author: trixie
disclaimer: they don't belong to me. they just whisper sweet nothings into my ear when i'm supposed to be doing something else.
summary: Duo listens to his voices

notes: for Dacia, for her birthday. she is a demanding wench, but she has given me a good kick in the pants to get some Fei/Duo mojo goin', so it's all good. ^_~

the Living and the Dead

Everybody hears the voices of their dead, ok, some people are just better listeners than others. I've heard my dead all my life, even before I knew what they were. I remember quite clearly walking down the street in L2's capital, being directed by the voice of someone I trusted implicitly. I don't… really remember her voice, but I do remember feeling loved. I'm sure that was my mother.

Her voice left me after I met Solo. I guess hooking up with your soulmate has a way of making your mom stop fretting over you, even if you are just seven. Or maybe he promised to look after me. I guess I could ask Solo…

But at any rate, it's not that strange, and it doesn't make me crazy. I'm completely sane, or at least as sane as I'd be anyway.

What's that phrase? Father Maxwell used to say it… Well, if I don't get it right, I'm sure he'll correct me. Something like… if you listen to the quiet really hard, you'll hear the sound of universal weeping.

Quite apt.

I've heard that sound all my life, just didn't know what it was at first. Heard the dead crying over the living, heard the dead mourning their lives, heard the dead cursing the living… Yeah, I wasn't joking when I told Father Maxwell I didn't believe in heaven or hell, but I did believe in the dead. Damn, now he's correcting me about that, too…

Anyway.

Of course I hear Solo's voice the strongest. He was my everything. I promised to keep him with me, and be Duo, and I have. Everything I think, everything I feel, I think and feel with him. If he had lived long enough, we would have been lovers. I know this because he knows this. I did love him with everything I had… I can hear him when I'm wide-awake, and when I sleep, I can feel him put his arms around me.

What else could have gotten me through the war? You think that was easy, keeping my head together, and no jokes from the peanut gallery, ok?

Solo was always there with me. Solo washed away my tears with his kisses. Sounds crazy? Fuck that, crazy would've been trying to go it alone.

So when I saw her, it wasn't really a shock. Sometimes, the dead liked to make contact. I've heard from people wanting my help over the years, I've heard from people trying to get back at me for what I've done to them… Solo keeps the riff raff away for the most part, but I guess I'm a vessel. A conduit, as it were. Sometimes, things are going to get inside me.

She was sitting on the edge of the bed, her back to me. She was wearing a robe of silk, pure black. The sheet were silk, too, taupe, and I was naked. I didn't realize that at first, but then she let her robe slip down.

She had a beautiful back. Strong, muscular, but still feminine. Her hair fell over her shoulders in silky waves. She turned to look at me.

Her eyes were filled with such naked pain. She spoke in a stilted voice. She was speaking in Mandarin, but somehow, I could sort of understand her.

“Go to him. Ease his pain. Be my proxy.”

Then she pushed me down onto the bed, and we made love, desperately, and it felt like she was trying to claw inside my skin. It was hot, and erotic as all hell, which was odd, ‘cause I'm not usually one to dream of the ladies, but it was disquieting.

I dreamed of her, and those same words, for six nights in a row, and when I woke up on the seventh morning, I was restless and irritable.

I had to leave, right then.

I'd been hanging with the Sweepers, doing salvage and odd jobs, working whatever needed working. Howard and his crew mostly did discreet jobs for Une and company, so a lot of the work was really interesting.

Also, that meant I knew exactly where to find him.

They had started an Academy for training Preventer agents, and naturally Chang Wu Fei was the  academic dean. He decided the curriculum and everything, which made sense, as he was a scholar and all. You know, he had published his groundbreaking philosophical treatise that still had the philosophical world in a tizzy before I could even read.

Did you know that? I didn't, but then, all of a sudden, I did.

I figured it out. I had always admired Chang, looked up to him. The others thought I was nuts, especially after the whole deal with Treize's girl, but I got that he just had to work some thing out on his own. We all make mistakes trying to see up from down sometimes.

But when I saw him on the quad that afternoon, it wasn't the same admiration. There was lust

there, too.

Now, it wasn't that I was attracted to him that surprised me. Look at him. Why the hell wouldn't I be attracted to him? No, it was the passion of it, the love.

That wasn't my feeling, but I was hard-pressed to argue with it.

I struck up a conversation. That was what I was good at, right? And I didn't even mention that I'd been banging his dead wife, wasn't that good of me? I also resisted the urge to reach out and kiss him. I was seeing him so much clearer now… I could read his body language, see his fatigue and his sorrow. Things that I would never have been able to notice before were just clear as day, now. Like being able to understand Mandarin without any prior experience.

There was someone else inside my skin, informing me and guiding me. Was I bitter? Did I mind being a ‘puppet' for the dead?

Why should I?

Chang Wu Fei is a damn honorable man, and I was damn lucky to be given a shot at him.

That night, I was in Solo's arms again, and I hadn't realized how long it had been until was there with him again. We alternated from being our age, or really, me being my age and he being the age he would have been if he hadn't died, and from being the age we were at before he had died. In both cases, he cradled me to his chest, but when we were young, we were on a cardboard sheet, huddled in a burned-out factory, and when we were older, we were in a big, wide bed, naked.

“I'm sorry,” he said, and I understood right away.

He had made a deal with the dead girl. He would give her access to me if she made sure that Fei loved me back.

Solo never liked Heero much. He was just a bit possessive for Solo's tastes. Frankly, I haven't been sitting on my hands waiting for Heero to waltz back into my life. Sure, I wouldn't have kicked him out of bed had I gotten the chance to get him into bed, but still. When five years pass, you get the message, whether you want it or not.

Solo had gotten tired of waiting for me to get the hell over him, though. He wanted me in a relationship. Can't say why it was so important to him, but then, maybe Solo didn't think that dreams and voices were enough to sustain a guy.

Some people might chafe at having two ghosts deciding his future, but what did I care? Solo would always be my one and only, just like Meilin would always be for Fei.

Why not find comfort in each other?

So I pursued him. Somewhat shamelessly, I have to admit. I just dumped myself in his town, with no job and no reason besides him to be there, and forced him to be social with me.

I saw, but didn't understand, that he didn't resist. To my surprise, Meilin explained in a dream why she had picked me. I figured Solo had done the negotiating, but she was the one in the sore place. Fei… liked me.

I sure as hell liked him. And we were attracted to each other.

What could be better?

I had this voice in my ear, cajoling me to tease him and to challenge him, and I watched as his eyes slowly warmed to me with an affection that made my whole body blush.

He said I was reminding him of someone, and it didn't bother me.

After all, I tended to fall for people that reminded me of Solo. Strong, confident types who could, and would, take care of me. Gee, that doesn't sound familiar, does it?

Selfishly, I enjoyed that it was me that he was kissing, me who made him all starry-eyed, my body he longed to explore…

Oh, she was still in me. She was a part of me now. She was my hands that reached out and brought him back in to me.

But when he first laid me out on his bed, it was my eyes he was looking down into with such emotion, my name on his lips as he panted and heaved, it was to me that he said ‘I love you,' and it was me that said it back.

When Heero did show up, it was pretty much a done deal. I was now with Fei, body and soul.

There were times I considered telling him. Telling him how much Meilin loved him, how she forgave him…. But no part of me wanted him to think I was crazy. So I showed him instead.

Everybody can hear the dead. You hear them cry, and curse, and mourn. We carry our dead with us, and our dead carry us. I told Fei that on our ‘wedding' day. It was just us, in a shuttle above the Great Wall. But we did make vows to each other that we intended to keep.

He nodded slowly when I said it, and then he took my face in his hands, and paid gentle homage to my lips.

That night, I dreamed of sleeping in Solo's arms as I slept in Fei's arms.

I still don't believe in God, but I will never stop believing in my dead.

~*~

end