Warnings: POV (Duoís this time), angst, mention of NCS, language, and a bit of sap.
by Anria Chiou Lalumin

That Night In The Rain

I love the rain.

Donít look at me like that. Not everyone can truly love the rain.

Donít laugh at me! Iím being serious for once, for Godís sake. Sit up and pay attention, ícoz this is like a once in a lifetime chance. For you, anyway.

Truly loving the rain comes from my childhood. Water was rationed on L2, and we only got to wash our clothes once a month. Clothes took precedence over humans because bacteria built up in the clothes more than on the humans, which led to some of the plagues. On average, Iíd say I got a wash about once every three months.

It never rained on L2. It wasnít particularly hot or anything, but it never rained. If water was so precious it had to be rationed, then wouldnít it follow that they couldnít use it in the weather system, too? Every drop had to be conserved. We all stank.

But then, there were always people who didnít care how bad you smelled. Who only cared about a warm body, and would pay good money - and sometimes bad money - for that body. Those arenít some of the fondest memories I have, but I got enough money to buy enough water to keep the gang alive. That was all that counted. Yet still, water in profusion was still something I could only dream of.

So when I came to Earth, the abundance of water was a bit of a shock. When I tried to make Heero into a piece of Swiss cheese, that first time we met, most of the reason none of the shots were fatal ones was ícoz I was so . . . scared? No, not that strong . . . apprehensive? No, still the wrong word. . . . Well, whatever it was I was feeling, it was because of the ocean to the sides of me. My poor little brain was having difficultly computing the presence of so much water. I was trying for fatal hits, really I was. But itís hard to shoot a moving target in the heart when your hands are shaking.

I think it was . . . three months? Four? before I finally saw rain. Yeah, I know, how the hell did I manage to stay on Earth for four months without getting rained on once? Donít ask me.

I hopped around a lot during those months. Spent most of the time with Heero, lucky old me. Joy. Ecstasy. I had to stay in the same dorm room with Mr. Shut-Up-Duo-Or-Omae-O-Korosu for almost longer than my sanity could stand. You know I talk loads. Well, imagine me being stuck in there with a guy who acts like someone superglued his mouth shut. Or ripped out his vocal cords. Or told him normal social interaction is against health regulations.

You know, I couldnít believe that idiot. I had the wildest impulse to burst out laughing when he blew himself sky-high, ícoz ever since Iíd met that idiot my subconscious had been informing me of more suicidal tendencies than homicidal. Heero has more bats in his belfry than a gothic church, let me tell you that, and I sure as hell wasnít gonna help him dislodge the vampire bats and get bitten. Iíve got more than my own share, and I know how deeply theyíve gotta be rooted. Shit. Now Iím mixing metaphors. What is this, give myself a headache day?

It was Quatre next. Donít get me wrong, Quatreís a nice guy and all, but heís got more problems, in his own way, than Heero. What is it with me and getting stuck with people who all have issues? The smartass attitude seemed to make Quatre think I was a strong person. For an empath, heís pretty bad at seeing past the masks to the six-year-old kid quaking in his boots every time a battle rolls round the corner.

It wasnít long before Iíd had as much of Quatre as I could take. Blind optimism and loaded guilt. Nice combination. I left.

I met Wufei next. Happy day. Well, at least I have someone to argue with when I get bored enough. Except Wufei has a tendency to knock me out if I argue long enough. Damn, but heís set in his ways, just like another Japanese baka I know. Theyíre welcome to each other, or at least thatís what I thought then.

I spent even less time with Wufei than with Quatre. I think I spent two days in his delightful company before my sanity preservation instincts kicked in and I was outta there like a bat out of hell, unlike the ones stuck in mine and the other pilotsí belfries.

I didnít meet Trowa for a long time. I knew he had taken care of Heero, knew he had nursed him back to health, and that was all. I knew Quatre had a major crush on him, which had caused me to go green whenever he mentioned Heavyarmsí pilot after a couple of days of listening to him gush. Needless to say, this did not put him in my good books until I met him.

We were at a safehouse. I was bugging Heero, Heero was ignoring me, Wufei was practicing his katas (something I sometimes swear heíd do in his sleep if he got the chance), and Quatre was reading a book which I have a sneaking feeling was Winnie the Pooh under the cover of ďSurvival in the DesertĒ or something equally boring. Basically everything was normal.

First I knew he was there was when Quatre squealed. I mean really squealed. It scared me, how much in that moment he sounded like Relena. I stared at his back as he launched himself down the hall. I mean, Quatreís normally a pretty held-together guy, despite his little episode in Wing Zero and a few detonated colonies. So why was he acting like a hormonal teenage girl?

I looked down the hall after him and saw Trowa. It was a little hard to miss him, despite how silent he was. And I donít just mean he didnít talk much. I hadnít heard him come into the safehouse, which surprised me. A childhood on the dangerous streets of L2 had taught me to pick up any sound at all, no matter how faint. Which didnít mean my training was failing, since thatís not the kind of lesson you forget. It just meant he hadnít made any sound at all.

When Trowa looked up and our eyes met, I just knew that Quatre had lost. He would never have Trowa. Thereís a look in the eyes of people like us, no matter how hard you try to cover it up. I knew that his past would have at least one aspect in it similar to mine, and knew that that one thing would stop him from ever being able to believe in Quatreís optimistic happiness. And from the way his eyebrow quirked up minutely, I knew he saw the same kind of thing in me.

We didnít speak to each other beyond simple greetings, not that first time we met. We would have forsaken the simple greetings, had it not been for Quatre introducing us to each other.

Next thing I knew, we were on a mission together.

It was a search and destroy. What else do you send the God of Death and a guy who packs more ammo than a military base on? The kind I seriously hate.

When we finished, it was late. We hijacked a couple of trucks to put the Gundams on, since Trowa took one look at me and knew we werenít gonna be able to get back to the safehouse before I collapsed. Thatís the one thing about search and destroy. For me to be able to get through them, I need to channel every last bit of energy in me into it, or I would freeze up and be of no help at all. Of course, that always meant I was exhausted after.

I donít know how the hell he did it, but Trowa managed to get a wireless link up between the computer in both our trucks so that he drove mine as well. Either Trowa learned a lot from Heero in the time they were together after Heero healed from his first suicide attempt or he knew a damned lot more about computers and electronics than he ever let on. We would have put our Gundams both on the same truck, but thatís the one problem with huge machinery; very few civilian transport vehicles have the capacity to carry one, let alone two.

So Trowa got us a hotel room. I collapsed on a bed and was out instantly.

Sometime in the night I woke up, shivering and covered in a cold sweat. I had blood in my mouth - Iíd bitten through my lip in an effort not to cry out. I staggered to my feet more clumsily than I have in a long time and hobbled into the bathroom. I threw up.

I hate it when I dream. Theyíre all either one of two types: one of the many faceless men who had used me when I was younger, or one of the many faceless men I had killed. I hated both equally, but not for the reasons you might think of. I hated the first type of dream because that one reminded me how pathetic I had been, that I hadnít fought. I needed the money, I told myself. Doesnít matter, myself told me. It was wrong. You should never have done it.

The second type of dream I hated for the obvious reason. I might call myself Shinigami, but Iíd have to be some kind of inhuman monster not to have the deaths affect me, and while I might have lost every other kind of good quality about me along the way, I will not lose my last shred of humanity. Iíd rather have the nightmares than be an unfeeling bastard.

But that dream, that night, was worse than any other. In this one I killed many faceless men, and stood over the battlefield in Deathscythe looking down at them. And as I looked, they rose up, not alive but not dead either, bodies still with the horrendous wounds I had afflicted on them, and began climbing up into Deathscythe. And no matter what I did, they kept coming. And coming. And coming. Until the cockpit hatch was thrown open and then they were all those faceless men from those years ago, and this time I fought, they werenít gonna pay me so I fought, donít need the money have to fight, and it hurt it hurts not meant to be like this too big Iím just a kid hurts hurts hurts hurts hurts why does it hurt so bad oh God what did I do it hurts -

I slipped forward, cracking my head on the toilet seat. Just thinking about it made the images nearly overwhelm me. I bit my lip again, not caring as I tore the cut there open further. My hands were trembling where they gripped the edge of the toilet seat.

I didnít hear the door open. I didnít know he was there until his hand gently touched the back of my neck, stroking the top of my braid.

I looked up at him and said, ďHelp me, please?Ē

That night was the first time we fucked. I rode him, hair fanning over the two of us, loving how the feel of him in me could chase away the remnants of the bad dream combined with the bad memories, and hating that I was reduced to this again, resorting to sex for another reason this time but not because it meant anything. I found myself wishing that this was more than just sex, and mentally slapped myself. Sex means nothing, I told myself harshly. Sex is a tool to use, a means of releasing stress, a means of earning money if necessary. Sex means nothing.

But afterwards Trowa said something to me which . . . I donít know. It made my heart swell, thinking that someone actually cared. It shocked me into silence. It made me wonder if not all people were shitheads after all.

He said, ďIf they start again, come to me.Ē

Oh, I know it wasnít much. But then, you have to understand something. I knew that to Trowa as well as to me, sex meant nothing. I also knew that we both had nothing to give apart from our bodies. That inside, we both felt worthless. It wasnít anything either of us had done that made us feel like that, but what others had done, and that more than anything else is something it is difficult to get yourself out of. I felt of myself that I was not worth anyoneís time, and I know Trowa felt the same. Our acceptance of our role as Gundam pilots was an attempt to address that feeling of worthlessness by trying to free the Earthsphere from its dictators.

But Trowa was trying to give me what help he could to heal some of the gaping wounds left inside me that no matter how hard I ignored them were not going to go away. All he had to offer was the worthlessness of sex, but he offered it anyway.

It let me know someone cared for me. At that moment I didnít care whether he was doing this for me or for the mission, but someone cared enough to notice and to try and help.

ďThey come often.Ē My voice was hoarse.

ďThen come to me often.Ē

After that we stayed together for two months as missions dictated, and barely said more than good morning and hello to each other. Every night we were together we fucked, but nothing more.

Strangely enough, it was Wufei who figured it out first. Oh, he never said anything about it, but the little odd looks and strange silences clued me in. He knew. He was puzzling over something, probably why were banging each other and not Heero or Quatre, but he knew. I shrugged my shoulders and ignored it.

I knew Trowa had issues, the same as I did. I didnít know how deep they were until one time, during one of our intermittent sessions of foreplay (like once every six or seven fucks) I brushed my fingers over his opening and he froze. Just like that. I looked up at him, shocked, and I saw his masks fallen away. That boy had more pain in his eyes right then than anyone I have ever seen. Pain, and the vulnerability of a terrified child.

I carefully withdrew my hand and wrapped my arms around him, tugging him down so his head was buried in my neck. That was the first night we didnít end up fucking.

I think it was about then that I started falling in love with him. Yes, the L word. Oh, me being the wonderfully observant person I am when it comes to my own emotions, I had absolutely no idea what my strange new protectiveness of him meant. Yíknow, sometimes I think Iím more screwed up than Heero. It would make a lot of sense.

It was just . . . like a relief, yíknow? To know that he *wasnít* all-knowing (I think the word for that is omniscient - see, Iím out to prove to Wufei Iím not a total baka) or all-powerful (now that I *know* is omnipotent) and that he was just as human as I was, with his own set of hurts and his own set of skeletons in the closet.

We started talking after that. We talked about our pasts, mostly, and our fears, and what we wanted in the future.

I caught him watching me a lot of the time, usually when I was doing something stupid and naÔve, like staring at the faucet in the kitchen sink, just watching the water pour out. Or the time I *know* he was laughing at me behind that bang of his when I was running up and down the halls soaked to the skin in shower water and yelling at the top of my lungs there was water in large quantities in the bathroom.

When it rained. . . . That is the reason I will always love the rain. That was my first kiss, you know. The very first one. I had let countless people fuck me, but Iíve only ever let Trowa kiss me. It was that that made me realize just how deep I was in, and while feeling anything would usually have made my instincts kick in and I would have run like hell, that kiss also made me realize that I didnít want to.

Whenever I see rain now, I always remember that night. How, after that, things started getting better. How I made the decision that although I was scared of getting hurt, there was no way I was going to leave. As long as Trowa wanted me, I would be there.

One of my favorite sayings is ďone good turn deserves anotherĒ. Slowly, Trowa had been opening up to me about what happened to him in the past. You want to know what it is? Go ask him. Iím not gonna tell you.

Anyway, when we talked . . . you know that old saying about if you bottle up emotions eventually youíll snap? And that talking about things makes it better? Well, that certainly applied to Tro. He talked away at me, and I listened, and Iím not sure how it happened but suddenly we were telling each other things that weíd never told anyone else. I told him about my life on the streets, and how having to whore myself made me think that sex was worthless in terms of emotion, and only had any real value in terms of stress relief and, on occasions, money. He told me about his old life, and how he had had to come to the conclusion that sex was worthless because it was either that or put a gun to his head and pull the trigger. Weíre so cheerful, arenít we?

Trowa . . . he wasnít as far down the line as I was, in terms of healing from the wounds of the past. [1] He couldnít deal with the idea of being uke, not again. I didnít care either way, and I made sure he knew I understood. We stuck to him being seme, and I didnít mind at all. As long as he was happy, or rather, comfortable in us together.

So it came as a shock and an honor when one time after the first war was over, that he told me, hesitating and stammering enough to get me very worried, that he wanted me to take him. That he trusted me enough to show him that it didnít have to hurt, not all the time. Of course, me being me, my mouth took over and told him that there *would* be some pain, but that it was never intentional, not from me and not from most people. Trowa just looked at me, and I knew from the look on his face that while he was scared, he would try to deal.

For me, that was the first night that sex took on any meaning.

Trowa healed more after that night. A lot more. It was kinda like heíd been mostly there already, but he just needed to make the first giant leap before the rest could follow through. He told me afterwards he had been waiting for someone he trusted enough and loved enough to show him that it didnít have to hurt.

Oh, Jeez, Iím tearing up. Always does that to me. Nobody ever told me that before. No one ever said they loved me, and certainly no one ever said they trusted me. It makes my heart swell just thinking of it. God, I love him.

I just realized that even though I said if you wanted to know what happened to him, youíd have to go ask him, Iíve told you anyway. Or at least given you enough clues that you can guess.

Weíve been together now for . . . let me think. Twenty-one years if you count from the first fuck. I count from that night in the rain, so itíd be more like twenty. I think. Iím not certain; time just seems to fly. I canít get enough of him.

Yeah, I know how corny that sounds. But hey, you try having this kind of relationship and see how sappy *you* get. Trust me, there are times when the fluff and sap gets so much I feel like a piece of cotton wool smothered in maple syrup.

Weíve only ever had one real fight. I ended up going to Heero after it, just to spite him. Iíve never totally managed to get rid of the instinct to inflict sharp wounds the best way I know how that I developed on the streets. I really regret that period, but it completely changed my perspective of Heero. What do you know, he *does* know what emotions are. I respect him now, and next to Trowa, heís my closest friend.

You know I said him and Wufei are welcome to each other? Strike that. Ojousan [2] has actually managed to remove some of the bats from Heeroís belfry. Heís quite pleasant to be around, and as for her, I have developed some new respect. Jeez, I think Iím close to using up my store of *that* emotion.

And as for Wufei?

I cracked up when I heard this, I really did. Him and *Quatre*, would you believe it. Excuse me while I go off into a corner to snicker.

I love Trowa, more than anything. Yeah, yeah, clichť. I donít care. Sometimes clichťs say what you want to perfectly. That night in the rain brought out sides of both of us I donít think either of us knew we had. It gave me someone to love and someone to love me, something I never thought I would get.

Seattle. Apparently the wettest place in the USA, although Iíve heard of some place somewhere else, canít remember the name right now. We moved here on my insistence, so that virtually every day I get a reminder of that night in the rain.


[1] Okay, Duoís saying heís healed? Well, more healed than Trowa? In his own way, I guess. This was my one bow in the direction of personal delusions, since we all have them.

[2] In this case, ojousan = Relena. In case anyone was wondering, ojousan means Ďspoilt little rich girlí. Approximately.

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