6-30-2000

OK, here it is - my latest labour of love. Someone requested somethign along these lines - let's see if they recognize it. ^_^

Bachelorette is a song by Bjork. In this fic, I'm trying to (once again) bring the song more and more into the context of the story, so that, rather than complimenting the story, it runs along with it. This is different than Riot Poof - not written in that stream of concsious style. New approach this time. I'm trying to make the rhythm of the story match the rhythm of the song. So I do hope you listen to it as you read. ^_^

~~~~~Bachelorette~~~~~
by shanna seanachai

~~~~~Opening~~~~~~

There was the sweet sound of life beginning, steadily growing, slicing through his awareness. And then a deep pulse, the expansion of his senses. A heart beat thudding in his ears, and he never knew if it was hers or his own. Suddenly it surrounded him, and panicking, he reached out, to grab that awareness and hold it close to him; but it trickled through his fingers like water. He couldn't hold on to it, onto that part of her that was leaving him; and desperate, he peered downward, and plunged himself into the darkness, where what he sought had fled to.

~~~~~First Verse~~~~~
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~i'm a fountain of blood in the shape of a girl~
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The light that filtered down into the restroom was sickly and green. The dimness of the room brought out dirt and decay that normally wouldn't have been so obvious; and as Wufei rested his pack on the back of the john and turned on the taps he noted with disgust the moldy cracks in the porcelain, the rust of the faucet. The water that first trickled out was rusty as well and the dark color reminded him, shockingly, of blood; blood trickling down into his palms, slowly, almost like sweat. He grew dizzy for a moment, and, disturbed, he twisted the taps harder until the water ran strong and pure. He scrubbed his hands vigorously and chided himself. There had been no blood.

Relieved, he rummaged through his pack until he found his toothbrush. He stooped over the sink as he worked, keeping his eyes lowered. But as he finished and reached again for his pack, they strayed upwards, meeting the stare of their twins in the cracked mirror before him. He couldn't help but stop and study himself, leaning forward over the sink.

Dark smears beneath his eyes like someone had smudged blackish-blue face paint with their thumbs in two lines directly above the rise of his cheeks - cheeks that tried to look hallowed out but still held onto the ghost of baby fat. Then the eyes themselves, tired and dumb and flat and lifeless, like the soulless being of a painting.

Then for a moment his features blurred in his vision, his face widening, his nose becoming pert, lips fuller - but the eyes, still dead - DEAD. The girl in the mirror lowered her jaw and reached out to him.

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~you're the bird on the brim hypnotized by the whirl~
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Then the spell was broken, as his own fingers encountered the dirty, warped glass. He gripped the sides of the sink, the worlds spinning around him. I'm sick, he thought. Sick in the head. That's what they call people like me... Shuddering, he grabbed his pack and left the room, the door swinging behind him. He'd been in a Night Shelter in the East End of London for about five days now. Ah, good old Night Shelters...smelly, dirty, decrepit, and open to anyone who happened to walk in from the street, and therefore extremely crowded. Various Shelters around the world had had the prestige, though they may not have known it, of housing a Gundam Pilot in these last few years since the end of the war. Wufei was drifting, drifting, trying to find that one place where he could find some peace, pull the covers over his head and shut out the world....but until that happened he was drifting. Running. From his fellow pilots, with their good intentions, from everything he had ever known. And now here he was...19 years old, alone, no friends, no family...he was physically sick, homeless, all he owned in the pack hanging from his shoulder, hadn't had a proper bath in a week, and now...he was going insane. Or was already.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~drink me make me feel real wet your beak in the stream~
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He hated the crowded, noisy, messy 'cafeteria' of the Shelter, but his insides were craving something, and he made his way to the counter, where a woman gave him a tired-looking sandwich, boiled potatoes, and an unidentifiable green sludge that must signify the vegetable in his balanced meal. He took a cup of watered down coffee and found himself an (almost) deserted corner where he could stoop over, bolting his tasteless meal and, closing his eyes and ears to the commotion around him, linger over the weak coffee, pretending he was somewhere else, maybe a cafe, drinking espresso....what a joke.

He forced himself to open his eyes and look at those around him. After all, these people he was so disgusted by, he was one of them now, right? No difference at all. And he was human. They were human, too, he only had to look to find it in them. It was a game, a diversion for him, but he found himself enjoying it. Repainting people's faces and situations was something he was good at.

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~game we're playing is life love's a two-way dream~
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Suddenly it all seemed to overwhelm him; he was drowning in a sea of humanity, scaly, germ-filled, infectious humanity, and they were going to eat him alive....

He had to get out of this room; he felt trapped, and dizzy, and things he saw were not matching up with what he knew was reality. Men's heads on baby's bodies, screaming for something. Women with beer-barrel chests, their long hair resting against their backs. It was all in his head, all in his head, he was a bit confused and tired, that was what had happened in the bathroom, nothing more, and there was not, there was NOT someone following him as he waded through the mass of people towards the door...he would make it to the door without fainting.

And he did, clutching the wall of the hallway, trying to get his breath and his wits back. Suddenly he felt something enclose about his wrist. He screamed, wheeling around, confronted by his worst possible nightmare --- A wizened old woman, entombed in a shroud of rags, carrying his pack in one hand, his wrist in the other. Nightmare, indeed.

"My boy, my boy, you are jumpy! You must be more calm, or you will forever be forgetting things, like this bag of yours, and screaming at defenseless old women who have come to help you."

He took the bag from her. "I - I'm sorry," he whispered, wishing she would let go of his wrist. "Thank you for..."

The woman smiled at him. "No need for that - now - let's see this hand of yours..."

He pulled back a bit. "What?"

She brought his hand, palm upwards, closer to her face, as though she were about to eat it. "I'm going to read your palm, boy - I am a professional palmist, one of the few left, in this day and age. Now let's see..." She furrowed her brow, studying his hand scrupulously.

He relaxed a bit...there was no need to fear her, or whatever she could read from his hand. He knew his future.

She seemed a bit confused. "Now this is strange...." she murmured.

"What is it?" he asked.

She looked up. "I can't tell you your future," she said. "Because according to your life line, you have been dead for five years."

~~~~~Second Verse~~~~~

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~leave me now return tonight tide will show you the way~
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Walking these streets, deep in the dark, amongst all these other people, you could forget who you were, swept up in the tide of other personalities. You could be someone else, for all you knew, and your terrible memories would be just a dream. The Night Shelter was far behind him - he had left, an act of denial on his part, denial that he had ever met the palmist. He knew he was dead, anyway. Dead inside, where it mattered. He'd ceased to live that day five years ago. He couldn't let her die. Let her live on in me, he'd thought, and I'll let myself die. Slowly. Painfully.

Now he regretted it.

Seeing her face in the mirror, that had frightened him. It was like she was taking him over. He wanted himself back again. This union with her was choking him, driving him out of his mind.

The feeling that he was being followed was creeping up on him again, like a cold wind buffeting him from behind. He wanted to break into a run, an impossibility with the amount of people around him. He wanted to find some secluded place and hide. His heart was pumping like mad.

He turned around, searching through the crowd for an attacker. Why was he panicking? He was a Gundam Pilot. He could fend for himself. But right now weakness seemed to course through his veins, paralyzing him. Someone was coming for him. He could see them now. A scream was bottling itself up in his throat - he couldn't move! - he couldn't make a sound!

Then his vision cleared a little; the menacing figures approaching him passed him by, not sparing him a glance. What had come over him? If anyone knew the way he was thinking, the things he was seeing, they would surely put him away. He felt shudders pass through him.

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~if you forget my name you will go astray~
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Even now she wouldn't leave him alone. The shaking had increased. He had to 0keep moving. Would it ever end? All he wanted was a place to rest. But, no, he had to keep moving. His mind was urging him forward, step by step, and it was light out now, which meant he'd been walking all night. He didn't know where he was. He could barely control his limbs anymore. Just a little rest.

Please.

He stopped, somewhere in the middle of a park, and leaned against a tree. The early morning light was trickling down through the leaves, making sunny patches on the dirt that flickered wildly as the windblown leaves obstructed the light's path. It was simply beautiful, but she wouldn't let him enjoy it. His legs wanted to fold, to sit under the tree and watch the patterns of the light until his mind succumbed to weariness and slept, but it was as though she held his shoulders up by hooks, like a marionette. Urging him to move again. But he couldn't. His hands hung limp and useless, like doll's arms, and slowly he felt himself sag, another doll-like movement, sliding down the tree trunk to rest in a comfortable niche between two tree roots. She was screaming at him, and he moaned, letting his head droop forwards against his folded knee. Then his eyes closed and he slept, a sleep more like comatose than anything else.

He awoke to the sound of a British voice, speaking so rapidly he could barely decipher the words.

" - strap him in - now - hook him up - "

More words lost in a sea of pronunciation, medical jargon, who were they talking about?

There was a slight prick in his arm and he shifted it uncomfortably. He didn't want to open his eyes and have to start moving again.

The pain in his arm didn't decrease, though, and he began to sense walls around him - he was in a room, not outside where he had drifted to sleep. There was the antiseptic smell he always identified with hospitals, and it struck him suddenly, that he was the subject of that confusing conversation he had just overheard. He pried open his eyes, which felt unnaturally heavy and sunken, and turned his attention to his arm. They'd put an IV in it, which disturbed him. He wanted to get up, but when he finally summoned his weak muscles to obey him, he was stopped short by a deep ache in his chest. He lay back coughing a little, holding one palm to his chest in pain.

"None of that, now," said a nurse, coming through the door. "No moving. You're a very sick man, and you've got to let us do our work and make you well again."

For some reason he the absurd notion that several white-coated men were going to jump out from the door, strap him up in a straight jacket, and rush him off to the sanitarium. Perhaps it was just her word usage - 'you're a very sick man' - that had so echoed his own prognosis, although he had meant it in a slightly different way.

Right now he had to find out how he had gotten here, what was wrong with him, and how soon he could get out. But words wouldn't some to his mind - at last he managed only a sluggish murmur, "I fell asleep under the tree..." "Yes, and then it began to rain, and luckily a nice man who says he knows you spotted you and brought you to us when you wouldn't wake up. Wasn't that lucky for you?"

His heart stopped, and he attempted to get up again. Knows me -? but he was stopped again by the pain in his chest, and the nurse came over to him and pushed him back, mouth opening to deliver her lecture again. He stopped her with a hand on her arm.

"Who?"

The nurse frowned. "He said his name was Odin Lowe. Said you'd worked together some years ago. Do you know who I'm speaking of?"

Wufei grimaced. Heero. Of course he hadn't used his real name - it was too well known. That wasn't important. The main thing was that he had to get away. Away from Heero, who would surely try to bring him somewhere, stop him from doing what he needed to do...

What did he need to do?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~like a killer whale trapped in a bay~
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Before he could say another word the nurse launched into another diatribe, which, in a roundabout way, informed him that he had contracted a severe case of walking pneumonia, coupled with dehydration and pharyngitis. She told him he was being given fluids intravenously for the dehydration, and had to take tetracycline for the pneumonia and a pain killer for the pharyngitis. He was a scheduled for a throat culture this morning and a chest Xray this afternoon. He could go home in a week, but wouldn't be properly well for a month, and had to visit a physician for checkups during that time, who would make sure he took better care of himself than he had been lately (this last comment was emphasized by a poke in the chest). Finally she let him go, and left, telling him to rest until they came around for the throat culture. He couldn't rest, though. The idea of spending a week here was paralyzing. Especially when Heero Yuy, all gruff well-meaning and stubbornness lurked, maybe literally, outside his door. Why on earth had it just so happened that Heero was in London, at that park, on that day, near that tree, right where he could see Wufei and 'save' him? It couldn't be coincidence. Heero must be tracking him down. He had been followed that night, and Heero had been the cause of his panic. He felt a great, fiery anger boiling up in him.

But then another nurse appeared, and, seeing he was not sleeping, disappeared and returned with a small, white pill, a sedative, he guessed. His initial reaction was to refuse it, but then his weary body begged for more rest, and so he conceded. Before long, he was asleep.


~~~~~Third Verse~~~~~

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~i'm a path of cinders burning under your feet~
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It was nearly evening, and the hospital was beginning to slow down to a warm buzz, a comforting sound, as though it were alive, and the soft footsteps in the hall way were the inhalation-exhalation of a resting creature. Wufei felt sleepy, and at least nearly reassured, for Heero had not turned up during the day, and visiting hours were nearly over. His throat still hurt - the culture had made him gag - and he was more than a little worried that standing for the chest Xrays had tired him so - but that was all starting to fade into a muggy haze, and sleep was near. His eyelids fluttered, then closed a bit. When he opened then again, Heero was standing by the bed.

He cried out, jumping, and pulled away, his labored breathing more ragged. Heero surveyed him coolly. His arms were crossed, his mouth was smirking. "What do you want?" Wufei muttered, his eyebrows coming together sharply. Heero shook his head. "I just came by to see how you were coming along." He frowned.

"We - Duo and Quatre and Trowa and me -We've been looking for you so long, you know - "

"And that's the way it's going to stay," Wufei rearranged himself on the bed, wincing at the pain of his aching lungs. "Thank you for taking me to the hospital. But you're going to leave now, and you're not going to tell anyone that you find me, and I'll leave -"

"You'll do no such thing, and neither will I." Heero pulled a chair over and sat down.

"The nurse said that after you are released you're going to need a lot of care - and you obviously won't be able to have that kind of attention if you are alone."

Wufei leaned over to him. "I don't need your help!" he hissed.

"That's arguable."

"Don't you understand? I've been running from all of you. I don't want to see anyone connected to the war. Ours was a purely business relationship. That business is over, and we have no connection now."

"That's bullshit." Heero grimaced. "Business? Is that what you call it?"

Wufei flushed. He hadn't meant it like that.

"Listen, Wufei. I, of all people, have never really understood friendship. But the five of us know each other - in a way nobody else ever will - because we share memories of - of experiencing things that most of the world could never even imagine. Sometimes - sometimes you need to be alone. But sometimes you need to be able to look at another person, and yourself reflected." He looked down uncomfortably. "You know?"

Wufei said nothing.

Heero sighed. "I can see myself when I look at you. I would have done the same thing you're doing, not too long ago."

Wufei turned away, facing the wall, his back to Heero.

Heero paused. He looked at his watch. Visiting hours were over. He would have to leave. He looked at the figure on the bed - it looked so small and alone, and he felt the gravity on his body acutely, as though he were slowly being crushed. He stood up to leave, and suddenly he was afraid that when he came back, Wufei would not be there.

And then, just as he left, Wufei whispered, "I'll stay."

He didn't know why he'd said that. Nighttime had descended on the hospital, painting strips of black to battle the yellowy glow of his lamp, and he still didn't know why.

He folded his hand beneath his head and stared at the pigments in the wallpaper. In his head, he waited for the old familiar arguments arise. But they didn't. His head was utterly bereft of voices, as though all of the personalities housed there had resolved their differences and gone to bed. He suddenly felt alone, very alone, left to himself, or whatever self of his was in charge at the moment. Something slipped away from him. He put his hand over his eyes and sighed. He thought he saw Heero.

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~you're the one who walks me i'm your one way street~
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Just his name triggered so many emotions within him. Jealousy: so seemingly self reliant, his life so resolved, in a way Wufei's never would be. Awe: that he had actually managed to achieve the above accomplishments. Anger: how dare he intrude upon his life, even to save it? Who said he wanted saving? And how dare he make him promise - promise to stay!

And....something that made him feel folded - vulnerable -

Don't even think of it.

And suddenly, as if by that admission, his mind awoke.

Oh, he knew it was useless. He knew he had no business feeling vulnerable. He knew what his ultimate mission was: to leave here as soon as possible.

How?

How didn't matter.

Something deep within him, hurt and scared, cried, Why?

You know why.

Oh, how cruel he could be, to himself most of all. He didn't want to leave.

He really, really didn't.

Warm drizzle trickled down Heero's face as he moved into the manic yellow light of the hospital from the dim stormy morning air outside. He drank some coffee from the vending machine before he went up to Wufei's ward: fortification for the unpredictable. He was right to be prepared. He had barely opened the door when a plastic water carafe flew through the air, hitting the wall, barely missing him. He picked it up.

"Your aim's a bit off."

"Get out," Wufei growled.

Heero walked over to him and put the carafe on the bed table. "Now that's funny. I thought we had reached some sort of level of understanding yesterday."

"That's your mistake."

Heero sat down and stared hard at Wufei. He was a bit shocked, for over the past few days since he had last been here, there seemed to be a fundamental change in him. His eyes were dark and sunken, like that of a dead body. The corners of his mouth seemed permanently turned down, and his cheekbones stood out unnaturally. A skull.

He came closer. "Did you sleep last night?" he asked quietly.

"That's none of your business," Wufei muttered, and Heero knew he hadn't.

"Have you been eating?"

Wufei snarled at him, like a wild animal that had been cornered. "Yes! Of course!"

Heero frowned at him. "Are you telling me the truth?"

Wufei stared hard at him, accusingly. Heero looked around and spotted the breakfast tray. It was untouched. "Yeah, you've been eating tons, haven't you?" Heero picked up the tray and rested it on his lap.

"I'm not hungry right now."

"That really doesn't concern me," Heero answered, and picked up a fork. "Eggs. Or something that looks like it."

"Get away from me...."

"Eat it or I'll make you eat it."

Wufei looked desperate. "Please, Heero. I feel sick, I can't eat."

"Now we're talking." Heero put the fork down. "How are you sick? We can get you some -"

"No..." Wufei squirmed away. "Just leave me alone."

"I already told you I won't."

"Fuck off."

"That's terrible language, Wufei."

"Go away!"

"Talk to me."

"You are not my fucking friend so stop acting like you are."

Heero sat back and sighed. "Talk to me...I can understand."

"You can't!" Wufei sat up, one hand clutching his weak chest. "You are nothing like me!" His voice wheezed. "You know *nothing* about me." He lay back with a groan, pain shooting ribbons through his chest. "Oh, God..."

Heero rushed over. "Wufei, Wufei, calm down." He put his hand on Wufei's chest. "Do you want me to get a doctor?"

"No, no, no doctors..." Wufei cried. He put his hands over his ears. "Oh, God, God, why won't they just shut up!"

"Who? - Wufei..." Heero tried to pull Wufei's hands away, and Wufei yelled. He stepped back. He had to get a doctor. What else could he do?

"Don't you dare get a doctor, Yuy. I don't want them doing anything to me! They can't help me, they only make it worse!"

"What?!" Heero cried. "Makes what worse?"

"...they can't make her go away..."

Heero put his head in his hands. "Oh, Jesus, Wufei..." He opened the door and peered out "Nurse?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~Interlude~~~~~
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There was a shifting in him, and he knew suddenly that he said to much, shown too much, and now he would pay. The world was swimming, swirling in chaos and he was lost in it. There was no way out. Searching for warmth, for life, somewhere in this depth of death and disease, something he could grab onto. Swirling...

Ah, but he was there, wasn't he? There was the smell of him, something familiar and comforting amidst all these alien bodies. He was there, teetering on the edge of awareness, wanting to reach out to him, but afraid. There was the sudden desire to plunge himself into that compassionate scent, wrap himself in it. He could protect you, you know. Just as she's done....

Or has she?

Oh, the tiny implications of all of it were disastrous, there were a thousand of them, each just as bad. After so long, following that path, no diversions, there was suddenly a fork in the road. Which way to take? The one he had thought so long he was destined for...the new one opened up...he was in stasis, suspended in this moment, frozen over a gap.

Which way?

 

~~~~~FourthVerse~~~~~~

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~i'm a whisper in water secret for you to hear~
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"I have a suggestion for you," he was saying.

Heero leaned forward over the table and wrapped his hands around a warm, but as yet untouched cup of coffee. "And what is that?"

The docter leaned back and crossed his arms. "Obviously your friend has troubles of not only a physical nature, Mr. Lowe. Indeed, in light of what has happened today, I believe he would highly benefit from treatment of a more....psychiatric kind."

Heero frowned. "He's not...crazy..." he trailed off.

The doctor looked anxious. His name was Beuscher, and his angular German features bent laboriously in compliance to his emotions. "Oh. no Mr. Lowe... I didn't mean to imply anything..."

"Of course not," Heero sighed. "You are right, probably. I think...he fought in the war, you see, and maybe he could benefit from some...counseling." "My thoughts, exactly." The doctor straightened up. "Truly, Mr. Lowe, it is nothing unusual. After having spent so much time fighting, it is not unusual for a person to....loose touch with reality, and lash out at society. I've seen it many times before."

Heero folded his hands in front of him, resting his head against his thumbs. "Do you having anyone in particular in mind? I'd like to speak with him, if possible."

"Yes, actually; her name is Ruth Amos, a very competent psychologist. I'm sure she would be glad to speak with you."

An unfamiliar stirring beside him; Wufei cracked his eyes open, for the first time in what seemed awhile. A young woman, untidy brown hair held back form her face, was flipping through files on her lap, seated in a corner of his room. He watched her movements - they were birdlike, almost, and precise. Finally he found his voice, burried deep within his chest, and formed a few words, with great difficulty.

"Who are you?"

The woman looked up, and smiled warmly. "Ah, you are awake." She started putting her files back together. "My name is Dr. Ruth Amos. It's been decided that I should start treating you, specifically."

Wufei frowned, "Another one," he rasped.

"Another what?"

"Butcher."

She threw head back and laughed. "How apt. Well, I am not an average, run of the mill butcher. I work with the mind, you see, rather than the body."

Wufei's eyes widened. "You...you're a...a shrink?"

"I believe the more pilote term would be psychiatrist." she moved her chair closer to him.

"Although - not to sound stereotypical - I'd much rather be your friend."

Wufei snorted. "I'm not crazy," he muttered, doubt belying his own words.

"Of course not. I'm just here to help you through your recovery - you are just getting better from being very sick, and I think maybe the past few years for you may have been a bit..stressful.." She cocked her head at him. "Your friend, Mr. Lowe, is it? Mr. Lowe tells me you saw a lot during the war."

"...maybe."

"Would you like to talk about it? What exactly did you do?"

"Fought."

"Ah..." she paused. "So young...just a teenager."

"That wasn't important to them."

"Who?"

"My superiors."

Dr. Amos stood up and paced the room. "So...how do you feel about the war being over?"

Wufei raised an eyebrow. "I'm glad,of course. Re...relieved."

"Why?"

He frowned fiercely. "Why? It's - it's what I - we fought for."

She returned to her seat and contemplated her pad. 'adrift,' she had written
and now she confirmed it, adding, 'nothing to occupy him. feels useless'.

"What are you writing?"

She looked up. "Notes to myself. To remember things...have you got any family?"

Wufei blinked, startled out of concealment. "Not - not anymore."

"Why is that?" She scribbled on her pad: 'no roots. no one to call home.'

He paused, and sighed. "They're dead. They died in the war."

Dr. Amos looked down. "I'm very sorry," she whispered.

Wufei didn't say anything. Then he answered, "I am, too."

She looked at him again. Ah, she thought. Now we're getting somewhere.

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~you're the one who grows distant when i beckon you near~
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"Would you...would you like to talk about that?"

He shrugged his shoulders. "It doesn't matter to me."

"Did you have any brother or sisters."

He nodded. "I was the oldest."

"What about childhood friends?"

"I didn't have any friends." His mouth approached a sullen line. "I was sent to boarding school as a child."

"Ah. What about as you got older? Any girlfriends?" she smiled a little.

Wufei drew his breath in suddenly. He stared at his hands against the blanket. "I...we...she wasn't my..." He looked away.

"Oh?"

"We didn't even like each other."

"I'm not sure I follow."

"My parents decided when we were young that we would be married later. We didn't really know one another. It was...an arranged marriage."

It was the most he's spoken the entire hour. Dr. Amos opened her mouth, but before she could speak, Wufei finished his little speech.

"She died, as well." He crossed his arms.

They were silent for a moment, and then Dr. Amos looked at her watch. "My time here is up. I'll see you tomorrow, then." She closed her pad and put it away. "And..."

Wufei looked at her.

She smiled.

"You are *not* crazy."

"You're going home tomorrow."

"Home?"

Wufei paused, his potato-laden fork halfway to his mouth. The nurse who had brought him his dinner was the tider of this unexpected news.

"Yes. In the opinons of Dr. Amos and Dr. Beuscher, this last week of treatment has shown improvements in both body *and* soul." She smiled. "Mr. Lowe will be by in the morning to take you to his house."

Wufei put his fork down. He felt trapped. Heero had not visited him since the day he had his ... fit. He had, perhaps, lulled himself into the idea that he was safe - he would suffer through the sessions wiht Ruth Amos, let his body heal, pretend his mind was healed as well, and then disappear as quietly as possible. How ridiculous of him, to think the Perfect Soldier - however lulled by years of peace-time and relaxation - would give up so easily! Yes, he was trapped, like a rabbit in a hole, with dog waiting outside the entrance. He either pretended to relapse and stay longer in the hospital, or he went home with Heero. Frankly, he couldn't stand another moment in the hospital, with its antibacterial anonimity, and sweetly concerned Dr. Amos, who though she may have thought she had gotten to the root of his terrible problems - he didn't need to see in that notebook of hers to guess what was written in there - guilt over loss of family, boredom from the end of the war, and other inane drivel - had no absolutel no idea what was really going on - that he was carrying around the ghost of his wife inside of him (he himself could not think of anything else to call it) and all he wanted, was just to be alone, with her, to wait for thier ultimate reunion.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~Fifth Verse~~~
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~leave me now return tonight tide will show you the way~
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The smell of the room hit him before anything else - warm and spicy - comforting. Then he peered around, and saw that the surroundings were so akin to their scent they seemed related. Behind him, Heero spoke, and his voice echoed in the safe, womb-like room. "Is it all right?"

The sentence seemed to hang in the air, evaporating into the strands of sunlight slicing through warm air, each diluted syllable wrapping about him, blanket-like. He turned around, his face, for the first time in awhile, relaxing, taking on the atmosphere of the room - sleepy and benevolent.

Heero seemed immune to it. He simply looked anxious. "If it's not, I can find another one. But I..." He shrugged. "I did think you might like this one."

Wufei nodded, for words could not cut through the thick air he inhaled, though if they had, he would have told him it was magnificent - despite the nagging voice in ear telling him he could not stay here long. Something in him just wanted to curl up and hibernate; perhaps with Heero beside him.

He flushed a bit at that and began to inspect the room; the walnut paneling, the knitted throw rug, all of it, wonderful, the type of room that had existed in his private, secret (even to her) dreams, for all these years.

He sat at the bed and forced sound up through his throat, and the words spilled out like gems. "Thank you..." He paused, his lips still parted, and let his eyes wander. "Thank you, though I don't deserve it."

Heero shrugged, smiling a little - it seemed a Duo-like habit - Wufei quite liked it on him. Especially the shrug, the way it looked in that brown corduroy jacket. "If anyone deserves it, Wufei, you do..." He looked away a bit, and sighed. "We've all been living the good life, and you've been on the streets -"

"Of my own volition." Wufei pulled his knees up to his chin, his mind suddenly seeming to snap back to its normal mentality - yes it *had* been his own choice, his, and what right had Heero to - to practically kidnap him, and bring him here No matter how nice it was, it was prison. Surely. He frowned and stared at the patterns of the quilt - log cabin. Red, brown, and green. His mind instantly offered up symbolism: red for blood and violence, brown for death and decay, green for new life, or afterlife, whichever a person believed in. He wanted to press his face against the bed and smell it, to see if it smelt the same as the rest of the room.

Heero seemed to sense the change of mood in him, and excused himself, closing the door behind him. Wufei wrapped his arms about himself - he was now wearing the same clothes he had before his trip to the hospital - although they were comparatively cleaner and neater. He let himself fall onto the bed, still hugging himself, and stretched out his legs until his boots hit the bed board, breathing a sigh of contentment, despite his misgivings. He wanted to climb into this bed and go to sleep right now, but that might be seen as odd behavior by Heero, and didn't want to cause any ripples, let alone any waves. Cool and calm during this stay here, and Heero would eventually allow him to leave. Then he could get on with things. He only had to wait, he told himself. Just have patience.

"Wufei! Dude, I have missed you. As has everyone. One gets used to that thorny nastiness, you know. Left a gaping hole in all our hearts, I hope you realize." Duo was older, handsomer, more educated, short haired (it was a bit shocking), and still, somehow, miraculously, the same. The eyes, despite the infrequency of the vid screen, still held that remarkable violet brilliance, and the mouth was alternately, smirking, mocking, joyful, and pleasant.

"That's comforting to know."

Duo laughed. "Still that snide, self-righteous sarcasm - absolutely brilliant. It's reassuring that somethings never change." A little echo of Wufei's own thoughts in Duo's voice; it had always surprised him how, despite their opposite personalities, their thoughts seemed to run in streamline; if it didn't come to both at once, the other quickly followed the idea. Perhaps they were more alike than either knew. He was given a full update on Duo's present life; he was an undergraduate at Yale - yes, Ivy League. He'd registered at genius level on all of his tests upon his return to school ("Can you really believe it? Me? Genius? They were shitting their pants, man, shitting their pants..." Some dictional habits never go away, Wufei decided.), won a full scholarship, and was now first rank in his class, studying classic literature. A gutter rat amongst the richest brains in the world, and somehow a favorite of all of his teachers (though not necessarily his classmates).

After that breathless tirade, Duo paused, blinked, and asked, in a carefully guarded voice, "And how are you doing, Wufei?"

He knew by his tone that Heero had filled him in on his situation and 'rehabilitation' (Dr. Amos had called it that). His mouth seemed to sour, and the words that came out were curdled. "Fine," he muttered. "Great."

Duo licked his lips. "You're not fucking with me, are you Wufei?"

Wufei's face narrowed. "Of course not, Maxwell. Will you get off my back?"

The rest of Duo's questions were polite and cautious; and Wufei's answers were curt and monosyllabic. He was glad when their goodbyes were said and the vid screen went blank, except for the glaring, neon line: 'Would you like to place another call?'

"No," he instructed.

It blinked, then flashed: 'Thank you for using SprintAtlantic. Have a nice day.', and flickered off.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~if you forget my name you will go astray~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dinner was a chore, for the conversation with Duo had left an acidic taste in his mouth, ruining his appetite. He ate alone in his room; at least Heero was not bothering him, seeming to be merely happy to have him off the street, eating and taking care of himself. That was satisfactory, he decided; it would make his time here easier, perhaps even pleasant.

After forcing himself to eat - it wasn't wise to let Heero think he didn't have an appetite - might make him think something was wrong - he pulled out a notebook he had found in a dresser drawer and claimed for his own purposes and sat down cross-legged on the bed. He placed the notebook open on the quilt, lining up the corners to the pattern on the bed - the way it should be, he thought - and, taking a pen, contemplated the blank page before him. He dated the page, and then, in bold caps below, wrote a heading:

THIS IS AN ALARM CALL!

That was a good start. He finished it by adding, all in lowercase, below it:

so wake up, wake up now.

In the margin he began to draw a box. It was plain and obtuse at first; then it gained detail and distinguish, dimensions, until he realized what it was.

A prison cell.

He found Heero in the library, sacked out in a chair, a book on his lap, his eyes avoiding it. His mouth was tugged down, and his eyes vacant. Wufei stood in front of him until he blinked and realized he was there.

"Wu - Wufei!" He started to stand up, but Wufei placed a hand on his chest and pushed him back. Then he positioned one knee on either side of Heero's body in the chair, and leaned forward, propping himself up on the arms of the chair. He pushed his face forward, and kissed Heero, hard but ineptly. Heero made a startled grunt and pushed himself back against the chair. Finally they pulled away from each other, and Heero stared at him in shock. "What the fuck was -"

Wufei, breathless, nearly out of his mind for kisses, stood up, pulling Heero along with him by his shirt collar. He mashed their lips together again and kissed Heero until he responded to him, pulling Wufei against him, bending his head to meet his mouth even more. Wufei growled, and felt a sort of supressed violence come out in him - the same that had caused him to throw the carafe at Heero in the hospital - but this time he honed it, organized it, put a point to it, and used it, exerting his dominance over Heero. It was wonderful. He felt freer than he had in ages, he wanted to grasp the chance before the feeling left him. He pushed Heero down to the floor, and kissed him all over, while all around him, his perceptions shifted, dizzying him.

Ignore it. Concentrate on Heero. Heero, Heero, one and only savior....

I love and I hate him. All at the same time.

Kiss me, kiss me, delicious and melty, I want to taste you, all the way.

(Don't be...)

Don't try to speak, just let me touch you...

(Don't be angry...)

Never, never, love you, I do. Hot, hot, I'm drowning in you.

(Don't be angry with yourself - I'll...)

Oh wonderful boy. Drowning, dead, you are killing me.

(I'll heal you.)

Killing me....

(I'll heal you.)

You can't heal me...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~like a killer whale trapped in a bay~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sluggishness had crept all over his body but he forced himself to get up and walk through the dark, sleeping house to the bathroom. Once he closed the door, he froze. Laughing, night-cool breeze was coming through the open window, painting his skin like breath. He didn't ever want to even move, he thought, his eyes lidding. Outside, he heard the noise of a dog barking and he slid across the linoleum to the shower, and shoved the curtain aside with the flourish of a magician. He turned the water on, cold, cold, and stepped inside, all his clothes on. He felt hollow, like a puppet; his moment of freedom had left him, and now he felt sick when he thought what he had done. Felt sick when he had woken up in Heero's arms on the floor. He pushed face into the cold spray, teeth chattering. You are not crazy, Dr. Amos had said to him, and that had completely destroyed his faith in her practice then and there. If she couldn't see he was crazy, then she was blind. He knew he was. He laughed a little bit, and started crying. It was too fucking cold. He turned the shower off and sat down in a corner of the shower, his clothes soaked, staring at the plastic curtain. He didn't feel any cleaner. What a bastard he was. He didn't know what he would say to Heero. Would Heero be angry? Hurt? He turned it over and over in his mind, sitting in that cramped little corner of the wet shower, until sleep kidnapped him, taking him off to unconsciousness as he slumped on the tile floor.

"Wufei?"

Freezing....his teeth were chattering. His chest hurt again.

He felt a warm something wrapped around him and opened his eyes. Heero was kneeling in the shower in front of him, and had just wrapped a towel from the closet around him. He burrowed into it, afraid of looking into Heero's eyes. He was therefore very surprised when Heero hugged him, kissing the top of his head.

"Look at you, you are soaked. What happened? I thought you had fallen, injured yourself." He rubbed the towel over Wufei's face, drying what he thought was water from the shower but what Wufei realized were tears that had leeked from his eyes during sleep.

"Why have you got all your clothes on?"

"I don't know," Wufei murmured, trying to get up. "I must not have been thinking - mmm..." Heero was kissing him now! Where was the anger, the hurt Wufei had expected? Nothing! He was kissing him! As if what had happened last night was the greatest thing in the world!

Maybe it was.

When the kiss ended, he felt heady and woozy, like he'd drunk wine, and it wasn't until Heero laughed and said, "Wipe that smirk off of your face," that he realized a slow, satisfied smile had spread across his mouth. He opened it to say something, and Heero launched at him again, turning his whole body fairly into the consistency of jello. He wrapped his arms around Heero, dragging the towel with him, filled with an eternal warmth, rather than that alien cold he had wrapped himself in last night. He relaxed into Heero's kisses, floating away in them, spreading his legs so that Heero could get closer. He was playing the vulnerable this time, whereas last night he had been the instigator, and it was just as wonderful. Savior, he had called Heero his savior last night, could he save him? From what? I'll heal you...don't be angry with yourself....ah, Heero had known exactly what he would do, punish himself for getting what he wanted, and if what he was doing wasn't healing him right now then Wufei didn't know what would. He wanted Heero up inside him, and he told him so, and when he was, he felt, for a moment, like they were one person. Merged. He had told Heero at the hospital that he was different than any of them; that none of them would ever know what he was; now he felt like Heero knew everything, knew him completely, even though he hadn't said a word.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~Sixth Verse~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~i’m a tree that grows hearts one for each that you take~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Awakening to a feeling of great, unconfined rage running through his body, but not his own. Or was it his? Something’s happened, something’s wrong. He reached out for something to grab onto, to bring him back up to the surface, and his hand encountered Heero - Heero, asleep, in Wufei’s bed.

A moment of stillness so complete that for a moment he thought the world had ended. Then, bewilderment. Not a ‘what is this man doing in my bed’ kind of bewilderment, but a more internalized kind. What am I still doing here? Why haven’t I left yet?

You could have left ages ago, something within him said. You could have left - he was not guarding you - he couldn’t have stopped you - you were stalling! Making up excuses, trying to justify the fact that you did not want to leave. You haven’t realized it until now. You wanted him, Wufei, and that is why you stayed.

The sudden realization of his disillusionment made him dizzy; his stomach rose up in his throat, and he crawled out the bed, wrapping the sheet about him, and limped over to the bathroom, and vomited into the toilet.

Sitting on the cold floor, where he and Heero had made love hours ago, he knew suddenly what he had to do. He had to leave - not later, not when it was safe, or easy, but now. His legs twinged. Had to move. The dizziness was terrible, and he felt weak, so hard to get up. The shower episode had probably weakened him, for he was only just getting over his pneumonia. He got tired so easily now. He made himself get up on all fours, and, hands pressed against the wall, managed to get to his feet. He would go get dressed, he decided, get dressed and just go. No good-byes or explanations or apologies. It was imperative to hurry. He pulled his jeans on, feet missing the legs a couple of times, finally buttoning them and looking for his shirt. He had to clutch the bed post and stop for a second, tasting bile in his mouth. Where’s my shirt?

Then he realized that Heero was awake, and staring at him from the bed. Wufei stopped and looked at him.

“You’re leaving aren’t you?” Heero whispered.

Wufei passed out.


Someone was putting something in his mouth and it tasted terrible. He swallowed it anyway, to exhausted to fight. He wanted to scream and to cry, but he couldn’t move. No matter what he did he couldn’t leave. That single accusation - ‘You’re leaving aren’t you?’ - had shattered him to pieces, taking away any strength he had had left in him. Would his leaving really hurt Heero so much?

“Heero,” he called out. “Heero?!”

“Yes?” he heard him say.

It’s all right, Wufei thought. I can open my eyes now. He peered forward, and there he was - but the look on his face made him blink. The twisted turn of his mouth, the thinned eyes.

“Heero...” he began, and then there was a knock at the door. Heero disappeared from his line of vision, and Wufei was left staring at the blank ceiling.

“It’s Dr. Buescher,” Heero said.

“What?”

“I called him. You’ve been out for three hours.”

Wufei grimaced and sat up a little bit. The pain in his chest was back, double fold, and he knew that he had worsened his already weak condition - would the doctor want him back in the hospital? Damn it!

Dr. Beuscher was not alone. Ruth Amos was with him, her head inclined sympathetically over her ever-present stack of files. She stood by the door, watching him, as Dr. Beuscher came forward; stood there like a guardian angel, or so she fancied herself, he supposed. He felt disgust and resentment towards her well up in him, but he knew that he really didn’t hate her; he was looking for something to vent his terrible frustration at, and she seemed the easiest target. Heero was unreachable.

The doctor was frowning over him, feeling his chest and throat, shaking his head. Finally he stood up and walked away, taking Dr. Amos into his confidence, and the two leaned together, talking. Soon she broke away and walked over toward him.

She watched him for a moment. “Tell me. Tell me what’s going on in your head. Because I certainly can’t figure it out.” She paused, then perched herself on the edge of the bed.

“I don’t know, myself,” he answered, wondering why he was even bothering.

“I want to help you. More than I have any other patients I’ve had...”

“Just let it go.”

“I’m determined not to let it go. I don’t let things go.”

Wufei covered his face with his hands. She put one hand on top of his own. It was a gesture so intimate, and suddenly he felt stripped bare before her, frighteningly so. An inarticulate sound came from him, a cry of pain. “I....”

She stroked hid hair back from his face with one hand, pulling his hand form his face with the other. “Don’t be afraid to speak - to let yourself free...”

“I’m on this...this inevitable path of destruction....”

“Destruction of...”

“Self-destruction...”

“Why? Why do you feel the need to destroy yourself?”

“Because she wants me to.” His face twitched, spasmodically. This was the most he had ever said to anyone, and he wasn’t sure what he was getting himself into.

“Who is ‘she’?” She searched his face, and realization dawned over her slowly. “She...your wife...’she’ is your wife, isn’t she?”

He groaned. He tried to hide from her, but he couldn’t now.

“That’s it isn’t it?”

“You have to understand. I’m responsible. She died in my arms.”

She shook her head. Of course not. She couldn’t understand.

He withdrew, permanently now. He would not listened to her, he would not speak. He closed his eyes and his mind to her, and over and over again, his own voice echoed in his mind, whispering:

She died in my arms, she died in my arms, she died in my arms...


“We need to get him treatment. He needs it desperately.”

Heero sighed. Pain was rooted deep in him, entrenched, and each breath he took tugged it tighter. “Whatever helps him...”

Dr. Amos frowned. “Unfortunately, there’s a problem.”

Dr. Beuscher followed her up. “We don’t have the facilities to help your friend. We need an appropriate hospital, but the only ones I can think of are overcrowded, and couldn’t give him the care he needs.”

Heero chewed on his lip. “If it’s a question of accommodations - I’ll take care of him...”

Dr. Amos looked pained. “It’s a bigger burden then you may be aware of Mr. Lowe...he has severe mental problems. Deep depression without a doubt, and perhaps indifferential schizophrenia. If he were in a hospital...he would be on a suicide watch. Without a doubt.”

Heero put his face in his hands. I can’t handle this, I don’t have enough room in me for this pain...he forced himself to speak. He was mired deep, and there was no escape now, as far as he could see. “I - we - have friends. I’m sure they’d be willing to help.”

Dr. Beuscher patted him on the back. “If you are sure you are willing to be responsible for him, I’m sure we could find a medical assistant to come stay. And Dr. Amos would come regularly, and I would be on call for any...emergencies.”

He nodded. There was really nothing else to do.

Dr. Amos gathered up her things and began to walk towards the door. “I’ll be by tomorrow, bringing the nurse.”


The first person he called was Duo. He had always felt an affinity for the American boy, although, despite the other’s obvious hopes, it had never been sexual. Now he leaned towards him, confused and desperate. He wanted, for the first time in many, many years, to cry. The moment the words spilled out of his mouth, he felt his breath draw in sharply, his eyes grow hot.

Duo said, “My God. I’ll catch the first plane over, I promise.”

Heero covered his eyes with his hand. He didn’t want to see Duo’s face, shocked and unbelieving, familiar. Duo knew what he was like. Duo knew him, too well. “I don’t want to inconvenience you.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” he snapped, and Heero felt suddenly as though things had been switched. How many times had he responded to Duo’s hesitant pleas with curtness? How hard the mighty fall.


Wufei found the notebook tucked away under his mattress, where he had hid it before. He opened it to a clean page and dated it. His hand was shaky, his eyes were heavy. Dr. Amos had left him anti-depressants, but he hadn’t taken them. Yet.

He closed his eyes, feeling the war within him, and addressed his darkness with the pen. ‘you can’t say no to hope.’ Heero was hope. ‘you can’t say no to happiness.’ Heero promised him happiness. Promised him the hope of healing himself.

But he was being closed in on, and the struggling voice within him was becoming weaker. It was frightened, and its fear made it weak. Easy to overpower.


Duo arrived on his doorstep in the rain, carrying a vinyl bag, full of jet lag. “Can I see him?”

“He’s sleeping.”

They ate dinner, sandwiches, seated on the carpet in the living room. Duo was silent, watching him, brushing away crumbs of bread from his jeans. Heero had seen him, plenty of times on the vid screen in the past few years, but it was still strange to notice the way his wavy chestnut hair brushed against his cheek. It made his face seem longer, or maybe it was just age.

Finally Duo broke the silence. His voice thudded in the air, shockingly accusatory.

“You’re fucking him, aren’t you?”

Heero blinked. “Is it that apparent?”

Duo put rested his elbow on the coffee table, propping his head against it. “You’ve got this sad, wounded puppy look about you.”

“I’m in love with him.”

Duo gave a short, barking laugh. “Never thought I would hear those words out of your mouth.” He smiled ruefully. “Except in my dreams.”

Heero rotten. He had never been able to return Duo’s affection for him, and now he felt like a weasel. “I’m sorry,” he whispered. “I didn’t choose for it to happen.”

Duo sighed, long and hard. “I know,” he replied. “I’m not bitter. I don’t have any room for bitterness. I came here to help you, not to make you bleed.”

“God, Duo, I don’t know what to do.”

“Neither do I. I don’t think there’s much we can do, except be around to help him. But at least we can be helpless together.”


Wufei was not asleep. Wufei was very awake, the anti-depressants still untaken, and he was listening, listening...

He’d doodled in the notebook for hours, filling its pages with tiny boxes, large boxes, each one more elaborate and gruesome. Some were coffins, closed, and some were coffins, open, filled with corpses in various stages of decay, each drawn in loving detail. Interspersed with these symbols of death and decay were cryptic phrases, thoughts that passed through his head, imagined dialogues. There was one page left, and he stared outthe window, trying to imagine what would fill it. The moon, full and ominous, loomed through his window at him, smirking. It knew something, and he stared at it, searching. Listening. He felt it come to him, her secret, and he let his pen write it, his writing tiny and precise.


The woman is perfected. Her dead Body wears the smile of accomplishment, The illusion of a Greek necessity Flows in the scrolls of her toga, Her bare Feet seem to be saying: We have come so far, it is over. Each dead child coiled, a white serpent, One at each little Pitcher of milk, now empty. She has folded Them back into her body as petals Of a rose close when the garden Stiffens and odors bleed From the sweet, deep throats of the night flower. The moon has nothing to be sad about, Staring from her hood of bone. She is used to this sort of thing. Her blacks crackle and drag. [*]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~you’re the intruders hand i’m the branch that you break~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Morning dawned, bright and bloody, and Heero didn’t like it one bit. He’d stayed up all night, listening for sounds upstairs. Duo had fallen asleep on the couch. He felt like a statue, like something frozen, filled with apprehension, no will to move.

Duo woke up, yawning. “What time is it?”

“Nearly four.”

“God, have you been up all night?”

Heero nodded.

“You’ll be no use if you are nodding off at odd hours. Why don’t you lay down, and I’ll wake you up when that nurse comes.”

Heero shook his head.

Duo sat down next to him, leaning close. “Come on, Heero. Just a few hours. I can take care of things.”

He hadn’t slept since he had bedded with Wufei. He was so tired. Something told him to stay awake; he felt as though if he slept, if he lost consciousness, even if only for a few hours, he would wake to everything was gone; he would lose everything. He needed to stay alert. A few years ago, he could have managed it. But he’d grown soft, and weak, and now he wanted to sleep.

Duo tugged at his arm. “Sleep,” he insisted, like a little demon, a pleasant demon who knew him well. “I’ll take care of everything!”

Finally he relented, standing up, a bit dizzy from not moving all these hours, and went upstairs, Duo calling promises up the stairway after him. He opened the door to his room, slipped into the sheets, and was asleep before he heard the door close behind him.


Wufei heard the door shut down the hall, the springs of Heero’s bed shriek. Good. He’d wait awhile, to be sure Heero was asleep, and then he’d do what he was planning, now, laying in the bed, open notebook resting on his stomach. Yes, he knew what to do.


Duo was curled up on the couch in the living room, watching the television set with the sound off, trying to lip read what the actors were saying. God, but he was tired as well. Damn jet lag. He needed something to distract him, keep him awake; this eerie early morning quiet, the hypnotizing screen before him, was lulling him to sleep.

He stood up, shaking off his weariness and strode across the room. He looked out the window. There was a folded up newspaper on the steps; the paperboy must have dropped it off. Well, that was something. He opened the door, tiptoed out, grabbed the paper, and went back inside. Sitting cross-legged on the floor, he opened it up before him, and began to peruse it for interesting items. All he needed was a cup of coffee, but he was leery of messing around in a strange kitchen, and so he stayed in the living room, trying to keep the black lines of print from swimming and bleeding together in his eyesight.


Wufei decided enough time had passed. Clutching the notebook to his front, he slid from out under the blankets, letting his feet dangle over the side. Now. Silence was an issue. He had to be as silent as possible, beyond silent. He mustn’t wake Heero. It all hinged on that. He mustn’t wake Heero.


Duo leaned against the couch, barely awake. He’d searched every bit of the paper, and now all he wanted to do was sleep. He should go wake Heero. Tell him he couldn’t manage another moment. But Heero needed his sleep and really? What would happen if he just nodded off? It would only be a bit, he’d be awake well before the nurse came. So. He yawned, and let himself, drift. Just a moment. Just a quick doze...


Wufei slipped quietly down the hall. He felt like a ghost. He made no noise. It was hard walking, the pain in his chest, his head a bit swimmy, but he held onto the wall with one hand, the other clutching the notebook. He came to a linen closet and opened it, soundlessly. Inside were stacks of clean towels. He took them all out and put them on the floor. Leaning forward, he searched through the bins on the floor until he found a large, wide roll of masking tape. He placed this atop the stack of towels, along with his notebook and shut the door. Then he tiptoed farther down the hallway, silent still, and opened the door to Heero’s room carefully, holding his breath.

There he was, asleep in the bed. This part was most difficult. He made his way slowly across the bedroom, his heart pounding so loudly he was sure Heero would hear it and wake up. But he didn’t. He was sweetly asleep, there on the bed, and Wufei stared at him as he leaned over him and reached to open the window. He pushed it up all the way, his weak chest protesting, and then, daring suddenly leaping up within him, bent down and brushed a kiss against Heero’s forehead. Beautiful. Tears welled up in his eyes, not for himself, but for Heero, who would certainly blame himself for what was going to happen.

He wished he could leave something, something to ease the pain to come, but he no longer had the emotional energy in him to do something that loving. He had to cut himself away, brutally, and trust time to take care of it; time for Heero to heal.

Now he left the room, shutting the door behind him, and went back to his pile of provisions. He took the masking tape and several of the towels, and went back to Heero’s door. He stuffed the towels under the cracks in the door, until it was completely blocked, and then took the masking tape and proceeded to tape up edges of the door, until there was not one opening. He stepped back and surveyed it until he was confident that Heero would be safe, no matter what. Then he went back to the pile and picked it up, towels, tape, and notebook, and proceeded quietly downstairs.


Duo was fast asleep by now, having fallen forward onto the newspaper before him. He barely twitched when the sound of the kitchen door closing sounded across the house. It was quarter to seven.


Wufei rested his burden on the kitchen table and went to work on the two doors in the room. Again, towels under the door, tape over the cracks. Now he was sealed in here, his death chamber. He placed the notebook, closed, on the kitchen table, almost ritualistically. He thought again. Just to leave - one simple message - he opened the notebook, took a pen from the table and wrote something inside the back cover. He stared at what he had written. Yes. He felt free now. All was taken care of. He shut the book.

Then he approached the oven. It was seven o’clock.


Heero was dreaming. He was on the moon - no - he was not on it, he was IN it. He was a part of the moon, part of its very craters. Around him, the stars in the sky sparkled dazzlingly. He was looking out at the entire universe. Life, breathing in, breathing out. It was so beautiful he wanted to cry.


He’d turned the gas on, and now he was opening the oven door until it was a flat surface, bed-like. He was not afraid. He could taste the gas in his mouth as he rested the side of his face down on the door.

Life - breathing in, breathing out.

Slipping away.

Caught in his dream, Heero watched all of life pass before his eyes. He was aware of all of it; of people being born, people falling in love, people crying, people laughing, people dying. All of it in rhythm, inhale exhale, like a clock. Tick tock. Tick tock, a life is passing...


....My life...

Colors were swirling, obscuring his vision, the sky was coming down on him. All slowing down. Something cold against his hand, just the tile on the floor. I’m coming, yes...


Gas leaked, through minuscule cracks out the kitchen door, despite Wufei’s careful ministrations. It leaked through the first floor, into the living room, where Duo lay asleep, though Wufei, of course, had not been aware of this. Wufei did not even know Duo was there. Duo slept deeper, inhaling the gas.

It was seven thirty.

* * *

Heero woke up. He felt sick, tired, groggy, and very cold. It took him a minute to realize that the window above him was open, blowing cold wind over him. Had he left it open? Why had he done that?

He sat up, yawning. It was freezing. How long had he slept? He looked at the clock - it said nine o’clock. Shouldn’t Duo have wakened him already?

He got out of bed, and walked across the room, shivering, and tried to open the door.

It wouldn’t budge.

Confused, he tried again. Then he noticed the towels stuffed under the door.

“What the hell...” he whispered, and tried to pull them out. They wouldn’t come. He rammed himself against the door, his heart beating wildly. It wouldn’t open! And then he caught it, caught a strange smell that shouldn’t have been there, that made him pause.

Gas.

“My God,” he cried, and rammed at the door. “Duo! Wufei? Open the door!” He shoved at it, again and again, damnit, why had he gone to sleep? Why?


A car pulled in the driveway. In it were Dr. Amos and a medical technician. It was nearly nine thirty.

When they knocked on the door, they got no answer. When they rang the doorbell, they still got no answer. The medical technician looked at his watch.

“Are you sure this is the right house?”

“Of course I’m sure,” she snapped, and backed away, beginning to walk down the driveway, looking at the windows for signs of life.


Heero had had enough of this. He couldn’t get the damn door open, that was for sure. He grabbed his jacket, checking for his keys, and put it on. Then he kneeled on the bed and addressed the window.

It was a little small but he could get through it.

There was a tree right outside, and if stretched far enough he could grab that branch and get down.

Could he?

He frowned. Of course he could. He was a Gundam Pilot! He grimaced, and pushed his head out the window, levering the rest of his torso out with him. He stretched until his fingers encountered the papery bark of the tree branch and strained for a handhold. Out! There you go. He managed to twist the rest of his body through the small exit and pushed off at the house with his feet. Then he pulled himself up into the branch, panting a bit by this time. Thank God! He scrambled the rest of the way down the tree, almost falling once in haste, jumped down to the ground and took off at top speed to the front of the house.


She was just about to turn around and go back to the car, where the medical technician was already waiting for her, when she spotted movement out of the corner of her eye. It was Mr. Lowe, opening the back yard gate.

“Mr. Lowe!” she called, and he hot-footed it up the driveway towards her, pulling a set of keys from his pocket. She noticed there was a bit of leaf in his hair. What had he been up to?

He grabbed her by the arm. “Come on!” he gasped. “God, I hope we’re not too late.”

Dr. Amos followed him, gesturing for the med tech to get out of the car and come along. “What’s wrong, sir?”

Heero did not answer, just merely ran up the steps and set about unlocking the door. As soon as he opened it, a blast of stagnant air, filled with the smell of gas, told her what was happening.


Duo felt a hand shaking him, but it was so difficult to get up. He had the worst headache. His stomach felt run over. He strained to listen to what they were saying.

“Duo! Duo, where’s Wufei?”

He knew something was wrong, and he made himself part his eyes. “I don’t know...”

Someone, some doctorly looking guy, leaned down over him and was checking him.

“Carbon monoxide poisoning,” he said. “Not too bad, he’ll recover.”

“Do you have a gas oven?” a woman was asking Heero.

Heero was swearing, standing up running towards the hallway. Something rang dully in Duo’s head. Wufei. Poisonous gas. He made himself get up and trudge after them, the med tech helping him along. He got to the door just in time to see Heero unseal it and bang it open.


Heero cried out, unbelieving. The stench of the gas was awful, and Duo staggered across the room to open a window, coughing. But all Heero saw was Wufei.

He was sprawled out on the floor, his head still in the oven, limp and lifeless. Heero heard some inarticulate cry rise in his throat, and he ran over to him, picking him up and pulling him away. He heard Duo groan as he saw Wufei’s face. His eyes were open, and his mouth was parted, as if in expectation of speaking, his lips curved into a smile.

Heero was chanting under his breath. “My God oh my God oh my God my God...”

The medical technician took Wufei from him and took his pulse. Then he began to perform artificial respiration. Heero sat there, watching, the way Wufei’s stiffening arms moved against the tile with the force of the med tech’s chest thrusts. Dr. Amos was on the phone, calling the hospital. An ambulance was coming. They were here. Duo was standing by him, wheezing. Dr. Beuscher was saying, “There’s nothing we can do.” They were strapping him to a stretcher. Pulling the sheet over his face. Thank God. He didn’t think he could stand staring at those dead, open eyes. The face, the expression, still looked alive but the eyes - the eyes were DEAD.

“Come on, Heero,” Duo said to him. Duo was crying. “Come on, we have to go the hospital with them.”

“He’s dead,” Heero gasped.

Duo nodded his head, his face wet, like it had been when he’d come to the door last night, although then it had been from the rain. “I’m sorry,” he whispered. “I am so, so sorry.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~Closing~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Leaves crackling under his feet. Autumn now. Getting chilly. He’d gone out, to be alone for a bit. Duo was worried about him. Always. No need for it. He wasn’t going to do anything. He knew this would pass. Life would go on.

He remembered Wufei. Saying: You don’t understand me. He was right. I didn’t. I didn’t know what it was like to have someone you loved and were responsible for die, when you might have saved them - or thought you might. Now he understood. Too late though.

He reached in his pocket. Folded up within it was the back cover of the notebook, ripped out, the notebook Wufei had filled and left on the kitchen table. He’d read it, afterward, when he’d come home from the hospital. He’d sat down, alone in his kitchen, the oven door still open, the air still reminiscent of gas. He’d read it, the words written on Wufei’s death certificate still ringing in his head: “Cause of death - Carbon monoxide poisoning (domestic gas) while suffering from depression. Did kill himself.”

When he’d reached the final page, he had put his head down and cried. And then he had noticed, out of the corner of his eye, a small notation on the bottom left hand corner of the back cover. Wufei had written:

i love you heero
and i’m sorry.

And so he would go on living. He would grieve, and then he would recover, though he would never forget Wufei. For that was the gift he’d been given. Meiran had died without saying goodbye to Wufei. And that was why Wufei had followed her. But before he had gone, he had said goodbye to Heero - so that Heero would not follow him.

* * *

Far above him, a leaf broke away from the spindly branch of a tree and floated away on the wind. It danced downwards, gentle one moment, sharp and violent the next. Until finally it reached the surface of a pond, and skimmed over the eddies...then, slowly, surely, it sank, weighed down by water. Down to the very bottom, disappearing into the murky darkness, to become a part of the earth again.

[*] This poem is called 'Edge' and it was written by Sylvia Plath. It is believed to be the last poem she wrote before her death in 1963. She killed herself, by putting her head in a gas oven. You can see I draw greatly on some sources. -_-