fic by Aoe
song ("Pushing Me Away") by Linkin Park
Here's an angsty little Duo songfic that (literally) dragged me out of bed in the middle of the night to write it. It has no point and little merit, but here it is. I really like the song. The fic... eh.

Pushing Me Away

What's the word I'm looking for here?

I don't know, but it's like... something like revelation, maybe...

Like that moment when you suddenly realize everything you've always thought was completely wrong? When you think you're holding a rope and you take off the blindfold and you've got a fucking elephant by the tail?

Well, this is my life, as of 5:37 this afternoon.

I thought I had a rope, and I've got a damn elephant.

At 5:36 today, I believed that the one thing I could always say with pride about myself was that at least I was always honest.

But I'm not. Not at all.

It's just that my lie was so big, I couldn't even see it.

Epiphany, that's the word I wanted. Epiphany. Epiphany the Elephant.

Anyway, at 5:37 p.m. today, Heero walked in the door while I was sticking a tray of meatballs in the oven, and he just tossed his briefcase on the table and breezed on by without even a hello.

And Epiphany smacked me in the head with her trunk.

I don't love him.

And now it's 5:42, and I'm feeling guilty, because I don't love him. And I told him I did. And Duo Maxwell runs and hides, but he never lies.

But he's been lying to Heero for over two years now.

I've lied... to you
The same way that I always do

Maybe not the whole time. Maybe it changed slowly, like the way he treats me.

We used to have fun together. We used to laugh, and smile, and share quiet moments and private jokes and all that wacky couple shit all the women'smagazines gush about.

Yeah, we used to be like that.

I don't know, maybe he got bored with me. Or maybe he just got tired of actually putting an effort into our 'relationship.'

But it hasn't been like that for a long time now. It hasn't been like that at all.

And somehow, I just let it slide, while he got colder and more remote. I mean, I was used to that, from before. Maybe I should have said something the first few times he just glared at me when I suggested we do something stupid and fun together. Or maybe I should have not laughed when he started making not-so-funny jokes about me in front of our friends.

But I let it all slide. And I just shrugged and smiled like I always do, like I always have for him. Because whatever he did, it was worth it, and if the smile wore out, there was always another one to replace it.

But I think my supply is finally running dry.

No more smiles.

This is the last smile
That I'll fake for the sake of being with you...

Maybe one more. We're having company tonight. A little reunion. They probably wouldn't even recognize me without a goofy grin, so one more time. One more performance. One last curtain call.

But now that I know I've been on stage all this time...

I'm closing down this show.

As long as I was wrapped up in the lie, it was alright. But now...

No more.

Even I have limits. And I think I've been living beyond them for a long time now.

Everything falls apart
Even the people who never frown
Eventually break down

I wrap the garlic bread in foil and throw it into the oven, feeling a little angry at the thought of all the time I've wasted. Everything I put into this stupid... thing... and it was all wasted...

I've given up so much. So much time, so many opportunities... Days, hours, minutes that I'll never get back, all offered up on the altar of 'us.'

Because I thought it was what I wanted. What we wanted.

The sacrifice of hiding in a lie...

I was so wrong.

It's 5:49 now, Heero should be done freshening up and back in the kitchen right about... now.

"Did you make enough food?" he asks as he walks in, picking up his briefcase and placing it neatly by the doorway.

"Well, hello to you, too, dear, I'm fine, how was your day?" I ask brightly, but with an edge of sarcasm in my voice. He doesn't even blink.

"You remembered Wufei's coming, too, right?" he prompts.

"If you're asking if I'm now legally brain dead, the answer is no," I inform him sharply, slamming an empty pot down on the stove.

For that I get a frown and actual eye contact.

"Settle down," he scolds. "You'll break something." And wanders out of the room.

News flash, Yuy: something's already broken.

Everything has to end
You'll soon find we're out of time
Left to watch it all unwind

Cooking fucking dinner. How the hell did the great Duo Maxwell, pilot of Deathscythe, Shinigami himself, end up cooking a freaking spaghetti dinner for a bunch of ex-Gundam pilots?

It's the tiny little ironies in life that really get to you. I never knew how to cook until Heero and I got together. He couldn't either, and it just worked out that I was more willing to learn a new skill to keep him happy than the other way around.

Big freaking shock.

So here I am, wearing a goddamn apron, cooking dinner for a pack of adolescent guerilla fighters. Who elected me den mother?

I dump a jar full of spaghetti sauce into my pot and stare at the thick gloppy mess in confusion. How did I get here? What am I doing? Is this really me?

This can't be my life.

The sacrifice is never knowing –
Why I never walked away
Why I played myself this way
Now I see your testing me
Pushes me away

Yet it is. Somehow, I have turned from Duo Maxwell, God of Death, into Duo Maxwell, Happy Homemaker.

Sauce and pasta bubbling away on the stove, I sit down at the kitchen table, my head spinning.

How did this happen? I'm not really sure. But I could hazard a guess, and its name is Heero.

Epiphany trumpets in my ear, and suddenly I understand that I let him turn me into this, this fucking caricature of the perfect spouse. I let him pick out a mold for me and shove me into it, and I've been doing my damnedest not to step out of line ever since...

I've tried so hard to be what he wanted. But I wasn't being me, which was what I thought he wanted in the first place.

I've turned myself into someone I'm not, trying to please him, and doing that... doing that has destroyed whatever there once was between us.

Why I never walked away
Why I played myself this way
Now I see your testing me
Pushes me away

Dinner guests. Yippee. Heero is annoyed because I made him set the table ("I work all day, you could at least set the damn table, Maxwell."), Quatre compliments the garlic bread, Wufei sneers at the store-bought sauce, and Trowa plays with his food. Spaghetti is hard to sculpt, I wonder what he'll end up with.

I've got my company face on, smiling and nodding and not laughing too loud. And it's chafing like hell. This was so easy last week.

Heero likes to have these little get-togethers. Likes to 'keep in touch,' probably because he read somewhere that that's what you're supposed to do. I've never minded the dinners that much, it's fun to hang out with the guys.

But I could live without the floor show.

Heero rests his fork on his plate, and it's time for another round of 'Pick on Duo.'

It used to make me feel bad. I'd run off and go hide in the kitchen, maybe even cry a little after he fell asleep. Because I wanted so bad to be what he wanted, and hearing how far off the mark I was really... hurt.

I tried so hard to be what he wanted. To give him what he wanted.

So fucking hard.

I tried... like you
To do everything you wanted to

And he has the balls to sit there and make snide remarks about me having plenty of time to cook since I don't have a job?

"Well, you know, Heero, every time I start looking you whine so much about not having anyone to take care of you that I figured you needed a full-time keeper."

Heh... was that me that just said that? Must have been, from the looks I'm getting. Trowa and Quatre... hell, even Wufei... look ready to applaud.

Heero looks ready to punch me.

Bring it on.

"It's the only job you're qualified for," he informs me coldly.

That was a lame attempt. "Anything you can do, I can do better," I reply sweetly. My lips are turned up at the corners, but I don't think you could call my expression a smile by any stretch of the imagination.

"You were the one who decided to settle for me," he snaps. "If you're so great, maybe you should try your luck on your own." His tone infers that, obviously, I would fail and fall apart without him.

And I used to believe that. Right up until 5:37. Yesterday, I would have backpedaled, terrified he would leave, or kick me out...

Now, that sounds pretty damn good to me.

"Why don't I?" I snarl right back at him, standing up and knocking my chair over behind me.

This is the last time
I'll take the blame for the sake of being with you

Now everybody looks shocked. Good. Nice to know I haven't lost the knack completely.

I start to turn, and he calls my name in a sharp, commanding voice.

Out of habit, I stop and turn to face him.

"Where do you think you're going?" he demands.

"Away from here. From this. From you," I reply as clearly as I can, my face blank. I'm not going to smile. I need to find a new expression to wear.

Heero blinks and stares at me, honestly baffled. Well, Epiphany hasn't stepped on his foot yet, I guess.

"Why?" he asks, faltering a bit.

"Because I can't just be who you want me to anymore," I reply calmly, and turn away again.

Everything falls apart
Even the people who never frown
Eventually break down

"So that's it? Suddenly you're bored and you think you don't need me anymore?" he yells after me.

I stop, turning to frown at him.

It's really not entirely his fault. I let him believe all that. He's as convinced of my dependence on him, my need for him, as I was before 5:37.

Briefly I wonder how much of the blame I share for us falling apart. If he's been pushing me into a mold I can't fit, I've been lying and telling him I like it.

The sacrifice of hiding in a lie...

But it doesn't matter. It can't, not now. Not when just being here is making me want to break something. Like Heero's jaw.

"I don't need you, Heero," I tell him calmly. "And I sure as hell don't need this," I add, waving an arm at the house, the life, that we've shared for so long.

Too long.

Everything has to end
You'll soon find we're out of time
Left to watch it all unwind

He's just staring at me. He looks stunned.

Maybe Epiphany gave him a good smack upside his thick head.

He asks me weakly, "Then... why did you stay so long?"

At that I have to smirk ruefully. And shrug. And admit, "You know... I really don't know."

The sacrifice is never knowing –
Why I never walked away
Why I played myself this way
Now I see your testing me
Pushes me away

It doesn't take me long to pack. I've accumulated a lot of stuff over the past two years, but not much I can't live without or bear to leave behind.

Just as well. I don't need the past weighing me down.

I bounce back down the stairs, and I realize I feel years younger. I feel... happy. Hopeful. Optimistic, even, and that was never very common for me. I pause at the foot of the stairs and study myself in the mirror, seeing the marks the past two years have left on me, that will never really go away. The time I'll never get back.

I won't waste another minute. But I can't help, even now, wondering why it took me so long to figure all of this out.

Why I never walked away
Why I played myself this way
Now I see your testing me
Pushes me away

I saunter back into the dining room to grab one last piece of garlic bread. Heero looks up at me hopefully, but I just give him a saucy wink, and he doesn't know how to respond.

I wipe my fingers on the tablecloth, because I won't have to try and get the stains out, and give everybody a wave. "Well, seeya."

"You're really... going? Just like that?" Heero asks, sounding plaintive, and for a moment, as young as he was when we first got together.

A moment of fleeting regret. Then I reply brightly, "Yup. Just like that."

We're all out of time
This is how we find
How it all unwinds

"I thought you were happy," he says softly.

And that stops me in my tracks. Because if he means it...

"Did you?" I ask, just as softly.

He stares at me, blue eyes deep and entrancing as ever. I almost want to let them suck me in again, whatever the cost. Whatever the sacrifice.

The sacrifice of hiding in a lie...

"I did," he answers solemnly.

And he means it. He really did.

Maybe... maybe, if I stayed... if we just worked at it a little...

I blink, and shake the thought out of my head.

No. No more working at it. Time to give up the ghost.

"Then you never knew me very well, did you?" I ask calmly.

We're all out of time
This is how we find
How it all unwinds

He doesn't know what to say to that. Because it's true. God, it's true, and I have been blind for too long. And I have stayed wrapped up in this little fantasy make-believe house that was never a home for too long.

I can't stand it any longer. I have to get out.

How did I live here for so long?

The sacrifice is never knowing –
Why I never walked away
Why I played myself this way
Now I see your testing me
Pushes me away

Why did I let him try and turn me into someone I'm not, and never wanted to be? Did I love him that much?

Or... did I just want to love him that much?

Did I try to change myself into what he wanted because I wanted to believe that I loved him enough to change?

Man, Epiphany, quit tap-dancing on my toes, would you? That's enough life-altering realizations for one day. Let it be.

I'm free. After all this time...

It's over.

Why I never walked away
Why I played myself this way
Now I see your testing me
Pushes me away

I think I did love him.


It's 8:19 p.m.

Do you know where your future is?

Pushes me away...

[back to Aoe's fic]