Okay, this fic hit me over the head as I was driving home from the bank yesterday. Part of the point was to make myself write Heero IC. I think I missed the boat on that, though. It's a songfic, kinda, although I think it works without the song too. The song forced me to write the fic, so I figued it had to go in, right? All right. No more rambling.
Warnings: Songfic, medium angst, OOC? I think, Shonen-ai hints.
Disclaimer: Okay, you've got me. I own them. Now sue me, I dare you. No, I'm just kidding. I don't own these little guys, and I don't own 'Crash Into Me' by Dave Matthews Band. I assure you, I make no money doing this. Pinkie swear.
Song: 'Crash Into Me' by the Dave Matthews Band (a pronoun or two was switched for continuity's sake)
The coffee at this place sucks. It's rancid and I would swear they never clean the pot if it wasn't for the faint soapy aftertaste. I hate this place, yet I keep coming back.
The remains of my breakfast are scattered on the table in front of me and I trace a pattern in the grease on the paper. Around me, working slobs slam back coffee in big gulps, night owls bring their revelry to a close with oily hash browns, and occasional children shriek over their pancakes while bleary-eyed parents struggle to control them.
Check my watch.
6:15 a.m. Time to leave. I crumple the papers and leftover food into a ball, pour the rest of the coffee down my throat and get up to leave, discarding my barely touched breakfast in the trash on the way out.
you've got your ball
you've got your chain
tied to me tight tie me up again
who's got their claws
in you my friend?
Into your heart I'll beat again
I pull into the parking garage, drive up five stories, and park. As always, I am cautious when I get out of the car, careful that I am seen by no one-or no one important. There are no more attempts on my life, that's not the reason for my apprehension. I'm no longer a Gundam pilot, no longer a threat. No longer a killer. I lead the least obtrusive life conceivable now, my existence having fallen into a pattern of work and my...hobby.
Only a handful of people know my whereabouts, and that I'm still alive, and those are the people who don't know who I am. Not that I'm that person any longer. Heero Yuy was an artificial creation, a creature designed for war. Now that there is peace, Heero Yuy no longer is needed, and therefore no longer exists.
I walk through the enclosed corridor from the parking garage to the apartment building. The enclosed walkway is a great asset-no need to go down to street level.
I swipe my card and punch the code on the keypad and little light flashes green, indicating an unlocked door. Once inside the apartment, I slip the deadbolt and chain and lock the door. You can't be too careful.
My apartment is sparsely furnished. There's a mattress on the floor (what do I need a bed for?), a chair and small table with a black laptop computer sitting on it, and a small radio. Another table, this one with a television. Against the wall is a generic white melamine bookcase, filled mostly with folded clothes. A few of the shelves house books and binders and notebooks, but mostly it serves as a dresser without drawers.
By 6:35 a.m., I am in my customary position by the window. My equipment is ready. I've checked everything. As always, I feel a twinge of something (guilt?), but I know it will pass, simply fading into the ever-present feeling of regret and resignation that I've become accustomed to.
I hunch over the eyepiece expectantly. I've got two minutes, but the elapsed time allows me to make certain that everything is in focus. I fiddle with the controls a little, but I can see pretty clearly. I don't move the apparatus itself at all. It's perfectly trained on just the right spot in the next building over.
Sweet like candy to my soul
Sweet you rock
and sweet you roll
Lost for you I'm so lost for you
The first movement. Just a hand, emerging from the pile of white sheets. The hand fumbles for a few seconds before it finds its goal: a small black box. The hand hits something on the box and retracts back into the white pile.
Again the hand, but this time there is no fumbling. It hits its target dead-on and having done its job, retreats. There is a bit of movement from the white pile, which subsides.
This time, after the hand has done its work, a head emerges. Just the top of it, mind you. An untidy nest of hair, golden reddish brown. Suddenly, a face. The head is raised and I get a glimpse of the face, looking straight in my direction. A bright shaft of sunlight falls across the features. The eyes (with their blue-violet crescents of irises) are visible for a brief moment before the pupils dilate and the lids snap shut in a wince. The hand again shows itself, pulls some white sheets over the head, and everything is still.
The hand darts out one last time, and quickly following it, an entire body. Shedding the cocoon of blankets, the figure sits up quickly. With tired resolve, legs are swung over the edge of the bed and there he is, in profile.
He's wearing a plain white t-shirt and black shorts. The hair is spilling down his back in a braid that has lost much structural integrity. A slender hand at the end of a long, muscled arm makes its way to the face and rubs the eyes. Then the back of the neck. Lucky hand.
The figure slowly slips off the bed and stands. Some stretching commences and I watch raptly. The boy takes the end of the braid, slips the band off and begins to unravel the three strands as he makes his way to a room I'd give anything to be able to see inside.
I sit back and rub my eyes. It's going to be a few minutes. Might as well make use of it. I go to my own bathroom, brush my teeth and pull a comb through my rough, dark hair. I splash my face with water and rub it dry with a towel.
You come crash into me
And I come into you
I come into you
In a boys dream
In a boys dream
I'm back in front of the window.
And out he comes, toweling his hair dry, careful not to tangle it. A second towel is wrapped around his waist (lucky towel). The hair towel gets wound into a makeshift turban and he pulls open a drawer. Out comes a small, dark article of clothing. Off comes the towel, and no matter how many times I've seen it, I still suck in my breath at the sight of his slender, muscled young body.
I only see it in its entirety for a second, as he slips on the boxer shorts and then reaches for a dusty blue t-shirt. The hair towel has to come off for him to pull the shirt over his head, and he discards it on the floor with the other one. I allow a small smile-he'll leave both towels there all day, walk back and forth across them, and then hang them up messily right before he goes to bed.
He's zipping his jeans now-they were rescued from the place I saw them fall last night when he undressed for bed. Now he's on his hands and knees, fishing around under the bed. For a minute or so, I have an excellent view of his small and nicely rounded rear end. It doesn't take long, though, before he emerges from under his bed in triumph with a pair of worn black boots in hand.
He sits on the edge of the bed, tugs them on and laces them. I watch fondly as he ties the laces, winds the excess around the boot several times, and ties them again. He yawns and looks out the window, right in my direction. I used to flinch whenever this happened, but I've gotten used to it, secure in the knowledge that he can't see me.
After a minute's pause, he takes up a comb from the bedside table and begins one of my favorite parts of the day. The combing takes quite a long time, and is done with extreme care. When it's finished, the braiding begins. This is also done with care, but takes less time than the combing. He fastens the end of the braid with a band he's pulled from the handle of the comb, and stands up. He shakes his head cheerily, and the braid flies from side to side jauntily before settling in the middle of his back.
He looks at something out of my field of vision, picks some lint off his shirt and flicks it away. He strikes a pose, then shakes his head and leaves the room.
This isn't a problem. I have a second scope trained on the other window. I can barely see his figure as he moves throughout the kitchenette, preparing his breakfast.
I smile again when he emerges form the kitchen with a mug in one hand and some sort of plastic-wrapped pastry in the other. He comes to the window and sits on the wide sill, leaning against the glass. The pastry is unwrapped and slowly eaten as he sips the drink and stares out the window. He's not performing for anyone, not even himself-one of the most genuine moments of the day. The infamous hand comes up again and presses itself to the window pane. He looks sad and reflective. Leaning his forehead against the glass, he stares down the the busy street and remains in that position for a few moments.
Then, he pulls himself upright, gathers the coffee cup and remains of the half-eaten danish and takes them back to the kitchen. He comes back out one more time, pulls a leather jacket off the back of a chair, checks the pocket for keys, pulls it on, and walks out the door.
It's 7:48. I sit back and rub my eyes. Time to leave.
The dark tint to my car windows render them opaque from the outside. I ride in complete anonymity to my destination, with sunglasses shielding my eyes from the early morning sun. One more stop to make before it's time to go to work. I get caught in a few traffic jams and tap my fingers irritably on the steering wheel. All of the patience I once had now seems to be channeled into watching, with none left for the rest of my life. I sigh. I've always been focused, but this is ridiculous.
8:29 a.m. and I pull into the parking garage and walk through the tunnel that connects to the building. These tunnels are essential. I gave up a room in a closer building with a better view because the parking lot was right out in the open. Ignoring the elevator, I ascend the stairs to the top, walk down the hall, and key my door open. There's even less in this room, just my surveillance equipment. I cross to the window and kneel by the eyepiece.
I have knocked the focus on this one off a bit, and when I bring it back into clarity, I see him sitting cross-legged on a table in the middle of the scrapyard, sorting little metal parts from a big box into a multitude of smaller boxes. His mind is obviously not with the menial task-he can sort most of the pieces just by touch. Occasionally, his fingers hit something he can't identify and he squints at it irritably, his mind called back from wherever it had been.
It's a peaceful activity. I feel serene just watching it. A head pokes out of the side of the shop and he looks up in response to the call. The man in the shop holds up a mass of metal (a small engine, it looks like) and asks a question. He stops sorting and answers the question, and then points to one of the piles of metal in the corner of the yard. The man asks another question and the response is a cheerful shrug of the shoulders and an affirmative grin. The man nods and steps back inside.
I watch as the sweet grin melts off his face, and he goes over to the pile he pointed at and fishes around for something. After about ten minutes of unsuccessful searching, he pulls something out of the pile, inspects it, and then takes it with him into the shop.
Five minutes later, he's outside sorting again, this time having shed his jacket and rolled up his sleeves. The smooth, light caramel tan accentuates his wiry muscles. The sun has picked out the highlights in his hair, and it seems to almost glow in the light.
I sit and watch the sorting of parts for awhile and then check my watch. Shit, it's 8:56 a.m.
And time to go to work.
Sees me inside my cubicle. I work for a phone company, calling people with long-distance offers all day. There's a wire loose on my headset and I bend it out of the way so it doesn't tickle my ear. This is a tedious, menial job, and I wonder what my co-workers would think if they knew what my background was really in. Mass destruction, mostly. Assassinations. Mobile suit combat. Saving the universe and destroying my life. Not the sort of thing you put on a resume, which of course is why mine was fake.
This job is pretty far away from his. There's no face time, so I don't run the risk of him coming in and seeing me. If his name ever appears on my call list, I can just ignore it. I do a pretty good job here. Not thrilling work, but the hours are flexible and the pay is decent.
The problem is the voices. I listen to different voices all day, none of them being the one I really want to hear. I could hear his voice. I have bugs, a whole box of top-of-the-line ones. I know when he's at work. It wouldn't take much for me to bug his apartment. Only two things stop me: The first is the fact that he's my superior as far as intelligence and counterintelligence goes. Much of what I know was learned by watching him. I was a great warrior, sure, but not so subtle. I could bend metal with my bare hands, but when it came to the secret-agent stuff, he was the master.
The second is simply that I'm afraid if I hear his voice again-that rich, full voice with the deep, friendly tones-I won't be able to contain myself. All my self restraint will go out the window and I won't be able to stop myself from running to him and throwing myself at his feet.
And then what would he do? Laugh? Scream? Would he kick my ass? Patronize me? Run away? I suppose he could call the police. People get arrested for this sort of thing. I can't help but chuckle inwardly at the thought of the perfect soldier getting arrested for voyeurism instead of terrorism.
If I've gone overboard
Then I'm begging you
to forgive me
in my haste
When I'm holding you so boy
close to me
I get up from my chair and stretch. I shut down my computer and remove the headset. Time to go home. Pulling my jacket from the back of the chair, I feel for the car keys inside the pocket.
5:41 p.m. and I'm on my way home, stuck in traffic. I flex my fingers absently-they're sore from being curved over a keyboard all day. Wonder if anyone's ever died of boredom, loneliness, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Six months. Six months I've been doing this. For half a year I've been holding down a dead-end job, living with no friends and a false name (not that the latter two are anything new to me), and watching him from my not-quite-safe distance.
Oh and you come crash
into me, baby
How long do you plan to keep this up, Heero? I don't know. Until I'm over him? But that doesn't make any sense. You don't get over someone by living your life around them, watching their every move. That's like picking at scabs. It's only going to make things worse.
This can't last forever. I've reached an equilibrium that has to shift sometime. He'll move on, I'm sure. His job isn't the kind you stay in your entire life. Neither is mine, as a matter of fact. I'm a gundam pilot, a soldier...or I was. Now I pester housewives to change their long-distance carriers. I can't expect this to last.
I can't stand the thought of leaving him, though. This is comfortable at the proverbial arms' length, no danger of rejection or hurt. No fumbling for emotions that were squeezed out of me as a kid.
And being able to look at him. Really look, the way I never could when we were together for fear of giving myself away. I see more of his face now than I ever did-I know every statement, every nuance.
I see the sweet, charming look on his face when that dark-haired girl comes over to drag him out of the house, his friendly protestations. I see the bleary, soft look he has in the morning, before he's had a chance to think. At his work I see the confident, cocky, genial manner that I know so well. This seems strained, somehow, though. I can't tell how I know. Removing yourself from a situation gives you better perspective, though. I'm living proof.
The worst are the evening statements, and these are the ones that wrench at my insides, but that I cannot tear myself away from. The blank, empty look that he wears as he shuffles around his apartment. The sad statement where his eyes soften and his gaze seems to be directed at something that doesn't exist.
Most terrible is the the pinched, desperate look he wears mostly late at night. He drinks amber-colored liquid from a square bottle and looks down at the street with his face contorted so it's barely recognizable. Sometimes he opens his window and sticks his head out, yelling things I can't hear into the night. Sometimes he just leans way out, staring at the busy street below. I'm sick with fear when this happens, choked with an emotion I long ago discarded as useless. What would I do if he jumped? What then?
Might be better that way. No more the object of your obsession if he's gone, right?
No, that's not right. I rub my temples, trying to alleviate the headache I can feel coming.
I pull into the garage, swipe my card. It's 6:16 p.m. by now and I park, look around, and go to my apartment.
6:17 check the window. He's not home yet.
6:18 I walk to the weight set in the corner and lie down. I lift in a frenzy, repeatedly, trying to sweat and groan this obsession out of my body. finally, at
7:03 I stop, worn out.
My body is as strong as ever. It's my mind that's broken. I'm a coward. I live in fear, insecurity and apprehension. Guilt and self-loathing overwhelm my thoughts. I need to break out of this vicious cycle, but I can't leave. All I want is right there, in an apartment just across from mine. Yet still it's out of my reach. I am incapable of claiming it, of claiming him. I am a faulty, obsolete tool of war.
7:08 p.m. I make instant noodles and eat them absently with cheap bamboo chopsticks as I watch him shed his work shirt in favor of a soft gray shirt. He microwaves dinner, and eats it out of the plastic tray. He seems to lose interest halfway though, pushing it aside and slumping in his seat, his eyes fixed on some point I can't see.
At 8:00 p.m. he turns on the television for a moment, and I see him bathed in ghostly reflected light. He snaps it off again and wanders to the windowsill.
Did I ever have a chance with him? Maybe. Two years we knew each other, worked together. Many times we came close to an almost-something. An unnecessarily close brush as we passed each other in a hallway. Whispered conversations, full of almost-confessions. Moments where we stopped what we were doing and just looked at each other.
And I come into you
Hike up your skirt a little more
and show the world to me
Hike up your skirt a little more
and show your world to me
In a boys dream..
And I gave that up. I gave up the possibility of anything more up because I was afraid, and because I was convinced I couldn't have it. And now all I have is my equipment and my don't-touch-anybody and my window. Waiting and watching and wanting just a little more. Just a little more that's all I want now. Just a little more. All I want is you but I can't have that so all I want is a little more.
In a boy's dream
8:45 and he hasn't moved for a long time. He's just been sitting on the windowsill, curled up and distant. He bows his head, burying it in his arms. At 8:52 it comes back up wet.
Tears are running down his face. I feel my stomach churn. His face distorts into a hideous mask of sorrow and his body shakes with sobs I can't hear. I am pressing my hands against the blinds on my window as hard as I can. All this time watching him, and this is the first time he's cried. It's not a sweet poetic crying, either. No sparkling tears running down cherubic cheeks. His face is red and blotchy and wet. His eyes are rimmed in red, making the whites look whiter and the irises and pupils very dark. He scrunches up his face and rocks back and forth, his lips moving, forming words too distorted by his sobs for me to make out.
Oh I watch you there
through the window
And I stare at you
You wear nothing but you
wear it so well
tied up and twisted
the way i'd like to be
And then, at 9:18 p.m. it stops. He becomes very quiet. His face dries, but remains red. Strands of hair are stuck to his cheeks with dried tears. His jaw is set and the look in his eyes is determined.
At 9:22 he opens his window and leans out, looking into the street below.
At 9:23 he stands up on the windowsill, leaning against the inner wall.
At 9:24 he takes a step forward, his intentions no longer leaving any room for doubt. My stomach is a block of ice.
At 9:25 he hooks his fingers in the window track and leans his entire body out over the neon night street. The wind whips his braid around his head. He seems not to notice. I have to remind myself to breathe.
At 9:26 he draws himself back in and stands upright again, steeling his resolve.
At 9:27 he slowly starts forward.
Something in me snaps.
At 9:27 p.m.
I stand up and put my fist through the glass of my window, ripping apart the blinds and knocking over all my equipment. The window shatters, sparkling pieces falling to the street below. Large pieces of glass still hang in the frame and I push these out with my other hand, lean out the window as far as I can and a voice I don't remember as being mine (but I guess it must be, though I can't remember sounding that forceful in ages) screams harshly across the air that seperates us.
He falters, scrabbling at the side of the window to retain his balance. His eyes are huge and bright. I'm not seeing him through a lens now. No glass at all between us. I kick out the bottom of the picture window. His jaw drops in disbelief.
I swallow. "Yes."
"What are you doing here?"
A familiar feeling is creeping back to me. A knowledge of my half of the bargain.
"Stopping you from doing something stupid. Baka."
"I- I didn't know- I thought you were-"
"I'm not." No, I'm not. Whatever I was, I'm not anymore.
"But what? I mean, how- You're bleeding."
I look down at my arms. Both are covered in blood and merrily twinkling bits of broken glass. So I am.
"I can't believe this. Hold on, Heero. You need to do something about the bleeding. What's your apartment number?"
"Okay. Stay right there. Will you? Promise? I'll be right over." He turns and disappears from sight, slamming his apartment door behind him. He's left his jacket and keys on the table. Baka.
I turn from the window and walk slowly to my chair. My arms stain my sides and drip blood on the carpeting as I walk. I sit down heavily in the chair and contemplate my shredded knuckles, the boy-the person-Duo-running up the stairs to find me again. I contemplate second? No, third chances.
At 9:40 p.m. my doorbell rings.
For you, for me, come crash