Lots o'angst in this part!  Heero POV

by: Shoori

I Know Who I Want... + Part 2

Well, so far being back in Sanc hasn't been that bad at all. I was less than thrilled when Quatre's summons came through. I was perfectly happy on the island. Returning to Sanc and all that that move entailed - dealing with the press, being involved with the Preventers reorganization, and, most of all, dealing with my hopefully-very-soon-to-be-ex-wife - was not something I wanted to do.

I'll admit it. I was hiding. And I was ok with that.

But we couldn't hide forever. A year is more than I could have asked for, really.

We haven't discussed it, but I'm sure that something bad is going on. I've felt a kind of tense expectation since we got Quatre's message. There must be a problem, or Quatre wouldn't have brought us back. For him to admit that he needs our help, something major must be up. Hopefully, the others haven't thought of that.

Yeah, right.

We had our year, though. And we have right now. Whatever they're going to throw at us is almost definitely going to be unpleasant, but at least we don't have to face it alone.

I sigh, and pull them even closer to me. Trowa's back is pressed tightly to my front, and Duo is nestled up against him, his head on his chest, practically purring. My arm rests over Trowa and Duo both, my hand resting on the slight curve of Duo's hip. This is my favorite position - I can hold them both at once.

I feel a grin spread across my face. I've become disgustingly sentimental in the last year, I guess. Not that I say that sort of thing out loud, but even thinking it is a decided change for me.

We've all taken a lot of steps in the past year. We still have a lot of steps to take. But I can't believe that it's even worked out as well as it has. It's more than I could have asked for - more than I deserve.

Before all this, before the latest war, I only dreamed of being in the position I'm in now. I thought it was an impossible fantasy - I was married to Relena, and Duo and Trowa were together. There was no place for me with them. But now…Well, now I'm still technically married to Relena. I won't even allow myself to imagine the hell that she's planning to drag me through in the process of gaining this divorce. At least I'm not trying to get anything out of her. Duo and Trowa and I have discussed it, and agreed that it's just not worth it. We'll all be working again soon, at some job or another. Until then, we'll just keep living off Quatre.

I make a face. I don't really like living off Quatre. But Duo pointed out that it probably wouldn't do to make Relena aware of our…private funds…before the divorce. It would be equally bad to tip Une off to them while she's so involved with what's happening with the Preventers.

Hopefully, Une will never find out about these accounts. Even now, years after the fall of OZ, it still bothers her that she never discovered where all those OZ funds went. It looked very bad when it was discovered that almost two billion credits were missing.

None of us really expected to outlive the war, but we were smart enough to make some provisions for the future. It's not our fault that the OZ computer systems were so easy to hack.

But, financial worries and demonic wives notwithstanding, I'm pretty damn satisfied with my life right now.

There's a few clouds on the horizon, other than the ones presented by Relena and Une and all the idiots of the worlds.

I worry about Duo, sometimes. He took some comments made to him - especially those made by Trowa's doctor - very seriously. He decided that he never spent enough time thinking about the possible consequences of his actions, and set about to remedy that. So, for a year now, Duo's been consciously trying to act with forethought. Seeing him try to weigh the possible outcomes of everything he does and says has been kind of unsettling. He's always been so impetuous and spontaneous - watching him try to second guess everything has been…weird. It even, sometimes, had the opposite reaction of what he intended. Seeing him be so careful made Trowa…and me… nervous, and instead of decreasing tension, it actually increased it. He has eased up slowly over the past months, and he's more himself now…but there's still that watchful look in his eyes a lot of the time. It doesn't really belong there.

And then there's Trowa. I rest my chin on his shoulder, trying to move even closer to him. I still can't believe that Trowa doesn't hate me, doesn't resent my presence in their lives. He was so angry at us - at me - for so long that his change of heart after the war caught me off guard. If the war hadn't intervened, with his capture, and everyone's near-death experiences, he probably would never have relented. That war changed a lot of things for all of us, though. After the Gundam and the Eve Wars, we were all kind of taken by surprise by the fact that we were alive. We felt like we were all living on borrowed time - that we were supposed to be dead, were unexpectedly alive, and we shouldn't push or someone might remember us. After we all lived through another war, though, with varied degrees of damage…well, it kind of forced us to drop the attitude that our lives weren't something that any energy should be invested in.

Not that living through another war made us feel invincible. If anything, it underlined the possibility of death. I think it drove home, however, the realization that we should damn well take advantage of what we have when we have it. We'd wasted enough time being surprised we weren't dead. It was time to be alive.

And that's what I'm trying to do. But resolutions are one thing - living up to them is another. I still half-expect Trowa to push me away, so I guess I'm a little reluctant to press my luck with him. You could have knocked me over with a feather when he announced he was ready to sleep with us. Us! I grin again, and drape myself more heavily over both of them. Maybe I'd better stop questioning and not believing, and just enjoy what's there.

Duo stirs, sighing deeply and pulling slightly away from Trowa. "Well," he says slowly, a slight note of reluctance apparent in his voice, "Time to communicate?"

Trowa immediately grows rigid. One minute he was practically drowsing, pressed tight and warm between me and Duo, and the next moment he's stiff as a board. He's still lying in the same place, but somehow it suddenly seems that he's hardly touching either one of us.

I repress a sigh. This is one of Duo's plans. Every day, we share a piece of the past with each other. We all carry so much that we don't want to remember. But Duo insists - and he's right - that hiding and repressing stuff like that isn't good for us individually or for our relationship. He's right. I know he's right. Even Trowa knows he's right. But I don't like it.

But my dislike is mild compared to Trowa's. Trowa hates it. It's painfully obvious how difficult it is for him to talk about his life before becoming a Gundam pilot. None of us is particularly open - even Duo. After listening to him for awhile, I came to realize how much he can talk without ever really saying anything. But Trowa…I think that some of his past is buried so deep within himself that even he can barely touch it. And more than that, he doesn't want to touch it. He wants nothing to do with it, wants it gone. But it can't just disappear, and too much of it was forcibly uprooted by what he endured at Barton's hands during the war to just push down again. Duo insists that it needs to be aired before Trowa can be free to be himself, and be with us. But I hate watching him struggle for something relatively innocuous to ‘share.' And hearing the things that he considers minor enough to be able to tell us makes me downright reluctant to hear anything he considers to be a big deal. I heard some of the things that bother him most during that awful day when we thought Duo was dead, when Trowa's defenses were at their absolute nadir. I don't know if I'm ready to hear them again.

But Duo is implacable. And sure, he's right. But…I wish, this first day back, we could dispense with this. Or do it later.

"I was in two different mercenary groups, growing up," Trowa says abruptly. I start slightly, startled by the sound of his voice. Trowa never goes first, rarely speaks without prodding. Both Duo and I move a little closer, encouraging him without speaking to continue.

"I was with the first group from the time I can remember," he says tonelessly. We knew this too. Trowa has told us that his earliest memory is of fire, and someone screaming, then falling. We think that must be a memory of some lost battle that destroyed his home. The mercenaries found him as a toddler, alone by a road, and he was brought up by them.

"I was with them until I was about ten. They were all killed in a battle. Because of me."

I frown, surprised at this momentous admission delivered in that flat, anti-climactic tone. I knew that that first troop had been decimated in a battle. But how was it Trowa's fault?

"There was a fight. We were fighting for the rebels - though a large number of men in the unit wanted to switch and fight with the Federation. We'd planned a surprise attack on federation forces. But when we got there…" he pauses, his expression darkening. "They were waiting for us. It was an ambush - they knew we were coming," he explains. "About a quarter of us were wiped out in the first ten minutes. There was an opening, though - I could have turned the fight around, and saved the rest. But I didn't."

There's silence. We try not to prod, not to push each other into speaking before we're prepared to. But Trowa is hard - sometimes he won't continue without encouragement.

Duo clears his throat. "Why not, Tro?" he asks softly, his tone gentle.

"One of the first to fall was the captain." Trowa is silent again. "I realized that…someone had sold us out. There was no way that the enemy could have known where we were without an informant. I didn't know which one was the leak. But when the captain went down…I let the rest of them fall. I didn't know who was responsible, so I let them all take the punishment. Then, when it was almost over…" He takes a deep breath. "I came back. I killed the rest of them, the ones who had survived."

"You killed them?" Duo's voice is completely devoid of blame or shock. It's calm and even soothing, just seeking affirmation.

But Trowa still flinches, obviously believing that the question was intended as a rebuke. "I had to be sure…I had to be sure I got the informant."

"It wasn't…it wasn't the captain himself, was it?" Duo asks tentatively.

"No!" Trowa barks sharply. He takes a deep breath, obviously trying to calm himself. "I…respected the captain. I…liked him," he says after a moment, the words obviously hard for him to get out. I'm not sure how to react. I'm not sure he wants me to say anything, but I don't know if we should be silent. "Anyway, I decided they all had to be punished for the captain's death. So they were."

"Did you ever find out who the leak was?" Duo asks quietly.

"Yeah." Trowa tenses further, trying to retreat away from us, but we're pressed too close to let him. "It was me."

"What?" Duo pulls away enough that he can look into Trowa's face. I prop myself up on my elbow, trying to get a look at his eyes. Trowa takes advantage of the room to lever himself into a sitting position, pulling up and away from us, settling himself against the headboard of the bed.

"I'd met a girl - a refugee. She'd lost her mother and her home in the war - probably in a battle I'd fought in - and she lived in a shelter with her father and her brothers. She was…" Trowa stops, shaking his head. "She was weird," he says finally. "She acted…strangely. But she…" He bends one knee up toward his chest, and rests his elbow on it. "She talked to me," he says harshly, rubbing one hand across his forehead. "Not many people did, and I liked it," he admits, his mouth twisting in self-deprecation. "She even gave me a present - a cross on a necklace."

Duo's hand lifts unconsciously to the crucifix hanging around his own neck.

"She told me to wear it, as a gift…like from a friend." Trowa shrugs. "I didn't have much in the way of religious beliefs, but it was the first present I'd ever gotten, so I wore it." Trowa stares down at the blanket, refusing to meet either of our gazes. I lift my eyes to Duo and he stares back worriedly. We've both gotten a little more than we bargained for here today.

"During the fight, my suit got hit pretty good. I got knocked around some before I got away, and the cross got bashed against something." Trowa stops speaking again. He's still staring down at the blanket, but he's obviously seeing something else. "After I'd gotten away, when it was all over…Well, it started giving feedback."

"Feedback?" This time I'm the one ‘contributing.' Really, I just want Trowa to acknowledge the comment, to look at me. He's still staring away at nothing, and his voice has taken on the even, expressionless tone it had when we first met him, and when he was withdrawn from all of us last year.

"I took it apart. It was a transmitter." There's the soft sound of indrawn breath from Duo, but Trowa continues. "One of the federation groups had given it to her to plant on us, and she'd given it to me. It gave off a signal that broadcasted our whereabouts to the other group."

This time, he's quiet for so long that I'm not sure he's going to continue. Duo cocks his head at me, silently asking if I think we should press him to continue. I shrug. I have no idea.

"So, I was the informer," Trowa says finally, his voice so soft I have to strain to hear him. "I killed the captain."

‘No! Trowa, it wasn't your fault," Duo assures him, strongly and immediately, echoing my own instantaneous protest.

Trowa shakes his head stubbornly. "It was me," he repeats. "I led them to us, and then I let the rest of them die and killed the survivors myself because I thought it was one of them. And it was me."

"Trowa…" Duo reaches out and gently touches his arm. That touch, light as it is, startles Trowa out of his semi-reverie. He starts, then shakes his head, breaking whatever connection it was he had had with his past.

"Anyway," he says dismissively, his voice suddenly brisk, "there's my bit for today."

Duo shakes his head. "Trowa, it's ok. You don't have to -"

"Do you mind if we finish later?" Trowa interrupts, pushing himself up and off the bed. "I really need to grab a shower." He finishes the sentence from the threshold to the bathroom, and the door shuts firmly behind him.

Duo sighs, and leans back on the bed. He doesn't make an attempt to follow. We've learned that, as much as we need to sometimes prod each other a little, we still have to have a respect for each other's space. And sometimes, like now, Trowa needs a lot of space.

I lay down next to Duo, close to him but not touching him, Trowa's story running through my head. None of the three of us have ever been any stranger to death - I was raised by an assassin and Duo saw his friends die of the plague, saw the orphanage destroyed by Alliance forces. But it occurs to me suddenly that Trowa's entire life, as far back as he can remember, has involved violence and battle. His very earliest memory is of war.

"Well. That was…unexpected," Duo says slowly.

I nod agreement. I wonder why Trowa decided today, of all days, to share this information with us.

"No wonder he's always so…" Duo gestures impatiently. "You know. Throwing himself in the line of fire."

I nod again. None of us ever had much of a sense of self-preservation, but time and again Trowa has been the one to put himself in front of various of us, taking blows meant for other people, sacrificing himself to protect us. He threw himself and Vayeate in front of me to protect me from Quatre, he piloted the Gundam when he didn't even remember his name to help us all…even in the last war, he sacrificed himself to his worst enemy to buy us time, to ensure that we would survive the war. Time and again he's risked himself, holding his own life cheaper than ours.

"He's still trying to save the captain," Duo murmurs, his thoughts arriving at the same place mine have gone.

I sigh, and turn on my side, enfolding Duo in a tight embrace.

"Jesus Christ, Heero," he whispers into my chest. "It just gets worse and worse."

I don't say anything. There isn't anything to say. Trying to unfold the layers of betrayal Trowa has experienced is frightening. It's a wonder he didn't join Quatre in going ballistic on the colonies when they renounced us. It's a miracle he ever forgave Duo and me.

"Is this going to happen?" Duo asks dully. "Can we ever make any of this better for him?"

I pull away, and glare down at Duo. "Don't you get all depressive," I order sternly, trying to hide the panic I feel. If Duo surrenders, we're done. "Don't you dare give up," I command harshly.

His troubled violet eyes clear slightly as he stares up at me. "I just…don't want to fuck up more," he admits, his teeth worrying his lower lip.

"I don't think we can fuck up more than we already have," I tell him in complete seriousness

To my surprise, Duo whoops with laughter. "Comforting, Hee-chan," he chortles. "You sure know how to make a guy feel better."

He sits up, and still chuckling, forces me out of the bed and begins to efficiently strip the sheets, paying absolutely no heed to his nudity or mine.

I shake my head slowly at his rapid change of mood as I wander over to the stack of suitcases and poke through them, trying to find something to wear. The uneasy feeling I've had since we got the message to come back has only been exacerbated by Duo's and Trowa's odd behavior this morning. Suddenly, I wish very much that we were all back on our island.

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