Can Duo help Heero and Trowa in the aftermath of a mission gone wrong?
I'm a riddle so strong,
you can't break me.
"Rain When I Die" -Alice in Chains
I'm dreaming about the mission again. Only this time I am running down that long corridor in complete silence. I am still dodging gun fire and returning some of my own but my weapon does not make a sound. I look around to the faces of my team and can see their mouths moving but I cannot hear their voices. It is as if some on has turned the volume down but left the picture running.
The dream changes then and I am suddenly alone in that hallway. I am still running towards my destination, the door all the way at the end. In reality that door had been heavily guarded and I lost three men in the rescue but in my dream I am alone and that corridor seems so much longer. As I run, my footsteps echo off the walls and the sound of my breath is deafening in my ears. I am running as fast as I possibly can but the door gets further away from me the closer I get to it. Try harder. I tell myself. Run faster. But I cannot seem to make any ground. Even though I am running as hard as I can I feel like I'm moving in slow-motion.
Then, finally I am there.
Just like that night I blast the control panel with my rifle not even bothering to attempt to hack the code-key. The heavy metal door slides open and I am met with a gruesome sight. The room inside was brightly lit, too bright almost clinical. There was a metal table in the center of the room and a wall of cabinets to the left. There were several metal trays set up around the table upon which were some of the cruelest devices I have ever seen. As I step farther into the room my attention is drawn to movement out of the corner of my eye. What I turn to face has my heart leap into my throat.
Huddled in the corner is a half naked Heero clad only his cargo pants cradling a very naked and unconscious Trowa. They are both covered in blood. Heero's arms are covered up to the elbow with it. Around his wrists are metal cuffs with a small length of chain still dangling from them. I glance up to the wall directly behind them. There are two iron rings bolted into the wall. I notice grimly that there are a few links of chain still attached there as well and my stomach turns with the realization. In order to free himself Heero literally broke the chains that were holding him back with his bare hands.
I step closer to my two friends. Heero does not look up at me or acknowledge my presence in any way. He instead clutches Trowa closer to him. He is slowly rocking Trowa back and forth like a baby. I can hear a voice. It is like a low rumble and too faint for me to discern any words. I continue my approach and as soon as I am in front of the two I drop slowly down to one knee. I can hear the voice clearer now. It is Heero.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," He keeps saying over and over like a mantra. Sorry? What is he sorry for? I look to Trowa. He is dangerously pale. The blood covering the two of them and dripping down onto the floor must be his. We need to get him out of here.
"Heero?" I say as I put a hand on his shoulder to get his attention. He immediately stops his rocking and his entire body goes taught. He then lifts his head sharply. My eyes meet his and what stares back at me is no one I recognize. His blue eyes are wild with rage and fury. The corner of his mouth twists into a frighteningly feral smile.
I awake with a start. My heart is pounding in my chest and it takes a few seconds for my breathing to regulate. My body feels incredible stiff and uncomfortable. When I open my eyes I realize why. I am still sitting on the floor with my back against my bedroom door. Great, just great. Well, I think I have hit a new emotional low. I managed to cry myself to sleep in the most painful position my exhausted body could come up with. With a sigh I rise to my feet. Every muscle in my body protests the movement. I look over to the clock on my nightstand. It flashes the time, 8:27 A.M. Normally this is hours before I would get up but it's no use I know I'm not going to get any more rest.
A hot shower and a cup of coffee in that order sound fantastic to me at this moment. I move over to my dresser, pull out a pair of clean boxers and make my way to the bathroom down the hall. I notice that the door to Heero's room is open signaling that he is not currently there. I shrug to no one in particular. Heero is an early riser perhaps he is downstairs making himself breakfast. Without giving that any further thought I go into the bathroom and turn the water on in the shower.
As I am about to step into the shower stall I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Instantly I regret doing such. My eyes are all puffy and red from my earlier breakdown and I can see the dark lines of exhaustion underneath them. My braid has come undone for the most part and sweat has caused my bangs to stick to my forehead.
"You're a mess, Maxwell," I say back to my reflection. "A real fucking mess."
I pull my hand through my hair to undo what was left of my braid and step under the water. I pour and generous amount of shampoo into my palm and work it into my insanely long hair. I scrub at my scalp and my eyes close at the calming sensation. My mind begins to wander back to my dream.
Some parts of my dream were exactly how they happened in reality but others were just slightly different. Like the blood. In my dream only Trowa and Heero were covered in or surrounded by blood. When I actually burst into that room there was blood everywhere. The floor, the metal table, even the walls were awash with it. I remember my first though upon seeing it was that no one could be alive after loosing so much blood. I was right in a sense. The person I would later discover was Trowa and Heero's torturer did not leave that room alive. I didn't notice the body right away; my focus was initially on my two friends. As I waited for the medical team I glanced around the room and spotted the crumpled form stuffed into the far corner.
The memory of that discovery sends a shudder down my back even though the water I am currently under is near scalding. When I was finally able to make my way over to the body I could see that whoever it was did not die and easy death. In fact, it looked as if he was torn apart by animals. I feel the bile rise in my throat and before I know what hits me my body is racked with dry heaves. I put an arm out to steady myself against the cool tiles of the shower stall. Get a grip on yourself, Maxwell! I scold myself. This line of thinking is not going to get me anywhere. I need to talk to Heero. Once I get all the facts I can come up with some sort of strategy for helping my friends over come this.
What happened to them? What could possibly be the reason that Heero was apologizing to Trowa? I don't like not having the answers. I especially hate not being able to help my friends. I am far too impatient to let them take their sweet-ass time with this. If I leave things up to them nothing will happen. Heero will throw himself into the next mission that becomes available and Trowa will bury this as deep as he possibly can. Just like he does with anything else he can't deal with emotionally. Two peas in a fucking pod if you ask me. Well, I'm not going to let them.
I finish my shower and make quick work of drying and re-braiding my hair. I stop off in my room to pull on a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. I can hear faint noises coming from downstairs proving my earlier suspicions that Heero is puttering around down there. On my way down I stop off at Trowa's room and peak my head in. He is still asleep and I duck back out so that I don't wake him.
I find Heero in the kitchen seated at the table drinking a cup of coffee and reading a newspaper as if this were just a normal day. I nod my head in greeting to him as I walk over to the coffee maker. He nods back and returns his gaze back to the paper. I take a seat across from him at the table and take the first sip from my mug. The coffee has no taste and I don't really care. I reach into the pocket of my T-shirt and pull of my pack of cigarettes and lighter. I should probably eat something I muse while I light up.
"I thought you said you were quitting," Heero says from behind the paper.
"Yeah, well I'm finding it pretty hard under the current circumstances," I reply. Heero gives a snort of derision and continues to read. I occupy myself with my cigarette for a few minutes since Heero is being his usual talkative self. The sound of the newspaper rustling draws my attention back to the silent man seated across form me. My eyes follow his hand and the white bandages around his wrists as he turns a page.
"Do they bother you much?" I ask.
"They itch." Heero knows what I'm talking about even though I'm not specific.
"They're healing," I offer. Heero does not respond. I sigh for no particular reason. "He was still asleep when I checked just now. I'm going to have to wake him up soon to give him his medication."
"We should try and get him to sleep as much as possible for another day of two. After that we need to get him up and moving."
"He told me last night that he doesn't want to take the pain medication the doctor prescribed for him."
"Hn, why am I not surprised? We also need to change the dressings on his back today."
"Yeah, maybe you can take care of that," I say somewhat dejectedly. To my surprise Heero lowers his eyes.
"I don't think he'd like that too much," he says sheepishly. This takes me by surprise because Heero doesn't do sheepish.
"Yeah, since you brought that up. What is the deal? He's avoiding you. When ever you're in the same room it's almost like he's frightened of you. Care to explain?" He looks at me with this surprised face. I guess he wasn't expecting that or at least not so soon. Heero carefully folds the paper and sets it down on the table.
"I don't think he's scared of me. I think he's more ashamed then anything," he says. That was not the answer I was expecting.
"Ashamed? How so?" Heero sighs and leans down onto his elbows. He seems very weary all of a sudden.
"You forget Duo, I was there. I saw everything. I guess he feels he can't face me because of it." Heero recognizes the disagreeing look I must have on my face. "Give him sometime to get comfortable with the idea. He's going to need you now more than ever."
"Us, Heero. Trowa is going to need both of us." I say.
"He'll need you more. You're closer to him than I am. I mean you're lovers after all," Heero says nonchalantly. I happened to be taking a sip of my coffee when he says that and nearly spray it across the table. I, of course, then inhale it and choke miserably for a few seconds.
"What?....How.....how long have you known?" I ask. He shrugs his shoulders.
"A few months I guess. The two of you aren't as quiet as you think." I feel my cheeks burn at that comment.
"Heero, it's not quite what you think. True, we are...were...argh...sleeping together but there was no relationship. I guess you could say it was just sexual." Heero stares at me for a few moments. He gaze is hard and calculating. I feel very uncomfortable under the weight of it.
"Bullshit," he says after a few minutes.
"Excuse me?" I ask.
"That's bullshit and you know it Duo. You expect me to believe that you don't feel anything towards Trowa and that he feels nothing towards you?"
"Well, no but it's complicated, Heero. I don't expect you to understand and I'm not sure I can explain it properly. I do care for him very much but....I ..." I can't continue. How do I explain to someone what I don't fully understand myself?
"Then you had better start figuring things out, Duo. With everything he has been through he needs someone and I think he will reach out to you more than he will me," Heero says as he gets up from the table.
"What has he been through? Please Heero tell me," I say to his back. He stops in the kitchen doorway and turns back to face me.
"You know what happened you saw it for yourself."
"Yes, I know the sequence of events and I know what physically transpired but there is so much the two of you are leaving out. Please tell me. Let me help you. Let go of whatever you're keeping inside."
"Not yet. I'm still coming to terms with things myself," Heero says. I am about to argue but a raised hand from Heero silences me. "Give me some time," he continues," I promise I will tell you all I can. I just need to sort out some things alone first."
"Okay, sure," I say. I know he is a man of his word. Whenever he is ready he will come to me.
"There is one thing I think you should know. I believe it will help you help Trowa. Though, he might be angry with me if he finds out I am the one who told you."
"Christ, Yuy! Just tell me already."
"This was not the first time that this has happened to him," Heero says and then calmly turns around and walks out the door.