Title: The Forsworn ~ Ensnared
Author: Sita Seraph
Warning: Suicide, angst, depression
Summary: None yet.
Archive: Go right ahead. Please e-mail me so I know where you are going to throw it, okay?
I looked up from watching the white tiles below my feet, up to piercing, gentle pools of light blue. The artificial light overhead caught the reflection within those graceful eyes and I noticed the deep sadness glittering within them. A sadness that etched his face completely when a smile was not brought upon his lips. His face was pale, as I knew it would be, but I did not expect a new height on the boy before me. It was not that he had grown too much, but a confident air was now around him, the difference leaving an unsure child in the darkness, and an adult taking his place. I took notice that he wasn't wearing his normal attire: a pink shirt, vest, and khakis; but a light green sweatshirt that covered the palms of his hands and let long, lengthy fingers appear from the dark depths of fabric. The shirt was a little big on him, of course; so, much of his pale, light-muscled neck and shoulders were displayed. Black dress pants covered his longer legs and bright, shiny dress shoes peeked out from the drowning slacks. This look sent a slight chill down my spine; he looked like he had grown a lot in the last few months and the garments he wore made him look alluring, attractive, and innocent at the same time.
"Quatre," I addressed and stood up from the hospital visiting-seat I had sat in for a couple of hours, waiting for the ex-Gundam pilot to show up. I had, of course, come a lot earlier than needed, but I wanted to see if I could get a private conference with Duo Maxwell, without the others. But it had turned out that the hospital required an appointment in advance to see any patients and my engagement was not until a later time.
"Where are the others?" I asked quietly and we briefly shook hands, two friends uniting as strangers after so many months. I took note that he had a much stronger grip than when we had first met.
"Trowa is clearing a few things with the nurses and doctors," Quatre said. He was also equally quiet. It was then that I detected a sort of aura in the hospital that we were now standing in. It almost made me feel like I was in a church and that whispers were only allowed in the halls. There was no noise at all from the quiet passages, besides the soft pattering of a nurse's feet, or the wheelchair that came down the corridor. I wondered then if the rooms were sound proof. For the patient or visitor's sake, I wasn't quite sure.
"You know, asking about Duo's health and any changes since our last visit," Quatre continued, drawing back my wandering thoughts.
"And Wufei?" I asked.
"He is still unable to get away from the Preventors," Quatre answered. "They keep him really busy."
"I'm sure," I said. But in truth, I didn't know if I was really sure at all. We stood there for a moment, an uncomfortable silence flittering down from the ceiling and upon us. I wasn't sure of what I should say to him. Duo was always the one talking for both of us.
"I'm sorry about the party " I murmured quietly, the words leaving my parched lips before I knew it. Suddenly, I realized my terms and I tried to call them back, but already they had reached Quatre's sensitive hearing. Would he think I've grown soft? It was an upsetting feeling on my stomach. I was always praised for my strength and courage; to show weakness now in front of all my fellow warriors was something I didn't want to be seen. Especially at a time when Duo needed all the strength he could receive. Worrying, regrets, and even anger must be discarded. Weakness, just like the war, was no exception.
But slowly, Quatre smiled at me. "I know. I thought you would be busy."
"Keeping eyes on me, Quatre?" I asked softly.
The boy simply smiled again.
Blinking, I was almost startled by the light voice right behind me. I didn't hear anyone creep up on me. The war's absence must have done more damage than I imagined. Slowly, I turned around, tilting my head up to look at sea green eyes boring down at me. Of course, one was barely seen as brunette, rustled hair slid down one side of his face like a veil. Again, as I stared up into those deep, passive emerald eyes, I felt the weird sensation bristling my neck. I held back the urge to shiver and met the forceful stare with my own. Strength, strength, be strong. Duo is fine; he's safe now.
Damnit, that boy was more trouble than he was worth.
"How are you?" Trowa asked quietly, his mere breath caressing my face and I found my hand had fallen into his before I knew it. Again, the strange sensation, but this time it felt like someone was tickling my mind. I held back a second urge to tell Trowa to knock it off. I suppose you might be confused. I could understand why, since I assume no one has ever had someone SO much like you that their mere presence made your mind itch with buried memories; that with a locked gaze you would know what the other thought. It had been many times that Trowa and I had used this mind language, when others were present. Our thoughts were ours to keep, but together, we shared the same ideals, feelings, and actions. It hadn't taken long for the other pilots to catch on with this eye trading and I remember how Duo would get so angry with the both of us. We would sit in the living room and vaguely, as I talked to Trowa silently, I would watch Duo fidget in the corner of the room and stare at us. Of course, we were not speaking, not verbally. Our eye contact told all. And Duo would get frustrated, always demanding to tell him what we talked about. We, of course, never told him; so he would stand up, glare at us both, and yell some defiant tone such as, "Fine! I'll just go have eye speaking language stuff with Quatre, then!" or something to that degree. In all honest truth, Duo was quite amusing. I had once caught him just staring at Quatre, a hand closed over the pale man's lips, while he tried to burn a hole through the Sandrock pilot's head. He then gave up with a defeated sigh and left the room, muttering about nonsense.
Hastily, I returned to the present as I remembered that going down memory lane at the moment was not one of the best decisions. Blinking away the blur from my eyes, I saw Trowa smirking faintly at me; I would have to remember to not look at him for the rest of the day or I might spill my secret.
Unless, of course, he already knew.
I stepped back slowly and looked over the taller and older boy with a keen eye. He, too, was no longer wearing his normal attire, except for perhaps the jeans. But they had a darker hue to them than his previous ones. He was also wearing a black turtleneck, something that I found odd. I never did imagine Trowa in black; that was Duo's color. But as I stared at the sweater, I realized the color didn't look too shabby upon the ex-soldier.
"I'm fine," I finally answered and took back my hand from his. Trowa always did have larger hands than I; it was one trait that I would always remember about him.
He nodded slowly in answer. "Worried?"
Damn you, I screamed mentally. "No."
Disapproval of my fib stabbed at my gut and rapidly, I turned my gaze away, almost getting a guilty feeling for Trowa's dissatisfaction of my lame lie. Of course I was worried; who wouldn't be?
Do not show weakness, I told myself and I turned away to look down the hallway. I had found out where Duo's room was in advance after probing a nurse for a half an hour. The trait of knowing your surroundings that the war smoldered into my mind still ran with me; I was quite grateful, in fact.
"Mind summoning me up?" I asked, but I know it sounded like an order. It wasn't needed, really; I knew they would tell me, but I had the urge just to make a command. To, perhaps, make the weakening in my stomach go away.
"Duo tried suicide," Trowa said simply, his monotone voice ringing in my ears and reminding me of my own voice that had haunted me in the war. Odd, maybe we weren't so much the same any longer. Or maybe Trowa was putting up his own mask like Duo. That stupid mask that almost got him killed.
"I know," I said blankly, turning my head to look back at him.
"After healing to a stable condition," Trowa continued, "he was sent to a doctor for mind treatment. But Duo was Duo was gone."
"Gone?" I echoed, an eyebrow slowly rising up.
"What he means is," Quatre butted in and I looked back at him, "that Duo would no longer communicate, mentally or physically. He would just stare out the window the entire time. So he was sent here, for treatment and a final resting ground."
"Are you saying," I asked calmly, "that Duo is stuck here just because he won't speak to anyone? That they are just going to lock him up and wait for him to die? Because he tried to kill himself?"
"It's not just that, Yuy," Trowa interrupted. "Duo isn't Duo, anymore. There's nothing there. It's like a hollow shell, something he left behind. He's lost, Heero. He's trapped himself within his his "
"Within his mask," I finished for him and looked away, down again at the white hall. It was so empty. Empty like Duo. The lights were on, but nobody was home. An empty hall and plenty of doors. And each door led to a memory, to a place where Duo hid himself, deep down inside. Each one of them was locked, also; closed tight and dark inside. He wouldn't let anyone inside, not into his home where he was safe in the darkness. He will stay there forever, mildew and mold growing down the frames and cobwebs growing in the corners. One day, far from now, the doors would be easy to break in; but once you did, it would be too late. You would break through the final door and there would be Duo, dead and lying old on the floor. His bony hand was reaching for the locked door, a scream of help permanently formed by his strained features. His braid would be gray and weary, spider webs hanging off his body and across the floor. Spiders would scatter hastily and run back into the nestled corners, away from the light that the open door brought in. You would walk inside the forbidden room and lean down, trying to pick up a fallen friend. But your touch was like acid and as soon as flesh met flesh, Duo Maxwell would crumble into dust. A powder would lie across the barren floor, a beautiful braid the only thing left with the residue.
If I waited, Duo would be dead when I finally reached him, having been in his cage for so long that it killed him mercilessly. Duo was crying for help No, he had been crying for help for a very long time. But no one stopped to listen to the very soft plea. It was hidden in the laughter, hidden in the smiles. The twinkling eyes were covered in fake happiness. It had fooled everyone. It had fooled all of us. And while we continued on with our lives, Duo was slowly crawling back. Farther and farther he went, into the darkness of a room where no one would find the real him. Into the room where the unpublished book lay in the corner, in the ebony light. And all of a sudden, the door slammed shut and locked itself, keeping Duo inside as well. Trapped, within himself. Pounding on the door, crying for freedom; but no one could hear him. It was too late. It was too late to ask for help now. The mask had done its job; it had fooled everyone. And now Duo was paying the awful price for keeping his secret. He would die in the darkness, slowly and surely, and become like the book, old and worn. Tired and torn. Dead and forgotten.
No, I refused to let that happen. Duo had to still be pounding on the door, trying the knob repeatedly, and trying to reach them. But he couldn't. Someone had to open the door from the outside, someone who could hear his pitiful cries now. Time was running out; tick, tock. Duo would give up. But I won't.
So I was going to do the best thing that I knew how
I was going to blow that door back open.