By: Lyssira
Disclaimer: No miney. `Cept for the storie. That miney. Lucky Bandai. ;_;
Warnings: ANGST. Blood. Violence. Horror. Shounen Ai. Changing POV. Language. Not for the very religious...including myself..
Pairings: Unknown.
Rating: Drama/Horror-NC17 (just to be on the safe side)
C&C: Please? Call me a sick, mental case if that's your response, just let me know. I could always use another opinion...

WARNING!!! This particular part is VERY bloody and graphic. I mean it. If descriptive violence or gore bothers you at all, I'm warning you away now. *I* had trouble reading it. In fact...*glances around* In the words of the Great Gonzo, you're on your own folks. I'll meet in you in the next part!

Guilt Whispers To Me + Part 4

<Duo's POV>

The inside of a gundam is like a coffin sometimes; the walls are so close they're practically people that lean in and read the console over your shoulder. They weren't built with large, luxurious cockpits where the pilot can stretch, walk around or even hide behind the seats. Sleeping in them guarantees a stiff neck the next morning, perhaps even a few limbs tingling from the lack of blood flow. I preferred that to the company of my fellow pilots nonetheless. I'd slept my Gundam in the last year more than I'd slept in a real bed during the last five. The only bed I could really remember was debris in a ruined church, serving as material for a parasite's nest.

I fell asleep after working on Deathscythe often. A stash of junk food under the seat insured I didn't starve. I spent the afternoon doing basic checks and repairs. Shinigami was in top condition. There just wasn't much for me to do. So, I finished a luxurious meal of twinkies, hohos and greasy potato chips. It was all pretty tasteless, but I gulped it down anyway. This was what Americans ate right? It didn't matter. Being accused of betrayal, almost killing a fellow guerilla and taking an unexpected five-mile run tends to make a person hungry.

My post-dinner plan was to take a short nap and see if I couldn't improve the reaction time on my Gundam. It was getting slow, to be honest.

My world became dreamless gray.

+

The first thing I saw upon waking was a blurry streak of neon red in front of my eyes. I blinked hard but the image didn't clear. I felt the cold bite of metal across of my cheek. Groaning, I pushed myself into a sitting position. The clock on my main console glowed 4:50 AM. Discarded tools and cellophane wrappers littered the floor around me. I stretched, feeling twelve of my vertebra pop. The trash got kicked into a corner as I left the Gundam.

No one would be awake yet, I knew. It was the perfect time to take a shower, steal some breakfast and clean clothes. Even Wufei didn't rise this early.

Mist clustered around the rented house like an army of ghosts. I could barely make out soulless, gaping windows through the gray. It had been a farmhouse once, before the town grew up around it. Our `hanger', just barely big enough for all five of the Gundams, must have been a barn. I tried to imagine a row of stalls where Deathscythe's massive feet rested, stalls with impatient cows ready to be milked. Not that I know much about that stuff. We read used picture books before bed, the ones donated every spring by the kiddies who'd outgrown them and parents who wanted more shelf space. I missed it.

The moon hung low on the western side of Earth, ready to dip below the horizon at any moment. Stars and colonies alike had faded from the sky, leaving only gray. Not a creature stirred. I shivered and reached for the door. Locked. Of course, they would hope I'd forgotten my other means of entrance out of carelessness. I slid my pick from the second twist in my braid. It seemed Fortune was on my side this morning.

Tough luck, guys.

The kitchen was dark and still, the same with the living room beyond. No footfalls echoed from the stairs. Not that the lack of sound meant much. I slipped into the house without so much of a click when the door swung shut. Moving through shadows, I smirked at the dirty dishes piled high in the sink. Looked like Heero had drawn the short straw after dinner. He knew jack shit about cleaning. In the living room, they'd covered the bullet hole from the day before with plaster. I let my hand drift across the uneven surface.

Upstairs, I listened to the slumbering of my fellow pilots. The room I shared with Winner's heir was quiet. Quatre mumbled lightly in his sleep, something about peace and strawberry cream. I smiled, silently filching new clothes from my duffle.

Trowa was a wild sleeper and, by the sound of it, had kicked all his covers to the floor and now suffered from the cold. Heero, I knew I wouldn't hear. He never moved, never gave a clue to whether he lived or not when asleep. There were few differences between him during day and night, save he tended to handle a gun better and spoke when necessary during the day.

The last room was still. Wufei did not rest in his bed that early morning. Though when he did, he cried in his sleep.

If only OZ knew what they were up against.

We shared a single bathroom, which made for interesting mornings. I cared little enough about hot water that it didn't really bother me. I made sure to make lots of noise about it, though. I was supposed to be obnoxious, right? I shed my sweat-soaked, grease-streaked clothes easily. They'd be washed later and would hopefully survive the process. My braid tickled the bare skin of both thighs. In the mirror, I inspected my pale hide, noting the scars and a collection of bruises from my confrontation with Heero.

Not bad. He probably walked away with the same.

I let the eighty year old plumbing warm up before stepping into the tiled shower stall. The ceramic was cracked beneath my feet. Icy water rained down on my head, carrying away the grime from yesterday. I fiddled with the knobs, trying to reach an agreeable temperature. Gradually, the cascade warmed and I closed my eyes on the comfort. It soothed the aches away, relaxed every taunt muscle. There are few things better than a hot shower on a cool morning.

After a few moments, the water didn't stop heating. And it thickened against my skin, thicker than water should have been. My eyes opened out of curiosity to a sea of crimson. The water poured all over me, red water. It stank of something familiar, the familiarity of death. I licked my lips, cleaning them of it.

The liquid carried the salty, bittersweet taste of blood.

I don't know if I yelled or shoved against the shower wall first. But my next coherent thought was of landing on hands and knees amid a layer of shattered glass. My palms and legs twinged sharply from the pain. I was still screaming, though I didn't realize it. The shower of blood flowed on, in the stall, splattering me with vital liquid since it now lacked its door. I lurched to my feet, ignoring the glass points digging into the soles. In the mirror, I saw myself, drenched in it. It stained my flesh a dark, sinister red-black, caked my hair. I saw my own eyes staring back at me. Blood dripped from the lashes.

A towel found its way to my hand. And another. And another. I dropped them all to the floor, the fabric now stained scarlet. I stumbled into my clothes, eyes still on the rain of blood. My stomach turned.

It's not real, it can't be real, it's not real.

My hands left brilliantly red marks on the walls. I stopped to look at them, seeing my fingerprints neatly outlined in crimson. We'd made hand prints once, in the orphanage, using ink and construction paper. I'd been particularly proud of mine, since they didn't smear and you could recognize the unique pattern on each finger. My eyes widened in horror as those outlines welled up with blood and dripped down the walls. Though, it couldn't have all been mine. Those were only tiny cuts, after all . . . I pressed both hands to my head. More and more blood dripped down, now in scarlet sheets. The walls bled. The entire bathroom reeked of it.

I fumbled with the lock on the door, ignoring the urge to pound desperately on it. Finally, it opened, revealing the hallway to me. I froze. A scream rose up in the my throat, though I ignored it. I think if I had screamed, I would not have stopped, would not have been able to.

Blood oozed down the walls. It ran off into the carpet to make growing puddles. Grotesque patterns formed in the streams, sometimes looking like faces or animals. It squished under my feet where they rested. Drops splashed against the back of my neck when they slid off the doorframe. That scream tried to force its way to the surface. I wanted to scream. All I could see was red, just red. The shape of the hall was beginning to disappear under the flow of it.

Bloodbloodbloodbloodbloodbloodblood echoed in my ears. I didn't recognize the words as my own.

A groan fought its way past my lips.

Bloodbloodbloodbloodbloodbloodblood

I clutched both hands to my ears.

Bloodbloodbloodbloodbloodbloodblood

"Shut up! Shut the fuck up!"

Heero and Trowa's door opened, both boys crouched behind it, guns drawn. They stared at me. They didn't even glance at the walls or the carpet. Blood was dripping down the tall clown's arms to his hands, clenched around the metal. He didn't seem to notice. They didn't seem to notice anything, only stared. I stared back and mumbled something to them before running down the hall. I slid on the thick pools of liquid. It flowed lazily down the staircase in miniature waterfalls, gurgling and bubbling. My throat clenched around bitter bile.

I leapt the length of the staircase, hearing a bone crack under me when I landed in sea of red. It soaked into my jeans, still warm, as if freshly spilled. I threw myself out the front door, heedless of the sharp pain shooting up my leg, of the footsteps thundering down the stairs, of the scarlet rivers that ran out onto the concrete threshold.

Rolling in the soft, dew-strewn grass I smiled with relief at the freedom. The sun blazed fire-red at the horizon, ready to lift into a soft pink sky. It was ok. It would be ok.

My hand rested in something sticky. I looked down at it and the scream that had been buried before exploded from my throat. Between the blades of emerald green, gushed dark, crimson seas. I only stopped screaming when my stomach also gave in and milky yellow mingled with the red.

And then, there was nothing.

+

<Trowa's POV>

Screams aren't rare when we share safehouses. I don't doubt that my comrades suffer from the worst kinds of nightmares. The kind that are real. Usually, I sleep through whatever troubles them out of reflex. They don't want my interference so I won't bother them with it. That morning, I woke up to find my sheets and blankets deposited on the floor next to my temporary bed. I shivered. Heero slept across the room, ignoring everything as usual. He was probably already awake, making new schedules for today. Maybe he was deciding what to do with Duo.

I slid out of bed, remaking it with the fallen covers. Stretching, I wondered if I'd actually get the shower first. No luck. Water hissed through the pipes in the wall next to me. Wufei always beat the rest of us. Then, Heero would grab it. Then, me. Then, Quatre. Duo almost always got it last, poor guy. Though, I doubted that's why he shot at Wufei. I yanked on a faded, terry-clothe robe. A gun was safely stored in its pocket. There was another under my pillow, a third in my duffel, two more stowed in various unused wardrobe drawers and the sixth under a floorboard. Heero had about two and a half times that many.

A hoarse cry shattered the calm of early morning. It echoed ominously on the tiled walls of the bathroom next to us. Heero's eyes snapped open immediatly, meeting mine. He jumped out of bed, wearing only boxers and a tanktop, gun in hand. The sound of glass shattering followed. There were thumps of flesh hitting the walls, the floor. Desperate hands gripped the knob and tore the door open, its hinges squealing in protest. Heero and I were to the doorway within a second, cracking it open to see-

Duo crouched there, his mouth open in silent terror. He stared at us, stared at the walls and floor. His gaze traced lines from the doorframe to my hands, where they held the gun. Each violet orb was filled with animal terror. It was as if he didn't see Heero and I. Wufei's words from the day before echoed in my ears.

// "He didn't recognize me" //

Before either of us could say anything, he sped down the hall. A loud crash shook the staircase. Heero and I, soon followed by a bleary- eyed Quatre, hurried to find the source. We arrived just in time to see Duo fling himself through the front door as though his very life depended on it. He lay in the grass for a few minutes, chest heaving for want of air. Then he looked at both his hands and screamed -- screamed to the heavens. Even when he had no voice left, he was still screaming. Then, he emptied his stomach on the lawn, choking out what must have been his last meal. Still crying out hoarsely, Duo collapsed.

I picked him up a few minutes later. The sun rose in the sky, signaling the beginning of morning. Duo was heavier than one might think. His limbs dangled limply around my own. Inside, I set him down on the couch. Quatre searched for a medical kit. Duo's hands and feet were bleeding sluggishly. Cuts ran up the length of his shins, glass imbedded in the flesh. His left ankle hung at the wrong angle. I met Heero's eyes, questioningly. He looked away.

// "He ran like hell was chasing him." //

+

[part 3] [part 5] [back to Lyssira's fic]