This is the fic that follows Yundah. C&C needed and welcomed.

Warnings: Yaoi. Angst. Slightly limey in flavor (though VERY VERY VERY slightly, since I suck at that kind of stuff). EXTREME sap. Badly written extreme sap, to be more precise. Characters wildly OOC. Bad attempt at first person writing. Author lives in her own little happy reality where timelines don't necessarily apply. Dark? Happy Ending? Future generations shall decide.

A note on the song: Swim belongs to Madonna. It's off of the CD "Ray of Light" which is awesome. Go listen to it.

--
Katsu "O-ka-ne" no Miko
"Erst wenn die Wolken schlafen gehen
kann man uns am Himmel sehen
wir haben Angst und sind allein...
Gott weiss ich wil kein Engel sein..." (~Ramms+ein~)

 

Swim

 

AC 208

I never understood until much, much later. But that’s always the way of things. I have become firmly convinced that you can’t understand or appreciate a thing until you no longer have it.

Then you discover how utterly lost you have become, when it’s too late to find your way back.

Or maybe I’m wrong.

[Put your head on my shoulder, baby
Things can’t get any worse]

AC 197

“Heero, man, I don’t understand how you can keep doing this to yourself.” Duo grabbed my shoulder. I grunted and looked up. He peered down at me with concerned eyes.

I shrugged his hand off my shoulder. “Doing what?” I said, irritably.

“Torturing yourself. The war is over.” He looked up at the ruins of the apartment building I’d been staring at. “People died. Nothing is going to bring them back, and it’s kind of stupid to keep hitting yourself for it.”

I shrugged. “You have your candles and prayers.”

“Jerk. Leave me out of this.” He plopped down on the rock next to me. “There’s a fine line between remembrance and self-flagellation, yanno. You crossed it a while back.”

I shrugged again. In the time since it had fallen, vines and other plants had already started to reclaim the fallen apartment building, taking it back to what it had been, before people were there. It was pretty in its own way. Plants growing up among the bones of the dead that I knew were still in that building.

/There is no room in a soldier for humanity./

I shook my head unconsciously. If I looked more closely, I could pick out the exact spot in the ruins where I had picked up the dog’s corpse. If I got up and walked south for about sixty meters, I would be on the exact spot where the little girl had given me the flower. Where I had detonated the charges.

Where I had killed innocence, hers and the remains of my own.

I didn’t realize that I was giving any outward sign of my thoughts until I suddenly found myself in Duo’s arms, my face pressed against his shoulder.

I was crying. Impossible. Soldiers didn’t cry. Duo’s shoulder was shaking; I think he was crying, too.

He cheek was pressed against the top of my head, and he was whispering into my hair, his soft words melted into a comforting, unending stream. It took me a while to pick out what he was saying, but finally, I understood.

He was saying. “It’s alright, it’s over, and we can live again. It’s alright…”

[Night is getting colder, sometimes…
Life feels like it’s a curse

I wished I could believe him.

But I didn’t know if anything would ever be ok again, if it ever had been.

[I can’t carry these sins on my back
Don’t want to carry any more]

AC 201

“Move your arm just a little…a little more…a little more…perfect!” The camera flashed.

I automatically blinked my eyes a few times, trying to clear them of the afterimage that the brightness had left.

“Heero! Isn’t this exciting?” Relena wriggled in my arms.

I immediately let her go. “Aa.” I said, without enthusiasm. I hated crowds, and I hated being dressed uncomfortably. Most of all, I hated feeling uncertain, and I felt very uncertain. Relena grabbed my arm and tugged me along, toward a cluster of brightly dressed men and women. They must have been very important, since they’d all gotten invitations.

After Duo had disappeared on that morning three years ago, I had been angry, and it was an anger that I didn’t understand. Duo had been the one person that I’d thought I could trust. But he had deserted me. I wanted to kill…but I knew that it wouldn’t heal the damage.

And I’d promised him. I’d promised him that I would be happy.

Even though I wasn’t sure if that was possible for me, any more.

I’d wandered for a long time, trying to find the meaning of what Duo had asked me, had told me to do. When Relena had tracked me down yet again, I’d accepted her invitation to spend time with her, merely because I didn’t have anything better to do.

And when she asked me to marry her, I’d said yes, mostly because I thought that perhaps, it was what Duo had wanted. Maybe this was how he wanted me to find happiness. I wished I knew.

Despite my best efforts, I continually scanned the crowd of VIPs, trying to hear over their empty voices, trying to see past their blank faces. Trying to see if somewhere, in the mass of pretend people, there was someone with violet eyes and a long braid.

[I’m gonna carry this train off the track
…Gonna swim to the ocean floor]

“Ne, Heero!” Relena looked up at me, her blue eyes wide.

For just an instant, I saw the eyes of the little girl who I had killed. I saw the innocence.

Maybe that was why I had said yes. I thought that I could have it back. I thought that I could make the world beautiful again, and forget.

[Crash to the other shore
Swim to the ocean floor]

AC 195

“Heero!”

I was being shaken. Someone had gotten close to me while I was asleep, a bad sign. It shouldn’t have happened. I didn’t trust anyone enough to let them that near me…I opened my eyes and found myself looking at Duo. Quickly, I shoved him away and sat up. “What do you want?”

“You were having a nightmare, man. Woke me up.” Duo sat back on the other end of the bed. He had the tip of his ridiculous braid in his hands, and he was playing with it nervously.

I rubbed my eyes with one hand. I was breathing hard, and my heart was beating much faster than it should have been. It took a great deal of conscious effort to slow them to normal levels. “I don’t dream.” I said flatly.

It was true. How could I dream? The dead don’t sleep. The merely rest until it is time for them to move again.

“Bull shit.” Duo said. He looked disturbed by my assertion. “Everyone dreams.” He hesitated for a long moment, still toying with the end of his braid, until he spoke again. His voice sounded oddly hesitant. “Want to talk about it.”

I stood up and walked away, toward the bathroom. “I don’t dream.” I stayed in the bathroom until I heard Duo go back to his own bed and fall asleep.

[Children killing children while the…
Students rape their teachers]

AC 195

I glared at the stupid girl that had followed me. “Omae o…korosu.” All it would take was a slight amount of pressure on the trigger, and she would be dead. She was the one that had seen me when I had first arrived. She had to die. I had to protect myself from discovery. The mission was too important.

I couldn’t do it. Staring into those wide, blue eyes, I couldn’t make myself pull the trigger. I couldn’t kill the little girl again, not now, not when I knew what I was doing.

But I had to. I retreated back into the utter blankness that my soul had become after my retraining. In the utter stillness, I felt nothing. I could do it. I was nothing. Empty.

My finger tightened.

Someone shot me in the arm.

[Comets fly across the sky
While the churches burn their preachers]

AC 203

“Heero! Look!”

I dutifully looked up. “A meteor.” I remarked, uninterested.

Relena pouted. I idly wondered if this was another romantic event that I was supposed to know about. I didn’t really care, for some strange reason. “It’s a shooting star.” she said. “Make a wish on it.”

“It’s a fragment of debris that is burning up in the atmosphere.” I said. “Why bother?”

Relena glared at me. I shrugged. I knew that I was a constant source of frustration for her, a person that she couldn’t bend to her will or make fit into her perfect world. Most of the time, I lost, because I simply did not care. What she wanted to argue over was too pointless or small to bother with. Why battle over details when the overall picture is completely incorrect to begin with?

She couldn’t understand that, I don’t think. In her mind, I was hers, not really a person, but an object. Just like the peace was hers, or the world was hers. She seemed to think that if she forced me enough, she could produce the last few changes in me that would make me fit perfectly into her world.

It was from her that I learned my first lesson: people never change. If you cared for someone, you had to accept them as they were.

You had to ask, not demand.

/ So I’m not going to ask you to say anything. And I’m not going to ask you to act on anything, because I don’t think you understand how. It wouldn’t be fair./

“Heero…” she said again, her voice warming with anger. “Make a wish.”

I glanced down at her. “I did.”

I’d learned other lessons from Relena. Lessons about lying.

[We can’t carry these sins on our backs
Don’t wanna carry anymore]

AC 195

“You got captured.” I said quietly. I didn’t feel the need to wake up Wufei. My voice sounded accusatory, even to my own ears.

Duo grinned up at me from where he was still laying, half sprawled on the cold floor of our cell. “Yeah, looks like it.” He coughed and spat blood out on the floor. In the dim light that crept in through the slit in the door, it was black. “No worries, though. I know you’ll get us out of here. Heero Yuy, Perfect Soldier AND escape artist!” he giggled.

“Baka.” I knelt down by him, doing my best not to be concerned, not to care.

Duo rolled his eyes up to look at me. “Am not.” He protested.

“Yes you are.” I pulled him up into a sitting position, trying to ignore his yelps of pain. I didn’t like the thought that I was hurting him, even if it wasn’t by design…but it was necessary. It was all necessary.

Duo grinned lopsidedly. One of his eyes was swollen shut. “Thanks man. The floor was getting uncomfortable.”

I shrugged and sat back on my heels. “How badly are you hurt?” I wondered why I had waited until Wufei was asleep before checking. Illogical.

“It’s not as bad as it looks.” Duo chuckled softly, a hitch in his voice. “My ribs hurt like a bitch, though. I think a few of them might be broken.”

“Let me see.” I leaned forward, half unwillingly. I wanted to hate Duo, to leave him hurting. He had no right to make me feel concerned, or anything at all. He was beginning to become a weakness for me, because I couldn’t afford to care for a friend. It gave me something to lose.

[We’re gonna carry this train off the track
We’re gonna swim to the ocean floor]

AC 207

I stood up, prying myself out of the overly soft chair. Everything was too soft; the chairs, the carpet, the beds. Too fancy. I was lost in my own home—no, it wasn’t my home—dwelling, surrounded by things that were always alien to me, isolated in a world that I had long ago realized I didn’t belong in.

My discomfort was my own fault, though. I had married someone as completely alien to me as the furnishings of the house.

Automatically, I walked over to my wife and kissed her on the cheek. I think she was going to say something, but I simply turned away and walked up to my room.

I had failed miserably in my promise to Duo. I wasn’t happy. I hated myself now more than ever. I had become a lie.

And I hated Relena, for forcing me to lie.

It was my own weakness that had done it, though.

I went out to the balcony over the room and looked out into the darkness. The moon was full and bright overhead. I suppose that I must have mellowed since my time as a soldier. Before, I don’t think I would have willingly allowed myself to be controlled as I was letting Relena control me. It was like being lost on the ocean when a storm was raging. I was being torn by the wind and water, and I was too tired and numb to care.

I was tired, so very tired. I had hoped that Relena would be the salvation I was looking for, and the way to fulfil my promise to Duo. I had hoped that the Soldier could go to sleep, and perhaps whoever it was that Duo had seen, the person that was lost inside of my dark waters, could wake up again.

And I looked up at the full moon. The waves came crashing down on me.

Without a backward glance, I vaulted over the railing of the balcony and jumped to the ground, tucking and rolling to avoid breaking a bone.

Relena would be angry, and upset, and she would look for me. I had gotten to know my enemy in the years, though. She wouldn’t be able to find me, and eventually, she would give up.

Deep down, she hated me as much as I hated her, now. I was the only imperfection in her life, the only thing that she could not claim as totally hers. She would be angry that one of her possessions was gone, but I knew with certainty that she would get over it. This way was easier. This way, I could avoid killing her.

[Crash to the other shore
Swim to the ocean floor]

I could hear the ocean calling me, the ocean I had once hated.

It was promising me peace.

[Let the water wash over you
Wash it all over you
Swim to the ocean floor]

AC 198

“Ne, Heero?”

“Aa?”

Duo looked at me for a long moment, staring into my eyes like he was going to see through me and into my mind. “Nan demo nai.” he grinned and slipped out of my grasp. “The tide’s all the way in, isn’t it?”

I stood and walked to the edge. The ocean was calm for the moment, its motion fairly quiet under the moon overhead. “I believe so.”

“Yoshi!” Duo grinned and moved to stand at the edge with me. “Then the water will be deep enough.”

“For what?”

Duo didn’t answer me with words. Instead, he jumped off the edge, and pulled me with him. Suddenly, I was in the water, surrounded by its cool embrace. I quickly kicked my way to the surface before I could accidentally inhale. Duo was already there, floating in the water and smiling at me like an idiot. I glared at him. “What the hell did you do that for?”

He was completely unrepentant. “Loosen up, man! Can’t you feel it?”

“Feel what?”

Duo disappeared under the water, then resurfaced next to me. He slipped his
arms around my waist. “Freedom.” He ducked us both under the water again.

[So that we can begin again
Wash away all our sins
Crash to the other shore]

I came up sputtering. Duo was still smiling at me. “Omae o korosu!” I said.

“Come and get me!” Duo laughed and began to swim away.

It was ridiculous, and childish. But I chased him, and he splashed me. I splashed him in return, losing myself in the dark water of the ocean for the moment. And, for the first time in my memory, I laughed for joy.

[I can’t carry these since on my back
Don’t wanna carry any more]

AC 207

“You don’t know where he is?” I asked, disbelief evident in my voice.

“That’s what I said, Heero.” Hilde shook her head. She had dark bags under her eyes, like she hadn’t been sleeping well. The years had not been kind to her. “I haven’t seen him since he returned to earth ten years ago. Haven’t heard a word from him, either.” She brought her cigarette up to her lips and inhaled shakily. “He just left, even said he was coming back.”

“Shit.” I said, very softly.

“No one else is going to know where he is, either, Heero.” Hilde let out a sharp laugh. “I asked everyone I could think of when he didn’t come back when he was supposed to. I even tracked Wufei down. No one knows anything.”

“You didn’t ask me.” I said.

“You wouldn’t have talked to me.” she returned sharply. “I didn’t want to talk to you, anyway. I hate you, Heero.” She smiled at me through the com link. It had nothing to do with humor.

I was surprised, despite myself. “I don’t understand.”

“I’m the only one out of the old crowd that isn’t happily married.” Hilde took another savage drag from her cigarette. “Hell, even you got married.”

“It wasn’t happy. It’s over now.”

She ignored me. “Duo was supposed to be mine. He was mine. And then he left, because he wanted to see you.”

I didn’t know what to say, so I cam up with the best response that I could. “I’m sorry.”

Hilde looked up, and bared her teeth in another humorless smile. “Rot in hell, Heero.” The picture snapped off.

I could feel my hands shaking, and they refused to be controlled. I was angry with Hilde, and I had no right to be. I was angry at her bitterness and her hatred of me.

It was wrong to live in the past, to become so obsessed with it that you had nothing else left.

I sat and stared at the blank screen for a long time, watching my face being dimly reflected in it.

My cheeks felt wet, and I touched the tears wonderingly. I was feeling. I was feeling…

[I’m gonna carry this train off the track
I’m gonna swim to the ocean floor]

I’d promised Duo, what felt like a long time ago, that I would be happy. And I had failed him in that task. I was caught up in the past, rolling under the weight of my own remembered sins until I was crushed beneath them.

I had been so insistent that I was dead that I had never given myself over to the possibility of living.

[Crash to the other shore
Swim to the ocean floor]

AC 208

“You ever hear the legend of the selkie, boy?”

I shook my head and handed the bartender another dirty bill. It was much too large for the tab I had run up, but I didn’t really care. I had more than enough, should I need it. The old man behind the bar slid another mug of dark amber colored beer across to me. I drank it down, grimacing at the sharp tang of the alcohol. “I’m new around here.”

The tender grinned at me, his face becoming a mass of wrinkles. “Seal women, my boy. They shed their skins on the full moon and become human. Fascinating tale.”

I smiled into my half-finished glass of beer. It was obvious that the man was dying to talk. I was willing to listen. He could keep smiling that broken toothed smile of his. As he talked, I listened with half an ear, watching the bar around me. I was comfortable here, more comfortable than I had been anywhere in years. It was a place that old soldiers came to exchange stories and compare scars while sitting at the comfortably worn but not quite shabby tables, drinking rich beer form mismatched glasses. I still wasn’t finished travelling, though.

I still hadn’t come home.

But now, at least, I knew where home was.

The old man had finished talking, and I drank the last of my beer. He gave me another one. “Do you have any stories about dolphins?”

Once again, the old man’s face became a mass of wrinkles as he grinned. “Of course, my boy. All of them true, o’ course.”

I nodded.

It still wasn’t enough, but it was an improvement. Simplicity.

“Sailors knew that it was bad luck to kill a dolphin.” The old man was saying. “In the old days, when there was a storm that destroyed a ship, the dolphins would help the survivors to shore, help them weather the storm. Shame they all got killed off.”

I finished my last glass of beer and stood. The bar tender knew enough to simply keep the change. “No,” I said, “There are still dolphins left.”

Help them weather the storm.

I had found one of the answers, here. I could be happy in the happiness of others. It was an end to loneliness, trading stories with the other old soldiers, finding friends in the men that were once my enemies.

I grabbed my rain slicker, which was laying across the stool next to me, and slipped it on.

“Where ya goin, boy? It’s full moon tonight. Gonna find yourself a selkie?”

I grinned at the old man. “Not quite, but close enough.”

[We can’t carry these sins on our back
Don’t wanna carry any more
We’re gonna carry this train off the track
We’re gonna swim to the ocean floor]

AC 198

Duo squeezed my hand, softly. “I know you love me, Heero.” I tried to speak, to deny, or dissemble, I’m not sure which. Duo squeezed my hand again, silencing me. “And I also know that you don’t understand it and aren’t sure what you’re feeling. So I’m not going to ask you to say anything. And I’m not going to ask you to act on anything, because I don’t think you understand how. It wouldn’t be fair.” Duo looked up and smiled. His eyes were shining in the light of the moon; I couldn’t tell if it was tears or not.

I was too shocked to say anything as he got to his knees and half crawled over the short space to me, moving closer until his nose was nearly touching mine. “I want you to be happy.” He said, very quietly.

I found it hard to think. “I’m not sure I know how.”

He laughed, and his breath puffed softly over my lips. “When you find out, will you come and tell me, so I know you’re ok?”

“Won’t you be there?” I asked. My stomach was twisting itself into knots.

“No.” Duo said firmly. “I can’t wait that long, Heero. I wish I could, but I just don’t have enough time. I wish I did.” his eyes smiled sadly at me. “Do you know what life is?”

I opened my mouth, and he spoke before I could say anything.

“No,” he said, “It isn’t that. That’s another thing you’re going to have to find out.” His lips brushed softly against mine, and I froze. “I want you to understand.” Then he kissed me.

[Crash to the other shore
Swim to the ocean floor]

AC 208

It wasn’t difficult to find the basalt rock. It was the one thing in my life that hadn’t changed in ten years. I had to swim to reach it; the tide was fully in, and the water was shining silver under the fat, full moon. The climb to the top was easier than I remembered, probably because I was almost a foot taller now than I had been. When I reached the top, I took in a deep breath of the salt-tang air.

In the distance, I could see the water breaking, and quicksilver shapes darting up into the moonlight; the dolphins.

I understood, now.

I knew what life was, at least for me.

It was Duo.

With a grin, I pulled off my slicker, and the soaked clothing until I was completely naked. Without looking back at my clothing, I walked to the edge of the rock and dove into the dark water of the ocean again.

[Crash to the other shore]

I was surrounded by the dark freedom of the ocean again.

In the dim moonlight that filtered down, I could see Duo, only a short way ahead of me, his arms open and welcoming.