Author: Imo-chan
Title: Sweet Catastrophe

Pairings: 1+2+1
Warnings: Christmas fic, angst, shounen-ai, notreallyadeathficimsorrydonthurttheauthor! These are all the things I promised I'd never do. Except for Mpreg. I meant that when I said it.
Notes: Fic-prezzie written for three wonderful people of the GW fandom. Spooks, no one can write a "ghost story" quite like you. You watch where you swing that mallet, hon. ^_~ Tanny, it might not be happy, but at least it's got closure. I Wub You ^^^ [mutant!!] Sonny, I hope I one day am able to kick as much ass as you. And even then, I'd never be able to do it with as much Italian flair. :P

Merry xmas all. <3

now I count the hours till you wake
with your baby's breath, breathe symphonies
come on sweet catastrophe

Sweet Catastrophe

On a quiet, resting colony, on a darkened street, in a small apartment building, in a plain, beige living room, the glowing green numbers of a digital clock click to 12 am; a single, short beep is all that accompanies the slip into the deep hours of the night.  

Duo, sitting on the drab couch cushions of the low-lit room, shows no response to the sound. His hands are buried in a basket of warm laundry; his eyes are lowered resolutely. In the background, a Christmas vid begins playing the echoing, tinny sounds of a carolling church choir. He refuses to acknowledge the dark, clear sky outside his window, or the chill of the room, or the dead man standing in the shadows of his doorway.

"I don't believe in angels," Duo blurts finally, ducking his head to hide his eyes.

"What?" murmurs the shadow, stepping a little farther into the dim light.

"I've thought about it," Duo shakes his head minutely, as if denying the existence of the very conversation. "Since last year. And the year before. And I think I don't believe in angels," he pauses, and hazards a dark, guarded look at the tall, strong man across the room. "So you're a ghost."

"What?" says Heero, his expression neutral, natural, pleasant.

"You're a ghost," Duo repeats, attempting a matter-of-fact tone as he returns to his quiet task of folding sheets, his mouth hard and thin. "Because I don't believe in angels."

Heero regards him with quiet, undisturbed eyes; he doesn't reply.

Duo shakes his head quickly, violently, clenching his fists into the fabric. "You're not even a fucking ghost. You ain't nothing but bad air and last night's leftovers."

"You say that. Always. You don't believe I'm here."

"Go away, Heero," his voice quivers a little, but he won't look up.

"Why?"

"Go away."

"I can't."

"Go away."

"I have to - "

"Go away! Go away!!"

"Duo."

Duo's voice is agitated and hoarse. "Fuck!" he whispers violently, his lips chapped and his eyes shut tightly against the dull light of the room.

"I don't... believe in angels." His hands are trembling. The pillowcase he's holding slips from his fingers and collapses like shrivelled skin against his thighs.

Heero slips his hands into his pockets and looks at the sparsely decorated tree crouching in the corner, proud in its on-the-breadline beauty.

"The lights look nice," he murmurs.

"Fuck!" Duo moans, his body curling in on itself. "What are you doing?! Why are you here! Why are you here? Why are you always here?!"

"Why not?" asks Heero, staring into the smearing stars of light spattered against the needles.

"You're dead." Duo's jaw clenches, and he can't say it any louder than a cracked, bleeding sigh.

"To you, too?" It's a question full of regret.

"To fucking everybody!" Duo rasps, his eyes finally opening to take in Heero's calm face, his smooth, ageless skin, and his strong body. "And to everybody that's not too fucking crazy..." he swallows hard, "you stay dead."

"I don't think..."

"You died in an explosion. No one survived," Duo's mouth twists in a shattered grimace as he speaks, as if reciting a list. "The shuttle blew up and killed everyone instantly. There were fourteen people on board. It took them five days to identity your remains because you were scattered all over the stratosphere. You were buried in St. Odilo's. Three years to the day."

"What if I don't want to believe that?"

"You have to." Duo's voice is exhausted.

"Why?"

"Because it's true!" He gasps desperately, his hands gripping, tearing at his hair and his temples. "Because it's the truth and you're dead, Heero! You died."

"Shhh..." murmurs Heero, one hand moving towards him in a gesture of comfort. "I didn't mean to upset you, Duo. I'm sorry."

Duo, face cradled in shaking palms, doesn't look up. "You always say that..." he whispers, voice broken. "But you're... here. That's upsetting."

"Why is it upsetting?" Heero moves closer, his outstretched hand falling back to his side.

"How can it not be?" Duo stares up at him in disbelief. "People that die aren't supposed to come back an' visit!"

Heero sighs. "You think I'm a bad dream."

"I think you shouldn't be here."

"What if I need to be?"

Duo blinks; looks up at him with lost eyes, his arms clutching at his stomach as if feels violently ill. "What?"

"Maybe I need to be here," says Heero quietly.

"Why?" Duo murmurs, turning away. "Why the fuck would you haunt me like this?"

Heero shrugs and sits on the couch, his thigh brushing Duo's. "That's what ghosts do, isn't it?"

"Fuck you," Duo shivers fiercely at the contact.

The Christmas vid merrily echoes words of peace, light, and a new year of hope.

"Don't you fuck with me anymore," Duo clenches his fists against his legs. "Whatever you want, just take it. I'm too tired to..."

"I don't want anything," Heero tilts his head and tries to catch Duo's hard, distrustful eyes.

"Bullshit," Duo spits.

"I just want to talk."

"We are talking."

"I'm talking. You're spinning your wheels."

"Fuck you!" Duo rounds on him, his eyes crazed. "You think I can change how I feel about this?! Fuck! I think I'm going crazy and you tell me...you! ... who are you anyway to tell me I'm spinning my fucking wheels?"

"Duo. I'm not trying to hurt you," Heero appeals, laying a hand on Duo's knee.

Duo starts, and inhales shakily, his shoulders shaking and his mouth quivering with rage and confusion and grief.

"Why are you here?" he rasps tiredly, quietly; hearing tears in his breaking voice. "What do you want?"

Heero begins to shake his head, as if the answer escapes him, but stops and raises his head with shining eyes. "To wish you a Merry Christmas," he says quietly, a small, sad smile gracing his lips.

"What's fucking merry about this?" Duo laughs bitterly.

"Seeing each other?" Heero offers. Then, he nods. "Being near friends."

Duo shakes his head in disbelief, his voice exhausted by the effort of sarcasm. "Yeah, real sorry, Heero, we should've kept in better touch this year."

"I'm serious, Duo. Maybe this is very important to you."

"Or maybe I'm just coked up."

"Maybe you need to open your eyes."

"Maybe you need to fuck off."

Heero sighs, and they both look away. Duo's shoulders are hunched and tense; Heero looks frustrated at the conversational circles they're running. The vid does nothing to swallow the dreadful silence of the room.

"I wanna talk about something else," says Duo suddenly, getting up and turning to the window.

"What would you like to talk about?"

"The snow."

Heero glances out the window. "What snow?"

"Exactly," Duo murmurs, sliding his shaking hands into his pockets. "What fucking snow."

"It doesn't snow on the colonies, Duo."

"I know. Fuck, I know," Duo snaps. "That's the point! I always wanted to have a Christmas where it snowed, so everything would be perfect, right? I was always to busy... fucking fighting a war. No one should fight a fucking war on Christmas. Christmas isn't about fucking guns. It's about presents and family and shit. And snow. So it should, you know? Snow. On the colonies."

"What purpose would it serve?" asks Heero pointedly.

"What purpose does anything serve?!"

"That's not a valid question, Duo."

"Why the fuck not?!" Duo whirls on him, eyes blazing. "What fucking purpose did your dying have?"

The shout rings out like an echo in the small room; even the windows seem to reverberate with the pained cry.

"Duo..." Heero reaches out a hand, his face confused.

"Fuck!" Duo pushes the help away, collapsing like lead on the couch again. He rubs his face with his hands, his fingers clutch briefly at his temples and then at each other as he forces his hands into his lap. But even all his strength can't control the soft, minute trembling of his body.

They sit in silence, the old vid crackling and singing, and the time ticking by in grotesquely long seconds.

"Did it hurt?" asks Duo finally, his head still turned away, his hands clenched in his lap.

"Did what hurt?"

"When the shuttle blew up."

Heero blinks slowly. "I don't think so," he murmurs.

A moment's quiet. Then, "It should've."

"Duo?!"

"It should've hurt," Duo repeats, throat hard and constricted. His dim reflection in the window barely shows the shiny trails of tears breaking down the side of his face. "It should've torn your insides apart and made you want to scream, but you couldn't because your throat was burning with all the things you wish you'd said and your hands were itching and scrambling to do all the things you told yourself you were gonna get around to and your heart should've shrivelled up and collapsed into your stomach and just because it was still beating doesn't mean you were alive before you got burned up and shot out into space in a million pieces! Freezing... mindless... " Duo gasps with the force of every word, his shoulders heaving terribly with each choking, dry sob.

"You should've still been burning!" he weeps, his body bent with rage and grief.

And Heero reaches over and bodily pulls him across the couch, wrapping his arms tightly around that thin, racking chest and pressing his face to that soft, cinnamon-coloured head, quieting the violent, tormenting moans of misery. Duo clings to him desperately, his hands curling in the fabric of Heero's shirt, his body twisting to bury his face against Heero's skin, his legs curling under him to make him seem smaller, to try and disappear.

Duo lies there awkwardly for the span of many shaking minutes, not caring how long it's been since he's cried, or that his legs are aching and his fingernails are biting into his raw palms and his neck is screaming with the clumsy angle it rests in. He breathes, and listens to the sound of Heero's breathing, and the very solid feeling of his arms and his chest and the pounding of his heart.

"That's how it should have felt," Duo murmurs when he tries his voice. "But it seemed like no one else but me..." he trails off, his hands curling in Heero's shirt.

Heero smiles sadly, and entwines his fingers in Duo's, lifting them from his shirt. Duo looks up still unsure of the new release of all those bottled words; his shame is hot on his cheeks.

"I understand," says Heero.

"Yeah?" Duo laughs brokenly. "'Cause I sure as hell don't."

"I do," says Heero. "I'm sorry I never made it home."

"Me too."

"I'm sorry this had to happen."

"Me too."

"I'm sorry I had to die."

"Me too."

"I'm sorry I left you before you felt ready."

"... Me... too."

"I'm sorry I never told you how I felt."

"... Me too."

"I'm sorry I never got to hold you like this and tell you how beautiful you are."

"... Heero."

"I'm sorry I never got to kiss you."

And Duo leans in desperately, his shaking breath sweeping over Heero's lips. "Please..." he whispers, swallowing hard. "Please... I..."

"What?" Heero murmurs, his hands coming up to brush gently through Duo's hair, his eyes swelling with tears.

"I don't care... if you're real or not," Duo breathes. "Please... I just need to tell you..."

"I kno - "

"No. No..." Duo slips his fingers along that strong jaw line and the smooth skin of his face. "I need to... need to..."

"Heero," he says very quietly; clear and slow. "I love you."

Their lips touch, the briefest feathering contact between the present and the past; Duo shudders with love and relief and grief and happiness, and his eyes slip closed. He doesn't even notice when the solidity fades from the body supporting him, or the lips against his dissolve into air and light.

Later, as he lies alone on the couch, he opens his eyes to the sound of snow hitting the window. It's almost imperceptible, like the beat of invisible wings, and he doesn't know whether he's really hearing it, or if he only needed to.

-fin-

+

uh, Happy Holidays, everyone? >_o

You don't do it on purpose
but you make me shake

now I count the hours till you wake
with your baby's breath, breathe symphonies
come on sweet catastrophe
well maybe this time I can follow through
I can feel complete, stop paying dues
stop the rain from falling
keep my ocean calm
this time I know nothing's wrong
-- sweet catastrophe, something corporate

[back to Singles a - k]