Abuse This + Part 12 (cont)

+

I felt sick. Very, very sick. Groaning against the metal floor, I shuddered violently as I felt another urge to belch all over myself again and curled my arms around my waist. I felt like the acid from my stomach was lacing all over my body and burning me up. I had the worst heartburn ever. I tried putting my hand over it and pressing down, to see if the pain would yield if enough force was placed on it, but it was not so willing to be dismissed. Right at that moment, I would have loved to get the shit kicked out of me by any OZ soldier. It would have been a whole lot better than this. Because outside, you had some control. You could fight back. You could dodge or curl up in a little ball or mock the pain or know that a few hits were nothing but a bruise in the end. But inside, there wasn't anything you could do. You were being torn apart and all you could do was whimper and cry and scream. You couldn't think ‘in time, it will all go away.' But with this, I wasn't sure it was going to...

I dry-heaved again and I couldn't stop the sob escaping my lips. I couldn't remember a time when I felt so awful. I wished it to go away, tried to will it down somewhere, but when it came right down to it, there was no place to put it.

I heard some voices beyond the door before it clicked open violently. I heard someone approach and roughly rolled me over. The move made me nauseous and dizzy and I turned my head away to upchuck a lung. There was nothing left in my stomach to give up.

"Water," the person above me barked. "Someone get some water."

A hand was on my forehead and shuddered away from their touch, trying to push it away. I mumbled something incoherent - I believe I told them to fuck off. But they didn't leave and then they were tilting my head up and forcing something down my throat. I drank it groggily; it took away the sting of acid that laced my throat. They kept pouring it down me - I realized it was water after a second of concentration - and I kept drinking it. And then soon it was making me sick and I sputtered, turning my head away and threw back up all that I had just drank on the cell floor. My eyes stung with anguish; I felt just that horrible. Then the hands were on me again and forcing the water down my throat again. But I fought. I fought weakly because my limbs were shaking too hard. I tried to spit the water in their faces. But in the end, I took most of the water down to my stomach and threw it back up in rebellion. I drank, I threw up, I drank, I threw up. After awhile, the water had dulled all the acid and it didn't hurt any longer. Next, they started pouring water over my sweaty forehead, down my neck, on my chest and back. Goosebumps rose on my arms, but I was grateful.

"He needs a real bed," someone said. "He's really sick, sir. He has a high fever going and can't keep even water down."

"Might be some training program in him," a gruffer voice said. "Killing himself off if he's captured."

I wished J had told me that one... I thought darkly, not even bothering to keep my eyes open. I drifted and I forgot my training to stay awake and alert. At the moment, I was too exhausted to care if they left me there or got me some warm blankets. All I could remember from my training was to keep my mouth shut and repress my memories to some corner of my mind. I couldn't tell them a thing, no matter how tired I was. My body was tired of fighting and all it wanted now was rest. Little did the OZ officials know that this day of weakness, this moment where I couldn't lift a finger to fight them off, was probably their only chance in getting one, single thing out of me. And I wasn't going to clue them in either.

+

"It has to be drugs," someone said. I groaned at them. It was my best comeback to tell them to fuck off. "There was a residue left in his system when I took a blood sample. But it's hard to tell exactly what it is. He's going to need some if we want him to function properly again."

"But what drug is it?"

Again, I told them to fuck off/groaned.

"We're...just going to have to experiment," the first person said and I could imagine him shrugging. "It could be a mixture of things or something we don't have. Whatever he responds to best, we'll use that."

I just need...my vitamins...I cried stupidly in my head and tried to recoil from the hand on my arm. All I really did was shudder. There was a tightening put on my arm - a rubber band? Then a sharp prick. Things started getting really blurry after that.

+

"I...I can't tell you what exactly happened," I said hesitantly. "With those pills I was already taking, taking a dive and the stuff that OZ injected into me...it...it messed with everything. My whole body just went out of control...and then stopped all of sudden. Suddenly...I just couldn't touch you guys anymore. Not without the drugs. Not without something in my system."

+

"Get the fuck away from me!" I screamed at Heero, pushing him away and stumbling against the wall. My legs gave out, I sank, and the world spun. Dark spots appeared in my vision and I closed my eyes, holding out my arms to keep Heero away.

"What did they do to you?" He asked from across the room. I tried to talk but suddenly I was throwing up in the corner. I was too weak to hold myself up and my limbs shook too hard to help, so soon I was on my stomach and just yakking. Heero had to force my trembling body up to get the undigested food out of me until I had nothing left to give. I shook, I gasped, and I cried. Heero held me through the rest of the night.

+

For a few weeks after that, I was a lousy housemate. If I wasn't puking or sleeping, I was yelling. I yelled at all of them, snarled at them, and poked at fresh wounds with sharpening retorts. They didn't know what was wrong with me, and frankly
I didn't know either. I felt like I was suffocating in the dorm house, clawing at the walls, and screaming at somebody to let me the fuck out. I needed something and I didn't know what it was, so I kicked and screamed until my voice was hoarse and Heero would hold me until I cried myself to sleep. I think I hit him the most. I think I hurt him the most, since he roomed with me. He was constantly around my foul temper and seething insults. And then depression would hit me like a wall of bricks and he would just hold me quietly as I blubbered out nonsense about how I was feeling so trapped and goddamn STUPID. Stupid, because I couldn't help out with anything war-related at the moment in my fucking state. I felt like I couldn't help out with ANYTHING. I sat in classrooms and stared like a fucking moron at the teacher, because I really couldn't understand what he was saying. I never attended school for very long, so how the fuck was I to know what a direct object was or how a virus infected a cell? Nobody else seemed to have this problem - only me. Heero probably had books downloaded into his brain like a computer; Wufei once studied for a fucking living; Quatre had attended school up until he became a Gundam pilot. Trowa was the only one who didn't have the background, but he also didn't seem to be having many problems. Besides, I knew he traveled the world and colonies twice over. Me? Stupid little Duo? No, he was on the street for half his fucking life and then taken in by a deranged doctor who only thought mathematics and how to install a carburetor was important. He never taught me anything but to aim and shoot and calculate.

"I don't get this shit!" I said in a burst of fury and threw the book across the room, Heero quickly moving his arm out of the way before he got hit. He stared at the book as it hit the wall and I stood up and stormed away from the desk, going to the window to fume. Heero didn't follow, but instead stood to get the book.

"What's the point, man?" I said angrily at my reflection. "I'm too stupid to hold all that shit in my head anyways."

"You're not stupid," Heero said, replacing the book on the desk. "You just don't care."

"And why should I?" I barked, looking over my shoulder at him with eyes flaming and body tense. "What's the point?!"

"No point," Heero said simply, crossing his arms. "Just don't say you're stupid, because that isn't the case. It's not a good enough excuse."

I snorted and grabbed my coat from the floor, going over and getting my shoes on as well.

"Where are you going?" Heero asked as he watched me.

"I'm suffocating again," I said shortly and he knew what I was talking about, because he didn't pry. I left the dorm room hurriedly, thundering down the stairs to get some fresh air.

That night, I found what I was looking for.

+

"I used to know his name," I said softly, leaning forward in the chair now and wringing my hands. "But I can't recall it now. I met him outside when he was heading towards a party and he asked me to come along and help him carry in a keg. I did...and..."

+

The world spun around me and my arm felt weird. Feeling it stupidly, I pulled off the rubber band there that was helping my veins stick out. I tossed it aside and blinked my eyes, looking around dazedly before spotting Mary sitting next to me, her eyes closed and giggling. She was presently sporting a new look, something new to the fashion I guessed. I wondered how she came across so many worms and how long it took for them to eat through her face. It was kind of gross to look at and even worse when she leaned forward for a kiss, mumbling my name between her lips. I fell off the couch and she howled - people joined her just because she was laughing. I should know, because I was too. The ground felt funny and I ran my hands through the carpet. It felt good and I kept doing it, looking around the house slowly with a smile on my face.

"John, when did you get those goats?" I asked loudly, pointing at the animal as it chewed on Yale's hair, unconscious and snoring.

"My God, he's totally tripping," someone snorkeled and arms came underneath me and brought me to my feet. I swayed because the house suddenly decided to do a little jig to the music in the background and I cursed at it, stomping my foot on the ground. Whoever was holding me up laughed.

"Somebody close the fucking door!" I said, swatting at the mosquitoes flying around my face. People laughed around me and I don't know why, but I laughed too.

~

After my trip from the party, I was suddenly a lot calmer, if a bit more withdrawn. I didn't yell at Heero or the others anymore and their relief and surprise was evident on their faces when I spoke with them on level tones. I felt...better somehow. It was like I had found what I was missing, a small chunk had been hidden away... I had improved so much that I was able to join the battle again and I felt...useful. I lightened up a lot and started joking with Heero again. Sometimes I saw the burning question in his eyes; the question of the sudden change. What had I done in those twelve hours we were apart for me to change so much? But he never asked and I never told him.

It was our last day at the school when it first happened.

~

"Get your fucking hands off of me," I snarled, twisting my hands from Heero's grasp and stumbling in the process as I lost my balance and fell on the wooden floor. I could literally hear Heero's teeth grinding above me and he grabbed my shoulders again, heaving me up to my feet.

"What the fuck were you thinking?!" He yelled into my face and I turned my face away to disregard him with an uninterested glance. Heero's hands tightened in fury and I grunted weakly when I started to feel my bones beginning to brush against each other, near the point of snapping.

"You're a soldier," Heero spat out. "And you're doing drugs? Who the fuck do you think you are?"

"Why do you care!?" I screamed back at him, trying not to get distracted by the light exploding in my eyes. Ooo, pretty blue... and I didn't mean Heero's eyes. "If I perform perfectly on the field, why. Do. You. Fucking. Care!? My life, Heero, it's my fucking life!" Now I was getting pissed. My habit, my escape, was getting threatened by Heero ­ that motherfucker! How dare he yell at me! I mean ­ Christ! I wasn't doing it in front of him, I never nagged at him to join me. Why didn't he understand that I needed it? Just for a little bit? It was my only clarity these days, my steel sharp focus against the whirlwind of events in my life. Everything was so cloudy without it in my system. I was... I was even beginning to forget things. Usually, with the first hit, it all came back to me. That I was thankful - I hated not remembering what happened a few weeks ago. But then I would take my second hit, and it was gone again in the bursting colors and the weird images... but I could think again. I felt powerful and smart and - God forbid - sexy. Everyone looked good again to me when the drugs were running in my systems... and I missed that. God, how I had missed that. I don't remember how many times I had brushed Heero off because... well... I wasn't interested. I remember being interested, though it was beginning to get a little fuzzy now. I remember appreciating the strong muscles of his arms, the vivid blue of his eyes, those strong hands... That were currently breaking my shoulders regardless... And lately, I had felt nothing for him, nothing at all. Not just him, though, it was the same with the rest of my teammates. I was immune to them and I remember, faintly, of being like that before... but it was so long ago that I was quite sure I was imagining it. But with the drugs it was an entirely different story. I could feel the tug of my groin whenever I looked at them, felt my mouth drooling as I imagined tasting their bodies...

My wandering gaze came back to Heero when I realized he wasn't speaking any longer and, instead, giving me a peculiar look. His hands on my shoulders had lightened a bit on my shoulders and I was beginning to get a little nervous. His eyes no longer looked murderous, but were now a deadly calm and I tried to shift away from that steel blue. His hands tightened and my shoulders screamed because they were bruised as it was.

"Why are you doing this?" Heero asked blankly, jaw tight. I blinked at him, trying to banish the bright pink exploding in Heero's voice. Though, I could feel the hum of the drugs waning and I felt incredibly sleepy afterwards like I always did. So I answered with blunt honesty.

"It's the replacement," I answered tiredly, "of what I don't understand anymore."

"What don't you understand, Duo?" Heero asked and he took a step forward. I started to feel a little uncomfortable as my personal space was drastically cut in half. The sexy allure that Heero was sporting ten minutes ago was quickly dispersing with my drugs and I swayed. Our chests brushed.

"Everything," I choked out and started to hang my head in tired shame, but Heero caught my chin in his hand and moved it so his lips found it. It wasn't an innocent kiss, meant for comfort and reassurance. It was a hungry, searching kiss and my stomach twisted ­ not in a good way either. I jerked back as if burned and nearly fell again, but Heero's hands held me firmly.

"No," I gasped, the vision beginning to cloud over in the hazy mist that seemed to compromise my life again. But Heero brought it back into sharp focus as he lost his temper and his frustration got the better of him. He threw me and I hit the wall hard, my knees nearly crumbling underneath me.

"God fucking damnit, Duo!" He yelled at me. "What the fuck is going on with you!?"

He grabbed me again within two quick strides to my shaking form (from the drugs, not from terror), took hold of the front of my shirt and hauled me up before twisting me away from him and onto the bed, face first. I tried to help myself to turn around and lay on my back, but Heero found it imperative to help on rolling me over. When I was on my back, his hands were again on my shirt and gripping the material as he leaned threateningly over me with a knee between my legs.

"One second you're jerking me off and then you're asleep!" Heero yelled at me and I blinked, confused. When the hell did I do that? During a high? "One second you won't even look at me and then the next, its like you're trying to strip my clothes off with your eyes!" God, where was I when I was doing all of this?! "And now! Just now, you were looking at me, looking like you were begging me to fuck you and when I kiss you, you tell me to fuck off!?"

"I told you ‘no'," I supplied, rather helpfully I might add. "Not to fuck off."

He shook me roughly, obviously frustrated beyond belief.

"This is a game to you, isn't it?!" Heero snarled. "Let's see how sexually frustrated Heero can get before he fucking snaps."

"No, Heero," I started, but he continued.

"I can't take it anymore, Duo!" Heero screamed, and I caught a tinge of pleading in his voice. I almost felt bad for him. Just for a second, though. Because then his hands started to rip my shirt off. I squeaked, realizing that Heero was quite on top of me and I tried to push him off roughly. He stopped unbuttoning my shirt, found the flat of his hands on my chest, and shoved me hard on the bed.

"Are you still playing?" He hissed and I shuddered slightly at the look in his eyes, fighting momentarily forgotten.

"It isn't a game, Heero," I whispered.

"Are the drugs replacing me, Duo?" Heero asked suddenly and I stilled at the abrupt question. I stared at him, mouth caught open. In that split second, our hands had found themselves on each other's chest. Mine were trying to push Heero away; Heero's were trying to drive me closer to him. We were both panting and the room was so tense that I thought I was going to suffocate. Were the drugs replacing Heero? Replacing them all? Was there more to it? I needed the drugs ­ for clarity, for relaxation. But I used drugs to drive everything away from me ­ including them. Because they were all suffocating me ­ all the questions, all the looks, everything about them. Because I couldn't understand why I didn't want them anymore, I couldn't understand it at all. But I didn't and I couldn't help it... I'm... I'm sorry, Heero, I just couldn't do it anymore...

"Yes," I whispered. The room sighed around me at the confession. And then gasped sharply as Heero struck me with all his strength. My world spun, light exploded, and it wasn't from the drugs. Blood filled my mouth and I blinked my eyes wildly against the pain, turning my head back to Heero as quickly as I could.

"God damn you," Heero whispered and his breathing hitched. I stared at him and I realized with a shudder that there were tears in Heero's eyes. They didn't fall though and he blinked them away as quickly as he could. Then he glared at me and I held my breath unconsciously at the determined, murderous gleam in his eyes. He punched the bed beside my head and I squeaked, trying to curl within myself so I'd make a smaller target.

"I won't let you do this to us," Heero growled and leaned menacingly forward, hitching breath mingling with my shuddering one. "Something happened when you were captured, even though you won't admit it. I won't let you push me away, Duo. I won't let drugs replace me!"

"Heero... " I cried out desperately and his hand clapped over my mouth.

"Shut up!" He yelled. "Shut UP! I won't let you do this to me, Duo, I won't let you, you stupid fucking-." And then his lips were over mine, replacing his hand, and he was shaking, he was so angry, and I didn't say anything after that ­ didn't sigh or groan or whisper his name ­ but I fought him, I fought him so hard, but he struck me back, pushed me down within myself and called me names because he was so angry, so fucking angry and... .and I started to believe him, and I stopped fighting within the middle of it and just cried instead. But Heero didn't hold me when I did. He just let me cry and took me with all his worth.

+

Cradling the drink to my chest, I glared up at Trowa from my appointed position in the corner of the room. He stared down at me - or my bottle - with a tired distaste. Filling with shame and burning anger, I looked away and made a show of taking a long gulp. What was everyone's problem with me lately? I had done NOTHING to deserve this contempt, their gazes as they looked down their noses at me. I didn't brag about what I did, or try to publicly flaunt it in front of them. In fact, I had kept it quite quiet, and did everything in private. I didn't go to bars, I didn't leer at old, greasy men, and I didn't drag my doped up or drunk body in public and make an ass of myself. They didn't understand that I needed it. Fucking needed it! I didn't do it all the time, only when I needed it...and what did they care! It was my body!

Oh. Right.

I sneered at Trowa, "What? Afraid that I might contaminate you if you fuck me?"

Trowa blinked, startled, and his hands moved into his pockets defensively. His disgust for me grew in his wide, green eyes.

"I just don't understand how someone," Trowa said, "as intelligent as you would just..."

"Intelligent?" I coughed. "Intelligent!? The only thing I'm good for is fighting! Where does intelligent come in for that!?"

"You are good at other things as well," Trowa said and I didn't miss the suggestive curl of his lips. Furious, I stood up and made a move to leave the safe house, but Trowa stepped in my way and grabbed me, pushing my dizzy body back to where I was.

"Don't touch me!" I hissed and tried to break away again, but he just grabbed me and threw me, holding me this time.

"Let go of me, Trowa!" I screamed, a little hysterical edge cutting at the edge of my voice. "Get your filthy hands off of me, you stupid fucking-."

"Calm down!" Trowa shouted, but I didn't. I started pushing him away, twisting my body; ducking and curving and trying to free myself and escape through some loophole. Heero's voice began to roar loudly in my ears and I fought harder, even moving to strike out now - just as long as I was free, just as long as I had my space - Trowa was too fast for me though and I found myself smacking against the wall of the house as he tried to get pain to clear the images from my head and the harsh breathing of the Wing pilot. My drink lay broken at our feet, the last bits of the alcohol spreading across the hard carpet and sinking through to leave an awful stench afterwards. I stared down at it, shocked - but then this unexplainable rage filled me and I looked up at Trowa furiously.

"What do you WANT from me!?" I yelled at him. "A quick go? A roll in the fucking hay?! Forget it! Forget it, Trowa, I'm through, I'm fucking through! I don't WANT you anymore! I won't do what you want anymore, so just let me go-."

"What I want!?" Trowa screamed and I stopped. Trowa looked absolutely livid, his face contorted darkly and his hands on my arms began to tighten and hurt me. "What I want!? I never wanted this, Duo! You were the one who wanted to continue this fuck buddy business, not me! When I got my memories back, I tried to stop it, but you wouldn't listen to me! And now...And now..."

Trowa seemed to pause and take a long deep breath, as if he had just came to some conclusion. He leaned forward, a dangerous tension pouring off his skin and making me flinch slightly.

"After Heero got you back, though..." Trowa whispered. "It was like you were a different person. Almost like who you were before...a little shit sometimes, but it was like you were my friend again and not someone who..." Trowa couldn't bring himself to say it and I felt my cheeks grow hot as well.

"And now this..." Trowa had looked down and nodded at the broken bottle. He looked up again slowly, searching me and trying to understand me. I felt my insides cower and my shoulders hunch, as if trying to hide from his looking glare. I had to lash back, keep him away from me and from finding out my dirty little secret.

"Its not me who you want to suck your cock anymore," I taunted, putting on a braver edge to my voice then I really felt. Trowa's face changed. "Its Quatre, isn't it?"

There was only a breath of hesitation, in which Trowa gasped angrily and I exhaled heavily. But I didn't expect the fist that slammed against my temple and launched me against the wall. I crumbled to the ground, face hitting the wet liquid as I fell forward from another well-aimed fist. I wished I had blacked out. But Trowa kept me awake to make sure I felt every single fist he landed on me.

+

I stopped for a moment on those memories, staring lifelessly beyond the video camera and towards the door. The video camera recorded my every movement, zoomed in on every flicker that passed through my eyes. My eyebrows were scrunched up over my eyes, holding back the pain-inflicting memory with desperation. I was ashamed to note that tears were in my eyes and I tried to wipe them away as discreetly as possible, so the camera wouldn't notice. But it did. It watched as I lifted a shaky hand and wiped at the corner of my eyes with my thumb. It recorded the shallow breaths I took, the slow rise and fall of my chest against my rumpled clothes. It scrutinized my throat as I swallowed with desperation, a dry throat itching for water. But I couldn't move my legs to get something to drink; my whole body had lost feeling. The heavy weight that had been resting on me all this time was slowly rising and it was leaving my tingling body numb.

Numb with grief.

"Sorry," I whispered out loud, looking down at the carpet before raising my unsteady gaze back to the screen but not really seeing it. "I guess you know what comes next."

+

"Duo?"

Quatre's voice.

Quatre's arm around my waist and pulling me to him.

He held me gently as I bit my lip. My tears were held at bay and were refused against release. But my shoulders were shaking against the weight of the water that I held inside me and Quatre ran a soothing hand down my shoulder and over my arm. Another mission was over, along with Wufei's burning presence ­ sometimes, he hurt the most and I don't remember why I felt most lenient whenever he... got... too rough. So, I had run here. Where I knew Quatre was recuperating. Where I had to be safe, just for a little while...

"Duo, tell me what's wrong."

Oh, God, so many things, Quatre! I thought and my sigh quivered when I released it. Quatre must have thought it was one of pleasure and he slowly rolled me over and pushed me onto my back. His arm was restrained underneath my body and he loomed over my side, running a slow hand up my jeans and underneath my shirt. Perhaps, not as safe as I thought... But I knew Quatre would never hurt me... I let a sob wretch from my throat and I squirmed, shaking my head as I looked up at Quatre. I still couldn't do it ­ not so soon ­

His features were swashed in darkness, the sun setting a long time ago after my arrival to the cabin. I wished I could have seen his face. I wished...that he could have seen mine. My throat was beginning to close up as I felt his gentle fingers draw lazy patterns around my nipple and my sighs shuddered with fear and...God, disgust. Why? Why was I disgusted now? What was wrong with me? I loved Quatre's touches, I told myself. I loved him. He's always made me feel so good...

Why was it so different now?!

"Quatre, please..." I whispered. Please stop, I pleaded silently. Don't go any further. I don't know why I don't want it...I just don't! Stop! God damnit, stop!

His lips on mine, his hand unbuckling my jeans. His breath was shuddering too but unlike mine, his was from excitement. It was filled with want.

"It's okay," Quatre whispered when our lips broke apart. "I'll make it better, Duo. Just like you always did for me."

I started crying as he removed my clothes. But I never told him to stop.

+

I pressed the palms of my hands hard against my eyes until light sparked in the darkness. Blinking my eyes blearily, I squinted at the TV screen before shaking my head and turning away in disgust. My eyes were bloodshot from the lack of crying and my shirt was still a crumpled mess. My hair was fuzzy and fluffy now from rubbing against the back of the chair. My insides were twisting up and releasing again, a constant movement that mimicked my rattled brain and on-going thoughts. I felt like I was going to hurl, but I didn't. So, instead, I just rocked back and forth slowly, trying to keep breathing against the heavy pressure on my chest and now in my head.

"I never told you guys anything," I said quietly, lifting a shaking hand into my bangs. My insides were quelling for a drink, or a smoke, or anything ­ anything at all to stop myself from saying anything more or at least to stop the torrent of emotions and feelings. But I had nothing at my disposal and I was rooted to the spot, a vulnerable man sitting in front of a video camera that whittled down his every expression, every word, and every shift onto some black tape.

I opened my mouth to scream but my eyes leaked instead.

"Damnit," I whispered, wiping furiously at my eyes. "Damnit, damnit, damnit."

The tape recorded on.

"I'm sorry!" I cried out suddenly, hiding my eyes from that glaring screen. I refused to sniff as well, refused to give away any more of my vulnerability to that damn tape.

"It wasn't those pills' fault," I said quickly. I had to get the rest of it out before I broke down completely. "It was mine. I should have stopped it all, should have said something, but I didn't. I fucking didn't!" I was breaking into little pieces. I shuddered at the feeling. "I just kept plowing forward because I was scared ­ I didn't know what was going on with me either. I still fucking wanted all you guys! But I didn't want the intimacy. I didn't want the touches or the kisses ­ a smack or two was fine but nothing... nothing more then that and I didn't know why. Fuck, I still don't! I just wanted to be close to you guys... because I found myself... liking you guys. I liked knowing you." But it just got worse.

"But it just got worse," I whispered. I paused. I swallowed. I wiped my eyes again.

"It was never your fault," I continued. "It was mine because I never talked." I shook my head slowly. "That's what was wrong with this relationship from the very beginning."

I paused at that sentence, blinking down at my lap and inhaling quickly. That was the problem. That was the problem for all of us! Why didn't I see that? Why didn't I notice?

I looked up at the screen slowly, a hand underneath my chin and covering my mouth.

"Have you ever noticed how we never talked to each other?" I whispered. "How we never sat down for a moment and just said what was on our minds?" I shook my head. "No. We always just... acted. And all our actions just got messed up in the whole bundle of... perspective. By the time the war ended, all I ever thought I was to you guys was a fuck buddy. Even though I never thought of you guys in that sense. Even though... you guys didn't either."

I chuckled with a huff of breath, giving the tiniest shake of my head at my reflection, and watched my eyes glisten with unshed tears.

"We were nothing but stupid kids back then. Stupid kids with hormones - well, for some of us - who had nothing to lose. We didn't have time to share anything with each other. Just enough to meet each other in the middle and collapse on the nearest comfortable surface. But... that didn't go exactly to plan. Because the one pilot who was taking those special pills was the one to fall for each of the teammates."

I paused to breathe for a moment.

"I never said how I felt about you guys," I continued. "And you guys didn't either. Sometimes I could tell, before I was captured. Sometimes, I would let you all know. But we never said anything... and it all just got fucked up." I leaned forward as if shoved, putting my forehead to my knees when a burst of nausea came over me. "I got fucked up." I shook my sweaty forehead against the jeans of my pants, shoulders shaking.

"And then we all got confused ­ sucked up in our own point of views and not giving a thought towards anyone else's. When we should have just... stopped!" I lifted my head quickly, fisting a hand in my hair as if trying to hold the heavy weight up. "We should have just stopped and said what was there! But we didn't and we just hurt each other in the end!" ... At least, I did, I thought, breath shuddering in my throat. I got up from my chair, dragging my feet close to the video camera and grabbing the TV on either side to hold myself up ­ my knees were shaking. I had to get my last message out, I had to redeem what I did.

"Don't do it again!" I shouted, desperate. "Don't go by what I said or what you saw! Everything I did to you guys was just an illusion; a fantasy I made up that kept playing in my head before the war ended. Talk to each other! Its part of our friendships that we never figured out ­ sitting down and talking with one another! I got hurt because of it... I don't want to tear you guys apart because I didn't tell you anything. Quatre, Trowa loves you. He fucking loves you! Talk to him, please, just talk to him... and... and Heero, I'm sorry, I didn't mean anything I said. Just... make up with Wufei, all right? You guys will find out that what you know about each other isn't true at all."

God, I was sounding like I was about to commit suicide.

"I'm... going away for awhile," I said, much softer now and the desperation disappearing from my voice. "To, yanno, talk my problems out to some professionals." God, I felt so stupid. "I just wanted... to say I was sorry." I sighed, letting go the TV. "I really messed up."

I couldn't take it anymore. I lifted my hand and shut the recorder off, my image disappearing from the screen. Pushing rewind, I left the living room for my temporary bedroom to grab the rest of my things. I tried not to think as I grabbed my very few belongings. I was weak, tired, and nauseous, but I knew I had to get out of there before any of them arrived. I had called them earlier before my confession fest. They would be arriving within the hour and I didn't want to be here or to see them when they arrived.

+

I stumbled down the stairwell, sneakers slipping on the end of the marble cases and I desperately clutched ­

-

Duo yawned and stretched away from the keyboard in front of him before reaching for his cold water bottle. Taking a long swig, he stared at the text he had just typed up on the screen. Shaking his head, he deleted the last few sentences before taking a look at his watch and got up. As he passed his cluttered desk, there sat a calendar with the current date - A.C. 98. Two years had passed since Duo's story that he was just now finding the will power and strength to write. Lazily, the older man walked into the living room with the water bottle glued to his lips. The apartment was meager and small, much like the one he had two years ago ­ only much cleaner and free from the stench of alcohol that he had clinged to so desperately back then. He walked to the window and gazed down at the street thoughtfully, mentally trying to recollect his thoughts on the day that he had ran away from the only friends he had ever had. He had slept on the street that night, in some dirty corner with garbage his only blanket. Then, in the following morning, he had hitchhiked his way out of Montana and down all the way to Arizona ­ his present residence still today. He had met a lot of interesting people along the way and he had spilled the story out to anyone who would listen ­ of course, skipping all the really messy details. All of them had agreed for him to get help. And Duo did ­ he signed himself into a drug rehabilitation center and had spent a good year there getting his act together and staying a bit longer to help new people. People not quite like him with his odd experience but some details Duo could easily relate with for anyone. After awhile, Duo dared to trust himself again and moved out. Still visiting a doctor about twice a week, Duo had spent another year on his own, completely drug and alcohol free. Then Duo began to write everything down. He wasn't sure if it was ever going to be published, but Duo felt like he had to do it for some reason. Mostly, because he was afraid he would forget. Or maybe because he was afraid that he might start head down that road again ­ and there on his hard drive would be something to remind him before he got too far in.

As for the rest of Duo's friends? Well, he had made new ones at his job, but he had never heard of Quatre, Trowa, Heero, and Wufei since he had left that tape behind for them. Duo didn't know if they ever saw it all together, if they listened to his advice, or if they hated him. It was still a sore wound that Duo nurtured close to his chest, but he knew he would have to let go of them eventually. It was the only way to move on, right?

Duo turned away from the window and watched his mail appear underneath his door as the mailman dropped it off. Tossing his empty water bottle on the couch as he walked by, Duo swiped up the envelopes and shifted through them as he walked back to the corner of the room that he used as his office. Most were bills. But one caught Duo's attention.

It was from Quatre Winner.

Staring at the envelope, Duo made sure it was addressed correctly to him before turning it over and breaking the seal. Inside was a card. Duo pulled it out and looked over the fancy invitation with a small mount of wonder and surprise.

Duo Maxwell,

Hoping that you are well, I would like to invite you to a small get-together at my springs resort in Arizona. I hope you will attend since there is much to discuss.

The details are below.

Sincerely...


Duo just stared at the invitation, blinking lightly as he dumped his other responsibilities on the table. Quatre had contacted him. The only thing that Duo knew about Quatre was that he had never married Trowa Barton ­ if they were still together, that was an entirely different manner, but no new coverage had appeared on an event that would have aroused a lot of attention. But there had been nothing, a near dead silence towards anything of his Duo's past.

And then this. Nearly two years to the day that Duo had run away from them.

Does that mean that they had forgiven him? That they still cared?

Duo's mouth twitched.

That they finally wanted to talk to him? Was Duo even prepared to face them yet?

Duo's head shook, but it was neither a yes nor a no.

What could he possibly say? What did they want to say to him? Did Duo even want to dive into that ugly mess again, when everything was just beginning to go on the right track for him?

More importantly, were they worth it?

Duo put the card back in the envelope after a moment and put it carefully on his desk before leaving it's side. Even though Duo didn't know the answers to most of those questions, he did know one for certain and it hadn't changed at all, over the course of two years. It had stuck with him, a constant thought itching underneath the surface and behind the closed curtain. It was part of his life and he couldn't close it so easily. Funny, how such a life-changing event took little to none hesitation on Duo's part. Maybe that was what it was like for everyone. Or maybe just Duo.

Whatever the case, Duo picked up the phone and began to dial Quatre's number to confirm his arrival.

Friends were always worth it. No matter what happened in the past or what can come in the future.

Everyone deserves second chances. Everyone.

Owari

+

[part 11] [back] [back to Singles l - z]