Title: In Flanders Fields
Warnings: Angst that's it really
Disclaimers: GW not mine, Poem not mine
Notes and dedication: It's 1:28am on Remembrance Day, and I got the urge to write this. The poem, "In Flanders Fields, was taken from "Welcome to Flanders Fields", by Lieut. Col. John McCrae who hails from my home town, Toronto, Canada. I don't know if you know this about the poem, but it was written by this man while he was in Flanders Fields. He was a young medic who wrote poems in his breaks while soldiers die around him. Even the crosses he speaks of, are makeshift graves. The poem was found in the pocket of Lieut. Col John McCrae when they retrieved his dead body.
When I learnt all that for the first time, the poem suddenly meant a lot more to me. This fic is dedicated to all those who die in a war and don't' really know what they were dying for. For those who have to fight for leaders who can't keep peace, and for those who will never be found. "Happy" Remembrance Day (I'll translate in American, "Happy" Veterans Day)
">In Flanders fields the poppies blow<"
Duo stood silently in the shadow of the trees as he listened to the small child recite the age-old poem of death.
It had taken a lot for him to decide to come today, and a lot more to actually make the trip. Every part of his being told him he was the last person who deserved to be present for the small ceremony, but another part told him it was the only way for redemption, if such a thing as redemption existed.
So trying his best to stay hidden from those around him, Duo skulked back into the shade as the cold, calculating wind danced around him, playing with his hair, and at the same time, with the bright red and orange leaves that littered the ground at his feet.
He was dressed in black today, in his old priest outfit from the first war; something he'd not worn since before the Mariemeia incident, but something he knew would be appropriate to wear, because for the first time in a long time, Duo Maxwell was in mourning.
">Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place;<"
The sweet child's voice rung out into the cold, crisp autumn air, weeding in-between the hundreds of graves that surrounded them all until it reached Duo's already hurting ears. Each gray slap called a grave was the same as the last. Simply stating that whoever lay beneath had died during one of the two wars. And some of the graves didn't even have bodies to go with them; there were the ones with names on them, the graves for the lost men.
This was after all, a graveyard for the unnamed, and the unfound, and most importantly, the lost.
Looking around at the crying wives, husbands, other family members, and sadly, children, as they sobbed and whimpered, offering boxes of tissue to those around them, while at the same time struggling to keep their own tears at bay, Duo had a hard time keeping his composure. Every tear reminded him, every cry of pain stabbed him.
He knew that like him, most of those present didn't even have someone buried here, they came just in case in some off chance, their loved one happened to be lucky enough to come `home', they came out of hope.
Duo came out of fear.
">... and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly<"
That was what Duo would like to do, to fly far away from the pain, away from the sadness, and away from the truth, the truth that he'd caused it all.
That was his motto after all, To run, to hide, but never lie.
So why was he still here?
Because running away would be lying, and it hurt enough already as it was, no need to add insult to injury.
Turning away from the crowd that should have every right to despise him, Duo stared down at the ground with clenched fists.
It was all that was keeping him from losing control.
">Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago."
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,<"
Without any warning, a warm pair of arms encircled him from behind. Duo didn't even act surprised, he just sank back into the strong embrace and sighed loudly so the new comer could hear just what he was feeling.
"Duo, why did you come? You knew this would only hurt you."
Nodding his head slowly, Duo ignored the question and brought his attention back to the small boy, clutching at the other man for warmth.
"Do you know who that boy is?"
"No, I don't, and neither do you."
The other man's voice was deep and seemingly completely void of emotion, but Duo knew that wasn't true. The ceremony effected the stoic pilot just as much as it effected him. He could feel that the small boy's words cut deep into his sole, why else would he be trembling?
"I know that Heero, but that's just it. We'll never know who he is, because he's already lost himself, and at such a young age. His parents are dead to him, possibly buried somewhere here among the unnamed, possibly buried in space or even beneath waves of the sea, but lost either way."
Looking down at the braided boy in his arms, Heero begged with his voice and his eyes for him not to continue. "Don't say it Duo, for both our sakes, don't say it."
">Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.<"
"We did this to him, we took his identify away from him. We don't even have to wonder if we killed them, we KNOW we killed them, all of them. All of these soldiers and civilians, men and women, brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers, we killed them all. And given the chance, we'd probably do it again."
">Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high<"
"And you know what the worst part is?"
Strengthening his hold on the longhaired boy, Heero asked the question he'd already long known the answer to.
"What Duo, what is the worst part?"
"They didn't even know what they were dyeing for. They're dead because their leaders couldn't agree on one single thing. We were sent to kill those who were fighting for their homes, and their families, and their loves ones... just like we were."
">If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.<"
Kissing the top of his lover's head as softly as he could, Heero silently agreed to the dark words spoken out loud by the young man held tightly in his embrace. But neither spoke again, both too mesmerized by the site of the small boy descending the large platform, and rejoining some government worker now sent to do the impossible, raise him as a normal boy.
The child clenched the small piece of paper in his hands that contained the poem of death, his death, and stared proudly out into the never-ending field of the dead.
Perhaps looking for his family, or maybe saying good bye to his past, or simply just mourning all the thousands that had been laid to rest.
He then turned his back on the graveyard and walked off to his new life, not even glancing back once.
Staring after the boy left, the two pilots could think of only one thing, as the cold wind washed over their solemn faces. That during the entire ceremony, the small boy had not cried once.
Not a single tear was let loose.
Not even, when during the speech, he'd recognized the two unmistakable faces of the infamous Gundam Pilots standing in each other's arms.
Instead, he'd only read on, and hoped a little more.
I hope it wasn't bad. In a few short hours I have to be on parade to march down Queen Street in my uniform right through a crowd of anti-military protestors. But what they don't realize is that Remembrance Day (Veterans Day) is a day to remember the dead, it is an anti-war day, because why would we ever want to live through that again.
"Remember, Least We Forget"