When You Say Nothing At All (cont)

But when you hold me near
You drown out the crowd

"I filed the 611A for you."

I look up from the paper I've been trying to fill out for the last hour as a soft voice somehow cuts through all the din surrounding me.

Trowa nods down at me as I stare at him uncomprehendingly. "I filled it out," he repeated, gently moving my hand and picking up the almost-blank paper. "You don't have to worry about it."

"You filled out... What?" I demand, blinking.

He smiles. "You looked a little stressed," he explains. "So I filled out the form." He winks at me ­ Trowa Barton winks at me ­ and turns and wanders back to his desk.

I watch him move, and feel myself smile at his receding form, with a special little leer for his posterior. Suddenly, I don't care if everyone in the world yammers at me all day. I'll fill out forms and test prototypes and make people do things and advise Quatre on his solid food emergency and Heero on his Relena emergency and soothe socially awkward rookies for as long as I need to, as long as I get to go home to that wonderful, marvelous calm when I'm done.

Try as they may
They can never define
What's been said
Between your
Heart and mine

I look up, and Quatre's sitting on the edge of my desk, smirking down at me. Wufei's behind him, and Zechs and Heero are next to him. They're all smirking at me.

"What?" I demand.

"So cute," Quatre says airily.

"So, have you dropped the big ‘L' word yet?" Zechs grins.

"Have you?" I snap back snidely. That should shut him up.

"Yes," he says calmly.

Well. That shut me up. I stare incredulously back and forth between the smugly smirking blond god and the stoically embarrassed but still pleased-looking Heero Yuy.

"See! Even they got over themselves!" Quatre interrupts. "When are you going to admit you're stupid over each other and... "

Wufei snorts. "They're stupid, period," he announces.

I roll my eyes. "Thanks for the vote of confidence, Wu-man," I say dryly.

"You shouldn't need a vote of confidence, Duo," Quatre begins earnestly. "It should be obvious to both of you that you lo-"

"Maybe it is obvious," Heero interrupts. We all look at him. He stares directly at me. "You don't have to say everything out loud," he points out to the others, though he's still looking at me.

Heero's really the most like Trowa of anyone. And I'm the least like the both of them. So he's trying to reassure me that just because Trowa hasn't told me anything out loud, doesn't mean he doesn't have "feelings" for me.

But I know that. They don't understand ­ none of them understand ­ what Trowa and I have. I don't really understand it. Not to put it into words, anyway. Some things just can't be defined with words.

Some things don't have to be.

The smile on your face
Lets me know
That you need me

"Duo! So help me, you'd better start running, Duo, because when I get out, your ass is mine... "

I laugh wickedly from the far end of the dock, grinning as a dripping, sputtering Trowa pulls himself out of the lake.

"Promises, promises," I call airily as he wipes the streaming hair out of his eyes and glares at me.

He's silent for a moment, then starts to laugh.

I just pushed him ­ and the electrical doo-hickey from the Preventers office that he was messing with ­ into the lake, and he's laughing.

Life is good.

There's a truth
In your eyes
Saying you'll never leave me

"I don't know," I sigh. I pick up one of his hands, idly playing with his fingers as I talk. I wiggle backwards a little, fixing my position as I lean against him. "I like it here. I like this house. I like being so close to the guys. But... "

"But you feel a little restless," he finishes.

I sigh, and turn in his loose embrace, so that I can look at him. He's leaning against the arm of our couch, and his expression is understanding.

"No," I correct, and I see the surprise. "Not restless, exactly," I correct. "I don't... I don't really want to go anywhere," I say slowly, feeling a start of surprise as I articulate this to myself for the first time. "I'm... happy, here. I just... I've just never been in one place for so long. I don't really... know how to do it, if you know what I mean."

He looks at me for a long moment. Then, slowly, he nods. He does know what I mean.

"We'll stay here as long as you want," he tells me. "And if you get tired of being here... we can go somewhere else."

We'll go somewhere else.

If I get infected with terminal wanderlust, and want to uproot our happy, settled little life, tear him from the security he's always longed for and finally found... he'll go with me.

He'll give it all up, for me.

He's not just trying to make me happy. He'd really do it.

The touch of your hand says
You'll catch me
Whenever I fall

"You don't have to do this," he tells me firmly.

"It's time," I insist bravely, but I don't feel that brave.

I stare in the mirror. My hair is loose, wet, brushed out neatly over my shoulders.

I stare from my reflection in the mirror, to the scissors in my hand.

"Duo... there's no need to do this," he insists. "Why are you making yourself?"

"It's time," I repeat. I stare down at the long locks of hair tumbling over my shoulders.

It's time. Time to let go of the past, time to face the future.

"Just... braid it into your hair, Duo," Solo urges. "Just take everything that makes you sad, and braid it into your hair. Then it'll turn into something nice, and it won't bother you anymore... "

He's dying. He's my only friend and he's dying. He takes care of me... even now, when he's so sick, he smiles for me. So I won't be sad. "Your hair's so pretty, Duo," he whispers. His voice is so faint, raspy. He doesn't even sound like him anymore. "So pretty... I'm glad I have something so nice to look at... now... "

"Of course I don't mind taking care of your hair for you." Sister Helen smiles at me, even the sharp, austere folds of her habit unable to disguise the soft, gentle beauty of her face. "You have such nice hair. Plus, it's very relaxing," she laughs. She sobers, and smiles at me again, with that look that no one else has ever given me before. "Besides... it's nice to be able to spend this time with you, Duo," she tells me. "I look forward to it every day."

I take a deep breath, trying to push all those voices from the past away, and as I stare in the mirror I see the tears run down my cheeks.

"Duo. Why is it time?"

"It's time to let go." I can hardly hear myself. "Let go of the past... of them... move on." I can barely get the last words out ­ I choke on the misery rising up in my throat.

He leans forward abruptly and wrenches the scissors out of my hands and throws them violently across the room. They knock over a lamp, and I jump, startled at his sudden ferocity.

"You don't need to," he tells me, his voice intense as he grasps my shoulders.

"But you... " I need to. I need to show him that he's the most important thing in my life now, and I'm not still holding on to a bunch of ghosts.

"Me?" He stares at me, incredulous. He shakes his head, slowly. "Duo... you don't have to change a thing for me. I... " He hesitates, his gaze faltering. "I... don't want you to change. Not for me," he finishes softly.

"But the... it's all... in the past... "

"The past is part of you," he reminds me. "I don't need you to wipe all that away because you're with me. I don't want you to wipe it away," he repeats. "I just... want you."

I stare at him, searching his eyes for truth.

"I don't want you to cut it," he says softly, reaching out and running his fingers through the damp tresses. "It's so... beautiful."

I can't hold on anymore. I can't see through the tears, but I feel him. He wraps his arms around me, and I cry, cry for Solo and the gang and Father Maxwell and Sister Helen like I haven't cried for them since the day the church burned.

And he holds me, and doesn't let go.

You say it best
When you say
Nothing at all

I wake up slowly, so slowly I'm not really sure I'm awake at all.

I don't know what woke me up. Sound, or movement, or something.

I don't think it's time to wake up yet, though. I think I still have plenty of time to rest.

I open one eye just a sliver, and peer through my eyelashes...

Trowa is watching me. I don't open my eyes any further, don't move at all. I don't think he knows I'm awake.

He stares at me for a long time, his eyes moving slowly over my face. He reaches down beside me on the bed, and lifts the end of my braid. As he watches me, he slowly runs the unbound end back and forth across his cheek.

My chest aches as I watch him watch me. I've... never seen anyone look at me the way he's looking at me now.

After a long time, he sighs. He gently reaches out and lightly ­ so lightly ­ runs the back of his hand over my cheek. Then he carefully pulls the blanket up to my chin, and settles on his side beside me. I feel one of his arms come to rest over me, and a few minutes later I can tell by the soft, even rhythm of his breathing that he's asleep.

But I stay awake for a long time, remembering the expression on his face as he watched me sleep.

The smile on your face
Lets me know
That you need me

"He's going to kill you," Quatre predicts.

"You'd better run," Wufei agrees woefully.

I stare at the crunched fender of Trowa's car. How the hell can it be that I could pilot a mobile suit through battles and not get a scratch on it, but I can't make it through the parking lot at the grocery store without a disaster?

Well, during wars, I wasn't exposed to the bovine stupidity of your average housewife.

"It wasn't my fault!" I whine. "That stupid idiot of a woman drove right into me... "

"He's going to have a fit," Quatre repeats.

"You have to help me hide it," I implore desperately. Trowa loves this car. He's spent hundreds of hours restoring it.

And this is the third time I've crunched it up in the grocery store parking lot.

"He told me never to take it there again. I can't let him know. He can't see... "

"Can't see what?" comes a calm voice behind me. I jump about fifteen feet, and whirl around. There's my lover, his arms crossed over his chest, regarding me calmly.

"Tro... uh... nothing. That is... I mean... " I flounder. How can I not lie, and not get killed?

He gently pushes me aside, and stares, his expression pained, at the crumpled piece of metal which had, a bare hour ago, been the proudly gleaming front of his convertible.

I hold my breath, bracing myself for the frozen blast...

He looks at me, I hesitantly meet his eye... and he grins.

"This is why I ordered another fender last time I was looking," he says, completely unexpectedly. He turns, and walks toward the garage. I stare at him, my mouth open. "Come on," he calls over his shoulder. "Damned if I'm putting it on by myself," he adds, grinning wider at the dumb-founded expression on my face, before turning again and hoisting open the garage door.

I transfer my shocked stare to Wufei and Quatre.

"He must have it really bad for you," Quatre judges. "He knows your relationship is worth more than the car...

Wufei snorts. "He needs to work on his appraisals," he decides.

There's a truth
In your eyes
Saying you'll never leave me

We're lying on our couch, watching a vid of this incredibly old movie that my man down at the video store hooked me up with.

Some people don't understand why I like these... but a good movie is a good movie. It doesn't matter if it's old.

I don't think this one ever won any awards... and that's just the way I like it.

The ‘hero' ­ some guy named Wayne ­ is lying in bed with his girlfriend, and they're having one of ‘those' conversations.

"Tell me, when the first show is over, will you still love me when I'm an incredibly humungoid giant star?"

She only thinks about it a second, before answering, "Yeah."

He presses on. "Will you still love me when I'm in my hanging-out-with-Ravi-Shankar phase?"

That would probably be funnier if I knew who Ravi Shankar was, but you can't have everything.

She knows, though, but still doesn't have to pause long before answering. "Yeah."

He's not happy with that... he needs more. "Will you still love me when I'm in my carbohydrate- sequined- jumpsuit -young -girls -in -white -cotton -panties -waking -up -in -a -pool -of -your -own-vomit -bloated -purple -dead -on -a -toilet phase?"

She must have it bad, because, amazingly ­ "Yeah."

"Okay, party. Bonus."

I chuckle. The movie continues, but I twist my head around and grin up at Trowa. "Hey, Tro, will you... " I begin.

He grins back. "Yeah," he interrupts.

I grin and turn back to the movie.

Good times.

The touch of your hand says
You'll catch me
Whenever I fall

"It's not your fault, Duo," Une assures me crisply. "We can't save them all."

I snort. "Tell it to that kid's mother," I mutter, staring at the floor.

There are so many sick, fucking bastards in the world. How can anyone ever do that to a kid? How does anyone even get the idea to do that to a kid, much less go through with it...

"We're going." Wufei's voice cuts through the sharp silence. I continue looking at the floor.

"We need to... see Ling," Quatre adds, his voice sick.

I just bet they do. Hell, I want to go see Ling, make sure he's ok, make sure no sick fuck like the one we took out tonight has gotten to him, and Ling's not even my kid.

The one we took out tonight. Big damn deal. We were too late.

I was too late. It was up to me to run this one, and I fucked it up. We got there too late.

I hear shuffling, banging, footsteps. Then, nothing.

I stare at the floor some more. It's not doing anything very exciting, but I don't want it to. I feel... dull. Blunted. Tired.


I haven't felt this way in a long time.

Then my view of the floor is interrupted. Trowa's kneeling in front of me, staring up into my face.

I stare down at him. I can't hide it, can't protect him from the way I feel.

At times like this, all the darkness inside me fights to get out... and it takes awhile before I can push it in again.

"He'll never do it again, Duo," he tells me. "We... " He swallows. "We couldn't save this one. But he'll never do it again. That kid didn't die in vain. He helped save every other kid that that bastard would have hurt."

I stare at him, and feel the pain in my throat get tighter and tighter.

He reaches up and takes both my hands.

"I know," he says simply. "I'm sorry."

I close my eyes, and lean forward, pressing his forehead to mine. We sit there for a long time, until I'm able to push all the darkness away, and stand up, and go on.

I can go on, because of him.

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