by: T. R Phoenix
[ note: based on my plot bunny, Feelin' Good ]


The morning sunlight streaming through the gap in the curtains wakes me up. Strong and pure, I can't help but feel that this is my favourite time of day. I love the hazy yet refreshed feeling in the first few hours of the day. For me, the morning is when I get the most work done. My energy is at its peak and I need to use it as quickly as possible before I become restless and fidgety.

As I sit down to breakfast, my mind starts to work properly. Not just random thought, proper memories. Memories of him. He's always the first thought that comes through. My smile fades a bit, but it's still there. There was a time when I did not smile. A time when my sole purpose in life was to destroy. There was no other meaning to it, I would not allow that. Back then, I would never have thought a simple smile could fulfill me in such a way. But there was one smile that I will never forget.

Duo Maxwell. Two simple words that mean so much. He was the one who made me smile and laugh. Not just a manic laugh after destruction, a real smile. One that showed exactly how I felt. He made me smile. He helped me with so much. I realized that my life could have more meaning to it. I also had the feeling that only he could do this for me. Only when he was around could I truly feel these emotions. Then he was gone and I thought I would never feel anything again. Numbness fell over me. I did not cry, I did not feel grievous. I could not feel a thing. How could I now that he was not around?

Only after the funeral did I start to feel something. Pain. Nothing that could be taken away with painkillers, this was true emotional pain. My chest contracted, lungs gasped for air, heart trying to beat. Was this what survivor guilt was? Was I guilty that I was still here while Duo had given his life?

We were under heavy fire from fractured OZ troops. The Preventors were the ones called in to take care of them. From our position, we were pinned down. An aircraft hanger was our last stand. Then it happened. The soldiers came through the door and opened fire. I vaguely remember what happened in those next few seconds, but before I knew it, I was pushed over by the weight of someone falling. Pinned beneath him, I heard him laugh quietly then sigh. I managed to turn with Duo still on top of me. He had shielded me from the bullets, at the price of his own life. His limp body still sprawled on me; all I could do was look. His face was strangely peaceful. Eyes closed and a small smile on his lips. I froze. I could not move. Even though the gun battle was still going on, I blocked out the sounds and everything else. He was... he had saved me. Not a thought as to his own life. It did not seem real. It could not be! He can't just die! What was he thinking of! I grabbed his shoulders and shook him, I shouted his name, screamed for him to wake up, but nothing I did helped. He was somewhere I could not reach. Still warm, nothing like I thought death would be. But then again, I never saw Duo's death coming. I could imagine my own. I had hit the self-destruct button, I had asked Noventa's family to take my life and other times I put my life on the line. I always expected Duo to be there till the end, but it is me that is still here. Still living.

The following months were the worst. I could barely function. I could not sleep in our bed. I had taken to the sofa and an old blanket. I did not have an appetite, I never left the house. The others came around; trying to cheer me up, coax me out. Quatre was the most frequent visitor. He would visit every week and bring food and make sure I was ok. I did not appreciate it at the time, but I'm thankful now. He and Duo were close as well. We all were. At the time they held little meaning, but now, looking back, all the comforting words did help.

Three months passed before I cried. A choking sob at first. Tears welling up, blurring my vision before rolling down my cheeks. Self-pity, I was crying for myself. I hated that. I threw things; upturned tables, I even managed to put my hand through an oak door -- that even surprised me. There I sat in the middle of this destruction, crying for Duo. It was for Duo. I finally cried for him. All my emotions crashed over me at once, drowning me. I did not want to be saved, though. I let them take me and break me. Then clarity hit me, more so than anything before in my life. It was like he was there, comforting me. He looks over me. From the start he has watched over me.

Slowly, the pain started to dull. I started to realize that if he were here, he would berate me for doing this to his memory. I started to remember him as he was -- bright, cheerful, cute. I realized that he had helped me out of a shell I did not think I could break.

I got rid of a lot of demons when he was with me. He helped me there. He even began to let his past slip away. I knew that he resented his past, but he never forgot it. The events that happened to him made him who he was. He remembered his past, yet never dwelt in it. It never consumed him. He taught me that.

Loving Duo was the easiest thing I ever did. Admitting that I did, even to myself, was the hardest. Maybe we did not fall in love straight away -- shooting me was a bit off-putting -- but gradually I began to feel that fluttery feeling in my stomach when he was near. When we did finally get together, we did not waste any time in consummating our relationship, scarce minutes between confessing and groping. I can't remember that first time, but the subsequent times were exquisite. Whether it was heated, lust-filled fucking, or slow, tender love by the fireside, each and every time was special, unique, Duo.

Living without him is hard at times. I haven't gotten over him, but I have moved on and I take him with me. He is a part of me, just as I am a part of him. He'll always be with me so I need not worry about forgetting him.

I miss him. I live for him.


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