5-8-2001

Title: A helping hand.
Author: Sunday
Notes:
Thank you to all of the beautiful people, you break through the haze of ugliness and defeat that has permeated my mind. You allow me to see the beauty in truth.

Warnings: This, I would put warnings on it. So instead I will say, if any of my stuff has disturbed you before, don’t read this please. This would be part of the ‘Visiting Graves’ series. The first of the series being “There is something terribly wrong with Duo Maxwell”, the second being “Another Cross” This being the third of the series. It is…special. You will probably be able to get on with the series without reading this…there may be some reference, there might not be…haven’t thought that far.

I do not own GW, I do not own the characters, and I am making no money by writing this. I DO on the other hand own this story. Please don’t take it without my permission.
Comments criticisms, and poultry cane be sent to: all_in_leather@yahoo.com

 

It was sunny outside, the light streaming through the windows of the shared kitchen. This early in the morning, non-of the other occupants of the dormitory ever used these facilities, so I felt no qualm in sitting and relaxing. Enjoying the aroma of the coffee, as it filled the air, with a soft warm smell, that was set apart only by the warm breeze filtering through the lacy curtains, and the sunshiny yellow furniture. All in all, the surroundings where adequate for relaxation, lacking only within the comfort of the orange plastic chairs, and the mismatched porcelain. Nevertheless, having seen far inferior surroundings within my time as a pilot, I could not complain, nor did I.

Rather, I took pleasure in an activity I had long neglected; I was reading a book. It has been shown that a soldier requires a bit of ‘wind down’ time, within war. If such a thing is not carried out, a psyche can snap, and the soldier would have to be taken out of commission. Such an occurrence would hinder the mission, and I am not one that would jeopardize as important an event. As a result the situation in which a sleep mused Duo found me in was one, that I have no doubt, amused him to no end.

His hair, having long since fallen out of his braid, fell in rather pleasing waves down his adequately muscular back. Furthermore, his rather large eyes (for they are too large for his face, revealing the fact that he has quite a bit of maturing left to catch up on) where heavy lidded, as he seemingly blindly searched for the source of the coffee aroma. His trek led him to my coffee cup, which he swiftly grabbed and chugged, down his disturbingly slender throat. He gazed at me with an almost kittenish glee, and slowly his usual smile stretched onto his face.

“MMmmMMmmmm coffeeeee. Soooo good.” He moaned, gazing dreamily at the now empty cup. My empty cup. “Ano…heero....erm…how about I get you some more coffee? K? cause this was, errr, yours and all.”

Again the smile sliped into a look of innocence, as he seemingly bounced towards the beaten up coffee maker. He grinned once more, before setting the now filled cup in front of me, and dropping himself with a boneless grace into the only blue plastic chair.

“Hey…man, Heero. Y’know, how you are going, errr, out tomorrow?” he carefully articulates the word ‘out’ as if to particularly draw my attention to it. It is, of course, his attempt at keeping the nature of the outing a secret. A mission. I gaze back at him coolly, hoping that he does not, once more, interrupt me with his idle, and often meaningless chatter.

“Well, I have something for you.” He reaches into a pocket that I was not aware of him having, hidden somewhere within the seams of his shirt. Before producing what appeared to be a little blue bag, heavily padded, and obviously full of…something. I watched his face, surprised at the almost vulnerable expression that caressed his features. I schooled myself once more, reluctantly this time, and accepted the bag stiffly. Staring at the blue material, and unable to distinguish the surpassingly light mass inside. I leaned in to untie the light bow at the top…when his hand shot out and stopped me.

“You can’t open it…or the luck will run out. Only open it, if you are about to die. That will insure that my mission is carried out. It is an important mission man, so don’t screw it up for me.”

“Mission?” I asked, in what I had hoped to be a skeptical voice. He paused. The grin, still omitted from his animated face. He shrugged, before pushing the small package more firmly, albeit delicately, into my hand.

“Aa. My mission. I follow your orders without question Yuy. The least you can do is follow the smallest of mine. Take it everywhere you go. It is quiet…it won’t make noise, or draw attention to itself. Just keep it safe, and it will give you luck. I promise. It will give you luck.” He stared at me earnestly, and for a brief moment I was under the impression that he would weep if I did not accept his generosity, not being one to initiate such useless acts of emotion, I accepted the package, stowing it away within my backpack. He seemed to brighten, before standing from the table and heading for the door.

“What is in the package?” I inquired, watching him leave, his feet, even within the dress shoes assigned to the school, remained silent upon the glossy tiled floor. I could appreciate such stealth.

“Something from up here.” He grinned, pointing to his head, and for a moment I was under the ridiculous notion that it was something akin to a lock of hair. But that would be pure romanticism on my part. Something that was surely influenced by the nonsense printed within the book that I was occupying myself with. Therefore, after dismissing the idea, I gave a curt and sufficient nod, and indicated that he was allowed to leave the room, which he did with his usually uncanny grace.

The missions started once more, and we were separated. Never the less, the package managed to remain with me, a reminder that somehow, in his own way, Duo Maxwell cared enough to share some of himself with me.

This was neither a worrisome gesture, nor a welcome one, and my feeling of neutrality towards such an emotional topic was one of constant confusion, and anger. After all, in finding nothing lacking within such behavior, I was, promoting his fanaticism with the fantasy of ‘luck’. Also, by keeping the package, I was displaying a disturbing attachment to the other pilot, something that spoke of a deficiency in my training. Nevertheless, the package, appeared to be doing what Maxwell was hoping it would. The missions went off without a hitch, some more difficult then others, and yet I remained unharmed. This was a rather rare occurrence, considering that even minimal use of a Gundam merits some damage, however it became apparent that the bases, to which I was assigned, where forever lacking in Defensive measures (something that spoke of Oz’s unwillingness to accept the prospect of our superior strength).

Even so, luck, it seems, runs out.

It was during one of the many confrontations with the enemy, that I found myself in a compromised position. The number of mobile suites at the one faculty had been increased exponentially, and instead of the few hundred that were expected, there was a literal army of thousands. Oz, had grown weary of our constant victories, and as a result, had moved most of its suites to a valuable and vulnerable position. The move spoke of a lack of creativity, and foresight on their part, as it would have been possible that we would attack other such bases, but it did herald of Oz lieutenant’s increased ability to predict our targets.

A concept that was worrisome indeed.

Nontheless, having found myself in such a position, with the only alternative being surrender (not an alternative) I proceeded the ‘self destruct sequence’. There was the possibility of my rescue later, however this was not the most prominent of the thoughts on my mind. Even the sound of Trowa’s reassurance that he would be at my side in a span of seconds, was no longer an option. It was with a rather single mindedness, that I reached for the button that would destroy the Gundam, and subsequently, myself.

This was about the time that the package fell into my lap. Seconds. The thought took no time at all, as I pulled my hands from the button, and ripped off the strings on the small blue bag, spilling its contents into my lap.

I could not move, as every muscle in my body froze. Staring in horror, at what lay within my lap, I was amazed at my ability to suppress a scream. I believe that a part of me long dead whimpered into existence. It was the death of innocence that was my weakness, and Duo knew this. He used it.

It was then that I knew that I could not die within the Gundam.

Not then.

I refused to.

Because another mission had come to the forefront of my mind, I was to kill Duo Maxwell.

Moments later, Trowa pulled my semi-comatose self from the nightmare that I had allowed my mind to slip into, by jarring Wing, with his own Gundam. He began to shoot down my opponents, before pulling out his swords and slicing through the mobile suites one by one. He was later joined by Sandrock, as Quatre proved his piloting skills. I was ineffective for the rest of the fight. I was resting. After all, If such a thing is not carried out, a psyche can snap, and the soldier would have to be taken out of commission. Such a soldier would be unable to carry out the mission, which would be unacceptable.

Duo was reading a book. He was sitting at a dinning room table, the polished oak reflecting his face, as the dim lights illuminated the small print of the novel. He had his face scrunched up in a look of concentration, as he reached to turn the page. His hand drew back, quickly, as a knife imbedded itself into the paper, where the slender digits once lay.

Carefully, without looking up, and seemingly with no regard for his safety, he wrenched the knife from the paper, before bringing his hand to his lips, moistening one finger on his tongue, and turning the now seared paper.

Angered, for the first time I could remember; I stalked up to him and deposited what I had found within the bag upon the table. Quickly I wiped my hands on the sides of my jeans, rubbing them against my thighs, as if they would never be clean enough. He stared at me, and smiled. Closing the book, and setting it to the side. Instead he picked up the small dry thing, and cradled it in his hands.

He held a hand, a little human hand within his fingers. Cradling the leathery skin, and the thin little fingers. Like little sticks they bent inward, almost as if clawing at something, and a small tarnished silver ring, with a flower bud on it, identified the artifact as the child hand of a little girl.

“Duo.” I pressed a gun to his temple. He did not flinch, when the cold metal rested against his marble skin, nor did he move, when I released the safety. A brief click filled the room. He moistened his lips, with his pink tongue and began to talk.

“She was five when she died…a…a burning support fell on her…it sliced her hand off her arm. I don’t know if she bled, or burned to death. I could not find her within the rubble. All I have left is that little hand, and the only way that I knew it was her, was because of the ring. I gave it to her.”

I pressed the gun more firmly into his temple. But he did not budge. Somehow I knew that he would not, even if I removed the gun. He just sat there and stared at it, cradling what was left of a child within his hands.

“Why did you give it to me…how is it…lucky?” He smiled in response. A small twisted thing, bitter, angry, stretching over his face. That lost smile forever destroyed my image of him, it reset what I had seen him as in my mind, reformatting what he really was, not the happy clown…but something else, something far more akin to myself then I had ever meant him to be.

“She never had any luck.” He continued in his usually jovial voice, his face dead of emotion, and proving just how much a fake he was. Much more so then even I. “Her parents died. Her gang leader died. Her other gang leader didn’t. Her new family died. Her church died. Then she either burned to death or bled to death. She died. She used up all her bad luck, and never lived to the good…so she had so much luck left over. When you used it all up…then you could see what it was that kept you safe, her little spirit. Her luck. You would die when her luck ran out, because no-one survives me…no-one survives feeling for me, and you started.” He grinned, and I lowered the gun from his head, watching as he cocked his head, and played with his braid. He watched me with half lidded eyes.

“survives you?”

“But I knew that you would not die, when you saw it. Because then you would hate me. It would be perfect. But when you kill me Heero…will you take my hand? Will you take it to repay her? Will you take a foot or a finger? I don’t know if it will bring people luck. After all, am I lucky that I survived? Or am I unlucky that I survived?” his voice dropped to a whisper, and he lightly, almost reverently placed the little hand back into the pouch, and tied the top with the cross he always wore. Surely that had significance…but at the time I did not care to inquire. Rather, I put away the gun, and left him to dwell in his macabre thoughts. After all, who am I to send Maxwell to Hell, when he has already built himself one here one earth? At least here, he can help with the war effort.

* * *

comments? Criticisms? all_in_leather@yahoo.com

 

Yes, I am sick.

 

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.o0O(I'd like to say that I own a part of Duo...or Heero. But I don't. In fact, the only thing that I partially own, is my lack of intellect...which I readily deploy upon yourself. I'm sorry.

Although I must admit, your lack of death threats is heart warming)O0o.