Title: Staying Buried
Warnings: serious AU, probable OOC, angsty/depressing, language... lots of language, yaoi!
Pairings: past 1+2; future unknown
Disclaimer: *draws line* this is my half of the fic and that's your half... you stay on your side and we'll get along fine
Feedback: yes... yes!... YES!!
"Please, Duo. Don't cry, not because of me. I don't deserve it."
Once again, I should have remained quiet, because he's sobbing openly, again.
I stand here for an eternity, wanting to do something to ease his tears,
but nothing I do ever helps. I reach out slowly, barely moving, and come
into soft contact with his shoulder. I guess that's all he needed because
before I can even blink, he's clinging to me, burying his wet cheeks in
my dinner jacket. My arms respond on
their own and encircle him.
"I miss you too," he whispers.
Duo's in my arms and all is right with the world. Except for the fact that he's still crying. And also the fact that, yet again, my mind is a sloppy puddle. Duo and competency just don't mix well. How is it that I'm the strong one right now? I certainly don't feel strong.
"Heero?" His voice has a slight crackle to it.
"Yeah?" Mine sounds vulnerable.
"Can I ask you something?" He's talking to my jacket.
"Yeah." I'm talking to his hair.
"Is he really dead?" I don't need to ask who he's referring to.
"Good," he sighs and begins the slow process of untangling from me. He swipes his eyes and takes a step back.
"You don't have to apologize." Didn't I already say that?
"I should go," he mumbles.
"Why?" I will not let him walk twice in one night.
"I don't know. I just think I should go before something happens." Oh no, I'm not falling for that vague crap.
"What's going to happen?" He gives me a knowing look.
"Heero, bad things tend to happen when I set foot in this house." He has a point, a damn good one. However...
"You've only been here once before."
"It only took one time." Point.
"Just to let you know, if you leave, I'm going to follow you." Who knew I could be so bold? He looks at me, gauging my seriousness.
"Alright. Let's go then." We're half way to his car before I realize I've forgotten something.
"Wait, I've got to leave a note for Alexis." His brow creases.
"I'll explain when I come back." I run inside, grab paper and pen from the kitchen, and slip the written note under her door. I hope she won't be too upset.
"So what was that all about?" he asks when I've seated myself in his car. I pause for a moment. No matter how I say this, it won't sound good.
"When I came home earlier, she knew I was going to kill myself. She begged me not to. If she wakes up and I'm not there, I just wanted to reassure her that I'll still be alive." My explanation is followed by silence.
"If I hadn't shown up, would you have done it?" he asks fearfully, staring at the steering wheel.
"Yes." There's no point in hiding from the truth.
"I'm so sorry."
"How many times do I have to say that you don't need to apologize?" I say.
"How can I get you to understand that saying 'I'm sorry' will never express how much regret I feel?" I don't respond. How can I? I would be hypocritical to say that he needn't feel regret, that it will only keep him in the past. I, too, keep myself in the past.
We sit in his car a few minutes longer before he seems to remember that we're in a car.
"I'm just following. Where we go is up to you." He nods at my answer, starting the car and taking us towards his studio. This is the first comfortable silence I've felt in years, which is contradictory to what it should be.
"Something has been bothering me," he says as we pull into the gravel parking lot.
"You never clarified as to why you came here yesterday."
"We were driving past, and I noticed this building. I wondered what it was because of the bright blue colour. Nothing around here is so colourful. And I already told you about Alexis shoving me in."
"Do you want to know why I chose this particular colour?" He's staring at his own building.
"Look at yourself in the mirror and you'll know why." I try to think over his cryptic answer. It's almost an audible click as I realize what he's talking about. My eyes. The blue paint on his building is the same colour as my eyes.
"I could just say that I liked that colour, but it's more a form of self-torture. I never told anybody the real reason. It's sounds a bit obsessive out loud."
"Kind of like my dreams," I reply.
"You really dream about me?" Skepticism.
"I don't know if you're going to like this, but in almost all of them you ended up dead. It was always some dark, oppressive force that would kill you while I was forced to watch. I have problems with insomnia because of it." I shudder while remembering some of the more horrific visions.
"Sounds like we're both screwed."
"Do we have to be?"
"I don't know." He seems saddened by his own response. I copy his movements and get out of the car, moving behind him to the door of the large building. He unlocks the door and moves off into the pitch dark of the interior. I hesitate in the doorway, not knowing my way around and not wanting a confrontation with sharp metal.
"Watch your eyes," he says from off to my right. I close them just in time before the place is flooded with fluorescent rays. I open them and once more marvel at his art.
"Want to buy one?" he jokes.
"If only I had a space large enough, I would buy them all." He shakes his head at my attempt to flatter him.
"Close the door. It needs to be the right temperature in here." I seem to have a lot of trouble with doors lately.
"Do you live here?"
"Yeah. This is only the gallery. The workshop and apartment are in the back." He takes me through the maze of sculptures to the door I saw him enter and exit through yesterday. God, that was only yesterday.
This room must be his workshop. Works in progress sit haphazardly on the floor. A table along the back wall is littered with tools and a row of blowtorches. The walls are covered with sketches, many of them designs but quite a few are of people. A weird thought pops into my head.
"How do you fit them through the door?" He laughs at my sudden question.
"I only make the smaller ones back here. I clear a space in the gallery to make the larger ones. If someone happens along and buys a large one, we take it out through the storage room, which has a docking bay."
"Oh." I move in to get a closer look at his drawings. They were all made with charcoal, the smudges around each giving them character. Duo's character.
I notice that there seems to be an unspoken rule between us now. Keep things light, avoid the pain. Neither of us wants to be the one to start "the talk." The one we both know is coming and will leave us flattened in its wake. I know I could still lose him because of it.
"Come on, I'll show you the rest." We leave the workshop behind, passing through another door into his living quarters. A kitchen, living room, bedroom, bathroom, all sparse in the furniture department. It's the walls that catch my attention. Unlike the workshop, where the drawings were on paper and attached to the walls, Duo has covered the walls directly with sketches. All I can think to say is: wow.
"Would you like to add your mark?" he asks.
"I can't draw, not like you can."
"Everyone can draw, they just don't know it." It's my turn to look skeptical. "Here." He grabs a chunk of charcoal and hands it to me.
"I don't want to mess up your wall."
"Heero, you won't mess it up." To make his point, he places the palm of his hand on top of a particularly beautiful scene and drags his hand across it, effectively smearing it. "See? Now just close your eyes and draw."
"Don't expect much." I follow his instructions, closing my eyes and guiding my hand blindly to the wall. My hand just does it's own thing. It'll come out as a scribble. I'm good at scribbles. I open my eyes to look at it. It's a blob with legs. I look to Duo for his assessment, but he's drawing something himself. His hand moves away. Me. He's drawn a portrait of me on top of his newly-made smudge.
"Look, Duo, I drew you too." He looks at my blob and chuckles.
"You were right. You can't draw." I glare and he laughs again, harder this time around. "Want something to drink?"
"No thanks." The conversation drops off. He's watching me and I'm looking at him. It seems like he's just a trick of the light and if I blink he'll vanish. I have to keep an eye on him. In the ensuing silence, I realize that I'll be the one to break the unspoken rule.
"Duo, maybe we weren't supposed to get it right the first time."
Ack! I know I know... the blue paint thing has been done. But I couldn't help it. I'm ruining this fic. *cries*