Author: Presser
Pairings: 2+3
Disclaimer: Gundam Wing characters aren't mine
Rating: R (for language, intense angst)
Notes: End of the war, just before EW, much angst, for Dacia (it's her plot bunny! -- see the Donne poem at the end of the piece for reference)
Feedback: Yes, please!
Author's note: This was gut-wrenching for me. The John Donne poem that Dacia shared burrowed inside my soul and rearranged a lot of my understanding of what it means to love. I hope this fic shows just a tad of what I learned.

Conventions:
%%Trowa's flashbacks%%
+Trowa's interior voice+
@Other interior voice@
#Other interior voice#

Fight For Me

I stood in the Peacemillion deli, one foot propped on the wall, eyes cast down at the floor. Wufei was silent, Quatre, too, both lost in their thoughts, I suppose. He had just spoken -- Duo -- and what was it he had said?

"You all really trust Heero, huh? He makes mistakes, just like the rest of us."

I don't know what the others were thinking, but I know what was in my mind: mistakes.

The last one I made was -- was Quatre? Trying to stop him? When he wanted to blow one of the colonies out of the sky? Or was I trying to save him? Was that my mistake -- or Quatre's?

My memory hasn't been reliable since then.

I looked up and Wufei was gone. He has this way of moving without making the slightest sound. I turned my head and saw Quatre sitting at the table in front of me, eyes closed, looking pensive, troubled. I felt Duo staring at me, and I looked up. He seemed to be waiting for an answer. From me? I don't know.

Quatre looked up and saw my eyes locked with Duo's. Something went out of him quietly, then, and he stood and walked softly out of the deli, his head down.

"Trowa --"

I looked away when Duo spoke my name. When he took a step toward me, I -- I don't know, I --

-- was walking away, anger in my face. I didn't look back to see what I had done to Duo.

* * *

"Why am I fighting? What good is it doing?" I narrowed my eyes as though I could will my colony to stand out from the starfield. "Is it for them? The people who raised me?" My legs were sore from standing, my arms aching from leaning on the glass. Pointless questions, pointless inaction. Yet I couldn't move. If only I could find a reason to --

I stiffened when Duo's hand touched my shoulder.

"Trowa, what are you doing here? This observation deck is about as far from our quarters as you can get." Duo's voice was soft; why did it make me cringe? I closed my eyes, turned my head.

"Just leave."

"No way, buddy. You need to talk to someone. If you don't you'll --"

"I said, leave."

"Trowa, I'm just trying to be a friend here, if you'll --"

I whirled around, full of rage. "Get your hands off me! Just leave me the hell alone, Duo!" This time I saw what I had done to him, in his face, his eyes - I've always been good at hurting anyone who tries to get close to me. I pushed him out of my way and stormed through the door.

* * *

When I opened my eyes, the cold metal framework of the bunk above mine shone dimly in the subdued light of my quarters. I didn't remember finding my way back to my bed. I felt calm, but knew better; I tried not to think.

Cloth scrubbing softly against hard plastic. I turned my head. Duo Maxwell sat in a chair beside me.

"Duo," I said, pushing myself up on one elbow. "I told you to" --

"Shut up, Tro," Duo said sternly. "In case you haven't figured it out, the people here care about you. I care about you. It's obvious that you're -- you're hurting, Tro. Talk to me. There's nothing you can say to me that I won't understand."

%%Suddenly I was falling, falling, falling, hitting the water with a splat! against my face, cold fingers of the lake daggering my skin. Joe was laughing as I sputtered up for air. "Don't forget the lesson, kid. When someone says, 'Trust me,' always run the other way. Never jump when they say they'll catch you. Letting you hit the water like that was the best thing I could ever do for you. Now get back to camp and dry your sorry ass; you've got kitchen duty tonight!"%%


Duo's eyes, waiting for my response.

%%"Trowa, it's me, Catherine. Don't you recognize me, Trowa?"

"Cath -- 'rine?" The rain ran down my face, slicking my long bangs against my cheek. I -- I - "Catherine?"%%


I looked over Duo's shoulder, wanting to run, but unable to move.

%%"Trowa, no!" Quatre's voice wailed metallically in my headset as I rocketed forward, faster faster faster, have to get away, can't stay, can't watch, Quatre Quatre, why why why Quatre Qua -- and everything went bright and black at once.%%

"Trowa?"

Duo's soft voice. Don't look at his eyes! Can't look too much to feel to see to believe to --

"Get out!" That voice -- mine? So harsh, so biting -- my voice, really?

"Get the fuck outta here, Duo!"

The sadness in his eyes made me want to stop, but I couldn't stop, couldn't couldn't the voice the harsh voice my voice kept screaming screaming screaming

* * *

Duo, please don't go

+shut up, fool!+

I -- want -- I need --

+you need ? NEVER say you need ! Never!+

Joe, laughing at me, my face hot --
+can't cry, mustn't cry, don't dare cry+

* * *

I rolled off my bunk, lurched toward the door, in the hall, hit the wall, screaming again, "Duo Duo Duo"

I crumpled ?gainst the floor, holding my knees 'gainst my chest.

+don't cry don't cry don't cry+

Duo by my side. "Trowa, Trowa, what's wrong? Tell me, Trowa."

I recoiled when he touched me, knocking him down. I careened down the hall, not caring what I might hit as I bobbed in the uncaring zero gee.

"NO!" I yelled, as my shoulder hit a water pipe at the end of the hall.

Duo was at my side in an instant, pulling me down to the floor. He wrapped his arms around me from behind.

"Trowa, Trowa, calm down. I'm here, it's okay. Just calm down."

"No!" I yelled, squeezing my eyes shut. "No! No! No!"

I tried to break free from his grasp.

Duo held me tighter.

"Please, Duo, let me go!" I squeezed back unwanted tears behind weary eyelids.

Finally Duo turned me around, shook my shoulders. "Trowa, Trowa! Look at me! Dammit, Trowa, I'm not letting you go till you calm down!"

I knocked his arms away from me. The look on his face was a mixture of hurt and worry.

"Get out of my way, Duo!" I spat the words with a snarl.

"No way, pal!" Duo spread arms and legs to block me. I was trapped at the end of the hall. "I'm not movin'."

I stood shaking with -- with what? anger? fear? hatred? I turned my head, trying to hide from Duo's concern.

Ragged breathing -- his? mine?

#You need this, Trowa. Have to confide in someone.#

+Shut UP, fool! You do NOT trust anyone. ANYone!+

Catherine's face, creased with anxiety, floated behind my eyelids.

@Letting you hit the water was the best thing I could do for you, kid.@

#Please, Trowa, you can't go on like this.#

@You HAVE to go on like this, kid!@

+Don't trust, don't risk, don't take chances+

#Trowa --#

+Shut UP+

I crumpled to the floor again, my hands over my ears. "Make them stop, make them stop, make them --"

"Who, Trowa? Make who stop?" Duo knelt beside me, hesitating.

"The voices, stop the voices, make them shut up...."

I began to come apart.

Duo stood looking at me raging, despairing in a ball at his feet. He crouched down before me, unsure of what a touch from him might do. To his credit, he steeled himself and reached out cautiously to put his hand on the back of my head. When I felt his fingers lightly on my hair, I fell forward, spilling onto his knees, shaking, wailing. Duo reached out with both hands and drew me to him, awkwardly clasping my shoulders, leaning down to shield me.

His lips near my ears, softly:
"Trowa, Trowa, it's alright.
I'm here, Duo's here, Trowa.
Let me hold you."
He held me like that, on his knees, arms around me, for -- I don't know -- a few minutes. Could've been an hour; my sense of time was distorted. As I began to calm, Duo stroked my back, saying nothing, but holding me close.

With a final shivering sob, I breathed deeply, pulled away to sit up. As I raised my head to speak (to thank him? apologize? I don't know what I would have said if what happened next hadn't happened), his eyes -- impossibly violet -- told me something I didn't want to hear, wasn't ready to hear. Maybe I'll never be ready to hear it.

Words fail me here.

In Duo's eyes I saw compassion, caring, understanding, friendship, warmth, pain on my behalf.

+No.+

#He just wants to help, Trowa. Let him.#

+No.+

@You're weak, kid, if you let this act work on you. Always vigilant! Guard your heart!@

#You can't keep this up, Trowa, not alone. Let him in.#

@Who're you gonna listen@

+No. No.+

#Please, Trowa, you can't go on like this.#

@You HAVE to go on like this, kid!@

+No! Stop! Stop it! Shut+

#Trowa#

@don't take chances@

+Shut up, shut up!+

* * *

"Trowa?"

Duo's eyes, wild, panic, worry...why? Me? for me?

voices

my mind

shattering glass

* * *

I lay still, too still, too calm. That scent -- the infirmary. My hand -- bandaged? A sigh -- where?

Turned my head Duo there his eyes circled dark with sleepless

"Trowa, you're okay. Howard's a man of many skills, needle and thread among them." Duo's eyes...soft with -- with --

@C'mon, kid, you know you@

+No!+

#Trowa!#

"Shut up!" I was sitting up, screaming, Duo struggling, calling Howard

"Give it a rest, Duo." Howard spoke sternly, yet with compassion. "Leave him alone. Trowa needs to sleep now."

Duo backed out of the infirmary, stricken with sadness. for me?

Me? My eyes searched Duo's as the door closed between us.

"You lay down, Trowa." Howard looked hard at me, unsuccessfully masking his concern.

"Why?" Bewildered, I spoke behind my own mask.

"You're the only one who knows that, Trowa. I'm adding a sedative to your IV. You're gonna sleep for a while; lord knows you need it."

thoughts floating
drowsy
fighting sleep
why duo why
don't deserve you
please don't burn yourself on me

* * *

Awake again.

My bed, my quarters. A turn of the head -- I'm alone.

No.

A note, folded on the chair he sat in.

I'm afraid to touch it, afraid of what it will say. I both want need desire Duo in my life, and want to run flee hide --

"Duo," I breathe softly, and the edge of my heart quirks in my chest.

"Please don't leave me," I whisper, knowing that if he entered the room at that moment I'd drive him out with my words.

"Please keep trying, Duo," I say to the bunk above me. "I need you, but I don't know how to tell you that."

I grab at the note, it falls to the floor. Carefully leaning over the edge of the bed, I pick it up with my good hand.

Hope and fear mingle in my blood.

The note: "Trowa, I'm here. If you never want to see me again -- well, what can I say? I don't want that. But if that's what you want, then I'll give it to you. Let me in, Trowa. I want to be your friend."

I began to tremble.
anger?
fear?
both locked
in perpet u al strug
gle

@Kid...@

#Trowa...#

No no no no nono nonononononono

screaming
scream
scre

Hands on my head, head between knees, rocking, rocking,

sobbing

"Shut up, all of you!"

Duo is my
my
my friend...
and
I will
not
not turn him a
way

buthowcaniaskhimto
to

* * *

The words will not come. Perhaps it's best, for now. I know that something within Duo calls to me, but I do not know its name. Something within me hears, and wants to answer, but how?

The voices, in my mind, so angry, so afraid

"Duo," I pray softly, "Oh, Duo, please don't give up on me. I need need you to to attack me, charge my my mask, challenge me.

"I cannot say yes to you, not yet.

"But I dare not say no.

"Duo, fight for me, fight me for me --"

Tears roll quietly
Heart shuddering
"Duo, fight for me --"

~Owari

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