(kodoku na okami)
and Fools + Part 07
Confutatis Maledictis (Judgement of the Damned)
(Sometimes fools strike truer
The shell exploded behind his back and the world jumped.
Heero bolted upright in bed, wide eyed, sweat soaked, heart racing, mouth
gasping for air, face unaccountably wet. Just sweat, he told himself.
Long seconds passed before his breathing and heartbeat were under control.
He didn't know why he woke up like this some nights. It only happened
after a mission.
Because you're weak. The soldier said. I can make you strong. If
you'd let me do more than fight the battles, this wouldn't happen.
A part of Heero was tempted by the offer, but another part he'd never
quite understood warned him against it. It was the part of him that wanted
to be human one day. He trusted that part more than he trusted the soldier
and chose to review the mission in his mind instead of answering the soldier's
The afternoon's mission had been simple. He and Duo had destroyed the
only factory in Asia that made hip and knee joints for Leos, putting a
major dent in Oz's parts supply. That was good. In the old days armies
may have marched on their stomachs, but now they marched on spare parts.
His thoughts paused as he listened to Duo breathing. He couldn't tell
if he was asleep or awake. He's getting too good at that. Heero
had caught him practicing a couple of times, but lately, it had been harder.
Before long, Heero knew Duo would have mastered that little trick. Maybe
it would serve him well sometime.
He slid his legs over the edge of the bed and sat there, trying to decide
if he should go over to the sink and wipe his face with a cool washcloth.
It would feel good to get the sweat -- it was only sweat -- off his face.
His throat felt dry, almost raw. Maybe some water too.
A soft touch on his heel. "Heero?"
Adrenaline surged. His heart raced. He jerked his legs back up onto the
bed. Damn him! Damn him! DAMN HIM! He was awake. Whydoyoucare? Idon'tknow.
The soldier was silent. He didn't have to speak. Heero could feel his
"Heero, are you OK?"
Duo's head appeared from the lower bunk. Light reflected off his eyes,
the eerie sheen making Heero wonder for a moment if his nickname, Shinigami,
wasn't truth. In battle, there was little dou-- Heero strangled the thoughts
as he heard the soldier's soft snicker. He could do this alone if he had
to. Control. He concentrated. Control. His heart slowed again. He moved
his focus to Duo's shoulder, an innocuous part of anyone's body.
"Daijoubu?" Duo's head moved further out of the bunk as if he might be
about to get up.
Control. ... "Hai." Control. "I just wake up like that some nights." For
some reason Duo winced at that, but at least he stayed where he was.
Duo had heard the glacier come crashing back in Heero's voice. "It was
just a nightmare," Duo said. Before Heero could say anything he added,
"I have them too." He saw Heero's head turn in the darkness. He couldn't
see them, but he could feel the cold, cold eyes on him.
"I don't dream." He saw the look of disbelief on Duo's face. "I have never
dreamed." Duo's head disappeared back into his bed. There was blessed
silence. The soldier told him it was what he'd wanted, but somehow it
didn't make him any more comfortable.
Liar! Duo thought. And that lie hurt you more than me even if
you don't realize it. You didn't cry out, a good soldier wouldn't, but
I listened to you whimpering and thrashing the sheets for five minutes.
I would have climbed up and shook you awake if I'd thought you wouldn't
have killed me before you knew what you were doing.
Instead he'd kicked the bunk above him. His foot was still sore, but he'd
accomplished his mission. Now he had another. Heero needed to be reminded
of the truth.
"Everyone dreams, Heero," Duo whispered to the wall, knowing Heero would
hear him. Knowing Heero would think he didn't know it. "And soldiers'
dreams are always nightmares. It's worst after a mission, when you've
let the soldier do his job, killing and destroying, and then you pretend
to be human again. You dream each one of them at the moment you killed
them. You wake up, wanting to run, but you don't know how to run from
yourself, crying, but you don't know which of you you're crying for. And
all you really want is..." He stopped, frowned.
He wasn't sure what he wanted. Maybe peace. Maybe a chance to forget it
all. Maybe hope. Maybe quiet. Maybe someone to hold him like Sister Helen
had and make him think for a moment that he could be a real angel one
day instead of a clumsy fallen angel waiting for the wings that he knew
would never come. He had known what he wanted once. He was sure of that.
But that was long ago when he was younger -- much younger. Somewhere along
the way, he'd forgotten what it was. Somewhere in all the death and fighting
and anger and pain... He fell asleep, right hand locked tight around the
end of his braid, trying to remember what he wanted.
Heero lay in his bed, hands clasped behind his head, staring at the ceiling.
He was certain Duo was asleep now. "Dreams are obstacles," he told the
blank slab above him. He lay awake, thinking about what Duo had said,
and wondering why he had stopped. For a moment he had thought Duo was
going to tell him what he should want. He had been disappointed to hear
the soft breathing start. He had known it wasn't a ruse. Maybe Duo had
fallen asleep. Or maybe he was lost too. That kept him awake for the rest
of the night.
Twice Duo's own nightmares came for him. Heero shook the bunk, stirring
the boy just enough to break their hold. "Obstacles must be eliminated."
One of them should get a good night's sleep tonight.
The soldier approved of the statement if not the sentiment.
Somehow Heero thought that was good.
[part 06] [part
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