a land without flowers
category: post EW, Duo POV, sort of introspective
disclaimers: the tanka forsaking the mists was written by Lady Ise and can
be found in quite a few collections of Japanese poetry; "Charlottes
Web" belongs to EB White.
rating: r for language
note: this is just a short little one shot. . . please let me know if
you like it at all.
land without flowers
Every Monday and Friday on
my way home from school, I stop and buy myself flowers. Sometimes they're
the cheap ones in Tesco, half a dozen tulips for two pounds; sometimes
I stop in a florist and pick them out, individually. Roses. Calla lilies.
Sunflowers. Daffodils. Anything big and bright and yellow I like. Anything
that is like the sun I put in a jar on my desk and stare at for days.
Right after the war he wanted to get a plant. He liked ferns, so we got
one and stuck it in our apartment. And I watered it every few days and
kept it in the sunlight and talked to it, even, and within six months
it was dead. I'm still not sure why. It just started turning brown at the
tips, and the brown crept down the middle until the whole thing was stiff
and dry and gone. I kept talking to it, though, and then one day I came
home and found that he'd thrown it away.
I never worried about him and Relena, though a lot of people thought I
should. I knew him better than that, knew that he knew himself better
than that. She wasn't what he needed. We both knew that. She wasn't even
what he wanted. What he wanted was something bright and shiny, somebody
he could share a small apartment and a fern with. Somebody to be normal
with. What he needed, I was so sure, was me.
When I found, out I yelled at him about the fern. Wilbur, I called it,
a joke that only I ever got, but one that amused me every time I danced
with him around the room singing songs from Charlottes Web. After he started
turning brown he would leave little bits behind. I had to vacuum after
every dance. But I was sure, absolutely certain, that I could make him
better. That if I danced with him or sang to him or told him I loved him
one more time the brown would go away and he would be all right. I hated
that Heero threw Wilbur away; when he told me that he'd slept with someone
else, that was what I yelled at him for.
"Who?" I asked, strangely calm.
"Rafe. The Preventer who works with Jan Myles."
I turned and looked out the window. "Why?"
He has this thing he does where his whole body sort of twitches. I think
it's the Heero Yuy approximation of a shrug. He did it then. "We
were talking. We were drinking. We. . . about the war. There was pain
in his voice, honest pain. And I got to thinking about all the people
who were never going to sit in a pub with their friends again. . . and
he told me about his sister, who was killed during the war. And before
I knew it, I was inside him and the faster I moved the less I thought
about all the people who would never touch anyone ever again."
"You don't talk to me about the war anymore," I said.
He moved towards me; I backed away. "That's because when I'm around
you I don't want to think about it. I want to think about good things.
The future. You."
"So you go out and fuck random guys."
His eyes are open, honest. I don't believe him when he says, "Only
once. It was a mistake." He might not be lying, but he will be next
"Was it rough?"
The question takes him aback; he answers it anyway. "A little."
"You're never rough with me."
"I love you."
"We're seventeen years old, Heero. Its supposed to get a little rough
"I thought you'd yell."
I turn back to the window. "Why did you throw away Wilbur?"
He was taken aback. "Wilbur?"
"Duo. It was dead."
I knew I looked anguishe'd; I remember the unfamiliar feeling of tears
in my eyes. "I was going to save him."
"Duo, it was really dead."
"You'd know, wouldn't you?" I snapped, not regretting my words
a second later like any decent person would have. I hurt him
And he fucked Rafe Johanns, Preventer.
"I don't talk about the war because it makes you unhappy. I only
work part time because you like having me here, puttering around like
some housewife. I cook for you and I clean for you and I wash your socks
and I give you head with your eggs in the morning. I do my best to give
you whatever it is you say you want. So tell me, Heero, what is it I couldnt
give you last night?"
He didn't answer.
"I always thought I could forgive you anything," and I was crying
by that time, "but you threw away Wilbur."
Two months later I began my study of Japanese poetry in a little Scottish
town on the North Sea.
I didn't have any plants in my room; I had fingered a few ferns in the
nursery in town, but hadn't quite been able to deal with the thought of
having something else to take care of. I was busy. Taking care of me.
Taking care of him even though he wasn't there to know it. Every night
I said good-night to him, and settled into bed, curling up behind the
imaginary planes of his back. Every night I kissed his air-shoulder and
told him I loved him. Every night I pressed my ear to my wrist and pretended
I could hear his heartbeat.
A few months into my study I came across a poem by a woman known as Lady
Forsaking the mists
That rise in the spring
Wild geese fly off.
They have learned to live
In a land without flowers.
Something about the calm desolation of it nearly had me in tears in the
On my way home I stopped and bought myself carnations.
I didn't have any vases, so I hacked the top off of a water bottle and
set it on my bedside table, beside my lamp. All day as I worked I found
myself stealing glances at the flowers, the pinks and reds and whites
and purples, some lined in a darker shade at the edges. They reminded
me of pain. I chucked them out the window.
The next day I bought daffodils, and put them on my desk, next to my computer.
During a period of frustration, I pulled one from the mock vase and raised
it to my face.
Somehow the petals of flowers feel like cool skin; somehow when you drag
them over your body you can pretend it is his touch you feel. Sometimes
when they skim over your mouth you find yourself kissing them as if they
are your lover. Sometimes when you crawl into bed and lay one on your
chaste pillow the sweet smell of you reminds you of life.
I sent him a card yesterday. Day after tomorrow is the anniversary of
the day he saved me from Oz. I didn't say much; just hello, I miss you.
And I sat and chewed my way completely through a pen (dyed my tongue blue)
before working up the courage to sign it 'love, Duo'. In the end I did,
because it's true, and because not enough people love him, and because
I'm hoping that before too long he'll figure out that I could give him
what he needs if he would let me. Hell, I'm hoping that he'll reply to
this card, that he'll show up on my doorstep, and that he'll give me that
look I can never say no to. I'm hoping he'll come in when I invite him,
and that he'll look around, and smile. I'm hoping that Heero Yuy can learn
to live in a land with flowers.
And I'm thinking about getting a new fern.
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