By: lilia
Disclaimer: The characters and lyrics aren't mine. As always. :)
Author's Note: This is based on Dacia's inspiring plot bunny, Mr. Bojangles. I hope you enjoy this little bit of ficcage.

A Prison in a Cage

Aren't you terrified?
Of waking up too tired to try again?

-Up, Up, Up, Goo Goo Dolls

This is a story about a boy.

This is how the story will go.

People say that you were born to be a soldier. They don't want a different version of who you are, because the war has been burned into their eyes and when they look at you this is all they see; a war hero. (A killer.) Somewhere in there, a human tries to get out. Somewhere in there you want them to see you for what you are, not for what you will never be. Now, you don't want all this fame and immortality, all this glory and gold. You want to be a person, and somehow, to everyone else this is so much less than what they think you are. They think this as if being a human will reduce you in some way, but this is the Truth. To be a person would to be so much more than you ever were before, so much more than you ever will be. Because then you will hurt, and then you will love, and then you will dream.

You were born a soldier and you will die a soldier. This is something you cannot escape.

+

So here you are, the Sunday before next Thursday, which is two days after you leave this golden prison of a house.

You wake up every day at five in the morning and you put on a different suit each day of the week. Breakfast is at seven, so you spend the first hours of the day reviewing your files, preparing yourself for another day as a bodyguard of the most important woman in the world.

You tried to talk to Relena once, and she was startled, as she should be. The conversation had lasted all of five minutes, and during the whole time she seemed to tiptoeing around you, as if she was afraid you would blow up or break. You never tried it again.

So you have breakfast- a bagel, and coffee- and this is how it goes, every day for six years now.  There's nothing to break this monochrome monotony and you've become a statue at her side- she who wanted you to be human so badly, she who wanted to fix you until she found out that there was really nothing to mend. What she doesn't realize is that you're second hand, you've been broken and mended already, broken and mended by a boy who spoke Death, by a boy with eyes like the aurora who spent days and nights, weeks and months sewing you up and ripping you apart.

You stand by her side and she doesn't know that you are going to leave in two days. Neither do you, really.

+

(click)

"I don't know why you're leaving."

"I've been doing this too long."

"You can't just go like this. I need you here, I need you to protect me."

(pause)

"It's been a while since you were a little girl, you don't need me anymore. You're capable of taking care of yourself. I need to take a break."

"You need a break from this? This is who you are! This is what you've been doing all your life. This is your job, this is what you need, don't you understand?"

(beat)

"And don't you understand that maybe I don't want to be a soldier anymore, that maybe I want to live a normal life? Maybe I want to be able to live in a situation where I'm not constantly watching my back?"

"You know, 01, there was a time when you could hardly wait to be killed. My God, if you can't stand me that badly, you don't need to make up this charade just to get out of this job. I could transfer you to another department, but you needn't lie like this!"

"I'm leaving tomorrow."

(scraping of a chair)

(footsteps)

+

Sometimes you wonder if J knew what he was doing when he took in this little blue-eyed boy and turned him into a machine; ripping out your heart and putting in a extra brain. You wonder if he knew that this was what you had to become, had to maintain. And you wonder if he cared at all. But then again, this is what duty means. Him to his job, and you to yours. His job: creation. Your job: war. And if this means pain, hurt, and blood, so be it.

This is what duty means.

+

This is what death is like.

I fell in love once, and, God, it hurt. But, you know, with that it's a good kind of pain. But now... this is nothing, and I am nothing, and-

I can't stand this without him. I never could.

+

You don't want to dream, because you don't want the pain.

+

You are walking through a hallway, the flourescent lights swinging in time to an unheard tune. The walls are painted with light and the floor fretted with stars.

You don't understand any of this.

So when a door opens at the end of the hallway, sunlight spilling through, you run to it as the corridor seems to get longer and longer. You're wondering just when it'll end, when suddenly the door is right in front of you. You don't bothering pondering how it got there, because sometimes, in the grey of your brain, you know none of it is life. But what you see in that doorway- what you see- you see yourself, happy, smiling, talking with someone that you either don't recognize or refuse to. And then the door is oh, so far away again and this time you don't try to cup its bliss in the palms of your hands.

So when he appears through the walls, you don't say anything, but he does.

Look, he says, I can't help you.

Look, he says, I tried and I tried but I failed.

Look, he says, I learned to love you once, but somewhere out there, I forgot why.

I gave up everything for you.

You try to say that you wanted to be everything he needed, that you tried to put the war behind you, that you tried to live, but they wouldn't let you. Nothing comes out but a soundless scream. And from somewhere behind you and ahead of you at the same time you hear:

'Come back and dance again Mr Bojangles...'

When you wake up, you don't remember a thing.

+

The next morning, you wake up at five. Two hours later you have your breakfast- a bagel, and coffee.

And then you realize this: You've escaped Relena, but you haven't escaped your life.

Years from now, someone will think: Heero Yuy. Maybe he believed in fate too much. Maybe he didn't believe enough. But he was a great soldier, nonetheless.

Here, now, in this house, in this city, in this universe, in this reality- you sit here, your hands automatically loading your gun.

This is the way things are and the way they will be. Always.

end

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