Author: Asuka Kureru
Warnings for this part: Err... psychological (torture ^^) problems... Depressing subjects(^__^)... a little bit of Yaoi if you see that from a certain angle, 1+2 and 2+1...
When Heero talks to himself between / italics /, it's the... well, you see, I don't want to do a spoiler even if you already understood (who didn't, honestly?). The normal/soldier part of him answers in ' italics '. Otherwise, when he isn't having a schizophrenia attack (;p jokiiiing) he always thinks between 'italics', as do the others.
I love you, Sara, one of the best beta readers out there. ^_______^ Still waiting for the answer to my marriage proposal though, but don't feel pressured... hehehe ^^

Garou + Part 3
Knocking on Death's Door...

"Heero-kun?" Duo asked in an inquisitive and rather mistrustful tone while knocking on the Japanese's door.

He didn't step inside, knowing already that he would get himself thrown out, at least. If Heero wasn't really awake. If he was awake, he would at least receive a chair in the head.

Heero was becoming more and more violent these last days, quieter and even more withdrawn. Well... these last days... till the day before yesterday at least. Since then, the boys hadn't seen him, not even for meals. They knew he was still around because Wing was still in the hangar, because all the red meat was regularly disappearing from the fridge, and because dirty laundry still made its appearance in the hamper.

This morning, the green tanktop hadn't been stained only with grass, but with blood too. It was that fact which had pushed Quatre to decide that too much was too much. They had an important mission in two days, which needed much precision and co-ordination between the five of them, and they were not to be efficient if they didn't even know if they could trust their comrade. They had waited long enough to know if they could count on him.

Duo had been volunteered automatically. Which externally made him groan, but internally suited him well. After all, he was the one who was the most often with the boy, and had known him for the longest time... and him who worried the most visibly too. Well... with Quatre, but he had insisted on the fact that Duo knew Wing's pilot better than himself did and that they were closer than Heero and Quatre. And Trowa and Wufei had agreed... So, he had been unanimously voted volunteer... A fact which, he hoped, would help Heero to calm down, because after all, Duo hadn't decided to go annoy him by himself.

He could hope.

"Heero, are you here?" the American repeated, knocking again.

He stared distrustfully at the handle. No no no no, he would NOT do that.

The golden handle winked at him, gleaming invitingly. Back off, vile tempter. If he got in the room without an invitation, Yuy would throw a fit again and they would not be able to talk ... And that was without taking in account the different potentially mortal injuries he would probably receive. And for once, to piss off Heero wasn't his goal at all, not primary nor secondary.

Usually, yes it was... He would always try for a real conversation but he could content himself with a reaction... violent more often than not but it wasn't so easy to make Yuy react, he had to put a good effort in it!! Always from an extreme to another this boy, the volcano under the ice...

The handle was still looking at him with its best puppy look.

He would get killed if he did that. He would be slowly dismembered and would be in agony for hours, for days, sadistically tortured by his comrade.

He wouldn't have become Gundam pilot if he didn't like to live dangerously. It seemed his hand had decided for him anyway.

The handle turned slowly, slowly... prudent, he bent his head by the small opening and glanced inside of the room. At first, he didn't see a thing, only darkness. It took time for his eyes to get used to the dark, they were still adapted for the harsh exterior light. Finally, after a few silent minutes, he began to recognize some shapes. Unmoving. He wondered if Heero was elsewhere.... since the boy still hadn't shouted insults at him for having entered his sanctuary without permission. Then he had to rub vigorously his head when he knocked it against the door, taken by surprise by the low and (relatively) calm voice of the Japanese.

"What are you waiting for to tell me what you want?" a voice asked from the deep end of the room. "A written authorization?"

He was so surprised by what sounded strangely like sarcasm that he knocked his head a second time.

"OUCH!!" Duo cried out while rubbing his abused skull. "Err... Can I come in?" he asked while straining his eyes to better discern the shapes inside.

He saw that the room's structure had changed after a few seconds of waiting for the answer. He had to have changed the furniture from it's original place, God and Heero Yuy only knew why.

"I have to talk to you ... It's important. Onegai?" he added with a hope-filled tone.

Japanese worked better if you had to ask him things he could refuse, Duo had discovered, and he used this knowledge since then. Well, in fact, it worked better if you wanted to get under his skin too. Hee-kins or Heero-dear didn't have any effect, he just ignored it, but you called him Hee-chan and he blew up in the second. Once he had called him Hee-koibito, just to mess with him... He had had to hide in the city for two days before Heero let him return inside of the house without trying to rip his head off.

"Hn!"

Still a chatterbox from what he heard... Duo had never understood how someone could put that much possible answers in one sound. But was it a no-Hn or a yes-Hn? This one had sounded ... A mocking-Hn? strange... Not in his Hn-list as of yet. He filed it with care.

As his eyes were adapting, Duo finally saw the boy. He was sitting on the desk, one of his legs dangling from the side, the other folded up under him. He had his chin in his hand and was staring at him, without particular expression.

"Can I come in then?" Duo repeated, unsure.

"Mm. Close the door."

Deciding to live daringly, Duo took that like a "come in and close the door ". If it hadn't been, he prayed that Heero would clarify it long enough before trying to kill him, so that he could rectify his misunderstanding. He turned around to close the door, trying not to think that he was tuning his back to the lion whose den he was entering, then looked again at the Japanese.

His heart pounded for a few beats before returning to its normal rhythm, and he opened his eyes as wide as they could go. It had to have been a strange reflection from outside...

A second, the Wing pilot's eyes had shone in the darkness, like a cat's. He didn't know the word, but he knew something covered the back of the cat's irises, making it able to reflect the light... Sticks, or something like that. Wow. Doctor J had to have made a hell of a good work of physical modification on his pilot. Yes, that was it. Doctor J. He didn't know when the old fart had done it, since he had never seen it before, but there weren't so much other explanations...

He stayed near the door, undecided, and... he had to admit it, a little afraid.

* * *

Heero was dozing off when familiar footsteps in the corridor woke him up. They didn't pass by his door, but seemed to slow down... Entirely awake, he waited for the boy to enter his room running and babbling, like always, but Duo (it was Duo, he had recognized his way of walking ) seemed hesitant to push the door open.

He frowned. Since when did the Maxwell tornado have the slightest problem with bothering him in his den?

'since you keep on making him leave you the fuck alone more and more violently', he answered himself.

He felt a slight pinch of remorse. If he had really acted violently enough to scare off even Duo, it had to be serious. The boy hadn't even kept a grudge against him when he had fired his beam cannon just beside the head of his Gundam to scare him.

Heero couldn't judge precisely... he couldn't really think of that, to be truthful. He could remember what he had been doing... He didn't want to. And it was kind of fuzzy, not the acts themselves, but more of the reasons, the moods behind the acts.

But here... He would never say so to the American of course, but his chattering wasn't so distracting ... Not anymore. At the contrary, he felt that it was ... well, distracting, yes, but in a good way. It helped his mind to leave the war stress behind, it helped him to think about other things, to relax and let go... It was a sort of game they played, the both of them, Duo annoying Heero and Heero resisting the longest time he could before cracking.

The knock-knock was soft and undecided. Not Duo at all. He frowned even more than before. Was the American thinking he was asleep? It had to be that. Duo wouldn't be afraid of him. He was the only one Heero had never been able to scare off with his behavior.

A part of him was violently opposing against the invitation another part thought about sending to Duo, but he made it shut up, viciously. It was becoming stronger and stronger, this part of him, but he refused to hear it out for the moment. Insidiously, it had mixed with his ordinary thoughts, had influenced him until he listened to it the same way he listened to the side of him that was the Soldier. It was time to rectify a little, if his comportment had evolved so much.

And he knew that he needed help. Even if he would have preferred to die before asking for it, he still had a duty to accomplish. If it had been a physical problem, like a nasty injury, or something in relation to the mission, he wouldn't have hesitated ... long, but this was a problem with his own psyche; a zone he didn't feel disposed to open to anyone, even with his total lack of experience in dealing with this domain. It was the only thing in him that was private, or nearly so. Nearly so ... Doctor J had had fun with it for a good while.

He wouldn't authorize that anymore, the new part of him growled. That J would play with his body and his reflexes to allow him to fight more efficiently against the enemy, it was ok, he authorized it. You couldn't have his fighting abilities without giving something in exchange, and he had decided long before that he agreed entirely to sacrifice his life for the Colonies.

His life... not his soul.

He couldn't push himself to admit the problem like that ... but if his comrades had remarked by themselves and asked him, he wouldn't have any other choice than to answer. More so if it put the mission in danger.

He still controlled himself enough to avoid that; but he was aware that he drifted dangerously. The incident of the day before with the plate had been a wake-up slap and a warning.

The handle turning slowly, distracted him from his thoughts. His fingers clenched briefly, unconsciously mimicking the act of pulling a trigger, but he scolded himself. The Soldier in him didn't want Duo to see him at his lowest; you didn't show a potential enemy your weaknesses.

Duo was not an enemy. He was an ally who needed to be kept updated to keep the efficiency level of the troupe at its maximum. The Soldier shut up.

The Other... The thing who was rising... growled a little when it thought about someone in its territory, some stranger ... but after thinking about it, it accepted. Duo was not a stranger... He was one of the only four people in the world Heero Yuy could ever think about with the possible title of friend. The Other finally accepted too.

He thought he would laugh out loud when he saw how skittish the American was.

"What are you waiting for to tell me what you want? A written authorization?"

Another time he was on the verge of laughing when he saw that Duo had bonked his head on the door. What a clown, this guy...

When he invited him inside, Duo seemed so dumbfounded it was all he could do not to growl and drag him inside by this braid of his. At least it would be useful, for once.

And then the American turned around, and Heero tensed. Duo was afraid of him. Why?

He saw that the chestnut-haired boy was squinting his eyes and understood with a start that the boy couldn't see him. Probably not adapted yet. Heero's eyesight wasn't that superior. He wondered if he should open the window, but decided against it. He knew why the braided boy had come... and it would be easier for him to answer if Duo couldn't see his face.

"So? What do you want?" he encouraged him.

* * *

Duo steeled himself.

"Heero... I don't know how to say that without risking to piss you off ... So, I just want you to remember that it's not my intent at all today. I will be entirely serious. Ok?"

There was a silence, and Duo crossed his fingers behind his back.

"M-m."

The American sighed in relief. He hadn't been ticked off.

"Ok ... The guys'n me, we... we saw that you didn't act like you do normally, and it's been going on since after you came back from your last mission, and... We're a little worried."

"Everything is functioning accordingly to parameters", the Soldier answered automatically.

Heero gritted his teeth and forced himself to correct his behavior before Duo could be annoyed at his refusal to acknowledge the problem.

"In fact... No, it's not", he admitted in a voice so low his comrade had to incline toward him to hear him.

"What's the matter?" Duo encouraged him softly, stupefied by the answer nearly as much as by the tone his voice had taken.

He had thought he would have to work on the Japanese all day long to obtain a response... And the other answered him with a voice where you could hear a little boy afraid of the dark behind the usual ice wall...

"I... don't know."

Heero stopped talking, and in spite of all his efforts, couldn't talk again. Duo decided to use another approach.

"There was blood on your tanktop ... What happened? You not hurt?" he added, trying to sniff the scent of blood in the air.

Heero tensed and closed his eyes.

/ running

/night, cool air

/bushes, grass, cool air in the hair, on the skin

/movement ahead

/ hunting

/hungry/

'blood on my hands I have blood on my hands what did I do what did I do kami-sama I have blood on my hands blood in my mouth blood on my face and a taste in my mouth what is it what did I do kami-sama I don't understand I don't understand'

leftovers of a little body entirely shredded on the ground...

sick for a long time, throwing up, violently, horrified.

He buries the rests of the squirrel under a bush, digging with his bare hands, before returning home and making a ball of himself in a corner of his room, on the floor.

The taste of the hot blood in his throat stays a long time, a really long time.

It wasn't for the squirrel that he was horrified. He had killed humans, what was an animal in comparison? But the total loss of control, and the way he had understood what he was doing with so much pleasure only after it was finished... And the taste of its blood in his throat...

He hadn't even killed it with his hands... He had done it with his. Damn. Teeth. For a moment, the memory invaded him and he thought he was going to throw up again.

"Wasn't my blood. Wasn't human blood", he said finally to reassure Duo he hadn't killed anyone in the night.

"Kewl", Duo muttered, relieved. "I was afraid for a moment."

If Heero had begun to kill random people by night, they would have had to ... put him out of commission in a permanent way. And God knew that it was the last thing Duo wanted. But if not an human, then what...?

"You wanna tell me more about it?"

"I'd rather not", the Japanese answered, glad that the darkness was hiding his sudden pallor.

Duo raised an eyebrow until it was nearly in his hairline. Yep, not in his normal state at all. He hadn't answered with a dry 'no' that would have seriously pissed Duo off... he had expressed a personal preference. It was the only thing that could push Duo to drop it.

"Heero... We all saw that you weren't in your normal state. You really don't want to tell us, or at least one of us, what's the matter?"

"But I DON'T know what's the bloody matter!!" he said back, losing his temper.

Duo tensed visibly and a feeling of fear came off his attitude /and off his scent it's his scents that talks the loudest / to Heero.

"Stay calm, I'm in control ", he said dryly.

"You'll excuse me if I take some precautions anyway. Remember the plate?"

The Japanese hung his head , shameful.

"Gomen", he whispered. "I... Duo... At this moment, I didn't want to admit that something was amiss; I admit it now. But... I can't talk to you about it. I know that something is off with my reaction and I'll pay attention from now on. You don't have to worry about the mission. "

"Fuck, Yuy!!! I don't worry about you only for this damn mission!!! The others neither!!!"

The brown-haired boy started, surprised by his comrade's explosion. Duo sighed loudly and put his hands in his hair to try and calm down a little. Well, it had begun rather well ... Heero had apologized (a thing that at his knowledge he had done only once, to Noventa's family) and had even admitted that indeed there was a serious problem. But he was still as annoying as for taking care of his problems himself. Exactly like he was with his Gundam.

"Heero... "

"Duo... I swear to you from now on I'll try to bring my reactions under control. I just need some time to get used to..."

"Get used to what?" the braided American asked.

Heero didn't answer. He jumped down the desk and walked towards his comrade. Duo heard him move, but since the room was as dark as ever, he couldn't spot him precisely and it unnerved him a little.

He nearly jumped out of his skin when the Japanese's big, warm hand landed on his shoulder.

"It will be ok, Duo... If it continues, I'll ...I'll ask for your help... just not now."

Too surprised to react, he didn't protest when Heero made him turn around and pushed him softly toward the door. The Japanese opened it before him and the braided one moved forward, undecided, a storm of confusion under his skull. Heero wasn't acting at all in character... but he hadn't returned to his ancient comportment either. What was happening? Was he becoming schizophrenic? Was he pulling a double personality or what? ... a triple was more like it. He wondered for a second if the Wing Pilot would grow a feminine persona too and snickered before he could stop himself.

And then, he realized... Heero had not stayed in his room after pushing him out ... he still has his hand on his shoulder and was guiding him toward the stairs.

"Err, where are you taking me?" Duo asked, uncertain about the other boy's comportment.

"To see the others. We need to discuss the next mission."

"Oh, okay..."

'Well, at least, the Soldier came back', Duo thought while going toward the living room. 'I don't like it too much, this part of him, but at least it's not as strange as the others. And we know it rather well...'

+

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