Sleep 5/?
by Zillie
pairings: primarily 1+2, but also 1+R (but this is _not_ the point of the story), 3+4
category: AUish, not fantasy but with mythical elements--gothic, maybe.
warnings: odd, wonky dreams, wonky tenses; this will make sense! I promise! and before too long, because I'm getting close to the ending. This one's a little hard to understand because a lot of the scenes are split up.
disclaimer: the song 'you're so great' belongs to blur, off of the self titled album, and has been one of my favorite songs for years. Mad props to anyone who can spot literary references--feathered serpents and DH Lawrence in earlier parts, yes--so who gets the leaves line? Also mad props to whoever can identify the cousins.


it was a flashback with dialogue.
it just happened and there was "dialogue"
it is a dream and there is dialogue

Sleep + Part 5

+

Was he meant to love me? he had asked, his voice quiet. Was he supposed to fuck me? Was he the one who was going to stay? It wasn't until Duo's face began to change color that Heero realized he had his hands around his lover's neck.

+

::sad drunk and poorly::

+

He was awake when the alarm went off, awake and staring at the ceiling as she batted it off and rolled back over and stretched her body along his.

"I don't love you," he said.

+

::sleeping really late::

+

They had been, for little apparent reason, sudden friends for the two weeks Heero had spent at her Georgia high school-he had not seen her since. But somehow it made perfect sense that she would go with him to get a tattoo.

Her name is Kelly and walking beside him she is as adorable as ever. He is glad to be seventeen again, to be laughing with friends and pissing off his parents. They spend too much time worrying about Molly and her algebra-they haven't even noticed how well he is at algebra, haven't even asked him for help. But he doesn't care.

He wants something that will last forever.

And because the boys in school are shy and because Kelly, for all her sweet brightness, is never going to make him hurt the way he is sure that love should, he decides that a tattoo is just his kind of commitment.

+

::sad drunk and poorly::

+

The building is like a maze-they trail mardi gras beads behind them as they follow the aluminum foil wrapped artist down the corridors, through hedges and mirrors and the occasional conga line.

He adjusts his bonnet so that he can see better.

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::not feeling so great::

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She was silent.

+

::wandering lost::

+

Duo had understood why he didn't want to be a preventer, even before he had understood it himself. You've already given your whole life, his lover had said flatly. That's enough.

He had been torn between duty and the need to save whatever was left of his soul. They need me.

You've done what you were needed to do. You saved the world, Heero. Maybe you'll decide you want to be a preventer someday, and I'm not saying that's wrong. I'm saying that right now, in your life, you need something that isn't about death or blood, something that isn't about the mission or the world or the part of humanity that makes you want to crawl into a closet and hide, it's so horrible. I say take ten years, work your way through world literature or something. You need some beauty in your life. Heero had felt ridiculously freed by Duo's words. I have beauty, he had growled, pulling his lover to him. I have you. It was only when he looked back that he had realized how full of desperation Duo's kiss had been.

+

::in a town::
::full of frowns::

+

Through a hole in the maze he can see Trowa-seventy Trowas, actually, maybe more-in full clown getup. One stands on his head-one whips through cartwheels-one waltzes alone in the half-lit evening. Kelly looks, as well, and lights up as if she has just understood the meaning of life. I always wanted to have a cat, she says, and slips through the hedge. And is gone. He follows the accordion down the paths.

+

::sad drunk and lonely::

+

In the room Duo waits for him.

I want a commitment, he says, I want a tattoo.

Duo puts down the gun. Do you?

Heero feels like his head is a whirlpool-he cannot think. He can only know. I want it. I want you, embroidered onto my body. Set down into my skin. Permanent.

They don't change, Duo says, his eyes anguished. You pick one way-you have this one moment-and then they just stay there. Static. He turns away, stares at the painted walls. You're too young to be static.

I would be static for you.

Duo glances back over his shoulder. Nothing that stays the same stays interesting. I could put you right here-he touches the smooth skin covering his heart-and when I did I would love you like the leaves, but in a year, or ten, or a hundred, you would still be the same and I would forget to look at you. I would have seen everything, and you would have nothing new to show me.

Heero feels the knowledge of what it would mean to be part of Duo's skin wash over him, and he is humbled. Brought to his knees. I want to be part of you. It doesn't have to be that way.

It always has been before.

Off in the distance, Kelly rides one of Trowa's lions toward a land full of snow. Dancing Clown Trowa has found a partner-Quatre- and they waltz, but only in the loosest sense of the word. They move together, in a thousand different directions, a thousand variations, the only constant the sight of their faces. Together.

With you and me, the steps would never change, Duo said softly, coming up behind Heero and resting his head on the other boy's shoulder.

Have you got some? Tattoos? He turns and stares the other boy in the eye.

Duo looks away. No-but I've seen them-my cousins-

+

::dogs digging up the ground::

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The second visitor had a tattoo. Several, really. A snake twined about her upper arm-her shoulder blades had eyes on them that stared at Heero when she turned to leave.

He had sat up, startled. What the hell?

Duo still lay in bed beside him, his eyes open and fearful.

Who the fuck are you? Heero demanded.

She had looked over her shoulder at him, and he had hissed involuntarily-she was quite possibly the most beautiful creature he'd ever seen. Her dusky skin gleamed-shamed the simple gold key she wore about her neck-her eyes were like heaven. He saw no judgment there, no condemnation of the two murderer boys who lay twined around each other in a bed where limits were verboten. There was just mercy. Comfort. He found that he wanted to cry-he had not cried in years, and he had no idea that in a month he would be crying enough to make up for all of that. Then he only knew that she made him feel- content. Almost resigned. As though he could say goodbye to all passions and intensity with no qualms.

Much like he had in the seconds before he had pushed the self destruct button on his gundam.

The thought scared him, though he didn't let it show. The way Duo said nothing scared him. The fact that some woman had apparently managed to get this close to the both of them while they were sleeping scared him. He didn't like being scared.

Who are you and how did you get in here?

I am nobody, she said, and the obvious lie made his eyes narrow. I came simply to see my cousin. To let him know we miss him. As for how I got in, she fingered the key that rested between her breasts, well, I have a way with locks.

The air around her seemed to blaze like a torch. She peered at Heero. He really is lovely, she said, her hand moving to rest on the snake on her arm. So young. So alive. Without him really noticing, she managed to get close enough to peer into his eyes. The heat from her body was almost too much to bear, but that wouldn't even occur to him until later, when he looked at his sunburned body in the mirror. I am so used to the old, she said, and her voice held such sadness that Heero could not have moved to save his life-it was hers if it would lift the pain from her voice.

You said what you wanted to say, Duo managed, his voice gritty. Leave.

Long lashes swept down as she slowly closed her eyes-Heero found he could breathe again. I leave now, she said. And I will not see this one again for a long time. But you, cousin, and she walked away, the eyes on her shoulders seeming almost to follow Heero as he belatedly groped for his gun, you I will see soon, with joy.

Duo bit his lip-Heero recognized Duo's `really wanting to say something but for the third time in his life managing not to' face- and she laughed, low and sweet, like a death knoll, her laugh. I will wait for you, she said, and dance with you, because, after all, I am your cousin, and this one, for all his life, cannot touch you.

And here the eyes engraved on her back closed, and Heero blinked in confusion, and she was gone.

+

::and I feel the light::

+

"Just because you don't love me the way you loved him," she said slowly, "doesn't mean that you don't love me. Or that we can't be happier together than apart."

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::in the night and in the day::

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He had said something much the same to Duo, once, during the war when they had been desperate lovers determined to know something of life before the inevitable death. Just because we're not in love, he had said, still breathing heavily, the other boy still resting inside his body, still part of him like ink slipped between the layers of his skin like a commitment, doesn't mean we can't do better together than we can apart.

Duo had managed to raise his head, his eyelids at half mast, his smile smug and knowing. Don't be an idiot, Heero.

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::and I feel the light::

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Idiot? He was only vaguely insulted, for some reason-if anyone else had said that, he would have gone for his gun.

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::when the sky's just mud and gray::

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Duo had splayed a hand on his chest. I don't know about you, but I feel better whenever you're around. I feel smarter, and funnier, and more alive. I feel more content, and I feel more. . . I don't know.

Horny?

That, too. But when I'm with you, and he shrugged, laying his head down again to rest on Heero's shoulder. I understand poetry.

Heero stilled. Poetry?

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::and I feel the light::

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Yeah. Like I understand all that stuff. And I feel more-and sometimes that sucks, because every time I attack Oz I think, what if there's someone in there who loves somebody the same way I love Heero? I feel like I understand what connects people now, and I feel like I know what I'm fighting for. And it's not me, and it's not the colonies, it's-and he shrugged. I sound so cheesy.

What is it?

He could feel Duo's eyelashes on his bare skin. It's that since I met you I stopped believing that humans are mostly bad, and started believing that there's something beautiful in life. And no matter what that whacked-out Dorothy chick says, war ain't it. It's this idea of beauty, this idea of something so great and beautiful it makes me want to cry. Before I met you I had some inklings of it- there's a little in friendship, a little in religion, a little in fighting, even. He shrugged again, obviously embarrassed. But then you-and I-well-I guess you can call me juvenile and melioristic now.

+

::when you tell me it's okay::

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Duo?

The other boy was unnaturally still against his body. Huh?

I don't know much about poetry. Literature was never one of my focuses. But, and he hesitated here, not sure what to say.

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::cos you're so great::

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I think, knowing you, that if I read it-poetry-I would understand it.

Duo's mouth curved against his skin. Yeah? So you're saying. . . .

You know what I'm saying, baka.

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::and I love you::

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Yeah, Duo had whispered. I know. And I love you too.

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Lying beside Relena, he remembered the complete and utter pain of that moment, of knowing that the chances that both he and Duo would survive the war-it had been nearly enough to make him give up. And lying beside Relena, he realized that the idea of not being with her didn't make his body twist with pain.

She deserved better.

"I'm not happy," he said. "And if you think you're happy I've stayed far too long."

Against his body she had none of the generosity, the comfort that had characterized Duo. She clung to him because she feared the cold, not because the warmth of his body made her think of the beauty of life. She clung to him the way he had always clung to her.

It was time to let go.

+

Don't make me, Duo said, the butterflies in his hair flapping in time to the circus music. Trowa and Quatre are still dancing, still laughing, still intertwined. Don't beg me.

You're afraid you'll say yes, Heero says, realizing. You're afraid.

I never said I didn't love you.

Then take me. Save me. Keep me. He holds out his arm for the tattoo-Duo's eyes slip to the gun. Please.

And Duo is crying, but he picks it up and loads it full of ink. Don't let me, he says again, but he comes closer.

+

And Heero snaps awake.

It is the real world.

Slowly he brought his hands up to his face. Slowly he covered his eyes with his uninked arms. Slowly he wondered what he had almost done. And what had stopped him.

+

::cos you're so great and I love you::

[part 4] [part 6] [back to Zillie's fic]