Author: Vinyl Koneko (Emily)
Rating: PG-15
Warnings: -=scratches head=- Would it be 2+1 with implied 1x2x1 or just 1x2x1? -=mind boggles=- Um... angst... 1+R (me bashes head against wall and clutches her Heero figurine "Gomen nasai! Gomen nasai!")... Relena bashing (yes!)... suicidal contemplations... swearing... possible Heero bastardization -=sweatdrop=-
Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters. If I did...well...I'd probably end up getting sued violating some personal right granted by law. 'Course that wouldn't count if I jumped ship to another country *with* no laws, now would it? Hmm... Well, they aren't mine, so don't worry about it. Neither is this song, for that matter. The song of the same title as the fic is actually owned by Linkin' Park off the CD Hybrid Theory. I'm not a big fan of the band (they really don't need the rapper guy), but I love this song.
Comments: Um, lessee... //lyrics//, 'thought', <<flashback>>...that's it.

In the End

//It starts with
One thing
I don't know why
It doesn't even matter how hard you try
Keep that in mind
I designed this rhyme
To explain in due time
All I know//

'I knew it wouldn't last...I knew there would only be pain and misery, at least on my behalf in the end, so why did I bother? Did I think I could change your mind? No one can do that. Even me...' Duo Maxwell sighed as he watched the waves lapping at the shoreline before him. The sea was calm and peaceful, that day; the complete opposite of the turmoil from the storms in the braided American's heart.

'The ocean is such a deep blue...just like his eyes...' Duo scowled and let out a frustrated yell, taking his anger out on any objects nearby, assaulting the placid surface with a barrage of stones, driftwood, and even a lobster buoy. The cool, salty air caused his breath to hitch in his throat, forcing Duo to sit in the gravelly sand, screwing shut his violet eyes to fight back the tears.

//Time is a valuable thing
Watch it fly by as the pendulum swings
Watch it count down to the end of the day
The clock ticks life away
It's so unreal//

'Fight it, Maxwell, boys don't cry, remember? Try to look on the bright side: He's not dead.' At the last thought, the former Deathscythe pilot let out a strangled sob. It would have been better if he was dead. Death was a natural part of life; Duo could deal with death. He had before, he could now. There was always Heaven and Hell to believe in...places created by a god he didn't believe in.

But the abandonment, the agony of knowing he was still out there and wasn't coming back by choice, by his choice, was what made it a million times worse than death.

You can't be Shinigami without being able to deal with death; it just happens. 'Too bad all the people I've known have died before they could abandon me...then it wouldn't hurt so much now.'

//Didn't look out below
Watch the time go right out the window
Trying to hold on
But didn't even know
Wasted it all just to
Watch you go//

They hadn't been just comrades in each others' arms during the war. It seemed to be more than sex and now-empty promises. Duo could remember, watching him sleep at night, wanting to say three simple words, but unable to bring himself to it. Three simple words that he kept procrastinating, and look where that got them.

//I kept everything inside and even though I tried
It all fell apart//

<<"Heero, can we talk?"

The Wing pilot blinked and looked up at the American. "Make it quick."

"'s been, uh, like two years now, huh? We're done fighting...the world's finally at peace... Things are going pretty well, neh?" The other's expression was still stoic. 'Damn it, this isn't helping at all!' "Well, what I guess I'm saying is that, well... I love you."

No reply. Not even a "hn" or a blink. Just...silence. The seconds seemed to crawl on like hours - minutes like days. The silence was deafening, Duo thought he was going to throw up, and he almost started laughing to pass it off as a joke in the hope that it would keep Heero from hating him, but there was no way that would be believable.

Heero closed his eyes. "I have to leave now." And he did.

A week later, he was at Relena's side on interplanetary television.

Everyone had seen the broadcast, and Duo thought that maybe it was an assignment. Maybe Preventers had needed him to watch her for a little while until they got another operative on that assignment.

But it wasn't.

Duo handed in a letter of resignation and disappeared. 'A vacation...from life and from myself.' Even the other pilots were unable to find him, assuming they had tried at all.>>

//What it meant to me will eventually
Be a memory
Of a time when
I tried so hard
And got so far
But in the end
It doesn't even matter//

'Hope your happy with the Queen of the World. It's like some sick fairy tale where the hero gets the princess and they all live happily ever after. But what about me? I loved you! You even know how I felt, but you just left. What was I to you? Just a bedtime plaything to be dropped when not needed anymore? If that's all, you could have at least warned me in the beginning. Warned me so I didn't get attached.'

//I had to fall
To lose it all
But in the end
It doesn't even matter//

Duo looked up from the hole he was toeing in the sand and up at a rocky cliff overlooking the seashore. 'Bet you can see for miles from up there.' The clouds that were in the distance had thickened to a deep gray, and soon it a torrential downpour fell from the sky; the sky was crying with a broken heart.

//One thing
I don't know why
Doesn't even matter how hard you try
Keep that in mind
I designed this rhyme
To remind myself how
I tried so hard//

'Maybe it's better off this way. God, we were boys in the middle of a war. Nothing could have come of that. Whatever I felt must have been wrong for Heero to flee with his tail between his legs. Or maybe he wasn't fleeing; maybe he was just being smarter than I was.

'I loved him unconditionally, but it was too much. The soldier in him couldn't stand it, and even when you think you see a spark of humanity, there is only the soldier.'

//In spite of the way you were mocking me
Acting like I was a part of your property
Remembering all the times you fought with me
I'm surprised
It got so far//

<<It was late at night and they were walking through the deserted streets of L-1. Night on the colonies was never as beautiful as nights on Earth. Metal walls kept out the view of the stars and the moon, but Duo needed to get out, and Heero agreed to go with him.

Duo reached over and grasped Heero's hand with his own, but the Japanese pilot made a surprised, angry sound and threw Duo's hand away from his own. "Duo, we're in public."

The braided American was confused. "But it's the middle of the night and everyone's asleep."

"Someone could still see us."

"Yeah, so? That's their problem, isn't it?" Duo wrapped his arms around

Heero's body, hugging him from behind. Almost immediately he was flipped and soon found himself lying on his back on the ground, looking up at Heero who was clutching the other boy's wrists painfully.

"It isn't our problem if we don't make it so. Don't touch me." He roughly jerked Duo back to his feet, and the American refused to meet Heero's eyes for the next two weeks.>>

//Things aren't the way they were before
You wouldn't even recognize me anymore
Not that you knew me back then
But it all comes back to me
In the end//

Duo reached the top of the precipice, savoring the feeling of the cold, rough winds against the bare skin on his face. His braid madly flew around, writhing like a snake trying to escape its confines. 'I'm just so tired of it all. I haven't laughed, smiled, or enjoyed anything in two years. You know, you left two years ago today, Heero? You either forgot about that or you know and you're laughing about it. Laughing with Relena.'

//You kept everything inside and even though I tried
It all fell apart
What it meant to me
Will eventually
Be a memory
Of a time when I
Tried so hard
And got so far
But in the end
It doesn't even matter
I had to fall
To lose it all
But in the end
It doesn't even matter//

'Relena...that stupid bitch. I hope you're miserable, the both of you! Heero, I hope you're living with her in a pink mansion with pink rooms and furniture and all your clothes, cars, and even toilet paper is pink! I bet she took away your lovely gun collection because of her fucking pacifistic ideals and won't even let you have a pea shooter because even that could be used as a weapon. You have to serve her every need day and night, no matter what you are currently doing. Bodyguards have to escort you everywhere you go because Relena doesn't want you to even get a papercut, and you have to call her on your new pink cel phone every three minutes.'

//I put my trust in you
Pushed as far as I can go
For all this
There's only one thing you should know//

<<"Damn it, Heero, where are you!" Deathscythe had been surrounded by a group of twenty Leos and more kept coming. Deathscythe's left leg was immobile, and the thermal blade's energy level was slowly decreasing. Wing was no where to be seen. "A little help here would be nice!"

A Taurus approached with a beam cannon, and Duo closed his eyes. 'Aw, great, this is going to be a real peachy way to go. At least my explosion will knock out some of those Leos.'

A burst of yellow energy shot forth, and Duo braced himself for the crash and mutiple waves of pain that he was sure to follow, but none ever came. He slowly opened his eyes, and the Taurus was a smoldering wreck of titanium in thousands of itty bitty pieces. Leos were rapidly being bisected all around. Heero's face appeared on the vidscreen. He looked worried. "Can you move at all?"

Duo tried to get Deathscythe to take a step forward, but with the left leg gone, he would fall to the ground and never be able to get back up. "No. Left leg's down to zero percent; all around energy is down to half and still decreasing. I'll be lucky if the oxygen still gets cycled in and out."

"Sit still for a moment." Duo rolled his eyes. 'Like I have any other choice.' He watched as Wing finished off the rest of the Leos and transformed into Bird Mode. Duo reached up, clinging to the bottom of the other Gundam, and watched the battlefield become smaller and smaller out of his viewport.

When they returned to the safehouse, Heero tended to all of his injuries, carefully treating the wounds with surprising gentleness. "Neh, Heero...I'm not made out of porcelain, ya know."

"Hn," the other pilot replied, reaching over to kiss the American.>>

//I put my trust in you
Pushed as far as I can go
For all this
There's only one thing you should know//

Duo smiled for the first time in months. It was a bitter, sarcastic smile, but the unfamiliar strain hurt the corners of his lips from unuse. An old song popped into his head, and the chorus seemed to stick out. Duo cleared his throat, dry and harsh, and sang aloud to the deserted seashore as he leaned against a jagged boulder.

//I tried so hard
And got so far
But in the end
It doesn't even matter//

He stood back up slowly, still singing outloud with the song in his head, approaching the edge of the precipice to peek over once more at the ocean before as it pounded against the stubborn rocks. Those rocks, strong and hard, that will slowly wear down to sand over time from the unyielding force of the water.

Duo wrapped his coat tighter around his body, trying to block out the breeze. The coldness was refreshing. It was real. It was something Duo could grasp onto for a second, and suddenly he got an urge. The American stood at the edge of the cliff, toes of his boots no longer touching the rocky ledge.

'I want to fly.' He leaned forward into the wind, laughing sharply at how it collected in his leather trenchcoat, filling it out like a parachute and holding him on the edge, keeping him from falling forward from his precarious position. Duo closed his eyes, embracing the chill. 'I've embraced warmth before and ended up getting burned. Maybe it's time I stop having this fate of misery control me and take matters into my own hands. Just end it all.'

//I had to fall
And lose it all
But in the end
It doesn't even matter//

'I had to fall and lose it all,' Duo mentally repeated, somehow finding comfort in the words. He heard a light scrape against the stone behind him, but excused in as the wind brushing the low underbrush against the ledge. 'But in the end it doesn't even matter.'

"It doesn't even matter," Duo yelled in triumph the the world, raising his arms to his sides as if they were wings that would catch the air and let him fly away. He sighed, looking down at the deep blue waves again. 'I love you,' he thought, before giving up his fight with gravity and allowing his body to be pulled down to the crashing water and rock.

His feet never left the edge. His torso was hanging over the ocean below, but there was still something holding him to the ground. Duo turned his head, practically snarling at the intruder as he was pulled away from the edge and back onto the sheer rock. His legs gave way, no longer willing to support the weight that felt dead inside.

Dead and sick.

Duo thought he was going to throw up.

He looked up, amethyst challenging his "rescuer" who was still holding Duo's wrist like a vice. He tried to form words. Anything. Just something to say; something that would hurt. Angry, malicious words that could inflict guilt, mental injury, and self-loathing, but all that could be managed was a whimper.



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