Can Duo help Trowa and Heero in the aftermath of a mission gone wrong? Post EW.
Hold Your Light- Interlude Heero
Hold your light, eleven.
Lead me through each gentle step by step,
By inch by loaded memory.
"Before I begin I'm going to ask that you don't interrupt me. This is going to be hard enough on me as it is," I say to Duo. He looks surprised, almost stunned but he nods in the affirmative. My throat feels like closing and my face suddenly feels flushed. I'm beginning to think that I'm not ready for this but I know Duo has been waiting for someone to tell him what happened exactly.
I must admit that I left as many details out of my mission report as I could. If the information was not absolutely crucial I omitted it or glossed it over as much as possible, both for Trowa's and my sakes. There were just some things that our superiors didn't need to know. But Duo deserved to know. I wish I could tell him how proud I am of him at the way he has been handling this situation but I'm not good at expressing myself sometimes. I'll worry about that later it's time to let Duo know exactly what he's helping Trowa and I deal with. Duo already knew the details of our capture, how we were ambushed as we attempted to escape via an access conduit that ran underneath the building complex. It was time to fill in the rest of the blanks. I breathed deeply and looked up to Duo's worried face. A sad smile touched my lips at his concern.
"After the soldiers took us into custody and we were disarmed the commander ordered that our hands should be bound behind ours backs. Once the cuffs were secured he ordered that we were to be searched for any other weapons. Two of the soldiers stepped forward to complete this order and patted us down. Nothing was out of the ordinary. The commander then ordered that our shirts and boots were to be removed. Trowa went wild the second one of the soldiers got near him. I've never seen him so.....panicked. He began struggling blindly like he didn't care what he had to do to get away just as long as he did." Duo nodded briefly, unsure but attentive.
"The soldier that was standing directly behind him grabbed him, pinning his arms to his sides in an attempt to contain him. A few others joined in," I continued. "Trowa managed to head-butt one the soldiers effectively breaking his nose. As that solider staggered backwards another stepped up and pistol whipped Trowa across his face with his rifle. His knees buckled and he went down. The soldiers let him fall hard onto the cement floor and I'm pretty sure his head hit. I made a move to try and intervene somehow but someone behind me hit me in the back with some type of tazer and I collapsed to the floor." I lift the bottom of my shirt and turn so that Duo could see the round burn mark on my lower back.
"Trowa has a bunch of burns like that on his back, though yours doesn't look as bad," Duo said.
"They used a lower setting on me." Duo's eyes go wide for a second and then he nods. He understands what I do not need to say. What was done to Trowa was torture. What was done to me was for suppression.
"I don't think I lost consciousness but things did fade out for a second or two," I say. "When I came back every muscle in my body felt like it was on fire. It hurt to move. The solider whose nose Trowa had broken was repeatedly kicking him in the ribcage when I looked over to them. He kept kicking him until he stopped moving. Once the soldier stopped it was easy for the rest of them to cut off Trowa's shirt and pull off his boots. When they stepped over to me I didn't give them any resistance," I say, slightly ashamed of that admission. "That was the first time I saw the scars on Trowa's back. In hindsight that was probably the reason he freaked out or maybe he knew something worse was going to happen. I don't know."
"Trowa always was good as sizing up people," Duo says leisurely. I agree so I let the comment pass undisputed.
"Well, I didn't get to contemplate things much longer. I felt something sharp stab into my neck and only had a few seconds to realize it was some kind of tranquilizer before I passed out......strong stuff. I'm not sure how long I was out but when I came around my body was stiff. I had obviously been in one position for a while. I opened my eyes but everything was completely black. Initially I thought I was blindfolded but I could not feel anything on my face do I deduced that I was in a dark room. They had me sitting on the floor with my wrists shackled to wall next to my head like this." I hold my hands up on either side of my head in demonstration to Duo.
"As far as being bound it was really not that uncomfortable. I was able to sit or kneel but could not stand and the position that my arms were in didn't really put too much strain on my shoulders."
"Well, wasn't that thoughtful of them," Duo says sarcastically. The corner of my mouth turns up a bit. I lean forward and rest both of my arms on the table and begin to pick at my fingernails. It's an unconscious reaction I've been catching myself doing lately. I feel myself frown as I continue.
"I could hear Trowa's ragged breathing somewhere nearby. I called his name but he didn't answer so I tried to feel for him with my foot. He was just out of reach so I had to wait for him to come around by himself. I think it was about an hour later when I heard him groan. I asked him if he was bound the same way and he said no. They had left him on his stomach with his hands still tied behind his back but they had bound his ankles this time. He told me that a couple of his ribs were probably broken but he didn't think they had punctured his lung. He was having trouble breathing......" My voice cracks suddenly and I almost choke on a sob. Damn, this is a lot harder than I thought.
"Are you okay?" Duo asks, his expression is concerned. I nod my head but it still takes a few moments to compose myself before I can continue.
"The lights came on a few minutes after Trowa woke up. I suppose they had been monitoring the room waiting for the two of us to be conscious. Going from pitch black to sudden light was blinding and it seemed like it took a long time for my eyes to finally adjust....maybe it was an effect of whatever drug they gave me. Once they did I could inventory the room they had us in. It looked like any other infirmary or clinic room I had ever been in. I mean with the exception of the chains and shackles bolting me to the wall that's pretty much all it was. You were there you saw it." Duo nods in agreement. I catch him eyeing the pack of cigarettes sitting on the table. I also notice that his knee has been bouncing non-stop since we began. Nervous energy I guess.
"You can smoke if you'd like," I say to him.
"Thanks," He says guiltily as his picks up the pack and taps a cigarette out. I wait for him to light it before I move on.
"I looked over to Trowa who was laying about five feet away from me on my right. His eyes were closed but I knew he wasn't sleeping. His cheek and eye were already swollen shut and the bruising was just beginning to darken. His arms were blocking my view of his ribcage but I could tell from his labored breathing how much pain he was in. He was doing his best to cover it but I knew. The silence of the room was broken by the sound of hydraulics. The room's only door opened and in walked two men. One I recognized right away as the commander of the soldiers that initially captured us the other was an unknown. He was in his mid-forties I guess, dark brown hair that was graying heavily at his temples. He wore a white lab coat over a simple button down shirt and slacks. He looked like a doctor but it was something about his eyes that unnerved me." Duo suddenly sat up straighter. Am I really such a hard-ass that when I admit to things like this everyone has to act so shocked?
"They unnerved- you?" Duo asks blowing smoke sideways out of his mouth.
"Yeah, me," I retort. "His eyes, they were....I don't know- weird, frightening. They were dark brown, almost black like Wu Fei's but more evil. I know that sounds strange and maybe I'm just personifying things after what he did but I can't think of any other word to use."
"He must have been evil if he was able to shake you-"
"I'm not completely unflappable, Duo," I interrupt. "Things affect me too and what happened in that room has really shattered many illusions I had." Duo immediately backs down and shrinks back into his chair.
"I'm sorry," He mutters.
"It's alright. So anyway, these two walk in and make a show of gloating over us. The Doctor, I never did get his real name he was always referred to as 'The Doctor', he has the commander, Dandridge was his name, unbind Trowa's legs and pull him up into a kneeling position," I say absently. "This is when things started to get scary. He knew our names, Duo. He also knew that we were Gundam pilots. He told me that most of the information he had on me came from intelligence from the wars but he had a much more detailed and intimate knowledge of Trowa." Duo looks at me in confusion; he hasn't put it together yet.
"Duo, he knew him," I say softly. "He knew Trowa from before the wars." I watch as Duo's eyebrows shoot up.
"W- what? How can that be?" Duo stammers practically gagging on his cigarette smoke.
"He said that he was part of the mercenary group that Trowa was with when he was a kid. He also made mention of an explosion that Trowa left as a parting gift for the group.....killed a bunch of people from the sound of it. Once Trowa recognized who this man was his face went white as a sheet. He seemed very frightened of him and surprised that he was still alive. Though, in hindsight I can see why. The Doctor went on to explain that he and those he worked for had set this whole thing up as a trap to catch a Preventer agent to gain information. It seems that we had begun getting too close to uncovering their little operation and they wanted to find out what we knew. The fact that Trowa and I were ex-Gundam pilots was an added bonus."
"Jesus Christ," Duo swore, "This whole time they knew about our investigation. They were the ones behind the explosion on that resource satellite that killed three agents weren't they?"
"Yes, only they didn't die in the explosion. The Doctor and his minion had their hands on those agents for a few hours before he killed them. The explosion was to cover their tracks and to get our attention. The three agents were unable to provide the information they wanted so they had to come up with another way. Hence the lead we received on the weapons factory and our subsequent failed reconnaissance mission."
"So, what happens now?" Duo asks.
"Well, Une is now stepping up her investigation into finding out who is behind the distribution of the illegal arms. She hopes the soldiers that were taken prisoner will give up some useful information."
"Let me get my hands one them, I'll get them to talk."
"We are not going to torture them to get what we want, Duo. We can't become the same kind of monsters that they were. Look at Trowa. Do you think you could do that to another human being?"
"No, you're right," He says with a sigh and hangs his head in defeat. "Tell me, Heero. Tell me what they did to Trowa." This is the part that I have been dreading. I've come this far and there is no turning back now. I take a deep breath and exhale loudly.
"As I said before The Doctor knew who Trowa was and he made it very apparent that he was going to give Trowa whatever payback he felt he deserved. The Doctor had Dandridge drag Trowa over to the metal table and forced him to lean over it the long way. He was bent at the waist so only his upper body was on the table. Dandridge rammed his elbow between Trowa's shoulder blades to keep him immobile while he undid the cuffs around his wrists. Then both he and The Doctor lashed his wrists to restraints attached to the table legs. Once they were secure they did the same for his ankles. Trowa was completely vulnerable in this position. He began running his hands over Trowa's back and over the scars in an almost loving fashion. He smiled at the way Trowa shivered at his touch. The Doctor asked me if Nanashi, that's what he kept calling Trowa, ever told me about him."
"Nanashi?" Duo asks suddenly.
"Yeah, has he ever said anything to you?"
"No, but there were a few times when he had nightmares that he said that name. He would never give me a straight answer when I asked him about it."
"Well, I refused to give that bastard the satisfaction of an answer but he proceeded to tell me anyway. He was working as the mercenary corps doctor for a while when Trowa showed up one day asking to join. They reluctantly let him join but he eventually 'proved his worth'," I feel my stomach tighten and have to stop for a second.
"Proved his worth?" Duo asks.
"Yeah, they abused him. They used his skills as a mechanic, a mobile suit pilot, and when that wasn't enough they used his body."
"My God," Duo gasps.
"Repeatedly, if what The Doctor was saying is true. He was no more that ten or eleven and they beat him and raped him whenever they felt like it for days on end. The scars on his back were a gift left by his tormentors." I feel my anger rising again. My hand clenches into a fist and I want to hurt someone.
"Are you sure you're okay talking about this, Heero?"
"Honestly, I don't know. I've never been through or witnessed such cruelty before. I'm no stranger to death and torture but I have never seen someone take so much pleasure at someone else's suffering. I watched that vile man take a scalpel and cut open every one of Trowa's scars while he reminded him of how he received each one. I had to listen to countless stories of Trowa's rapes by the hands of the men he fought along side with. While I could do nothing! I was chained to that fucking wall and I could do nothing to help my friend!" I'm yelling and I don't really care.
"Heero, calm down it's-"
"It's what, Duo? Okay? No it's fucking not. I sat there and listened to those horrible stories. I watched him carve up Trowa's back. You know something, the entire time Trowa didn't make a sound. He just kept staring at me willing me to look away but I couldn't. When Dandridge and the Doctor felt they weren't getting the reaction they wanted the pulled out the tazer and began hitting him with it. It had to be on the highest setting because I could smell the burning flesh. And he still didn't make a sound. I watched Dandridge cut the pants off of him. I watched the Doctor shove two fingers inside of him and nothing. Do you know what made him finally scream?" Duo just shook his head. He was looking a little green around the gills. I wonder if I look the same.
"The Doctor examined him and could tell that he had sex recently," I watched Duo blush and look away. "He wanted to know if I was his lover. I told him no, I didn't want the humiliation to go on any longer. That man had no right to know anything about Trowa. I refused to say any more but he kept trying to goad me. He must have thought I was lying, I don't know but he motioned for Dandridge to step up behind Trowa. I knew what was going to happen next. I begged for him to stop and not touch Trowa. I was willing to give up any information they wanted but it was Trowa who stopped me. He said to me 'It doesn't matter what they do to me. Don't let them use me against you.' It broke my heart to see him like that. Dandridge unbuttoned his pants and still Trowa kept his eyes locked on mine. When Dandridge thrust himself into Trowa I couldn't help it I just blurted it out," I say breathlessly. The tears are streaming down my face.
"What? What did you say?" Duo is standing, practically leaning across the table.
"I wanted him to know that he wasn't alone and that I was there with him. I couldn't think...so I told him I loved him." Duo says nothing. He just slumps back into the chair.
"I told him I loved him," I continue as my voice begins to break with emotion. "I told him as some brut of a man was raping him and biting him on the neck so hard that he drew blood. Trowa just closed his eyes and screamed." There was a long period of silence where Duo and I just stared at each other.
"When Dandridge was finished the two of them left the room. The evil grin on the Doctor's face told me that he was pleased with the outcome; they got the reaction they wanted. They left Trowa on that table. I could see blood colored semen running down the inside of his legs and pure red blood dripping off the table from the wounds on his back. Just before he finally passed out he asked me one question- why?" I wiped at my tear stained face and pressed my palms into my eyes.
"Did you have an answer for him?" Duo asks.
"Do you have an answer for him?"
"Fuck," Duo curses softly. I agree wholeheartedly with his sentiment. I sigh again and try to finish my tale.
"It was sometime during the night...or it could have been day I had no concept of time, that I began testing the shackles. To my amazement I felt the metal start to give. I kept working it to try and get it to break. Who knows how many hours later The Doctor came back for round two. I had managed to loosen the iron bolt enough that one good yank should dislodge it. I just needed a diversion. A few hours later we felt the building shake from an explosion and I knew it was you coming to the rescue. That provided me the distraction I needed. Unfortunately the chains weren't as loose as I originally thought and I tore most of the skin around my wrists off in the process." I rub at my bandaged wrists unconsciously.
"Finally the chains snapped and I was free. I don't really remember too much of what happened next. I flew into this uncontrolled rage. I was on Dandridge before he knew what hit him. I twisted his neck in one motion and was at the Doctor's throat before his lifeless body hit the floor. I was so angry I wanted to hurt him as much as he hurt Trowa. I remember clawing and ripping at him with my bare hands. Blood was flying everywhere and I didn't care. I wanted him to feel as much pain before he took his last breath and I wanted him to know it was from me."
"Jesus fucking Christ, Heero." Duo says in what I believe to be disbelief.
"I undid the straps holding Trowa to the table and just cradled him in my arms until you got there," I say. I bury my face in my hands as I begin to sob. The memories were too overwhelming. I flinch slightly when I feel Duo wrap his arms around me. He holds me tight as I weep into his shirt. I feel sick, my head is spinning. Yet, I feel strangely detached from the situation, numb. I'm not a verbal person, everyone who knows me knows this but I just told Duo everything that happened. I should feel relieved, like a weight was lifted right? But I don't. In fact, I think I feel worse. I push away from him a few minutes later and nod to him in silent thank you.
"Are you alright?" I ask Duo. He is lighting another cigarette with a shaking hand.
"I'm not sure. That's a lot of stuff to process...I need some time to think." I agree and get up from the table to give Duo some privacy.
"I'm going to check on Trowa and then I'm going to lay down for a bit," I say from the doorway. "If you want to talk some more later, I'll listen." Duo just nods his head. He looks a bit shell shocked but then again I think we all do. I give him a slight nod and I retreat from the kitchen.
I pause outside Trowa's bedroom door. I'm a little apprehensive about going in but I force myself to. I open the door and step inside. I can see Trowa laying face down diagonally across the bed.
He is sound asleep.
I step next to the bed and gently brush the bangs from his face. He stirs at my touch.
"Duo?" He asks sleepily.
"No, it's me."
"Oh, Heero," He says as he struggles to sit up. "What's up?"
"Nothing really I just wanted to see if you needed anything," I say as I help him get upright. Once he is sitting he leans back carefully onto his pillows.
"No, I'm alright for the moment. Look, Heero I'm sorry about my outburst before-" I wave my hand to cut him off.
"Don't worry about it. Things have been pretty stressful around here lately. I do want you to reconsider about going to counseling, though." He opens his mouth to say something but I cut him off again. "I know it must seem scary but I am going to go. I need some... help dealing with all this and I think you do too. Just think about it okay?"
"Alright, I'll think about it but I make no promises," He says in a flat tone.
"Good, that's all I can ask," I say with a slight smile. "I'll let you get back to sleep then." I turn to walk back to the door when Trowa calls out to me.
"Heero? There has been something I've been meaning to ask you," He says gently. I turn back around to face him. He looks up to me with those emerald eyes of his.
"Did you really mean what you said?" Ah, the million dollar question.
"Yes, I did," I reply simply. I can tell he is struggling with my answer.
"But-..." Once again I cut him off.
"I'm not going to ask you for anything more than you are willing to give, Trowa. If all that you want to give me is friendship, than that is all I will ever need." He looks unconvinced. "It's okay we'll sort through everything eventually," I walk out of the room and close the door behind me.