Can Duo help Trowa and Heero in the aftermath of a mission gone wrong? Post EW.
I can't let go
Threadbare tapestry unwinding slow
Feel a tortured brain
Show your belly like you want me to
"Got Me Wrong"- Alice in Chains
I didn't bother to knock on Trowa's door. I figured he was probably still dead to the world after this most recent round of nightmares. I quietly turned the door handle and stuck my head inside just to be on the safe side before I entered. Sure enough, Trowa was sound asleep clutching onto the pillow as if it were a life preserver.
I walked over to stand at the side of his bed. It was moments like this that I could fully appreciate Trowa for the beautiful person he really was. I don't mean that on a physical level because let's be honest we all know what Trowa looks like and who couldn't appreciate that? I mean, standing here looking down at him with his face relaxed in sleep it is one of the few times you can get a real look into this young man.
In my opinion you are the most honest when you are asleep. Yeah, I know that doesn't really make any sense- you're asleep, how can you be either honest or dishonest? All I can say to that is this. I've spent a lot of time watching people sleep. You would be amazed at how people express themselves while asleep. Some people talk, some people might laugh, and some people express themselves in a quieter manner. Trowa only spoke or cried out if he was having a nightmare. The rest of the time he would get this expression of deep concentration on his face. His brows would furrow and his breathing changed. I would wonder what he was dreaming about that had him so serious.
He would never give me a straight answer whenever I asked him about it. If I had been asking him about one of his nightmares I would have understood his evading my questions because we had an unspoken agreement on that. I would not ask him about his nightmares and he would not ask me about mine. But he wouldn't even tell me about the harmless, bizarre dreams that we all have from time to time. You know, the ones where you're a Popsicle and you're trying to get across five lanes of traffic so that you can get a napkin because you're melting. But that just could be me.
I felt a little bad about having to wake him up. This was one of the rare times where he was deep asleep for more than an hour at a time. Well, I could give him a couple of minutes more. Heero will probably be gone at least a half-hour to get dinner. I'll be generous and let the poor boy sleep. Besides, he should take the antibiotic on a full stomach anyway.
I sit down on the bed as carefully as I can and try not to jostle anything. Trowa sleeps on completely unaware of my presence. I lean back against the pillows and make myself comfortable, crossing one ankle over the other as I stretch out. I glance around the room as I listen to Trowa's soft breathing and my eyes catch the framed picture on the dresser. It is one of the few items that would give any insight into the person that occupies this room. It's also the only thing in this room that I would consider decorative. Heero and Trowa both seem to have an aversion to knick-knacks. If it serves no purpose other than to be interesting to look at then they want nothing to do with it. Once a solider, always a solider I guess. I, on the other hand love my collection of odds and ends. Well, what I love more is being able to have a collection of odds and ends and to have a place to keep them all.
But I'm fixated on that picture for some reason. It's a picture of Cathy and Trowa from the circus. I sit up on the bed so that I can lean forward to pick it up. It's not like I've never seen it before, but I always did like looking at it. Cathy and Trowa are standing in full costume in front of their trailer, I think. The background is a little obscured. The two of them have an arm around each other's waist and seated beside Trowa is one of the large male lions, Simba? Kimba? I can't remember. I really should pay attention more. Cathy is giving a goofy, fake smile to the camera while Trowa's is more relaxed and natural. His hand is absently stroking the big cat's mane lovingly. I stare at Trowa's face a little closer. He has a look of utter contentment and seems so comfortable at that moment.
I look over to the young man sleeping beside me and compare him the one in the picture. They are not the same two people. The picture in my hand was taken shortly after the incident with Marimeia. Trowa seems so at peace in this picture. It's obvious from the joy reflected in his eyes. I remember when we met up again when Wufei asked us to become Preventer agents that something was different. He seemed more distant. Not quite as bad as he was during the war but there was a definite change in him. I wonder what made him give up the serene life of the circus to go play solider again with his wartime pals. Too many questions and not enough answers.
I'm interrupted from my thoughts by a muffled groan. I sit up once again and return the picture to its place on the dresser.
"Tro?" I ask as I gently place my hand on his shoulder. "You okay?"
"Duo?" Trowa asks as he pulls his upper body up to rest on his forearms. He tilts his head up to me and I smile down at him when our eyes meet. Trowa's hair is sticking straight up on the side of his head that was resting on the pillow. I reach out to flatten the unruly locks and Trowa recoils from my touch.
"Easy," I say as I withdraw my hand. "I was just trying to fix your hair." Trowa props himself on one elbow and runs his hand through his hair and brushes his bangs back into his face. I don't know how to take his reaction. The past two days he has been fluctuating between needing, if not begging for the comfort of human contact and this icy and distant demeanor.
"Sorry," Trowa mumbles weakly. I notice he avoids making eye contact with me.
"Its' okay. Heero went to get us dinner and you need to take your meds so why don't we move this party to the kitchen."
"Dinner? What time is it?" Trowa asks as he swipes a hand over his face and stifles a yawn.
"Were you in here the whole time?"
"No, Heero and I left after you fell back asleep." I make a specific point to not mention the nightmare. I also make a specific point not to mention the fact that while he was in here sleeping Heero and I were tongue wrestling in the other room. I feel a pang of guilt at that thought. It almost feels like I'm cheating, but Trowa and I never had anything official so technically its not. Besides, Heero and I didn't do anything other than kiss and grope each other a bit. But then why do I feel the need to keep this a secret from Trowa for a bit longer?
"Oh," Trowa says quietly. He rolls his weight onto his good arm and begins to push himself up so that he can turn over onto his back but still remain in a somewhat seated position. It is easier on his ribs and back to come to a full upright position this way. It's still hard for me to watch though. I grimace as I watch this usually graceful young man struggle just to stand up. Once he is on his feet I stand and move to follow him.
The collar of Trowa's shirt is pulled slightly, revealing the white gauze taped at the base of his neck. I frown again despite myself. The bite mark. Of all the wounds that mar Trowa's body this one bothers me the most and it sickens me every time I'm reminded of it. But there was already a scar there if I remember correctly. There was a small, crescent-shaped ridge of mangled flesh that I had brushed my fingers against before. Before...this happened before. Trowa was hurt before. Raped and beaten and...and.... I suddenly feel dizzy and I brace myself on the doorframe for fear of passing out.
I raise my head to meet Trowa's questioning gaze. I reign in the melancholy that threatens to overcome me and attempt to appear nonchalant.
"I'm okay," I say before he can question me. "Just a little dizzy. I must be hungry." Trowa stares at me for a moment longer. He knows I don't lie but he can tell something is not quite right with my answer. And for the record I am not lying. I'm just withholding some information. Trowa, thankfully, doesn't press me for any further explanation and we continue on down the stairs.
When we reach the kitchen, Heero is already there. He is standing by the small table that the vid-phone rests on. When we enter the room he looks up and greets us with a smile. Trowa doesn't return the smile but gives a small nod of his head. I wait for Trowa to sit before I grab some plates from the cabinet.
"What are you doing?" I ask Heero.
"Turning the ringer back on because you forgot to do it this morning," He responds with a playful scorn in his voice. I put my hands up in surrender and Heero chuckles softly. I turn back to the sink and fill a glass with water and hand it to Trowa along with his pill. He gives me a scowl before taking it from my hand. I stick my tongue out at him playfully as I open the pizza box, take out a slice, put on a plate and give it to Trowa.
"There were sixteen messages," Heero says as he takes a seat at the table.
"Sixteen? From who?" I ask as I set a plate down in front of him.
"There was one from Sally and thirteen from Quatre. He was averaging a call once every two hours over the past twenty-four. There was also one message from Wufei saying that if we didn't want Quatre showing up on our doorstep we'd better call him back." I smile at the thought of Quatre hounding poor Wufei when we didn't return any of his calls.
"Guess we should call him back then," I say. Heero nods in agreement.
The meal continued in relative silence. Trowa picked at his slice, only eating a few bites. I didn't pester him given the fact that he had been nauseous most of the day. Heero and I had no problems finishing off the rest of the pie and a few slices into the other by ourselves. After finishing my last slice I sat back in my chair wishing for a cigarette and watched Trowa draw patterns on his plate with the grease that dripped off his pizza. He looks like a little boy with the way his bangs fall into his face. I decided now would be as good a time as any to broach the subject.
"Hey, Tro?" I ask, trying to sound somewhat cheerful.
"Yeah," He replies without looking up. I glance over to Heero who jerks his head in Trowa's direction, silently urging me to continue.
"Heero and I were thinking, that is if it's okay with you, that maybe you would like one of us to stay with you at night. You know, in case you start to have a... bad dream." As the words are leaving my mouth I realize that my phrasing could have been better.
Trowa lifts his head slowly. He looks at me for a moment before turning his gaze to Heero. His eyes are slightly narrowed but his face gives away no other emotion. Trowa casually reaches up a long fingered hand to brush his bangs out of his eyes and sits up a little straighter in his chair.
"You both decided this?" He asks in a flat voice.
"Well, no we didn't decide on anything. It was just an idea that we thought might help," I answer.
"I don't need a babysitter."
"No one is saying that you do. We thought you might like the comfort of having someone else there with you," Heero says. "Like you and Duo did for each other," He adds a few seconds later. I feel my stomach clench because I know what is about to happen. Trowa immediately whips his head in my direction and I swear I can feel the heat coming from his green eyes. I smile weakly at him in an attempt to diffuse the situation.
"You told him," Trowa says. The tone in his voice is icy but very controlled. I chuckle guiltily.
"Well, no I didn't. He found out all by himself. It seems the walls in this house are not a thick as we originally thought." Trowa levels his gaze at Heero who does not buckle under it.
"I see," Trowa responds dryly.
"If you are thinking I disapprove, Trowa you're wrong," Heero interjects.
"No, I'm sure you don't. I'm sure it provided you with hours of entertainment," Trowa says with the slightest hint of contempt in his voice. I don't think I could have been more surprised at the words that fell from his mouth than if he reached over and stabbed Heero with a fork.
"Trowa! That was uncalled for," I say trying to contain my shock. Trowa gives a noncommittal shrug of his shoulders. I look over at Heero and he has a much more guarded expression on his face but I can tell that he is debating whether or not to challenge that remark.
"I don't need a babysitter,' Trowa repeats.
"Obviously, sorry for bringing it up," I say sarcastically. Boy, did that go disastrously. I don't know what I was expecting to happen. Well, yes I do. I was expecting Trowa to realize that he needs help and to graciously embrace the help we were offering. Apparently this is going to be much harder than I thought. He's withdrawing. I can literally almost see it happening right here in front of me.
"Who was the other message from, Heero," Trowa asks, switching topics rather abruptly.
"What?" Heero asks obviously caught off guard by the change.
"You said there were sixteen messages. One was from Sally, one was Wufei, and thirteen were from Quatre. Who was the other message from?" Trowa asks in an eerily calm manner. I look at Heero. His blue eyes widened at Trowa's question momentarily but then his jaw set in what I imagine is reluctance.
"Une," Heero answers after a few moments of uncomfortable silence.
"And what did she want?" Trowa asks calmly. I can see Heero grit his teeth before answering.
"She wanted to know if we had any luck convincing you to undergo psychiatric treatment."
"And what do you plan on telling her?" Trowa asks as he crosses his arms over his chest. His voice is devoid of any emotion. I notice that Heero and Trowa have yet to break eye contact.
"Well, I guess that remains to be seen," Heero responds in a somewhat challenging manner. The corner of Trowa's mouth twitches.
"No, it doesn't. You can tell her that I do not need any help and if that causes a problem with my employment than she can terminate it."
"Trowa, don't you think you're being unreasonable?" I ask.
"No Duo, I don't. I can get through this on my own," Trowa replies evenly.
"Because you've done such a great job of it in the past," I say angrily. Trowa's eyes widen.
"You told him didn't you?" Trowa growls at Heero in barely controlled rage.
"I thought he deserved to know," Heero calmly responds.
"Who the hell gave you the right to divulge personal details of my life?" Trowa screams at Heero. I feel like I should be saying something but I'm frozen where I sit. I don't know who I should be defending. Heero is visibly floundering under Trowa's anger.
"I thought.....," Heero begins but struggles to find the right words.
"No, you didn't think and that's the problem," Trowa interrupts, his voice laced with venom. After glaring at Heero one last time he turns to me. His expression softens slightly and for a moment I think he is going to say something to me. But he instead sighs heavily, stands unsteadily and limps out of the kitchen.
Heero and I exchange equally perplexed looks before we get up to go follow him. We catch up with Trowa at the foot of the staircase in time to see his knees buckle and him collapse. We are at his side immediately. He is trembling and his breathing is erratic. When I try and touch him he flinches and curls himself into a ball.
"Easy Tro, calm down," I say as I rub his back soothingly.
"I...I didn't want you to know," Trowa says with gasping breaths. He is starting to hyperventilate.
"It's okay. It doesn't matter," I answer.
"Yes....it....does. I...didn't...want ...you to know...how...how...ruined I am."