I shake my head. "Not
particularly," I answer, drawing my knees up to rest my chin on them,
hugging my legs to my chest, trying to curl myself into a little ball,
I half expect Quatre to press the issue, but he doesn't. He just holds
me for a minute or two longer, then sighs softly before pulling away,
and I feel cold again.
I hug my knees tighter as Quatre begins to gently disentangle the rat's
nest that my hair has become. I barely feel a thing. The motions of the
brush are so soothing, I close my eyes and the room melts away.
I'm not in the desert any longer. I'm in a dorm room. I don't remember
which one - doesn't matter which one. I'm not sitting by a fire that doesn't
warm me. I'm on my bed, and it's not Quatre behind me, running the brush
through my hair… it's Heero. He loved - loves - doing this. Says
it helps him relax. I don't quite understand how. If I'd been brushing
someone's hair for very long, my arm would start to ache after a while.
But Heero doesn't seem to mind. He leans forward and whispers something
into my ear. I can't quite hear what he says, but it's enough to make
I feel his lips drop a kiss on the back of my head, and I open my eyes,
ready to turn around and steal one back…
I open my eyes…
For a moment, I really expected to be in that room. But I open my eyes
and the dream gives way to harsh reality, a reality I don't want to face.
Not alone, not anymore.
"Do you want me to braid it for you?" I hear Quatre ask.
I shake my head. Let my hair hang loose. It'll give me something to hide
I feel a hand reach under the towel still wrapped around my chilled body
to tug at my shorts. I shy away, clutching the towel closer. How pathetic.
Six months ago, I'd have eagerly assisted in the removal of my clothing
and been flat on my back with my legs spread wide before you could say
"Nice shoes, wanna fuck?" But lo, how the mighty have fallen!
Who would have thought one man - a boy really - could bring Duo Maxwell
Who would have thought I'd ever wanted to be brought so low?
Quatre chuckles lightly and withdraws his hand. "You should get out
of those wet shorts. I'll go get you something to drink while you change."
I don't answer, but hear him stand and leave the room, closing the door
quietly behind him. I sit frozen for a moment, watching the fire dance
in the hearth. I close my eyes to block out the light, but the afterimage
of the flames blazes behind closed eyelids. I sigh and roll to one side,
pushing my wet boxers off with one hand and tossing them away. I curl
up in the towel and allow my hair to fall in front of my face. Oddly,
I feel safe hiding behind my hair. Like an ostrich with its head in the
sand, I feel like nothing can touch me behind my own private curtain.
I don't know how much time passes before I hear the soft click of the
door opening. I look up through my hair as Quatre pads over and kneels
down in front of me, offering a warm, woolly robe and a glass of some
kind of dark, amber liquid.
"Here, this should help warm you," he says, helping me to sit
up and placing the robe around my shoulders.
I take the glass and down half the contents in one swallow, coughing and
choking as it burns its way down to my stomach, which fortunately, chooses
not to rebel.
"Jesus, Kat, what the hell is this stuff?" I wheeze as I try
to catch my breath.
He smiles and rattles off some fancy name in Arabic. "It's good for
chasing away bad dreams and desert night chills," he adds.
"I thought Muslims didn't drink alcohol," I reply, taking another
- smaller - sip, allowing the liquor to warm me from within.
His smile fades, his eyes losing their sparkle as he looks away to stare
sadly into the fire.
"We don't but… my father," he almost chokes on the word, "my
father keeps it around. For guests."
My heart clenches as I watch him, watch the light fade from his eyes to
be replaced by an all too familiar shadow. I know that _expression only
too well. I've seen it every time I look in a mirror.
I don't want to see that _expression on his face. Quatre has been
my one ray of light in the darkness of the last couple of weeks. After
Heero… after Siberia, I was a wreck, lost. Had it not been for Quatre,
I think perhaps instead of one pilot… gone… there very likely would have
I had been envious of Quatre right after we first met. He had everything
I didn't - a home, a name, a family. Where I had grown up on the streets
of L2, he had been raised in mansions and summer homes. He was the privileged
little rich boy, and I was the lowly street rat. I could very easily have
And yet… there was something about him, an innocence I didn't know could
exist in a person. It took me a few days to realize what that was.
Quatre was pure.
This golden child had never been touched by life. He had never
known the horrors of being unwanted, never seen the atrocities one human
could commit against another, never known the pain of merely existing.
Don't get me wrong - Quatre is a killer. But he'd never completely lost
his innocence, and I'll be damned if I'd allow him to lose any part of
I'd never had mine. I neither miss nor mourn it. But Quatre must not lose
his. I don't think I could bear it. One lost soul is enough.
Those blue eyes were staring at me now, still haunted. I can't take it.
I reach out and place my hand on his cheek. He leans into it, eyes closing
for a moment, a small smile upon his face. When he opens his eyes again,
the sparkle is back. I can still see the faintest of shadows behind the
light, but for now, one crisis has been averted I think. And just in time,
too. For in his smile I see the echo of another, and the crushing pain
of sadness and loss hits me once more. Call me selfish, but I don't think
I could have dealt with his problems as well as my own. Mine has to take
precedence because they utterly consume me, and I am left shaking and
I hear Quatre gasp slightly. I open eyes I hadn't realized had been closed
to see him looking at me with such… compassion. And I know. I know
that he knows how I'm feeling inside. He's seeing behind this mask, and
I feel vulnerable and frightened. But there isn't a trace of pity in his
eyes, only that compassion and… love?
I gasp as well. Before… before Heero, I don't think I could have recognized
that emotion. But Heero taught me to see it, to know it for what it is.
He also taught me to need it. And now, he's… he's gone, but the need is
Damn you, Yuy. Damn you.
I'm still not sure who made the first move. Maybe Quatre just meant it
to be a token of friendship. Maybe I just needed to feel loved one more
time. Whatever the reason, I suddenly find his lips on mine, my eyes closed,
my hands clutching at his robe as though I were drowning and he's the
only thing keeping me afloat. He tastes like sunshine and spices, nothing
at all like Heero's dark flavor.
I violently shove the thought of him aside. I do not want to think about
him right now. I don't want to be cold. I want to be warm… and Quatre
is so very, very warm.
Perhaps that is why I let him push me down onto the rug. Perhaps that
is why I let him push aside my robe, baring my cold skin to the heat of
his gaze. I shiver but not so much from the chill I still feel but from
the warmth of his hands as they slide along my skin, drawing the cloth
away, leaving me naked and exposed in more ways than one.
I look into his eyes and see him looking back at me - the real
me. He is seeing me for who I really am, a lost, abandoned and lonely
child. And in his eyes I can see the same. No wonder we've reached out
to the other. We're both lonely and hurting, and for this brief moment,
we are all we have to each other.
I reach up to tug at his own robe. He smiles and slides the garment off.
I stare up at him, watching the firelight dance over his golden skin,
so pale to mine in comparison. He leans forward again and I close my eyes,
suddenly not wanting to see him. I close my eyes and it isn't Quatre's
fingers running down my chest. It isn't Quatre's hands that slide over
my hips and gently parts my legs. It isn't Quatre's fingers, suddenly
slick with I don't know what, that enter me to gently prepare the way.
It isn't Quatre who lifts my legs and sheaths himself inside of
My eyes are closed, and I see Heero above me, smiling down at me. Making
love to me…
It starts off slow, a gentle rocking of hips that send warm little shivers
racing up my spine. It always starts slow, but this is somehow different.
I don't want it to be different. I screw my eyes tightly shut, desperately
clinging to the illusion of Heero above me, inside of me.
For a while, it works. Against the backs of my eyelids, I see Heero just
as I had seen him in my dream - before the ickiness - rising above me,
skin glistening with a fine sheen of sweat as he moves steadily within
me. Warmth begins to seep through limbs, making fingers and other extremities
tingle. I shudder at the pleasure of being warm for the first time in
I murmur Heero's name and reach up to tangle my hand in his silky hair,
so utterly lost in my fantasy that I nearly do not register that the texture
has changed. Heero gives me one of his soft, barely there smiles. His
hair and his smile are the only soft things about him. Everything else
is deliciously hard. I arch my back and moan as he thrusts inside me,
slow but deep.
"Mmmm, Heero. Please, harder…" I whisper, slipping into my game
of me begging and him ignoring me. Even though I know he will hold his
pace, it's become something of a ritual, a mantra even, for me to beg
him for more. It has become oddly comforting, our little game.
But games don't work if only one person knows the rules. My carefully
constructed fantasy shatters as the person above me accedes to my request.
The movements inside my body become rougher, faster. My eyes fly open
and I'm back in the desert on the floor in Quatre's room being fucked
by someone who is not my lover.
I blink up at Quatre's face. His eyes are closed, his mouth moving in
a silent litany of someone else's name. I realize he's missing someone
too, and like me, he'd reached for a moment of comfort offered freely,
then lost himself in his own illusion.
Only now, my illusion has shattered. Heero is… gone, and all I have left
is Quatre and an empty fantasy. But the warmth is still there, and I cling
to it. I close my eyes again and cling to it, riding it as it builds until
it explodes over me, through me, and I come with a hoarse cry, gripping
Quatre as he shudders his own release, calling out someone else's name.
We collapse together in a tangled, sweaty heap, the only sounds being
our ragged breathing and the occasional pop of the fire.
I lie still, not daring to move for fear of disturbing Quatre's fantasy.
I want it to last as long as it can for him. I may not know all that much
about him, but I now realize he must have experienced some pretty horrible
things in his life as well, not to mention dealing with me and my little
breakdown. And through whatever it was, he managed to maintain the innocence
I saw in him earlier. He amazes me. The least I can do for him is allow
him to remain in his own little world for a few moments longer.
I lie there and turn my gaze back to the fire. I can feel the heat emanating
from it now. Quatre has given me back my warmth. I hope it will last.
I don't think I want to be cold again. Then I feel something else - something
hot and wet, dripping onto my shoulder. I move my head to look at Quatre,
but all I can see is his shoulder. His head is buried in my neck, and
I can feel him trembling slightly.
"Quatre?" I ask, placing a hand gently on his shoulder.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," he mumbles against my neck, shaking
Now wait a minute. I'm supposed to be the basket case here. When had the
I smooth my hand down his back. "Quatre, it's okay. It's okay,"
I try to comfort him.
He sniffles and lifts his head. I wince as I feel him pull out of me.
He rolls to one side, and I curl up next to him, ignoring the sticky mess
on my stomach and other places for now. I reach out to brush a golden
lock of hair out of his eyes as though silently pleading with him to tell
me what was wrong.
"Duo, I…" he begins, then stops, looking away, his face flushing
"It's… it's all right, Quatre," I say again, feeling sick to
my stomach. Why hadn't I been stronger? Why hadn't I pushed him away?
I had used him. And yet… I can't regret what we did. I can feel again.
I'm not cold, and the emptiness isn't nearly so… empty.
Tears continue to slip down Quatre's face as he looks at me again. "I'm
sorry. I didn't mean… what we did. I mean, what I did… I had no
right," he stammers, his eyes pleading with me.
Wait… what? He thinks… but I… crap.
"No, it's okay," I say again. "I… didn't exactly stop you.
I'm just as much to blame." I shrug and give him a smile. "Besides,
it was… it was nice."
"But it wasn't you!" he cries, grabbing my hand. "I was
with you, but I wasn't with you."
I choke back a laugh. Yup, innocent and naïve. Lucky kid. "I wasn't
with you either," I reply.
His eyes widen for a moment before he chuckles and kisses the backs of
my fingers. "What a miserable pair we make." He smiles shyly
at me. "But you're right. It was nice."
We lie together in silence for a while, playing with each other's fingers
until my skin begins to itch from the stickiness that has now dried on
my skin. As loathe as I am to disturb this moment, I want to get cleaned
up. I'm sure Quatre does as well. I move to sit up, but blondie places
a hand on my chest and shakes his head.
"Let me," he murmurs, then is gone. I am alone with my thoughts
which immediately turn to Heero. Gee, didn't see that coming. But for
the first time in a while I can picture his face in my mind without wanting
to scream in anger and denial. The hurt, the feeling of abandonment is
still there, but maybe it's the fire or the alcohol or the lingering,
ghostly touch of Quatre's arms around me that has dulled the ache. Not
a lot but - enough.
I close my eyes and for the first time days I willingly call Heero's image
into my mind. And not just how he looked with his untamable chocolate
hair and blue eyes that could pierce right into my soul. I recall the
way he moved, sleek and silent like a jungle cat. I recall how he would
just look at me when we were alone. I remember the way he would touch
my shoulder as he walked past, the way he would breathe my name when making
love, the gentle half-smile he reserved just for me.
And then… and then I let myself feel. I let myself remember the way my
heart would do that stupid flip-flop when he touched me. I let myself
remember the way he could make my breath catch in my throat with just
a look. I remember how much I would tremble when he said he loved me…
and I remember how frightened I became when he did.
Because I could never say it back.
And I realize now that I wanted to. I had wanted to say it back
- to let him know, but I hadn't and now it was too late. He'd never know.
Or had he known? Surely… surely he must have, but how could he? When I
was with him, I could never fully accept that what he said was true -
that he loved me. And I never fully accepted that I could love him back.
Until now. Oh god, why now? Heero is dead, and realization has come far
I'm not aware that I'm crying until I feel Quatre wipe away my tears.
I open my eyes to look at him. I don't say anything; he doesn't ask. He
just gives me a sad little smile and proceeds to wipe the traces of what
we did together from our bodies with a washcloth. When we are both clean,
he tosses the cloth away and leans back over me.
"Are you warm now?" he asks. I can only nod, tears still stinging
my eyes. He reaches over me to flip the button on the hearth. The fire
immediately dies away, and I realize for the first time just how hot
it was in the room. A lump forms in my throat. I hadn't noticed, but surely
Quatre had felt the heat. He was such a nice guy. If I hadn't met Heero…
I think just maybe I could have let myself fall for the little blonde
Arabian. But he already had someone, and I… I'd had my someone too. Only
I'd lost him. I'm getting pretty tired of losing people I… love. Quatre
was better off with his someone. Safe from me and my curse.
We help each other off the floor; he helps me pull my robe back into place.
I at least have the decency to blush. I'm loathe to leave though, but
I can't sleep on the floor all night. My back would surely pay for it
in the morning.
I had expected Quatre to lead me back to my own room. But instead he surprises
me as he escorts me across the room and tumbles me into his bed. I don't
resist. I'm too far gone to resist anything else tonight. I roll over
on my side away from him. He climbs in behind me and snuggles against
my back. Heh. I figured he'd be a cuddler.
We lie in silence for a while, but we both know the other isn't sleeping.
The silence stretches long into the darkness, and I find I can't hold
it in any longer. I roll to face him, not surprised to see his eyes shining
at me in the darkness.
"Who is your someone?" I ask as I twine my fingers with his.
I hear him smile. "His name is Trowa. He's pilot 03."
For some reason, I'm not surprised.
"Do you love him?" I hear myself say next.
He is still for a moment before he shifts against me. "I… I think
I have trouble swallowing. "You've not told him." It's more
of a statement than a question.
I feel him shake his head. "We were only together for a short time,"
he replies. "It happened so fast, I wasn't sure what I was feeling
- or what he was. Then he was gone - a mission - and I didn't have time
to tell him."
I clutch his hand to my chest. "Tell him," I whisper, almost
pleadingly. "The next time you see him, tell him." Before it's
too late, I want to add, but don't. I don't want to burden him anymore.
I can sense him staring at me. With one hand he reaches out and plays
with a lock of hair. "Who was your someone?"
Was. Not is. He knows. Oh god. I try to swallow around the lump in my
throat. Should I tell him about Heero? How he looked, the ideals he held,
the way he made me feel? Heero is dead, but I selfishly want to keep my
memories of him to myself. So instead, I answer with the only thing I
can think of.
"He… he was my everything," I say, my voice breaking.
Quatre hesitates for a moment, then moves to wrap his arms around me.
I let my tears fall freely this time, not trying to fight them and longer.
Quatre lets me cry against his shoulder. I have not cried for Heero since
his death, but now it seems I can't stop. Quatre just holds me until I
have no more tears to shed and am left weak and exhausted in his arms.
"You loved him," he whispers as I hiccup against his chest.
"Yes," I murmur back. My heart aches. It's the first time I've
admitted it out loud. "I loved him very much."
"But you didn't tell him."
Ah, Quatre - you may be a prince and I a lowly street rat, but we are
far too much alike. I shake my head. "No. I was too afraid."
Would he be disgusted with my cowardice? I know I was, but for some reason
I couldn't bear the thought of having Quatre look down on me like that.
But I should have known better.
He kisses me on top of my head and lifts my chin so I can see his eyes
glittering down at me.
I choke back a sob. "How can you be so sure?"
"Because I can feel it here," he says, placing a hand over his
heart. "And I can feel it here." He moves his hand to rest over
my own heart. "And if I can feel it, I know he could, too."
I close my eyes. I want to believe him. "But I feel so lost… abandoned…"
He hugs me closer. "He may not be with you, but in your heart, would
he ever willingly abandon you?"
I open my eyes and stare up at him incredulously. He waits for my answer.
I am a very long time in giving him one, but I do. I shake my head slowly.
"No. He… he wouldn't."
"Then you will never truly be alone as long as he is with you in
here." His hand brushes over my heart again.
I curl up against him and lay my head on his chest, listening for his
heartbeat. I know he's right. It doesn't make the pain go away, but it
does dull it a little. Heero is gone, and I have to accept that. I have
to or I won't be able to go on with my life and my part in this war. But…
just because he is lost to me doesn't mean I need to lose him.
And to make it through this, to get myself over the pain I'm feeling,
I will have to believe what Quatre said is true. That even though I never
told Heero I loved him - he knew. He hadn't been waiting for me to tell
him because he already knew. I have to believe that. It's the only
way I think I can go on. And I have to go on. Not only for his sake, but
for mine and for Quatre and for Quatre's someone.
I stiffen slightly in his embrace. "Your someone… your Trowa… will
he… will you tell him about what happened? Between us?"
"Yes. He will not mind I think. I think… he would understand,"
the blonde replies softly.
I allow myself to relax. Honestly, I don't even know how I'm still awake.
This night - these last two weeks have felt like a lifetime. All I want
to do is sleep. Not the mind-numbing, alcohol induced kind, but real honest-to-goodness
sleep, something I've not had since Siberia or even before. Something
I've not had since I last slept safe and loved in Heero's arms. And while
the arms around me now aren't Heero's, I feel no less safe and loved in
I know I can never thank him for helping me find myself before I was irrevocably
lost. But I think he knows. Quatre has some sort of intuitive knowledge
about him that I can't explain. It's what make Quatre Quatre. And for
this one night at least, I can take comfort with that and know that somehow
my dreams of Heero tonight will not be plagued with nightmares as they
usually are. So I snuggle closer, and he squeezes me tight.
And just before I drop off to sleep with happier memories of Heero in
my head, I think I hear him whisper once more to me.
"When you find your someone, Duo… tell him."
[back to Caroline's fic]