic guilt; he could never see anything wrong with giving himself over to another person body and heart, male or female, as long as those pure feelings were returned.

It clawed at him deep though, sometimes wondering if Heero had been taken away from him as punishment.


He jerked at the wheel, tires squealing again, cursing as he clutched it in both hands and spilled his drink, fizzing up furiously, all over his lap. He was going too fast and the road hugged the mountain on the way down, turning his drive back to Quatre's into a slalom ride of nightmarish curves and dips at the speed he was going. It made a hair-raising grin split his lips.

A shine of metal blazed around the next curve, piercing into his conscious mind.

"Baka yarou!" Duo fumed. The car was gunning up the hill, in his lane. His violet eyes rounded to an icepick realization.

*He* was in the wrong lane, and wrenching the wheel would send him over the edge.

"Oh, shit."

* * *

What's worse? The dream that never fully crossed the forefront of consciousness, or a dream unrealized?

I used to believe that it was a useless waste of time to dwell on things like that. Not just the dreams themselves, but the very questioning of an existence that was laid out in a black and white grid of "is" and "is not," of forever never and harsh absolutes. It's still deep within me to follow what has been set forth, what seems so obviously right or condemn the wrong and be done with it.

I know this. I fight it.

Only recently have I permitted myself to remember dreams. I always took a cool technical approach; it is necessary to sleep because REM is absolutely required for survival. And dreams, of course, were nothing more than the random offshoot of the brain firing connections in that strange paradoxical sleep where consciousness is more to waking than any moment of any other stage of sleep. But it's more than that.

It's more than that; it has to be. I dream about *him,* a lot.

I don't know what the dreams mean. I only know that at one point I thought I was going to die, and he wasn't perturbed me. I won't say frightened because I don't remember feeling frightened. That's been trained out of me, too. But he comes to me at night and he is Death, with a dreamy teasing smile and arms outstretched.

If he were to die..... No. No, I won't think about that now.

I'm not sure I understand. I did what I did because I had to. I didn't give myself time to think -- about life, about Duo's wide smile, about things I hadn't done or said or as they say, to put my affairs in order. Heh. My affairs. I was bitterly stupid, to not consider for a millisecond before I thumbed that button how he might feel. What might happen. But it's one thing to die in the heat of battle, placing your life between the enemy and those of millions -- and it's another thing entirely to waste your life on slow bleeding self-inflicted wounds.

He doesn't know. He doesn't know that I'm here, waiting for him.

But as soon as he comes back, I'll tell him... I--there's a lot I want to tell him.

As soon as he comes back.


Author's notes: I have only one thing to say. I am a sadist. I'm absolutely *wallowing* in writing this. ^_^;;;;; Ah, catharsis...

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