by zillie
pairings: 1+2, sort of 1+R
Hey! Look! It starts to make sense!
warnings: there are actually no dreams in this part. There are no song lyrics--rather, I have used the poem beginning 'I loved her like the leaves' by the poet Kakinomoto Hitomaro, a late seventh/early eighth century Japanese poet. The translation used is from the Bownas/Thwaite '98 edition of The Penguin Book of Japanese Verse (though it's no different than the '64 version), a book that I would reccomend as in introduction to Japanese poetry. (The romaji form of this poem can be found in Rexroth's One Hundred Poems from the Japanese). I took the liberty of changing the gender pronouns within the (english) text, and of putting the end of the poem (still with feminine stuff) at the end--I did, however, skip a few lines, for which I apologize.
Tenses: like I said, no dreams, but there are flasbacks in which he had said something, and current events, in which he said "something."
oh, and for those of you who asked: the reason that Duo's birthday is on April 24th is because that's mine, too. . . . .

Sleep + Part 6

+

He wasn't sure when the dreams became more real than the days.

He wasn't sure when the days became noting more than brief passages, pit stops between the milestones of his dreams.

And he wasn't sure when he'd started sleeping so much, or when the waking hours had started to blur together in the manner usually reserved for dreams, blurring and fading until he couldn't remember what had been real and what had not. He didn't know when he had stopped caring about the world, and he didn't know how much the world had worried about him. And then the dreams stopped.

+

::I loved him like the leaves,::
::the lush leaves of spring::
::that weighed the branches of the willows::
::standing on the jutting bank::
::where we two walked together::
::While he was of this world.::

+

"What is it?" she gasped, stopping at the sight of his face.

He was still staring at his arms. "Nothing."

She came closer, sat down on the edge of the couch beside him. "I don't believe you."

He shook his head. "Nothing. Dream."

"You were asleep?" The odd note in her voice made him glance at the clock. 4:17. Afternoon. "Yeah." She linked her hands, bit her lip. "Are you all right?"

He wanted her gone, wanted to think about this in peace. "I'm fine."

"I could arrange for a doctor-" his head whipped up, startled her into stopping. She bit her lip harder, and, after a moment, tried again. "You've been sleeping a lot lately." Softer, "I've been worried."

"Don't," he said, pulling his legs around her and standing. "I'll be gone soon."

Her eyes were full of misery as she watched him walk away.

He turned the shower on, too hot, and found himself remembering. As usual.

+

::My life was built on him;::

+

Duo on Peacemillion. The showers all but divided into cubicles-just small cracks where a boy could catch glimpses of water-smooth skin in the cube next to him. Duo's voice, rising above the noise of the falling water.

This kind of thing really makes you think about the important things in life!

You mean war, and life, and the meaning of peace? Wufei had asked dryly.

Nah. I mean the crap food they serve here makes you think about the good stuff-the tiny beds make you think about the big kind-and the company, well. . . . he trailed off, his grin evident in his voice.

Baka, Heero had muttered, and Wufei had echoed in agreement.

No, no, I'm serious, Duo said. I mean, yeah, deep stuff all well and good, but isn't there anything you want right now that if some gorgeous guy-or girl, 'Fei, whatever-offered to you, well, it'd be enough to make you go down on him-or her, 'Fei-right then and there?

Yeah, Wufei had retorted. Herself.

See? 'Fei's getting tired of his right hand, Duo had cackled.

And you're not, Maxwell?

Nah. I'm left handed.

Heero had smiled into the shower spray. And debated offering Duo a helping hand. Again.

What about you, Heero? Duo had purred. Are you feeling sex-starved?

Heero had thought back to the night before. . . and smiled again. A bathtub, he said.

Huh?

That's what would make me. . . happy. I haven't had a bath in a really long time. I want one that's huge. This big, and he had stretched his arms as far as the shower would let him.

We can't see you, Wufei complained, but Heero knew that Duo was peeping through the cracks.

A bathtub, Duo echoed, and turned off the water in his stall. You know, this place is short on a lot of things. We should conserve. And he slipped into the shower stall with Heero. You done yet, Wufei?

Almost. Why?

You might not wanna stick around for this part, Duo said, advancing on Heero with a wicked leer. Your right hand might get jealous.

+

::But man cannot flout::
::the laws of this world.::

+

Sometimes, Duo had said, there are mistakes.

Heero had waited, not even blinking.

And sometimes people die who aren't supposed to.

Treize. Noventa. A little girl and a little dog. Heero had nodded. I know that.

No, Duo had said softly, not like that. He took a deep breath. Sometimes. . . there might be a boy. Just a street rat from L2, you know, but sometimes he might be meant to stumble across a church orphanage and change the future of everyone there. He might be meant to steal a gundam and fly it to Earth. He might be meant to fight in a war. And he might, because of a little mistake-an oversight, really-on my part, he took a breath and turned so that Heero could only see half of his face, in shadow against the window, he might die before he has the chance to do all that. Heero said nothing.

Duo had jerked his head back around. It's not like I never told you. I said it every time. . . .

His voice had been quiet, conversational. You never said you weren't human.

I was! I am. But, and he had searched for words. I was Death first.

So you're dead.

No. I wasn't human in the first place, Duo had hastened to explain. I was always Death. Well. . . I'm not that old. . . .

How old?

I'd only been on the job for a few hundred years, his lover had said earnestly. That was why I made such a stupid mistake with him.

With Solo.

Duo had nodded.

So you came to take his place.

Duo had nodded again.

Tell me, Heero had ordered softly, was he supposed to love me?

+

He remembers the last stranger the best. The day she came, he had Duo had just showered together. The day she came was one of the most beautiful days spring had offered so far. It was Duo's birthday. It was the day he left.

She was standing by the window, waiting for them. Heero froze in his tracks. Duo, who had managed to finagle a piggy-back ride out of his lover, looked up. And sucked in his breath as if it hurt him to do so. Hello, she said.

+

Was he meant to fuck me?

+

Her eyes had been full of pity. Regret.

You can't stay, she said. You know that.

Why? Duo had begged. Why?

Because, cousin, you're not human. Her voice had been as golden as her hair, her blue eyes as bright as her body was tall. She towered over them both. Just because you love one-just because you love like one-that doesn't mean you can stay.

Duo had shuddered against his back. Why? he asked again, the sound plaintive. Longing.

You've only got an hour left, she had said, tapping her long fingers against her black leather clad legs. There was, Heero realized, a motorcycle propped up against the wall of his bedroom. Bast warned you. Vanth warned you. You know it as well as I do, cousin. And she had reached out, touching Duo, her arm almost touching Heero's face. The heat of it burning his skin. Come home, cousin. And she had pulled back, swung a leg over the bike, and given Heero one last glance. Of sadness. Of sympathy. Of fate. And something about the way she rode away made him think of bloodlust and rings of fire, of warriors dead with victory, of gods fallen and chaos' reign. She was a far cry from the stereotypes who portrayed her in opera, this Brynhuld, this bright armor. She tipped her head, a bit, as if to say, thank you. As if to say, I'm sorry. And the she was gone.

+

Was he the one who was meant to stay?

It wasn't until Duo's face began to change color that Heero realized he had his hands around his lover's throat. He stepped back, stepped away.

No, Duo said when he had breath again. He wasn't. He was supposed to have been your friend, your ally. And he was supposed to die that Christmas, leaving you sad but not shattered. He stepped forward.

Heero took another step back. So why did you do it? Why the fuck did you make me fall in love with you?

Duo had shrugged. I couldn't seem to stop myself. His face when he turned it up to Heero was so perfect that Heero felt ill-of course he wasn't human. Of course he couldn't be. I've never been in love before.

You fucking bastard, Heero said, and abruptly sat. He was horribly aware of the small space he took up on the edge of their big, sloppy bed. Of that fact that he had an hour left in which he would not be alone. You bastard, he said again, but the words lacked anger. Carried pain.

I've been trying to stay, Duo said, coming closer, straddling Heero's legs and sitting down. He leaned in until their noses touched. But I can't. He shut his eyes, the motion pushing a tear down his cheek. But I can't leave. I can't.

Take me with you.

Duo had opened his eyes and stared at his lover.

Heero had nodded towards the beside table. There's a gun in there. Take me with you.

Killing you wouldn't do that, Duo said. That isn't the way.

But there is a way?

Duo's face had closed. Not really.

There is a way.

Silence.

I could put the gun in my mouth and see what happens.

Duo glared at him. No, you couldn't. You promised.

Tell me.

You wouldn't be dead, Duo said, but you wouldn't be alive, either.

I don't want to stay here without you.

It would be like I took a picture of you, Duo had tried to explain, one that moved and talked and smelled and tasted like you. But you'd be stuck. You wouldn't get older, you wouldn't change, and before too long you'd be just like a doll sitting on a shelf.

I don't want to stay here without you, he had said, again, louder this time.

Please don't ask me to stop your life, Duo had begged, and then had kissed him.

They were both naked and it had been easy to kiss, to grope desperately, to slide inside Duo's body, to penetrate with his fingers Duo's braid, to press his lips to Duo's cross and taste the bitter metal and the sweet sweat, to feel with every action the sheer life and reality of the boy surrounding him. To come with a fierce profession of undying love. To feel Duo spurt onto his body, slump against him, and begin to fade.

Heero had tried to hold on, had tightened his grip on Duo's arms only to find that the boy was not there to touch. He had watched his lover become more and more ethereal, the arrested orgasmic joy frozen on his face as his body faded to air. No, he had cried, no, no, not knowing what he was saying just saying just begging just knowing that if Duo left he would die. Promise me. Promise me you'll come back. Promise me I'll see you at least once more. At least once. No. . . please. . . don't leave.

And then all there had been was him, sitting in a small space on the big messy bed, with only a sticky patch on his stomach and a gold chain that had failed to disappear there to remind him. It was typical of Duo, he had thought, looking down, to do it like that; the gold chain had fallen so that it hung perfectly from his cock. He had reached down, picked it up, examined the one strand of hair caught in the links. And then he had cried.

It was only later, when he had exhausted himself, when he lay weak and lonely, that he thought he heard Duo's voice.

I promise.

+

::To the wide fields where the heat haze shimmers,::
::Hidden in a white cloud,::
::White as white mulberry scarf,::
::He soared like the morning bird::
::Hidden from our world like the setting sun. . . .::

+

::By the pillows where we lay,::
::My wife and I, as one::
::The daylight I pass lonely till the dusk,::
::The black night I lie sighing till the dawn.::
::I grieve, yet know no remedy:::
::I pine, yet have no way to meet her.::
::The one I love, men say,::
::Is in the hills of Hagai,::
::So I labour my way there,::
::Smashing rock-roots in my path,::
::Yet get no joy from it.::
::For, as I knew her in this world,::
::I find not the dimmest trace.::

[part 5] [part 7] [back to Zillie's fic]