3-20-2002

Author: Sethran Raven
Warnings: Abuse, NCS
Pairings: 1/2, 3/4
Summary: After the war things aren't all peaches and cream. Both Heero and Trowa are trapped in violent relationships. But old habits can be hard to break...for everyone.
Disclaimer: Don't own 'em, wouldn't have a place to keep 'em if I did
Author Notes: This is NOT a bastard Duo or Quatre fic. Really. Everyone has reasons for how they are acting and no one is entirely without blame.
Will most likely have a happy ending. This fic is part of my desperate search for a forum that provides feedback, any comments are welcome.

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It wasn't that he liked pain, Heero reflected idly as Duo rutted and moaned above him. It was a tiring thing, pain. Some days he felt thin as ashes, waiting to splinter to pieces at the lightest touch. He'd keep still and silent then, huddled in dark places, terrified of breaking. Breaking would mean letting the agony out to touch the world and he was afraid that would somehow shatter the world as well.

So no, it wasn’t that he liked the pain. It was just that without it, who would he be? He defined himself by pain, by its modes and variances. He’d never been able to look at the world without some shadow of it twisting the picture. He was pain, or the pain was him, and without it he would be empty, like a newborn child, forced to view the world through different eyes. He had longed for that once, watching the civilians go by in their ignorance, wanting to know the joy and peace they celebrated with their smiles and laughter and relationships. But older now, more used to the way of things, he knew such blissful happiness lay as far beyond his abilities as flying a Gundam was to most others. Which was only fair, he supposed. If the long weary process of living had taught him anything it was that there was a dark side to every blessing, a menace behind every hand offered in friendship. For all his empty misery, he could only imagine that their suffering was worse. At least he had shed his naivety long ago…how much more terrible to be unprepared for the sudden blow, the flash of the knife? It wasn’t that he liked the pain, he thought. It was just it was so familiar.

A final breathless whimper of pleasure disturbed the otherwise quiet night and Heero arched his back a little as Duo’s weight left him, trying to ease the kink that had settled at the lower spine. Wary of stiffened sore muscles he lowered his legs, wrinkling his nose a little in distaste when his naked thighs touched the soiled mattress, recognizing the tacky warmness of new blood. The copper odor was heavy in the air, soaking into his pores. He smelled it all the time these days, clinging as a permanent reminder of his reality to disturb those times when he almost managed to forget.

He nodded in thin gratitude when Duo handed him a bundle of fabric, relaxing a little when the old worn tank top covered the bruising on his chest, hiding one more pitiful vulnerability beneath its soft cotton.

“I’m sorry,” the boy beside him said solemnly. Heero nodded.

“Yes.”

“Forgive me?”

“Yes.”

Duo sighed, a small whisper of sound, snuggling against Heero’s side in an ironic little mockery of a closeness they hadn’t truly shared in a long time. Heero stroked the unbound hair clumsily, oddly soothed by this reminder of younger, better days. There was a small, bitter twinge of regret and sorrow, but it was simply overwhelmed by the warm swelling of nostalgia. The past had simply traveled so far from the present that they only vaguely felt connected, the memories treasured but lifeless and distant to his mind.

“Love me?”

“Yes.”