Author: Lady Violet
Rating: PG
Pairings: 2+1, brief mention of 3+4
Warnings: SAPPPPPPYYYYYY. And Fluffy, both literally and figuratively. Probably OOC
Disclaimer: Don't own 'em. I think Bandai does, but if they're ever interested in getting rid of them, I'm sure that there's a long line of people willing to take them off their hands...
Authors Note: These are Duo's thoughts, so sometimes he's a little rambly, and sometimes he's really abrupt. I did this on purpose, because people just don't usually think using the kind of sentences I usually write. I hope I pulled it off okay. Speaking of rambling...

Nightmares and Purple Bunnies

Newsflash: Heero Yuy has nightmares.

Pretty damn obvious, I know. At least it's obvious to me, but then, I guess I've got an advantage over everyone else, since I'm his roommate. Sometimes, I'll wake up, and I'll find him locked in the throes of one of them.

I don't wake up because Heero yells or thrashes around, in fact it's completely the opposite. You see, when Heero sleeps, he's a hell of a lot more animated than he is awake. I think that's because he represses everything during the day, and his subconscious needs to let off steam somehow, so he does it at night.

Well, if it's just the two of us. If there's even one other person in the room, he rests in what I've dubbed "Doberman Mode." He'll wake up and have a gun cocked and aimed at the slightest noise. And it took a long time to get him to drop out of Doberman Mode around me. Good thing I'm quiet when I'm asleep. "Heero Yuy" and "instant trust" are not terms that should be used in the same sentence, unless there's a negative in there someplace. Eventually, though, he started to fall into a true slumber when I'm around. When he's sleeping normally, he mumbles a little, frowns, and does his best impression of an eggbeater. Rarely, he smiles.

Sometimes, especially after missions, he's quiet. And it's not happy, relaxed quiet. We're talking tense, here. He stiffens up, like a board, his fists clench, and his face kinda scrunches up. It's pretty painful to look at, if you ask me. The loudest sound I've ever heard him make when he's like that was a tight little whimper of a word.

That's when he's having nightmares.

How do I know what Heero looks like when he's asleep, peaceful or otherwise? Easy. I watch him. I don't need nearly the amount of sleep everyone seems to think I do. So I watch him.

I can only pick out a little of what he mumbles. Japanese is my second language, and he's not being crystal clear, anyway. I've noticed that enunciation is rarely a major consideration when you're dreaming. Occasionally, I pick up little words, but generally not enough to know what's going on in his head. Life gets really interesting when he's rolling over and over so much that it almost makes me dizzy. You try to decipher what someone's saying in Japanese, when they're constantly moving. Heh. I thought not.

If he frowns, I feel weird, 'cause, I mean, normally, if he's got any expression on his face, it's that frown. On the other hand, I can't help but think that his face wasn't made to frown. Well, I don't think it was, at least. That face was made for happier things. I know. I've seen Heero smile.

Six times.

He was asleep, but that still counts.

He stills when that little grin crosses his face, but it's not nightmare stillness. He's relaxed, calm, and downright beautiful when he looks like that. His whole face lightens when he's smiling, and I wish I could see his eyes. I imagine that they would brighten up, sparkle a little, and look like the highest quality, deepest blue sapphires that the universe has ever seen.

Heh, heh. Pretend you didn't read that, okay?

Like I said, I've seen that grin a total of six times, and I can recall each one vividly. It isn't often that the "Perfect Soldier" lets his guard down long enough to allow for even one little uptilt of the lips, and when he does, it's magical.

But when the nightmares come, that's a totally different story. I think I mentioned that it hurts. I can't look at him without getting sympathy cramps in my muscles. He's so, what's the word...? Taunt. Like the strings on Quatre's violin bow. Like he would make a *twang* noise if you touched him.

Heero doesn't *twang* though. He hits. And he sure as hell doesn't pull his punches. One time, he had a nightmare after one of our missions, and I tried to soothe him from whatever was wrong, and he damn near broke my wrist. The next morning, I just told him I'd hurt it on the mission and wrapped it up.

But tonight, tonight I'm going to try something else to help him. Remember I said that I had heard him whimper a word once? Well, I understood that word.

Usagi. Bunny.

Thank Shinigami for Sailor Moon, ne?

So I went shopping, and I hunted all over the place before I found what I wanted. They don't make many stuffed animals that are just stuffed animals anymore, let me tell you. Everything's got to talk, or walk, or do gymnastics. But eventually I found almost exactly what I was looking for.

There were two left in the corner of the store, one was red, the other purple. Apparently, the craze right now was for brightly colored stuffed animals, even if those colors could never really grace the fur of real bunnies, bears, and horses. I was hoping for blue, to match his eyes, but, hey, I wasn't about to look a gift horse in the mouth. Whatever that means. I grabbed the purple one. Purple's pretty close to blue, right?

It was great. Really long, floppy ears, and instead of those fake-trying-to-be-real eyes, there were little fake-and-not-trying-to-be-anything-else eyes. They were little spirals, like you see in cartoons when someone's dizzy, or hypnotized. Plus, it was reeeeeeeaaaaaaaallllllllllyyyyyyy soft, and just the right size for hugging.

So, here I sit on my bed, just across the room from his, clutching the bunny tightly. I know that Heero will have a nightmare tonight. He always does after a mission.

I know his sleep patterns. How sad am I?

Don't answer that.

I'm waiting for him to tense up, so that I can go over there and risk getting clocked for my efforts. All to give him a fricking stuffed rabbit that I'm not even sure he wants.

Oh, well. At least I can pass it off as a joke if he's offended by it.

Then, I hear it. The abrupt halt of all motion on Heero's side of the room. I guess it's show time. I carry the bunny over to his bed, but then I hesitate. Maybe this is a bad idea. Then again, has that ever stopped me before? But, then again again–

I'm interrupted by the tight, agonized little whimper that is Heero's voice, so different than his usual sort of nasal, deep one. "Usagi..."

If that's not a sign, I'll go eat Deathscythe's steering column. Or just the whole damn Gundam.

I'll have to be careful. I don't want to accidentally get brained, and Heero looks like he's on a hair-trigger. So, I try something I saw Quatre do for Trowa once when he thought that no one was looking and T-man was sick or something, I don't remember the exact circumstances.

I start humming a sort of monotonous, soft tune. I recognize that it's a lullaby. Whatever. What I'm doing right now is letting his subconscious know that I'm here without having that knowledge disturb him consciously. It's a soldier thing. Trust me.

So, after a minute of humming, Heero hasn't really relaxed any, but I'm pretty sure he knows I'm here, and I hope that he knows I'm me. I quickly and gently set the bunny on his chest, and then snatch my hand back. It works way better than I thought it would.

Heero suddenly clutches at it, gives a blindingly sweet smile, and curls onto his side, cradling the bunny protectively.

I'm floored. Literally. I sit down on the floor, and just barely keep myself from yelping as I land on my already somewhat bruised tail-bone. I realize that Heero must have been reliving some of his oldest memories, from even before he'd been taken in by Odin Lowe. I've never seen his facial expression so open, and the smile was very child-like.

That's smile number seven.

Breathtaking. So innocent. And unabashedly happy.

I think that I'm going to treasure this moment for the rest of my life.

+

Cold. Stiff. Sore. Flat on my back. No pillows.

Well, damn. I fell asleep right here on the floor.

I slowly sit up, muscles protesting the whole way. I rub my eyes, and I realize that I'm being watched. I slowly look up, and find that Heero's looking between me and the bunny that he's still clinging to.

"How did you know?" he rasps. Damn.

"You- uh- you talk in your sleep." I'm looking everywhere but at him right now.

"Why?" Fortunately, I'm used to Heero's word-conserving methods of communicating.

I shrug. "You weren't... comfortable. You must have woken up with terrible cramps." Yeah, and I couldn't have stood many more nights like that, just sitting there, watching you in pain.

"Arigato."

I forget about not looking at him, and stare.

"You aren't... mad?"

"No. Baka."

Okkaaaayyyy, that was a bit of a non-sequitur. "What was that?"

"Baka. I'm naming him Usagi-Baka. Baka for short. After you."

Well, scrape my jaw off the floor. "Thanks. I think."

The corners of Heero's mouth tilt upwards. Number eight!

I was wrong. Sapphires have nothing on Heero Yuy's eyes when he's happy.

~owari

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