By: Lyssira
Disclaimer: No miney. `Cept for the story. That miney. Lucky Bandai. ;_;

Guilt Whispers To Me + Part 8

<Duo's POV>

My head was throbbing, pulsing with the pain. I felt as if someone had dropped Deathscythe on it a few times. I thought my skull might burst because the pressure was so great. Even in the partial dreamworld of gray I could not escape the agony of it. It was that searing, bright light in my world, cutting through everything as easily as a knife through hot butter. Finally, I opened my eyes. I needed painkillers. I needed them then, right then. I groaned with the pain, the animal groan of simple extinct. I *hurt*, therefore I was.

I wasn't in my own room. I was in Wufei's. My wrists were handcuffed and I lay awkwardly on his pile of mats. I wasn't alone. Heero bent over me. His blue eyes were empty, simply watching. No false concern from that one. Not ever.

"Ugnnn . . ." I said.

"He's alright, if you care," he told me in that matter-of-fact-I'm- one-hell-of-an-annoying-bastard voice of his.

"Who's alright? And why would I care?" I mumbled, covering my face in my hands. Cracks of sunlight filtered in through the curtains. Each crack was a bullet in my skull. This was a hangover without the liquor. I moaned quietly.

"Quatre. And I didn't think you would," Heero said.

"What happened to Quatre?" I asked. I looked at him out of the corner of one eye. There was something odd going on. Heero was being conversational, almost chatty. Something boiled beneath the cool exterior. And I had a sinking feeling I would be on the receiving end soon enough.

"He was attacked this morning. You tried to strangle him, then stab him."

I stared at Heero.

"What. The. Fuck. Are. You. Trying. To. Pull," my voice surprised me. It was deadly still, icy even. But then, it matched my insides at that moment.

"It isn't a lie, Duo. You did. He has the marks to prove it. And you, if I'm not mistaken, have the headache to confirm it as well. He had to knock you out to protect himself," all in that same tone. As if he'd just told me the sky was blue or it had rained last night.

I smashed the cuffs against the hardwood floor. I'd meant to leave that night hadn't I? I was supposed to be gone by midnight. I was supposed to be free by now.

Had I attacked Quatre?

I reached into the second twist in my braid. No lockpicks. I glared at Heero. He sat there, cross-legged, in a pair of jeans and a blue sweater. It was getting too cold for spandex, I suppose. But there was almost a trace of a smile on his lips, a cool smile. The kind of expression that is gloating without words. And why wouldn't he have reason to gloat? Heero had caught me at last. No amount of fast- talking or taunting would get me out of this one. He'd been right about me along. I was a traitor. I was dangerous. And he'd get to shoot me.

I guess he wouldn't expect that I was relieved.

"Now what happens? I noticed you got me locked up. To tell the truth, Heero, I was never really into bondage. But hey, whatever turns you on," I quipped.

"We can't let you go," he said.

"Destroy all obstacles; I know, buddy boy," I smirked.

"We can't let you stay," he continued.

"I'm a danger to your little team. No worries, I understand."

"You have to die," he pulled out the gun. It was small and black; this was Heero's favorite kind of weapon. Not very accurate at long range, but it would get the job done. I smiled.

"Then what are we waiting for? Pull the trigger!"

"What?" he blinked, even faltered somewhat.

"Kill me! I'm waitin'!" I reclined casually against the workout pads. They were whispering again, adding to the pulsating headache which had settled in my brain. Their whispers buzzed louder and louder like a hive of neurotic bees. I could almost see them in the air around me, almost see the details of their faces. Like in my dream, they were gathered around, watching. They were waiting for me to join them, become one of them. I'd finally pay the price for my crimes. That's what they'd wanted all along.

Heero loosened his grip on his gun, "You want to die?"

No shit...

"Might as well, you know. Not much point in hanging around this popsicle stand anymore."

They were almost real, almost solid. The air around me was thickening, turning opaque, taking shape. Human shape. I shuddered.

"Hurry up, Heero," I growled.

"But. . ."He looked at the gun, then at me.

"It's not rocket science; pull the goddamn trigger!"

I'd missed my chance again. He wasn't gonna do it. Heero wasn't cold enough. He never had been. He wouldn't kill Relena. And he wouldn't kill me. At least, not without some encouragement. They had arms and legs, but no faces. I could feel their eyes on me, watching me. I swallowed hard. Heero was standing now, the gun clenched in his hands. He couldn't see the still forms on either side of him. They were all around, watching me. Always watching me. And their whispers were louder than ever, still accusing, still chanting the mantra of my own guilt.

I screamed; the sound was an unearthly noise that surely came from hell itself. Heero's eyes were on me as well, wide with surprise. And. . .understanding? Shit.

I threw myself at the gun pointed towards my chest, confidant in the outcome.

Heero's finger snapped on the trigger.

Great reflexes, Superman.

The shot was the last noise to reach my ears.

+

<Heero's POV>

The moment I pulled the trigger, I realized what I'd done.

My legs propelled me forward before I could think. I caught him as he fell.

He was still, deadweight in my arms. Dark, sinister liquid stained the front of his shirt. I pressed one hand to the wound, trembling as liquid bubbled up between my fingers. His eyes became slitted and glassy. I cradled him against me, not registering the tears streaming down my face.

"Oh God. . ."

"Shh."

I turned towards the source of the voice. The room was filled with icy mist. It made the walls even more drab, stained the floor a duller shade of gray-brown. I shivered; gooseflesh formed on the exposed skin of my neck and face. There were figures standing around Duo and I. They hovered over my shoulder. A pale, white hand even passed through my flesh at one point. It was strange sensation, like pins and needles. I stared up at the owner of the voice. It had no face, but it seemed to be a woman. She stood over us in front of all others.

"I. . . "

With one hand I unconsciously stroked Duo's hair. The warmth was rapidly escaping from his still form; it raced into the freedom of the open air and abandoned him.

"It's alright," she said. Her voice was motherly and warm despite the dropping temperatures around us. It was warm even as the warmth left the veins of the boy I held.

Duo stared blankly at her, his jaw working in fear. With his quickly fading strength, he tried to fight me. He wanted to get away badly for some reason. I stared into the almost-discernable eyes of the phantom above me. I saw a reflection of my comrade. He was younger, softer. Whatever had happened in his past had not yet touched that reflection. What the fuck was going on?

The room faded from us to reveal a landscape of a destroyed city. Apartment buildings had collapsed around us, crumbled monuments to destruction. I'd been in a similar city once, with the same pillars of smoke rising from the wreckage. Fires died in the morning light, as they had before. The dead escaped into the dawn, using the soft pink clouds of early morning to ride into the next world. On the colonies dawn was an illusion. There were no clouds, no streaks of violet and gold. I sat on a emerald lawn, Duo still wrapped up in my arms. He was lighter now and his head rested against my chest.

The phantom was crouched before us, her face mere millimeters from Duo's. He was trembling, but whether it was from fear or death, I did not know. My own fears were beyond the body. My soul trembled as I held Duo, who'd taunted me every day since I first met him. He was a nuisance, a constant thorn in my side. But I'd never meant to shoot him. I never would have. Believe me when I say that I never would have.

The phantom passed her icy hands through Duo's cheek. She ran her fingers through his hair, barely able to touch. He whimpered. She dropped her head down to lay a kiss on his face. Then her attention turned to the wound in his abdomen. She looked at me, the features on her face forming into a kind expression. She whispered something in Duo's ear, something I thought I heard, but couldn't have. It couldn't have been that.

It sounded very much like, "I forgive you."

Then there was a brilliant flash. She disappeared into Duo's chest­no into the wound I'd made in him. As she passed through him, she passed through me. I felt my insides grow cold, then warm. My heart pounded in my chest. My lungs could not bring in any air. I was detached from the Earth. I felt only her, as she streamed through both of us. Then, the decimated city was gone from my sight and we once again lay on the floor.

Duo stirred in my embrace. I watched, incredulous. He opened both eyes to look into mine. For a moment, he didn't realize who I was. Mid-yawn he choked and looked at me again. He jumped.

"Heero?" he asked.

"...." I was speechless. How could he be alive? I shot him. His shirt front was wet with his own blood. I unbuttoned the shirt. He was so stunned he didn't protest. The shirt revealed pale flesh­unmarred. There was not a mark on him, save for old wounds long healed. I lay one hand over the place where the bullet should have been, must have been. Duo squirmed under my touch.

"Ummm...Heero?"

I snapped upright, startled. His eyes were fixed on my hand where it touched his skin. I reddened. Then, I did something I'd never done before that day.

I cried.

"Heero?"

Hot tears streamed down my face, touching my lips with their salty moisture.

"Heero?"

He didn't fight my touch; he seemed to welcome it. His strength was gone and he lay lax in the circle of my arms.

"Heero, you're scaring me, ok? What happened?"

I shot him. I'd never meant to shoot him. Or anyone. Why couldn't I be more like her?

"I really need to stop falling asleep in Deathscythe. This is a dream isn't it?" He was bewildered. He watched me wide-eyed.

I understood his confusion. And my own. I wondered why Quatre, Trowa and Wufei hadn't broken the door down by now. I heard them pounding on it, faintly. What could I tell them? What could I tell any of them?

I looked down at Duo and something bubbled up in my chest. It was laughter, that half-hysterical laughter of the desperate and relieved. I laughed. Duo gave me a wary look.

"Heero, you are one crazy asshole."

Then, he laughed too.

End

+

[part 7] [back to Lyssira's fic]