6-3-2002

Disclaimers: If I owned them we would see some nekkie pilots!
Rating: PG-13
Pairings: None yet. Maybe 2+1
Warnings: Sad, Duocentric introspective piece. Shounen ai hints. Tweaked timeline.
Status: Unbetaed

Chasing Rainbows

 

The night sky had always fascinated Duo. On L2 you couldn't really see it. Day and night were the same a blanket of smog and chemicals covered the planet. There was no true sky just and endless mist of grayish brown that was almost thick enough to feel. It made you feel trapped, in a dirty cage of concrete and steel.

***

He had found a book once as a child. It was his first treasure. The words had been smudged and pictures barely discernible. The cover along with the first three chapters had been sacrificed to light fires on the cold nights. It was the year after Solo had taught him to read and the description of the night sky had fascinated him.

The words had been so beautiful flowing like running water against your skin. Words that spoke of a richness and beauty he couldn't begin to imagine, and fell from your lips with a whispered lushness. He had know immediately that they weren't speaking of the sky he went to sleep too each night.

No one in their right mind would call that seething mess black velvet. There were no lights in it far less the twinkling of diamonds. It sparked his curiosity, so many new words. He wanted to know what velvet looked like that Solo whispered it in a tone of wonder. Were diamonds more bright then the halogen street lamps? Were those so-called stars and diamonds one and the same? It was the first time he wondered if there was beauty out there.

It was the first time he realized that there may be something beyond the dark alleys that filled his life, that there may be a way out of this carefully crafted illusion of a cage. It filled him with the beginnings of a desire for more, more then a warm place and a full belly. The desire to leave, to live beyond this and to see beyond the murky layer that hid the sky from his eyes.

The book was sacrificed to the fire on a chilly night when one of the younger kids started coughing. The wet hacking echoed in the night as more and more children succumbed.

He never forgot the words or the feeling they inspired. He barely had time to think about them, he barely had time to survive.

***

Solo was the reason he became obsessed with rainbows in all their forms.

The day Solo had died he had cried for the last time. Solo had heard and with a voice full of kindness he had only bestowed upon Duo he had taken a harsh breath and whispered.

"Hey Kid." He had gained Duo's attention by using his old nickname. By that time Solo's eyes had been sealed shut with crusted blood but he still turned to ward the hitched breathing of the last of his crew. "Do you remember Big Sis?"

"Wh…who?" His voice was husky holding too much pain for a child that young.

"I guess you were too young. She was the one who started the gang. She used to protect us."

"Did she have long red hair?"

"Yes that was Sybil."

"I thought that was mom."

"No kid she was Big Sis. She took care of us and bargained with her body for our safety. She did everything to save us."

"Where is she now?"

"One night some off-worlders picked her up. She didn't return the next morning. The day after she was barely able to crawl back. The bastards didn't even pay her. I was there when she died barely fourteen covered in dried cum and blood. She was all we had. I promised it wouldn't happen to any more of us. I was standing on the corner the next night in her place. I never regretted doing it because I was able to protect you all just a little longer."

"Don't talk like that Solo, like it's all over."

"It is over. I know I'm dieing kid, no need to sugarcoat it. Everyone else is gone. I heard about a place up north. They take in kids, feed um and stuff."

"So?"

"The cycle ends with me kid. There's nothing left for you here kid. There's no reason you should be on the corner. I want you to promise me you won't end up doing that. I didn't whore myself all these years to watch it happen to my kid brother."

"But…"

"Even if you don't see me I will always be watching over you. Why do you think I taught you to read kid? There's always been something special about you. We all dream of leaving this hellhole but I think you have a chance to be more then a gutter whore. I know about your dreams, you talk in your sleep. I want you to make it out there, too see the kind of life I never will."

"Please Solo… Don't leave me… Alone."

"Aw kid you won't be alone. I told you I would always be watching over you."

"How?"

"You probably don't remember the story Sybil used to tell us before sleep. She said that down on earth there are a million starts at night that glitter in the darkness like the rats eyes in the sewers. Each one is the eyes of someone who loves us watching over us from beyond. Just because their body is gone doesn't mean their spirit leaves us alone."

"So your gonna become a star?"

"Yeah kid, up there no one can hurt me any more."

"I want to become a star too…"

"There's something even better then being a star."

"What?"

"Well Sybil also said that on earth there are bridges of light called rainbows. They're made by our guardian spirits to link the two worlds together and send a gift to those left behind. At the end of each rainbow is the gift of perfect love. One day I'll send a rainbow for you so you better be watching kid." With a soft sigh he breathed his last but on his cracked lips was a gentle smile.

***

When he lived in Maxwell orphanage he had more time to remember there was more to living then survival. Occasionally at night he was far enough from the neon glare of the city to see a wavery outline that may have been earth in the sky. He was beginning to see the beauty that existed in all life.

He found a flower once, peaking through the cracks in the stained pavement. It had blown him away that even in a soulless place like L2 such beauty existed. This hadn't been some rare breed carefully tended by hands that never worked just to eat. This bloom hadn't been cultivated with love and kindness. It had been dropped by accident in soil too weak to support it. It had bloomed despite the infrequent watering and lack of nutrients. No one had noticed or cared walking past what they saw as a weed. It reminded him of his life.

Everyone had seen a dandelion where he saw a flower, like how everyone had seen a grimy brat with bad skin and stringy hair where Sister Helen had seen a child with a broken heart. It was a special ability that she had taught him, a gift. To see beauty in everything no matter how little.

After the bombings he had been lost for so long. Completely alone, but then he had seen a puddle. Disgusting stagnant water coated in slime but he had also seen the beauty in it. Noticing the motor oil coating the puddle like a spilled rainbow. It was a revelation. On L2 where there was no sun he had been sent a rainbow. And he remembered he had to live, not just for himself but all those who had died. All those he remembered and kept in his heart. He would live and find them a real rainbow.

***

The first time he had truly seen the night sky came after he was Death Scythe's pilot. The cargo ship he had been in had landed on earth. Some where in the south where the evening air had been warm and humid. The sky had stolen his breath away; it had been everything he had dreamed of and more. Endless darkness taunting him with the secrets it held. Seeing the stars shine he had finally understood why people held diamonds in such esteem. To think a piece of coal had the ability to hide such beauty within. The brilliance of a fallen star in the palm of your hand.

It was his secret vice this obsession in finding beauty everywhere. He could never accept the obvious examples either it had to be special. The quiet beauty often overlooked in favor of flamboyance. He preferred the quiet solitude of December to the blooming heat of June. He may not have seemed like it though. He always played the clown, talking endlessly. It wasn't because he loved the sound of his own voice. In all honesty he believed it wasn't deep enough to be truly beautiful. He just hated silence in a room full of people. The way the emptiness echoed like the hush at a funeral pall. It was the same silence that filled the orphanage on the day he had left on that last job.

And the child in him was scared of it. Scared that if he let it fill a room full of his friends… his family that the same thing would happen. He would leave on a mission and return to death. So he talked. His voice may not have been beautiful but there was beauty in the way it filled a room.

***

In the years that passed he had been searching everywhere for the rainbow that was sent just for him. He wasn't worried about the wonders man made just those that nature offered. He just wasn't sure how or where to find it. He wasn't even consciously aware of the fact he chased rainbows everywhere. He saw them blooming like flowers of light over the Niagara falls, he saw them shimmer above the Amazon, grace the pacific sunrise, dance over the northern skies as Aurora borealis, settle over the misty Scottish moors at twilight and once he had seen it in the Sahara when the skies had blessed the heated sands over an uncharted oasis. Still none where as beautiful as the one he had seen at 15. He saw a living rainbow.

It wasn't by accident that he had only wounded Heero. The first time he had seen the brown haired boy something had clicked in him. The same something that had jerked his hand causing his killing shot to turn into a flesh wound. He hadn't been sure why at first it had been that same something that caused him to return to that hospital and break the boy out.

He hadn't understood till that moment they had been alone in the hanger. The first time he had looked into Heero's eyes. It was almost the same feeling he had when he had first seen the night sky. His search was over he had found the rainbow sent especially for him. For in those Prussian depths he had seen it. He still saw it in those quiet moments when he and Heero were alone and it was more then enough to steal his breath it was enough to steal his heart.

The End

Please let me know what you think of this one, Onegai?