"I'll Be" by Edwin McCain
fic by: Aoe

I'll Be...

This was definitely one of my better ideas.

Colony brat or not, there's just something magical about the Earth. I missed it, without ever really realizing I did. I'm glad I decided to come back here.

I'm really glad Trowa agreed to come with me.

After our momentous discussion that fateful night back on The Colony That Time Forgot, we didn't exactly... jump into anything... like, you know, a relationship, a new level of closeness, bed...

I'll just let you guess which was highest on my list of jump-into-able things.

But anyway... even though we'd had our little talk, and got our feelings out in the open, nothing seemed to be happening. Neither one of us wanted to make the next move, I guess, and... I don't know, the more I think about it, the more I think there was just something about that place.

It encouraged stagnation.

Anyway, having been jolted out of my rut by that unforgettable kiss, I started to chafe against the eternal sameness out there in space. No seasons, no sunshine or rain, no changes. It hadn't bothered me growing up, and it hadn't bothered me in all the time since the wars ended, but suddenly I couldn't take it anymore. I declared to Trowa one day that if I spent one more day without weather, I was going to go bugfuck.

He just raised a brow at my language, but replied that if I wanted weather, I ought not to be on a Colony.

And it occurred to me that, by God, he was right.

Hence, my marvelous idea.

It was about time we had a vacation, really. I mean, it's not like we have to work, we're all pretty much independently wealthy, even those of us without enormous inheritances... Oz and Romafeller made many charitable donations to the Gundam Widows and War Orphans fund during the war. Generous of them, huh? So anyway, I decided since I didn't need to work, and since I'd kind of missed that whole ‘childhood' thing (although my friends might disagree, but what do they know), that I might as well go on vacation. And maybe, just maybe, I wouldn't come back.

There was just one problem with that idea. But when I asked Trowa to come along with me, he agreed with hardly any arm-twisting at all. I think he kind of liked the idea.

Looking at him now, sitting on our private dock beside the peaceful mountain lake that we own... He looks at peace. He looks... happy.

I'm smiling like a fool just looking at him.

I guess he can feel me staring at him, because he turns his head toward me, his hair slipping away from his eyes.

God, he has amazing eyes. I swear, my heart stops beating for a second every time he looks at me. A lot of people have not appreciated my Trowa's eyes. Some of our mutual acquaintances back on Limbo Colony described them as flat and unnerving, or even cold... They couldn't be more wrong. Those eyes sparkle on the surface like precious stones, and they can be as hard to penetrate as diamond, but once you see beyond that outer barrier, the warmth inside is just... endless. Depthless.

Magnificent.

The strands in your eyes that color them wonderful
Stop me and steal my breath
Emeralds from mountains that thrust towards the sky
Never revealing their depth

"Do I have something on my face?" he asks softly, smirking slightly at my probably dumbfounded expression. What can I say, the guy really does it for me.

I grin and shake my head, turning back to look out over the still water. We're sitting side by side in matching lawn chairs, sipping beer as the sun slowly sinks toward the horizon.

I don't think I've ever felt so relaxed and at peace. I thought I was relaxed back in space, but now I know I was just in suspended animation. I wasn't really living. Now, I feel so alive, and yet so... still, inside.

Maybe not still. But restful. Tranquil. It's not a feeling I'm terribly familiar with, but something about this place, or Trowa's presence, or maybe just finally not caring anymore what my life should be like, has finally calmed some of that nervous energy that used to drive all my friends crazy.

I'm pretty sure it's Trowa. I'm almost certain I could never have felt peace like this without him beside me. Now, if only...

No. I'm not going to ask for too much. What I already have is more than I ever thought I would. I don't want to lose it. I don't even really need anything more. It would just be... nice.

"Duo?" he asks quietly, not wanting to disturb the peaceful evening. It's been a perfect day. We swam this morning, then fished for our dinner while we ate sandwiches, then we took a long, silent walk before cooking up our catch, and now we're sitting here in companionable silence. I can't imagine a more perfect day.

"Yeah, Tro?" I reply softly, squinting at the sun slowly sliding toward the mountains before me. Sunsets are freaking gorgeous out here.

"Are you ever going to kiss me again?" he asks, a bit wistfully.

I stare at the sun for a moment, then give him a confused look. "Well, I... kinda thought... I mean... I guess I've been waiting for a sign," I say lamely, meeting his frankly curious gaze uncertainly.

"Ah," he says in acknowledgement, and turns away, back toward the sunset. I continue to watch his profile, frowning in perplexity. Where the hell did that come from, out of the blue? I thought I was supposed to be the impulsive one...

After a long silent moment, he muses, as if to himself, "Perhaps I should invest in some neon."

I, having just taken a sip of beer, barely manage to turn my head so I don't spray it all over him. He pats me helpfully on the back as I cough and choke in surprise.

When I finally have my breath back, I look over at him with wide, astonished eyes, and ask softly, "Tro? You mean... you want me to?"

He gives me this patient kind of smile and explains, "Duo, I think we've established our attraction. And I think by now we both know it's not just physical. We understand each other. We fill in the holes in one another. We... It sounds corny, but... I think we belong together. If you've been waiting for me, I appreciate it, but Duo... you don't have to wait anymore. I know what I want, and how I feel. I want to be with you... I love you."

Color me flabbergasted. I can't stop staring at him like an idiot while my heart does its damnedest to beat its way out of my rib cage. Can it really be this easy? The end to all my pain and loneliness, handed to me like this?

And tell me that we belong together
Dress it up with the trappings of love
I'll be captivated, I'll hang from your lips
Instead of the gallows of heartache that hang from above

As I continue to stare at him silently, too stunned to speak, his smile begins to fade.

"Unless... you don't feel that way. In which case, we should just forget this ever happened," he mutters uncomfortably, turning away and hunching his shoulders slightly in a defensive gesture.

"No!" I say, perhaps a bit too forcefully if the way he flinches is any indication. But I'm not going to screw this up, I'm not going to lose it now when I'm so damn close...

"Of course I feel that way, Trowa," I insist earnestly. "Hey, man, I kissed you, remember? And it's only... it's only the fact that... you walked back into my life that keeps me going. I mean, I wasn't, like, suicidal or anything before you came, but... it was getting harder and harder to find a reason to bother getting up in the morning. Now... now I can't wait to get up, because every minute I spend away from you is... is wasted. Any time I don't spend with you... there's no point to it. You're all I think about, Tro. You're all I want. I want to be with you... just you... always."

I don't think I've ever been this sincere in my life. I can only hope he believes me. I don't lie, but I've been known to exaggerate. I'm not exaggerating now, though. I couldn't. There aren't words enough to express how much I want, no, need him here beside me. I stare into his eyes, hoping mine can show him more of what I can't say.

Those marvelous emerald pools light up from inside, and the sparkle on the surface is not light reflecting off hardened stone, but sunshine on the lake, just the slightest surface brightness, easily seen through once you're close enough.

I'm close enough. He's let me get close enough.

And I'll be your crying shoulder
I'll be love suicide
And I'll be better when I'm older
I'll be the greatest fan of your life

So we go to bed together.

But once we get there, we don't seem to know what to do next, which is silly, really. Neither one of us is short on experience. But it's odd. We're just laying here in the darkness, staring at each other.

A storm has blown in outside, rattling tree branches against the walls and windows, and rain starts pattering on the roof overhead. Then it really starts pounding, one of those wild summer storms that blows up out of nowhere and disappears just as quickly.

It makes me wonder, for a minute, if maybe what's happening between me and Trowa might not be the same thing. If maybe we're afraid to give in to passion because once it's spent, we'll find there's really nothing else there.

It's not so far-fetched. It already happened to me once.

And I'm not too keen on going through that again.

Seeking a little reassurance, I finally reach out in the darkness and touch his face, running my fingers lightly along the curve of his cheek. The way he leans into my touch, and makes the tiniest little sound of contentment, just makes me melt inside. And I realize I'm being silly. Of course this won't be like it was with Heero. This is Trowa. This is logical, as well as emotional. Heero and I... okay, so opposites attract, but... somehow, we never made sense. We were never quite right. We pushed too hard, trying to avoid realizing the truth that stared us in our faces whenever we had a quiet moment together.

I already know Trowa and I are comfortable in the quiet moments. It only remains to be seen how right we are in the... not-so-quiet moments.

Rain falls angry on the tin roof
As we lie awake in my bed
And you're my survival, you're my living proof
My love is alive and not dead

"Duo... please... " he murmurs softly, and that breaks down the last of my reluctance and nervousness. The hand on his cheek slips up into his hair, and before I even know what I'm doing, I pull him towards me and find his mouth with mine.

It's similar to that first, uncertain kiss in front of his apartment out in space. Still tentative, still testing the waters, but now... now we're a little more certain of what we're doing. Where we're going. This isn't an ‘isolated incident' kiss. This is a prelude to more.

If my hormones have their way, to much, much more.

My hands take to roaming all over his body, examining his skin, as we continue to kiss. As one hand moves over his lower back, I feel the ridges of scar tissue, and feel him stiffen slightly.

But I already knew about the scars. And even if I hadn't, they wouldn't have shocked me or put me off, as he obviously fears. I just register the unusual sensation beneath my fingertips and move on, my hand drifting lower. He quickly relaxes again in my arms, and his own hands begin wandering.

He beats me to the prize, maybe because I'm being more cautious than usual, or maybe just because I'm taking my sweet time exploring this new and intoxicating territory opened to me. At any rate, he gets his hands down my shorts pretty damn fast, let me tell you.

I just about lose it when he touches me there for the first time. He's so... gentle. Okay, I've had gentle lovers before, but... I don't know. Maybe it's just that Trowa knows me so well after all these months. That he knows so much of me. There's just something in his touch... somehow it conveys that he knows exactly what he has his hands on, in the figurative sense, and he handles me so gently because... whatever he thinks I am, is precious. Fragile and valuable, and not to be taken lightly.

I've never felt so... appreciated.

That sounds lame, and it doesn't even begin to explain what I mean, but... again, words can't wrap the concept up in a neat little bow.

Anyway... obviously, it doesn't take him long to get me all worked up. He slides my shorts off, down to my knees, and urges me to kneel over him.

"Tro?" I ask, or really, sort of gasp, hoping my eyes convey the question. I'm a little beyond speech at the moment.

He smiles up at me, a smile of complete trust. "I want you, Duo. I want to feel you inside me. I want to feel whole," he says quietly.

And I'm suddenly choking back a sob. God, it's just how I feel...

"Please, mon amour," he whispers, lifting his hips off the mattress slightly in invitation.

How could I deny him anything when he looks at me like that? I barely remember to prepare him before I'm straining at his entrance, desperate for his warmth. He pushes back against me, slightly, and I slip slowly inside, his tightness and warmth and the little sounds of satisfaction he makes bringing tears to my eyes.

Tears of happiness. After all my years of rootless drifting... I've finally found my home. I never want to leave.

"God... Trowa... I love you," I manage to gasp out, as the world explodes behind my eyelids.

And tell me that we belong together
Dress it up with the trappings of love
I'll be captivated, I'll hang from your lips
Instead of the gallows of heartache that hang from above

Eventually, the spasms subside, but my tears don't. Too many years, too much denied, put aside, never hoped for, or even believed in.

Everybody stops believing in happily ever after as they grow up, I guess. But I never got to believe in it at all. I never had any childhood dreams to grow out of. My childhood dreams were of finding a half-eaten fast food meal without mold on it, or evading the Alliance troops without a beating or worse.

There was no time to dream of love. I didn't even know it existed back then.

I think it's the same for Trowa.

Anyway, he holds me while I cry on his shoulder, still buried deep inside him in the aftermath of our first time.

Part of me can't believe I'm crying at a time like this. Part of me is horrified.

Part of me is just enjoying his soothing hands rubbing my back, his soft voice murmuring unintelligible French in my ear.

I gotta learn that language.

"Duo? Are you alright?" he finally asks quietly, after I've calmed down a bit.

"Yeah," I reply thickly, sniffling a bit. "Better than alright, man. I don't think I've ever been this good."

He chuckles softly at me. "Me either," he agrees, hugging me gently.

Damn if that hug doesn't make me feel just as warm and squishy inside as the sex.

It really is love.

"I love you so much," I begin to babble breathlessly, overcome by my emotions and desperate to share my thoughts with him. "I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I want to be there for you whenever you need me, for whatever... I never want to let you down. I want you to know how much I respect you, how much you mean to me... I know I can be stupid and thoughtless and annoying but I swear I'll spend the rest of my life trying to make you happy, Tro... Please, please, let me... " I'm practically begging by the time I'm done, tears standing in my eyes again.

He gazes up at me, and he only says one word, but it's a word that I know is going to change my life forever.

"Yes."

And I'll be your crying shoulder
I'll be love suicide
And I'll be better when I'm older
I'll be the greatest fan of your life

I let my stinging eyes slide shut and my head droops, my forehead pressing against his, tears and sweat mingling against our skin.

It's all been worth it. Every miserable, lonely minute of my life, every twisting, unhappy day with Heero, every desperate, scarring year of my childhood... If it's brought me to this moment, to this perfect, precious happiness, it was all well worth it. Everything I've ever suffered, everything I've ever done... A million regrets vanish in an instant as he kisses me lightly, his lips barely brushing against mine. Like a benediction. I feel absolved.

I feel free.

My tears have all dried up, and now I feel like laughing, like running outside and shouting to the world that I've found the answer to it all, the reason and rhyme. It is no more than finding the one thing, the one person, in all the world, who completes you.

It is as monumentally difficult and as mind-bogglingly simple as that.

Well I dropped out, I burned up, I fought my way back from the dead
I tuned in, I turned on, remembered the thing that you said

"Did you have a good cry?" Trowa asks me after a moment.

I lift my head and smile down at him. "Mm-hmm. You want to have a go? It's very cathartic," I inform him solemnly.

He smirks at me and shakes his head a little, rolling it against the pillow. "That's what Catherine says after she's been reading some cheesy romance novel and I catch her up to her ears in tissues. I don't get it. Crying always just gives me a headache."

I snicker at the image of Catherine buried in a mound of used tissues. "Yeah, well, we're living a cheesy romance novel, so I guess it's appropriate," I say, grinning.

He scowls up at me, but I can tell he doesn't mean it. "Are you saying my dialogue is stilted and insincere?" he demands stiffly.

I laugh aloud at that one. "No, Tro," I assure him gravely, my grin softening into a gentler expression. "I was referring more to the happily ever after part."

He raises an eyebrow curiously. "Oh? Do they get those in cheesy romance novels?"

"You bet," I inform him. "Only after overcoming gobs of misery and misunderstandings and denial, but eventually, yeah. Happily ever after in a big way."

"Hmm," he murmurs thoughtfully. "Perhaps I ought to expand my library." And then, without warning, he uses those marvelous acrobat muscles to flip us both over, so he's looming over me. Can't say I'm unhappy with the situation.

He smirks down at me, and asks mildly, far too mildly in my opinion, considering that just the sight of him above me is making me hard again, "Have you ever wondered, Duo, exactly what happily ever after entails? I mean, it's not exactly specific. Happy in what way? And just how happy? What do they -- "

"If you'd shut up and get down here maybe we could find out," I growl impatiently, reaching up to pull him down on top of me.

And you know what?

We did.

And I'll be your crying shoulder
I'll be love suicide
And I'll be better when I'm older
I'll be the greatest fan of your --
I'll be your crying shoulder
I'll be love suicide
And I'll be better when I'm older
I'll be the greatest fan of your life
The greatest fan of your life...

~owari

[I Want To Know What Love Is] [back to Aoe's fic]