Bullet With Butterfly Wings

by Talya Firedancer

A bloody hand slaps against the cracked glass of a Gundam cockpit's windshield, a gold crucifix dangling from the shaking fingers to click against the fractured glass.

-=fade to=-

[The world is a vampire, sent to drain
secret destroyers, hold you up to the flames]

A montage of shots as the sullen roll of drums and bass begin -- Heero's stern resolute profile, gazing down on Earth as Wing Gundam plummets through the atmosphere. Duo's face is deprived of his normal sunny smile, mouth set in grim lines as he leans bleakly over Shinigami's controls, prepared to take on the shadowy threat of OZ. Trowa's face is calm, his eyes hooded as he monitors Heavyarms' descent. Quatre, surrounded by the host of Maganac fighters, looks sad but determined to fight. And Wufei closes his eyes and folds his arms before he opens them to focus completely on Nataku. The five fighters are prepared to go through the crucible again.

Panning on Duo, a rapid flurry of action shots, Duo wielding his blazing thermal scythe against advancing mobile suits. Duo screaming as he launches Deathscythe at an approaching Leo, cutting it to pieces. Duo's wide manic grin splits his face as he annihilates every fighter in sight.

[and what do I get, for my pain
betrayed desires, and a piece of the game]

"Tell me... please... tell me I'm the only one... "

Duo's face is blankly stunned as Heero turns from him. Heero's last curt words echo in his ears.

*I DON'T love you.*

A sharp, dismissive flick of his fingers. "I won't ever love you, Duo."

Duo's face slowly crumbles and he doubles over, gathering up wadded handfuls of the bedsheets, pressing them to his face. He rips them away violently, vaulting off the bed that still smells of Heero, and too-recent sex.

All he ever was to Heero was a score.

[even though I know -- I suppose I'll show
all my cool and cold-like old job]

Duo smirks, the expression backlit by Shinigami's glowing control panel. This whole mission was a trap, he knows it now -- Heero knows it -- they all know it. He screams violently, throwing himself into the fray with more determination than ever before.

Heero's face flicks onto the surface of the cockpit, cold and flinty as usual. "Don't do anything stupid, Duo."

"You asshole!" Duo rages, cutting apart another Leo until it belches flames. "What right have you got to say anything, when you don't care!?"

He shrieks his lungs out as he continues to fight -- yelling as the trap closes around him. It reminds him of another trap, from long ago -- and the explosions that blossom around Wing Gundam, immolating it in flames abruptly, remind him that day again.

Not a sound came from his lips when Wing Gundam had been blown sky-high.

[despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage
then someone will say what is lost can never be saved
despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage]


Heero was dead.

Duo's face was blank with shock and he barely struggled between the two soldiers who had hauled him roughly along. Nothing mattered anymore because Heero was gone, self-destructed to Hell rather than let the soldiers capture him. How very Heero.

His blank mask shattered, transforming to rage as the soldiers tried to manhandle him into the cell. Duo's fist lashed out across the taller one's cheekbone, rocking him back with a curse. He fights back before more soldiers join in, kicking the crap out of him, shoving him into the cell -- and the first one he'd punched slammed him into the wall, an unpleasant grin crossing his face before he tore at Duo's clothes.

Duo's face was a mess of blood and welts, purple-blue eyes swollen nearly shut, but Heero was the only thing he could see. Heero, who was dead. Heero, whom he would never see again. A whimper escaped his tightly-clenched teeth as hands descended on him, clamping him painfully tight.

[now i'm naked, nothing but an animal]

Duo raised his head a little as the door shut firmly, taking with it the last sliver of light. He winced, curling up into a ball of ache and empty despair. His clothes were scattered carelessly across the cell and he groped for them in the dark, ashamed. Finding nothing, he collapsed into a shudder, loose brown hair curtaining his face to hide the tears that leak out.

[but can you fake it, for just one more show]

The door opened and Duo flinched away from the light; pulled his salvaged clothes tightly around him. He peered blinded at the shadowy slim figure carved into his retinas by the brilliance.

Duo gasped as he realized it was Heero -- impossibly, somehow, really Heero -- and rose painfully to his feet before slumping.

Heero leveled a gun at his head.

Duo's bitter laughter echoed through the cell. "Fine, then -- kill me! You bastard, don't you know you've been killing me all along?"

"Do you want me to kill you?"

Heero lowered the gun, eyes opaque.

Duo's eyes burned for an instant before he plastered a wide grin on his face. "Well, Heero, how're we going to get out of this one?"

[and what do you want, i want to change
and what have you got
when you feel the same]

Duo's eyes were closed as Heero tied off the last bandage, face expressionless. He had taken care of every wound but the most important one. The American's eyes popped open and he looked at Heero measuringly, still wondering why Heero didn't kill him. What did Heero get out of being with him? Why does he -- what...

"Heero... what do you want... ?"

Heero's head turned to meet his gaze, the steady blue burn reflecting only Duo's wishes for something more, revealing... nothing.

Empty, their whole relationship was devoid of true meaning of the love he so desperately needed. And the emptiness in Heero's eyes, too, was a reflection -- mocking his wish for anything beyond physical satisfaction.

Heero pulled him down onto the bed and took his mouth.

Duo took him face down, so Heero wouldn't see the tears.

[even though i know -- i suppose i'll show
all my cool and cold-like old job]

Duo shook his head furiously as Wing Gundam broke free of the fiery halo of the encircling explosions. Heero wasn't dead. He could not die -- as he'd proved time and again. He knew this to be true along with the certainty of Heero himself... but it didn't matter. That wouldn't determine the outcome of the battle.

He clenched his teeth and blinked around the hot sweat dripping down his face, forcing a tigerish grin onto his face as he leapt to intercept two more Leos headed for Sandrock.

[despite all my rage i am still just a rat in a cage
and someone will say what is lost can never be saved
despite all my rage i am still just a rat in a cage]

He kept up his hoarse battle-cries even as they grew more hard-pressed and Shinigami bounced off the turf time and again. Warning lights were starting to buzz up the cockpit, their keening alerts filling his head with haze.

Then he screamed furiously as he saw the descending lines of even more incoming mobile suits.

Heero's tiny face in a corner of Deathscythe's viewscreen was grim and determined.

It's Heero that is lost. Even if we come out of this battle alive, that's something I can never save.

[tell me i'm the only one
tell me there's no other one]

Duo clasped Heero closer, brushing away sweaty bangs, his lips groping over the closed eyelids, damp flushed cheeks, his still-moist and parted lips. "Tell me I'm the only one," he demanded, folding his arms around the slender waist more tightly. "Heero -- please -- tell me I'm the only... " His throat clamped shut and he saw Relena's proprietary expression etched on the insides of his eyelids.

Heero pulled away and his eyes were chips of ice, striking directly at the center of his withering hopes.

"I DON'T love you."

He rolled out of bed, snagging his shorts.

[jesus was an only son]

As the fuel tank catches fire Duo's hand is clutched firmly around the crucifix at his neck. Perhaps God won't forgive his sins -- he has loved Heero too deeply, he has committed crimes his background spurns as unthinkable filth and his hands are soaked in blood -- but perhaps the gentle Son will forgive on account of his true feelings.

"It's all right for humans to act according to their feelings."

Duo's face is peaceful. If so, he thinks, then did you love me, Heero? Did your actions reflect...

[tell me i'm the chosen one]

Heero's face flashes across the cockpit, his lips moving, but Duo is unsure if a sound connection is broken, or he can't hear him because he's not truly there... as it has always been.

His fingers brush over the cracked surface of the cockpit, a vague smile floating past Heero's lips -- Duo's reflection on the glass.

A laugh bubbles past his lips with a thin line of crimson. "You picked me -- not Relena -- tell me, Heero... "

His head falls forward.

jesus was an only son for you

Young Duo knelt in prayer, Father Maxwell's face smiling benignly down. And the son of God's face bore the same gentle, accepting expression.

His eyes fall closed.

[despite all my rage i am still just a rat in a cage
and i still believe that i cannot be saved]

Duo's eyes start open violently. "Go! Get out of here, now!"

Blood streaming down his forehead, Duo slams his hand down on the self-destruct button and the gold crucifix tangled in his fingers jerks. The cockpit begins to flash crazily, a keening death knell starting up. He's got no chances, he knows, but he can save everyone else. He can save their lives, but Heero's heart is beyond his reach.

[and i still believe that i cannot be saved... ]

A bloody hand slaps against the cracked glass of Deathscythe's windshield, a gold crucifix dangling from the shaking fingers to click against the fractured glass. The bloodied, trembling fingers trace slowly over the impassively beautiful face peering out at him, mouthing words he can no longer hear, leaving crimson streaks.

Duo's eyes reflect only the flames -- and Heero's face flickers over the cockpit one last time, before everything fades out with a harsh scream.