Greetings everyone, and apologies for the cross-post. It's been forever and an eternity since I've posted anything, much less a fic. Blame that on the demons of Best Buy who've been holding my computer hostage for the last two months or more. (That is, until they finally decided that they couldn't fix it, so they "graciously" opted to give me credit to get a new computer... then told me I couldn't have my old data back. *shinigami chuckle* They'll be reconsidering the error of their ways *very* shortly...)

So, anyway, Inferno 20 is in the works, with a tentative release date of Friday at the latest. And hopefully now that I have a brand new laptop, I'll get it back on schedule, and I'll post much more frequently. For now, however, have a lil introspective ficlet thing to tide you over. (shock. Me? Writing an introspective ficlet? No way...)

Author: RavynFyre (ravyn @ famvid.com)
Title: Jesses
Archive: GW Addiction and Darkflame if she wants it. Others please ask first
Rating: PG at worst... it's pretty tame
Pairing: 1+2 hints
Category: Shonen ai hints, introspective
Spoiler: None
Notes: Jesses are the leather straps attached to a bird of prey's legs in order to allow a falconer to handle the bird. This is where a leash or ground tether is attached to the bird, as the jesses are never removed, except for leg care and medical reasons. An APV is an Armored Personnel Vehicle... in other words, troop transport, usually has big guns and lots of armor.




I'm about to let you in on a secret.

Heero Yuy is a lie.

Everyone has this really strange image of me in their heads. That I'm collected and focused, that I have all the answers and am dedicated to this cause that I believe in with all my heart. At the very least, that I'm driven to excellence.

Actually, I just don't have anything better to be doing. I don't know what else to do.

I'm like a freight train, clacking blindly down the tracks. I have no real control, really, of where I'm going or how to get there. It's all laid out before me, all decided. Someone put me on the rails and pressed start. Every once in a while, there's a fork in the track, an illusion of choice and fate. It's a lie too. Even those divergences are carefully plotted out and deliberately placed to avoid collisions in destiny.

Only, my engineer is Dr. J and that damndable Zero System.

And even though everything is so carefully plotted out for me, even though the tracks are clear and the route is carefully scheduled, I feel so out of control all the time. I hate this. I envy the others their freedom.

Wufei reminds me of a truck. There's all these carefully paved roads set out for him, created by the mortar and asphalt of his rigid ideals. He's got a much more divergent path than I do, and the freedom to chose which corner to turn at, or simply to keep driving straight down the highway. But even so, he still has his roads to stick to, the plotted paths and iron-clad foundations of his beliefs. If he strays too far from their firm paths, he gets mired down by uncertainty, caught in the mud of his own confusion.

If you ask me, he needs bigger tires, a more open mind. But I'm hardly one to speak, stuck as I am on my own unwavering track.

Trowa. is something of a mystery to me. And yet, he's one of the ones who's the easiest for me to read sometimes. I think of him as an APV. He's got the freedom to go damn near anywhere he wishes, no roads or tracks required, just the compass of his own morality. There's only one problem. An APV only has one real purpose, and typically it involves a lot of destruction. It's easy for a compass to get muddled up and broken in all that shaking about.

What's the use of being able to go anywhere you want, pick any path, or ignore any path, you feel like, if you know when you get where you're going, you have to blow it up?

Quatre's one of the lucky ones. He's like a stallion, racing the open desert. He's got the whole world out there to travel as he sees fit, free to choose tracks, roads, or the open ground at will. He's got his own heart to guide him, and his herd to protect from the wolves. His path goes where he wishes it, pauses when he desires, even turns back at a whim. His only schedule is the rising of the sun, and the press of the predators.

And he's damned good at holding the wolves at bay from the herd he's devoted himself to protect. The main problem is, it's hard to protect a herd as large as all humanity itself, especially when you can't always tell who's a wolf, and who's not.

But despite all that freedom, he ties himself to the ground with the weight of his own guilt. As free as not being restricted to one fate, one destiny, one track, is, he's still stuck on the ground with the rest of us. That's the worst part about his 'freedom'. it's more illusion than reality.

There are times when he reminds me less of an Arabian stallion, and more of that ancient Greek mythical beast, Pegasus. If only he could cut off the blanket binding down his wings.

Then he'd be able to soar with Duo. Duo's the free one.

Once upon a time, long before combustion engines, thermal dynamics, nuclear fission, particle weapons, and even steam power, great lords would wage wars against each other with nothing more than bows and swords and lances and staves. They would ride horses into battle, and some even carried hawks and falcons to strike from above and blind their enemies.

This partnership between warrior and falcon, though, was a tenuous, fragile thing at best. The warrior knew that at any given moment, the falcon was free to simply fly away, leave this silly human war behind and never look back. Only those trained by fools, however, left.

G's no fool.

Falcons have the best of all worlds. Unlike the rest of us, a falcon isn't bound to the ground. He doesn't understand the meaning of a road, has never been forced to remain on his path to self destruction simply because the track didn't turn. The sky is his path, the world is his destiny. And yet, even the most fiercely independent falcon returns to roost now and then. From his vantage in the sky, a falcon has a better understanding of the routes and destinations of all those roads and rails and paths, and how they intersect and influence each other.

I envy Duo his wings. I hate the carelessness of his smile in the midst of all this suffering. I despise the freedom of his laughter and the ease which he navigates himself through his destiny.

Or rather. I would, if I could. But I can't. I've seen the shadows of war and pain in his eyes, even as he tries to hide it behind his ever present smile.

Those falcons flown in those long ago wars. Even if they chose to fly free and abandon the uselessness of human strife, would bear the mark of their choice. The jesses the warrior would place upon them to tether the falcon to the ground would remain until they rotted off from disuse and abandonment, or until the bird lay dead, bound back to the ground that holds us all.

Duo's clever enough, though, that I think he could have picked them off, if he'd ever chosen to. But he leaves them on, less a badge of shame or ownership, than a rudder, helping him steer himself through the turbulent skies of this war-torn storm.

I wonder. If ever he cast them off, if his smile would really reach his eyes.

And I also wonder if. maybe, just maybe, the furnace fueling the rushing path of my passage down the rails, might not actually be a phoenix caged in iron. I bet that if it's true, and Duo ever does decide to cast off his jesses, he's clever enough to pick the latch on the iron cage holding in that phoenix.

I wonder what it would be like to fly?