"Everybody Hurts"

a Gundam Wing / REM vidfic

Revision status: Final copy complete September 22, 2000

Warnings: Vidfic, shounen-ai, light angst

Shin Kidosenki Gundam Wing / Mobile Suit Gundam Wing is the property of Sotsu Group, Bandai, Sunrise, and their licensed distributors. The original portion of this fanfiction work is copyright 2000 by Fractalforge, and is considered the creative property of the author.

The song "Everybody Hurts" is the property of REM.

Comments on and criticisms of my fanfiction are universally welcome! Please drop me a line at Fractalforge@hotmail.com, and I'll be happy to respond. If you'd like to post this fanfiction on your site, feel free to do so. All I ask is a mail link, author credit, and no alteration to this text itself.

~~~~~

[AC 195]

"I'm alone."

The baritone voice disappears in the wind.

Trowa is stooped over a hotel balcony high above the ground, tanned face stinging slightly from the glare of the setting sun and the wind. Many stories below, cars and trucks putter along like ants. There are no trees visible below to tell us the season. Instead there are fields and fields of grey and brown and orange buildings stretching out across the hills until they finally reach the sea. The beach is simply a sun-haloed slash of white in the distance.

Trowa stares off into the distance, eyes focused slightly oddly; as if looking through the horizon into space, or perhaps merely at something very very close. The strong metal frame of the balcony carves a groove into the chilly skin below his elbows, and his chin pressed into his palms.

/When your day is long, and the night, the night is yours alone,
/when you're sure you've had enough of this life, well hang on.

Slowly, we see sun sinks below the horizon. Trowa does not stir from his position, as if hopeful to see the last gasps of the day -- or perhaps just catch cold. His slender form is silhouetted by the bright amber light-pollution from the city beneath him. The streetlights gradually come on, spitting out light the color of dim orange sherbet. The pilot remains in exactly the same position, eyes still scanning the skyline for something that they won't show.

His shoulders are quivering slightly with cold by now.

Slowly a small blond boy makes his presence known in the hotel suite, turning on a light or two. He looks outside at Trowa and his businesslike expression softens into a wistful smile. Thinking that he's gone to sleep in that position, Quatre softly opens the sliding door behind him and nudges Trowa gently. The taller boy makes some sort of noncommital response and returns his gaze to the horizon.

By the warm golden light radiating from the inside, we can see Quatre shivering slightly and wrapping his arms around himself, cold. He speaks, but Trowa simply shakes his head quietly. Obviously the temperature doesn't bother him, or at least he'd like the blond boy to think as much. Quatre disappears into the suite for a moment, then reappears with a mug of something warm.

Trowa grudgingly takes the thick china mug and raises it to his lips as Quatre waits, worriedly, for a response of gratitude, or friendship, or even comprehension -- that does not come.

/Don't let yourself go, cause everybody cries
/and everybody hurts, sometimes.

It is dark in the suite, very late at night. Through the picture windows, the moonlight illuminates a room with a single bed and a large reclining chair set back all the way. Both are covered with sheets and blankets, and the two pilots beneath them. The Arabian pilot has made Trowa take the bed.

Quatre's eyes flutter open, and the moonlight illuminating his face tells us that he's been unable to sleep well. Perhaps it's that he's in the uncomfortable chair. Perhaps it's the anticipation of the mission on the next day.

Or perhaps the blond boy is trying NOT to sleep.

His eyes shift around the room, bathed in shades of black and navy blue and sparkling white moonlight. Trowa, sleeping in his clothes, lies on the bed in slumber. Quatre notices with concern that he's shaking slightly -- it seems that he stayed out too long in the cold. The blond boy shakes his head, smiling as if to say "I knew it would happen" and silently throws off his covers. On tiptoe and clad in pajamas, he drags his thickest sheet, a comforter, over to the other boy's bed.

As he gingerly pulls the thick blanket over Trowa, Quatre notices the off-color blotches on his friend's pillow. Trowa was shaking, but it wasn't from cold or sickness. Years of torture and abuse have taught him to weep the only time he can: at night.

The blond boy doesn't quite know how to react, except with mute compassion and sadness. Trowa will never know... Looking around warily to see if anyone is watching him -- modest to a fault -- Quatre pulls up the covers around the brown-haired boy's shoulders and chin. With a guilty expression and a gentle touch almost too light to be real, Quatre gently strokes Trowa's quivering shoulder for a while.

/Sometimes everything is wrong.
/Now it's time to sing along.

Alone and weary, Trowa sits on a bench on a street somewhere, waiting for a bus. He's in another city, but not the same one: there are no hills here. He is surrounded by massive puffs of pink and white lace, strung together on brown spindles -- cherry blossoms have come out on the trees. Quatre sits down next to him cheerily and attempts to strike up a conversation.

When Trowa manages to deflect his queries with one-word answers and moody mumbles, Quatre sits back onto the wooden slats and thinks for a minute. He leans forward and warily intones something, a question. His companion nods his head. Though he can barely show it, even Trowa can feel shame.

An evening edition newspaper lying on the dirty ground reads: GUNDAM 03 ATTACKS CIVILIAN SHELTER, 46 DEAD. A photograph of a dirty, bloody, crying child that will surely make the front pages of every newsmagazine in the nation graces the front page. The OZ propaganda machine has already been hard at work.

/When your day is night alone, (hold on, hold on)
/if you feel like letting go, (hold on)
/when you think you've had too much of this life, well hang on.

Quatre stares at the paper with horrified eyes and looks at his friend with unrestrained disappointment -- not /at/ him or what he did, though; disappointment that the mission didn't go well. Gently he tries to think of something to do, and -- as if defusing a bomb -- places a hand on Trowa's nearest shoulder. When the silent boy doesn't brush it away, Quatre just leaves it there -- too afraid to go any farther, too involved to withdraw it back.

Trowa doesn't respond, and concentrates on watching a lone cherry blossom spiral down from the tree above him. Quatre's eyes begin to tear...

/Everybody hurts.
/Take comfort in your friends.
/Everybody hurts.

Quatre's tears are still there, but his eyes are disturbingly vacant, as the view shifts to his face shielded by various machinery. Inside the Zero-System helmet, little drops of salt water slowly dance with each other in zero gravity, tumbling and rolling...

A berserk blond pilot coldly pulls the trigger on the joystick, and energy explodes forth from the twin barrels of the gigantic beam cannon. Inside Heero's head, time slows down, the readings on the HUD become gibberish, the massive white flash grows larger and larger...

And almost too fast to see, Trowa's mobile suit darts into the beam's path and absorbs Wing Zero's blast. Heat-resistant panels and shielding systems flake off of the mech's frame as the energy intensifies.

On board Wing Zero, some half-remembered memory breaks through the tears. As though a screen has been lifted, Quatre's eyes snap from cold, genocidal insanity to shocked and horrible realization. As Trowa begins his last transmission before the mobile suit's reactor finally loses containment, his eyes are wet...

Heero's undamaged MS brutally tackles Quatre and they tumble into a wrecked crater in the hull of the colony. As he begins to remember what he's done, the blond boy is too stunned to do anything except call his friend's name...

/Don't throw your hand. Oh, no.
/Don't throw your hand.
/If you feel like you're alone, no, no, no, you are not alone.

Half-walking, half-staggering away from the grassy area behind a circus tent, Quatre - now perfectly sane - struggles not to break down and lose control again. His eyes blink frequently, as if he cannot comprehend and process what he's just seen. The colony's artificial wind picks up and gently blows his cuffs against his ankles as he gradually disappears into the distance, alone.

Behind him, both secretly watching him from separate corners of canvas, are the amnesiac Trowa and his protective "sibling". Catherine stares at Quatre as though he were a wild animal she'd managed to frighten away, her expression rich with protective menace. Trowa, on the other hand, is too busy frantically clutching his head and trying to remember Quatre to notice the number of times the blond boy desperately looks over his shoulder.

/If you're on your own in this life,
/the days and nights are long,
/when you think you've had too much of this life to hang on.

On board Noin's cruiser, Quatre and Trowa are sitting alone, silently, in the cockpit. Beneath and behind them the engines are running, and the status lights on the command console shift about in various patterns. The pair are not looking at each other. Trowa is busy staring out the window at the stars and at the moon, which is now extremely close. Quatre's head is nodding in his hands as he tries to think of something to ask his friend.

After a little bit, the Sandrock pilot raises his face and says something to Trowa hopefully. The brown-haired boy listens, considers it for a while, and shakes his head sadly. Quatre sighs and tries again. Again, Trowa shakes his head. He remembers nothing. Finally, Quatre's head rises in excitement and he begins to whistle something, prefacing it with a quick comment. Trowa listens to the melody for a moment, begins to shake his head, but then stops short, balking. He remembers the tune.

Quickly, an image of the pair playing a duet flashes across the screen. The sun is reflected throughout the Winner music room by the glass ceiling, and the notes of violin and flute fill the cool air...

Trowa looks off into the distant stars and begins to whistle a different part of the tune. Quatre reacts with overjoyed happiness, laughing, floating happily around the cabin, talking at a mile a minute. Even in all the excitement, the Heavyarms pilot stays cool and collected. However, his blank expression has slowly formed a smile.

/Well, everybody hurts sometimes, everybody cries.
/And everybody hurts sometimes.
/And everybody hurts sometimes.

A cast of hundreds is on board the Peacemillion, obviously a few days before the Eve Wars. Duo is grinning a manic grin at Heero, who's crossing his arms and glaring at him, as the two hang up a banner reading "Pre-Xmas Xmas Party". The ship's mess hall has been crammed full of tinsel, decorations, people, and food. Sally Po, Howard, Wufei, Noin, and Quatre are all visible among technicians and mechanics, helping themselves to various drinks and dishes. Though the general atmosphere is joyful, there is a morbid tinge to all the proceedings: they're having the party now because they don't expect to see Christmas itself.

Looking around for Trowa, Quatre searches every square inch of the large room before walking into the empty hallway, discouraged. With his face set towards the ground, the blond boy walks back towards his room. Perhaps it's all a waste of time...

As he passes by an open doorway, though, he hears a low humming noise and looks inside. The hangar is totally empty except for the Gundams, Noin's Taurus, assorted Space Leos, one captured Virgo Mobile Doll, and a small speck kneeling in the distance by Heavyarms's twin gatling guns.

/So, hold on, hold on.
/Hold on, hold on.

Quatre gazes at the distant Trowa, who's looking into one of the massive-caliber guns with a laser-powered rangefinder. After a few seconds of staring into one of the holes, he steps to the side and types a few numbers on a computer: making sure the targeting computer knows the exact acceleration length for each gun barrel.

The blond boy chuckles slightly at his friend's incredible work ethic, gets an idea, and disappears smiling. After a few moments, he reappears with cargo; careful that what he's carrying doesn't spill in the low gravity.

/Hold on, hold on.
/Hold on, hold on.

Trowa looks and feels conspicuous and embarassed as Quatre smiles and gently sets down the steaming mug and plate beside him. He mumbles a quick word of bashful thanks to the Sandrock pilot, and looks away from him, unsure of what to do or say.

But as Quatre sighs softly and stops waiting for a response and slowly turns to walk away, Trowa awkwardly mumbles his name.

As Quatre turns around to gaze at Trowa, surprised and delighted, the brown-haired pilot returns his slight smile.

/Everybody hurts.

The two pilots, sitting side by side in a relatively secluded corner of the hangar bay, shyly share the small plate of cookies and pass the single thick mug of tea back and forth to one another. Quatre only thought to bring one mug. As they eat, each forms a tactical strategy to leave the other one the last cookie.

Their mutual efforts are thwarted when Trowa's arm accidentally knocks the tray and the final cookie floats away, uneaten. Quatre closes his eyes and looks down, giggling. The Heavyarms pilot looks into a corner of the room, mentally cursing himself, until the blond boy softly slides over towards him.

Not one to object to Quatre's pleasant presence, Trowa looks at his friend agreeably and humbly inches closer towards him. Before they know it, the two are leaning warmly against each other. After waiting a moment or two and building up his nerve, Trowa cautiously places his hand on top of Quatre's.

/You are not alone.

The blond boy's mouth drops open in excited happiness. His eyes are brilliantly shining with barely restrained relief and, yes, surprise.

The Heavyarms pilot blinks in happy incredulity, and then finally smiles -- a real smile, beautiful and bright. With an almost crippling slowness, Trowa nuzzles the blond boy's face and gently wraps his whole arm around his shoulders. The cloth brushing against his fingers is soft and smooth.

That's all the evidence that Quatre needs. The Sandrock pilot adoringly embraces Trowa and simply enfolds his friend in his warm arms. As he snuggles deeper into their gentle hug, he feels Trowa's warm breath, unbelieving and softly rejoicing, against his cheek...

"I'm not alone."

~OWARI