by: Shoori

The Beginning's End + Part 21

Have you ever been outside, on a perfectly nice day, enjoying the sunshine, laying in the grass, not doing anything in particular, and, all of a sudden, find yourself in the middle of a torrential downpour? And then you have to run for cover, sopping wet, water in your ears, wondering how in the hell things went from not a cloud in the sky to flash flood condition in 3.4 seconds?

Well, that's sort of what I feel like right now. Only, weather looks predictable and stable when compared to one Mr. Trowa Barton, circus performer, Gundam Pilot 03, war prisoner and most stubborn person alive.

Now I'm being sort of a jerk. I'm not one to talk. Charitable people call me mercurial. At least, they would if I knew any charitable people. My friends, to my face, call me moody. God knows what they call me behind my back.

But…I've always been like that. The people around me have to, to some extent, be used to my bullshit. Not that it excuses it or makes it any better, but at least it's familiar.

Trowa's not like me. He's always been one of the steadiest people I know. Oh, a few things have always made him go all stoic and withdrawn - his back, bad dreams, talk of the war. But even that - the same things always upset him. And when they did, he always reacted the same way. His very unpredictability was predictable.

And that trait - his steadiness, his sameness, his predictability - was the one thing I needed most in the world. The only thing that's ever been constant in my life was change - change and loss. My life was constantly in flux, constantly turning inside out and upside down, and I never had any control or understanding of what was going on.

But, as long as I've known him, Trowa always did. He always knew what he was doing. He always knew what I was doing, which is no mean feat. He was my anchor, my rock, the only safe haven I've ever had in my life.

And I drove him away. I wanted to die, wanted to kill myself when I realized what I'd done. Wanted to even more when I realized I'd done it on purpose, done it to prove my own perverse fears, my fear that what we had wasn't eternal, that it could fade and die and disappear too.

Then, he really left. Sacrificed himself for the fucking war effort, of all things, and I thought he was never coming back. Well. Not only had I managed to push him away, just to see if I could, then, when I realized how stupid an act that was, it seemed like I never had any hope of getting him back.

I've lost people I loved before. Lots of people - Solo, Father Maxwell, Sister Helen…all the other kids in the gang and in the orphanage - so I wasn't entirely unfamiliar with the way your heart feels when it breaks, the way you feel when you realize you're completely alone in the world.

But it was different this time. On one hand, it was worse. For all that I loved the others, the love I had for them was different - I loved Solo as a brother, Sister Helen and Father Maxwell as a mother and father, the kids as friends. But Trowa…Trowa was my comrade and my brother and my best friend and my lover and my love. He was so much more than anyone else had ever been, that his loss was deeper, more profound, more searing. The moment I finally had to accept that he was dead was the absolute nadir of my life.

On the other hand, this time, I wasn't completely alone. People I cared about were there. I was surrounded by friends. And…there was Heero, who I had to realize and admit was more than a friend.

So, I found that I had to sit down and think about what was going on in my crazy head, which is not something that I like to do often. It interferes with business, is generally depressing, and is not really the sort of thing anyone wants to do on their day off. But, in times of great crisis, all the little problems and fears and bits of pain and sorrow that you've been trying to forget about all wake up and demand immediate attention, because you don't have anything better to do in times of crisis that wade through a muck of repressed emotion, right? It's rather upsetting to realize that your own id and ego are as much a pair of bastards as all the other entities in your life.

So, I thought. I remembered. I wrestled with realizations and thoughts and desires and admitted truths I didn't want to face and made some hard discoveries about myself and the things I'd been doing with my life. It was a real good time. I'd recommend it, if you're ever feeling like you'd like to have the experience of falling off of a gigantic cliff head first, but no cliff is available.

Some of those hard discoveries were about Trowa. As much as I'd loved him, as happy as I was with him, our relationship hadn't gone as deep as you'd think it would have gone in three years. And that, I concluded, is because we'd spent so much time trying to hide things from each other. It was well-intentioned, but deeply detrimental. We didn't want to hurt the other. We didn't want to hurt ourselves by dredging up painful memories. But most of all, we didn't want to run the risk that the other one would be so disgusted by the things we had done in our pasts that he would just up and leave.

What a bunch of bullshit. That's one of the things that I made myself admit. There is nothing that Trowa could tell me about his past that would make me love him less. So why did I continue to believe for so long that my past would drive him away? That worry that we both felt was an insult - an insult to each other and an insult to our love. We were acting like fearful children, not adults that are in a committed, loving relationship.

And then there's Heero. Heero was another of the things that I'd been trying to hide from myself. Not Heero himself, of course…he was always around, not much good trying to hide him…you know what I mean. I was always attracted to him. I thought I shouldn't be, thought it meant that I was being untrue to Trowa, afraid that it meant that I didn't love him the way I wanted to…

Crap. Stupidity. How could I ever have doubted the way I feel for Trowa? When I lost him, I knew how much I love him. Why is it always like that? Why don't people appreciate stuff until they lose it? Why are people dumb?

Let me not get off on that tangent!

But you learn so many rules, growing up…even when you grow up like Trowa and I did, without actual homes or families…And when you spend even just a year or two in a Catholic orphanage, they really get hammered in.

Of course, romantic love Rule Number One is that romantic love happens between men and women.

I didn't have much trouble breaking that one. I rationalized that love knows no gender, if it happens it was meant to be, so on and so forth, happily ever after, Amen.

But Rule Number Two was harder to break, somehow. Love is supposed to happen between two people, reciprocal action, A loves B, B loves A, there you are.

What is the obsession that people have with even numbers? It must come from limbs. Two arms, two legs, two eyes and ears, two hands and feet…What if we'd evolved to have three eyes and five hands? What would the world be like then? Would we all automatically move into exponentially larger romantic groups? Would the menage a trois be the rule, rather then the frowned on exception? Would mating pairs be mating trios, or quartets? There's a thought…

But anyway. Even I fell into that trap. A loves B and B loves A, but what if B develops a passion for C? Well, too bad, there's no room for C. Two's company, three's a crowd. Either B would stay with A and C would have to fend for himself, or B would leave A for C. And this B was in no hurry to rock the boat because he didn't even know that C was interested.

Then C broke up with D and got drunk off his ass. B found out C wanted him, knew A wouldn't approve, but slept with C anyway. A found out and ran away, C thought everything was his fault and went and cried in the corner, B got freaked out and stamped around like a moron and everything was an unholy mess.

Then, when it seemed like it was too late to fix anything, B had his moment of revelation: Why did it have to be A and B or B and C? Why not A and B and C?

Things just aren't done that way. But why?

The more I thought about it the more sense it made. It was just an idea that tortured me when I thought that Trowa was dead - a "what if" that could never be. But he returned, miraculously, alive if not well, and I had the second chance that I thought I had lost forever.

I love them both. I need them both. But I didn't know if they felt the same. I'm a little dense sometimes, but at a certain point even thick folks like me realize that everything isn't going to go their way just because they want it to.

But I got to thinking again.

I thought about my relationship with Trowa, and my recent realization that we hadn't been completely frank with each other.

We'd hid our pasts.

I'd hid my feelings for Heero.

What if Trowa had done the same?

I thought back and remembered some things, things so trivial I hadn't even noticed them when they happened, at least not consciously. But I guess that the back of my jealous, hypocritical little mind noticed, because when I started looking the memories were there.

A few looks exchanged between them.

A few looks from one of them to the other when the other wasn't looking.

A few strange reactions on Trowa's part to actions by or remarks about Heero, and vice versa.

Little things. They could be nothing. But something…something was telling me different.

Then, when I talked to Heero, I found out that, on that score at least, I was right.

Poor Heero. He's had enough trouble with the concept of loving one man, getting him to admit that he loves two is amazing. But he's been knocked so off balance by all of this that he can't really hide his emotions the way he's been accustomed to doing. He's seen his marriage fall apart, believed himself to be the cause of the break between me and Trowa, been part of all the misguided mayhem that has characterized this particular war…he just kind of broke down. He had to be honest - he just couldn't summon the defense mechanisms that allowed him to hide. I know that it's probably profoundly disturbing for him, but I'm glad it happened.

We're all so exasperating. You have to emotionally knock us down and pummel us around mercilessly before we can get past our issues long enough to have a freaking conversation.

Except Trowa. I don't know about that boy. He takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

But he had to hide. He had to build the walls and take shelter behind them or Barton would have destroyed him completely. There would be nothing left of him.

Since he returned, his walls have cracked. I would do anything to spare him suffering, but I almost think it's good that he believed me dead for a little while. I don't know if anything else could have damaged his shields any.

His defenses are definitely weakened. They went down the most, I think, when he thought I was dead. He told Heero a lot, he let him hold him…when he woke up and saw me he let me kiss him.

And he cried. I have never seen Trowa cry before in my life. Never. But Heero told me he cried when I was gone, I saw him cry when he found out I was alive, and he cried just a few minutes ago when he finally let me in, a little bit.

It's a little disturbing, how much weeping has been going on lately. If we ever get back to normal, I'm sure we'll all be thoroughly disgusted with ourselves. But…again, I think it was a long time coming. If you hold too much back, eventually it'll just explode. Odd how we all seemed to explode together.

I guess it's not too odd, though. We're all alike in so many ways, I guess it's reasonable that we all have similar tolerance levels. And the sight of one of us going over the emotional edge would be enough to send the rest of us over too.

Lemmings. We're a bunch of freaking lemmings.

Anyway. Trowa. He's finally broken down enough to admit he loves me, and wants to be with me.

But Heero. I said the name five minutes ago, and there's been five minutes of absolute silence. Neither of us knows how to broach the topic.

I think Trowa's still struggling with the idea of breaking Rule Number Two. I'm sure he feels a little jealously - wondering if it's because he's not enough.

I'm sure I'll feel the same if he accepts Heero. I felt it when Heero admitted his feelings for Trowa.

Damn Rule Number Two. It has poisoned our psyches.

But I only felt it for an instant. It was brief, instinctive, fleeting.

More worrisome is the thought that he won't entertain or admit feelings for Heero out of fear of being disloyal to me. That's what has kept me from admitting - even to myself - that I have wanted Heero for at least the past three or four years.

I'm sure, I just feel somehow that something is there. Like Heero said - how could one of us feel this way, or two of us, and not all three?

This is just…meant. We are all part of each other.

But will Trowa be able to allow himself to feel that?

I pull back and look down at him as he stirs in my light, loose embrace.

It's hard not to touch him. I want to - I want to run my hands all over him, my mouth…feel him, taste him, touch him…lose myself inside him and around him…be surrounded on all sides by him, ensure that he's real and alive and mine again…

Jeez, I've got to knock that off!

Think unsexy thoughts.

Une in a bikini.

Zechs in orange.

Relena in anything.

I know he's not ready for that, won't be for a long time. And I love him enough to wait, to be patient until he is.

That doesn't make it any easier, though.

"So…"

The famous Trowa Barton conversational lead. It can mean anything from, "I'm bored, entertain me," to "Get lost or I will shoot you." Most of the time, though, it means, "I want to talk, but I want you to talk to me."

Sneaky bastard.

He's put the entire burden of the Heero Talk onto me.

[cont]