Can Duo help Trowa and Heero in the aftermath of a mission gone wrong? Post EW.
I know the pieces fit cuz I watched them tumble down
No fault, none to blame, it doesn't mean I don't desire
To point the finger, blame the other, watch the temple topple over
To bring the pieces back together, rediscover communication
"Schism" - Tool
It's official. I'm a complete idiot. I can't believe I really said those things to Trowa. What the hell was I thinking? I made an already emotionally distraught person feel even worse. Way to go, me. God, I feel like pounding my head on the laundry room wall until I pass out. I'm just so frustrated. Why can't he realize that he needs help? Why can't he realize that that's all I'm trying to do?
I take a deep breath, count to ten, and then exhale. I still feel wound up. These stupid breathing techniques don't do shit. I scrub my hands over my face roughly, trying to jolt my brain back into gear so that I can figure out what to do next. I glance around the tiny room, hoping for some inspiration, but unless a bottle of fabric softener holds the mysteries of life, I'm screwed. That's when my eyes settle on the crumpled pile of sheets on the floor in front of the washing machine. They're a boring shade of beige. The kind of non-threatening color one might find in a bank or a lawyer's office. The sheets were originally devoid of any pattern or design, but now they are mottled with clusters of small, circular, reddish-brown stains. Trowa's bloody sheets. And that's all the inspiration I need to get me taking the basement stairs two at a time.
I come barreling out of the basement and into our kitchen just as Heero is walking in the backdoor.
"Oh, Duo," he addresses me in his usual 'I have a mission to accomplish' voice. "I was thinking that if we took out some of the bushes along the back fence we could-"
"Not now, Heero," I snap, a little harsher than I had intended, but now is not the time to be discussing our landscape. He takes a few seconds to inventory the expression on my face.
"What happened?" he asks, his eyes gone serious.
"I really fucked things up, Heero, and frankly, I don't have time to discuss it right now," I say curtly and try to brush by him. I don't even make it one step before Heero's hand clamps down on my shoulder, preventing my hasty exit.
"What is it? Is it Trowa?" he asks breathlessly as he moves around to stand in front of me. Even though Heero has made his feelings for Trowa as clear as someone as reticent as Heero can, I'm still surprised by the scared look of concern written all over his face.
"Yes, but I don't have the time right now."
I shrug his hand off my shoulder and keep moving past him to the staircase in the living room. I wasn't too surprised to find him dogging my heels the entire way up. We stop in front of Trowa's room and I press my ear against the cool surface of the door. Silence. I rap my knuckles twice and wait. Again, nothing.
"Trowa? Please open the door," I say softly. I knock again, but this time I try the handle. It's locked, no surprise. "Trowa, I'm sorry about what I said. Please open the door and talk to me." I know he's in there; I can hear the soft rustle of fabric. "Please, Trowa."
I sigh heavily and Heero cocks his head to the side and gives me an accusatory glare. I know exactly what he's thinking; it's written all over his face. What did you do now, Duo? I fucking hate it when he gives me that look. I can almost hear the condescending tone in his voice. I shake my head from side to side at him, a silent plea for him to not start with me right now.
"Trowa," I say with a little more force. "Open the door. We need to talk. I can pick this lock, you know." I jiggle the handle for emphasis.
"...Go away, Duo."
Trowa's voice is barely discernable. With my hand still on the knob, I lean forward until my forehead touches the wooden door. "Please, Trowa," I whisper. "I'm so sorry." And I honestly am, with every fiber of my being, sorry about what happened. With everything that has been going on since we brought Trowa home, I had a feeling that something like this was going to happen, only the confrontation I had in my head went a hell of a lot better then the one in the basement. I just don't know what to do anymore. My stupid mouth got me in trouble again.
"I don't want to hear it. Just leave me alone," Trowa shouts back.
"I'm not leaving you alone until we settle this," I yell back at the walnut-stained door. I tap my foot as I cross my arms tightly across my chest. Heero eyes me curiously as I wait for a response from the former Heavyarms pilot. When I feel the silence has gone on long enough, I say, "I can wait all night if I have to. Don't think I won't."
"Duo, what is all this about? What the hell happened?" Heero asks from behind me.
I ignore him completely and pound my fist against the door again. "Trowa? I mean it. I'm not leaving until we talk. Tro-wa!" I punctuate the syllables of his name with two hits to the door. My sprained wrist sends a sharp, tingly pain up my arm and I wince slightly. Not a peep comes from the room. I really shouldn't be surprised. When it comes to the silent treatment, Trowa is the master. "Okay fine, we'll play it your way. I'm not moving from this spot and you have to come out of there sooner or later." I drop to the floor and sit Indian-style with my back up against Trowa's door.
I look up to Heero. He has this confused, annoyed expression on his face, like a little kid being excluded from a schoolyard game. I sure as hell know what that feels like. Sister Helen and Father Maxwell always tried to get the other children at the church to include me, but for whatever reasons they had, the other kids didn't want me involved in their games. Can't say that I blamed them. I mean, who would want to play with a kid who's first "toy" was a butterfly knife. Or whose version of hide-and-seek was "Keep away from the junkies and pimps." No, the kids at the orphanage, while poor and deprived of the same things I was, didn't have to fend for themselves like I did, for as long as I did. I sigh at the unwanted feelings those particular memories stir up.
I'm not entirely sure I want Heero involved in this. Trowa has been skittish around Heero for the last few days. Well, to be fair, he's been skittish around everyone since he woke up in the infirmary. But if I thought our green-eyed friend was running hot and cold with me, it's twice as apparent in his interactions with Heero. When we ate dinner last night, I could tell that Trowa was doing his best to seem calm, as though nothing was wrong, but I could tell that he was still uneasy around Heero. The constant glances out of the corner of his eye were a dead giveaway. But I'm not so inclined to believe what he said in the basement about thinking Heero was a danger to us because of the fact that he may have gotten a little too physical during our "disagreement."
"Are you going to tell me what happened?"
I hear the frustration in Heero's voice, but I don't think now is the time to discuss this with him. I take that back. I know it's not the time to discuss it. I shake my head in the negative and keep my eyes fixed on a point just over his left shoulder. I feel the sudden need to look anywhere but his face. Heero exhales loudly, clearly illustrating his disappointment, but thankfully he doesn't try to press the issue.
"Alright, I don't like it, but I'll leave you alone," he says softly.
"I...it's not what you think." Heero arches an eyebrow at me. "Okay, well maybe it is. I just want a chance to see if he'll talk to me," I say as I look down at my hands. I glance up at Heero through my bangs as he nods his head.
"I'll be out in the back if you need me for anything," he says as he walks towards the stairs. Just before he begins his descent, he pauses and turns to look over his shoulder. "I mean that, Duo. If you need me for anything."
I raise my head to meet his level gaze. I understand what he's offering, but I can't help but question it. How is he supposed to offer me comfort when he needs it more than I do? It's like the blind leading the blind. Don't be bitter, he's just trying to be helpful, I scold myself. Take it for what it is and smile and nod back at him, which is exactly what I do. Heero dips his head in return and continues down the stairs. I curl my knees into my chest and rest my chin on them. Now I wait.
/I know how to get past this, and I know because I've done it before./
Trowa's words, spoken in anger and frustration, echo inside my head. How could I not have known that something like this has happened to him before? I think that out of all of us I was the one he felt the most comfortable around. I'm not just talking about the sex stuff; I mean in general. Of course, it wasn't always like that. I think during and shortly after the wars he was closer to Heero and Quatre, probably more to Quatre. I really have nothing to base this opinion on other than my gut feeling, but he seemed more at ease in Quatre's presence. I even thought the little blonde was harboring a secret crush on Trowa for a while there. Trowa shot down that theory during one of our late night chats. He claimed they were just friends.
But I still should have known.
I like to pride myself as being an observant person, one who doesn't get the wool pulled over his eyes very often. My mind flashes on all the times I can recall being with Trowa and I can honestly say that he never acted as though he was uncomfortable or reacted badly to anything I did. He was always enthusiastic and ready to please. The corners of my lips curve up as I recall that naughty little smile he gets on his lips right before he goes down on me. Oh, that gets me so hot. He really has no idea how much he could undo me with that one, sexy look. And then afterwards, when we would cuddle before falling asleep he would always kiss my forehead. I really liked that. It would fill me with such a sensation of warmth and, well, acceptance. For the first time in a long while, I thought things had really turned around for me. I had a home, a job, and a family. That's all I ever wanted, all I ever dreamed about back when I was sleeping with a threadbare blanket in a rat-infested building. The relationship I started with Trowa was an unexpected bonus. But the point I'm trying to make is that he wanted it as much as I did. When I think back to that first night, I remember clearly the passion in his eyes. There was no hesitation on his part, none.
I sigh heavily as I draw abstract shapes with my finger into the grey carpet that covers the hallway. Maybe I'm trying to justify this no-love-just-sex arrangement. I shudder to think that Trowa might be so conditioned to just go along with things because it was something I alluded to wanting. Could he view himself as that unimportant? My brain screeches to a halt. God, that was something I didn't consider. I swallow heavily as I ponder that notion. If he went through as much abuse as Heero says, then he probably would just relent and let me do what ever I wanted because he thought it was expected of him. My stomach has now migrated up into my throat. I can't breathe so well anymore and I can taste bile on the back of my tongue, bitter and acidic. I think I'm going to be sick. It can't be that. Please, if there is a god in heaven, don't let that be the reason. I shake my head in denial, though no one is here to see it. Oh, Trowa, what have I done? Did I push you into something you didn't want? Did you think you couldn't turn me down?
No, I refuse to believe that for one second. Okay, so maybe what we have or had wasn't love in the traditional sense, but I do love him and we shared, shared, both of us together, something that was very special, and I'll be damned if I'm going to let it end like this. I pat the front pocket of my jeans and come up empty. Fuck, I really could use a cigarette right about now, but I said I'm not moving from this spot until I speak with Trowa, so, addictions be damned. I start twirling the end of my braid around my fingers as a diversionary tactic, but the nic-fix is coming on strong.
I begin to gnaw of the cuticle of my thumbnail when my braid doesn't satisfy. Oh, who the hell am I kidding? It was just sex and all these lofty notions are just that. Trowa even said that to me. He told me he didn't want love, but wanted me to continue to pound him into the mattress every night. Well, he didn't say exactly like that, but that was the gist. But the point is that he told me. He was the one who laid the ground rules. He set the tone for our relationship, or whatever you want to call it. I just went along with it; or did I? Honestly, I think I just got caught up in all the sex and never really put much thought into what was actually going on between us. I couldn't see past my own dick to even consider the possibility that maybe the whole thing was a bad idea.
"Goddamned, mother fucking idiot; that's what you are," I growl out loud as I slam my fist into the floor, causing dust motes to swirl around in the shaft of sunlight streaming from my bedroom. Fuck! That hurt. I keep forgetting about my sprained wrist. I take a moment to assess the injury. I can move it with relative ease and it is only slightly swollen. Looks like I'll pull through. I gently rest my hand on my thigh and let my head fall back against the door. This whole situation is so frigging frustrating that I think I'm losing my mind. Scratch that. I'm almost positive. It's hard to believe that five days ago I was happy and content with the status quo, and now I'm sitting in the hallway of my house, trying to get my traumatized lover to talk to me so that I can apologize for saying something, while true, was horribly insensitive. I don't want to even go into Heero's problems.
The soft whisper of socked feet on carpet draws me out of my thoughts and I direct my gaze to the staircase where Heero has paused on the top step. He looks to me expectantly and I can't help but give a short, dry laugh. Speak of the devil and he appears. I glance down to his hands and notice he has my pack of cigarettes in one hand and an ashtray in the other. I start to rise, but he waves me back down and continues to walk over to me.
"Thanks, man, you are a lifesaver," I say to him as I take the pack from him. I place the ashtray on the floor beside me and tap a cigarette out of the pack.
"I found them on the kitchen floor and thought you could use one right about now," he comments as he sinks down to sit opposite me in the hall.
"You're right about that," I say with the unlit cigarette hanging from my lip as I search my pockets for my lighter.
"Oh, here," Heero says as he pulls my lighter from his front pocket and tosses it over to me. I catch it, one-handed and immediately flick the flame on and light the delicious cancer stick. I damn near suck it down to the filter in one drag.
"Ready to talk yet?" Heero asks. He has one leg outstretched, the other bent, his chin on his knee. I take another long drag. Jeez, how long have I been sitting here?
"Yeah, I guess," I answer a little despondently as I exhale a cloud of grey smoke. "Okay, where do I begin?"
"How about the beginning?" Heero snorts. I roll my eyes at him.
"Well," I say as I stamp out the cigarette in the ashtray and quickly light another. I see disapproval flash momentarily in Heero's eyes at my chain smoking, but I really don't care right now. I need another hit if I'm going to get through this. "When Trowa brought his sheets down for me to wash, I noticed they had bloodstains on them." Heero sits up a little straighter, but does not interrupt. "When I asked him about them, he said he had popped a few stitches and tried to brush it off as no big deal. I tried to get him to let me take a look, but he kept refusing and I...I stupidly grabbed his shirt." I pause to take another drag and stare down at the growing ash rather than looking to Heero's face, which I know without even looking that has a scowl etched across it. I take another drag. "He freaked and almost had another panic attack, but I somehow managed to keep that from happening He calmed down and I thought everything was okay, but then he saw the bruises on my arms and asked what happened."
"What did you tell him?" Heero's posture is rigid as though he's either ready to bolt or smack me upside the head. Knowing him, he'd smack me first and then bolt.
"I told him we had a little disagreement and that it got slightly out of hand, and you didn't mean to hurt me." The two of us stare at each momentarily before Heero relaxes a little. This is the part I'm dreading the most. "He...he, uh didn't believe me," I say sheepishly.
"What do you mean, he didn't believe you?" Heero asks in a flat tone. I take a long tug on the cigarette as I try to come up with some way to put this next part as delicately as I can.
"He...um, well, you see..." Fuck, this isn't working. I extinguish the remains of the cigarette and rub the back of my hand against of my forehead before I meet his intense blue eyes. "He thinks you lashed out at me because you might be emotionally unstable because of...what happened," I blurt out. There, I said it.
Heero looks stricken, like someone just ran over his puppy. Oops, bad analogy. "I see," is his only comment, devoid of any inflection Now I feel like the one who ran the stupid puppy over.
"If it's any consolation, I told him that I didn't agree and that he was out of line to think so." There is a tense moment of silence before Heero nods, though I doubt that my words offer any comfort. My stomach has managed to find its way back up into my throat. I take a deep breath and exhale loudly. "After explaining that to him, I sort of steered the conversation away from you and back on to him, and well, I...it blew up in my face...big time." I pause for a moment, not for any dramatic flair, but to try and gauge Heero's reaction. I can hear the gears turning in his head from where I sit and know that he's replaying the part where I said that Trowa thinks he's unstable. Yeah, I'm sure I'd be doing the same thing if I were in his shoes, but right now I've got my own problems, and frankly, I think I'm a little further down on Trowa's friend list than he is at this point.
"What did you say to him?" he asks. It comes out forced. Obviously he's caught somewhere between the shock of finding out what Trowa's been thinking of him and the curiosity of finding out what led to me sitting outside said person's bedroom door.
"He's thinks we're coddling him too much. You know, being a little too careful about what we do or say in front of him," I elaborate when Heero's eyebrow rises. "I told him that I would try and not do that, though I didn't think I was, but I wasn't about to argue. Anyway, he started with the whole 'I don't need counseling' thing and I disagreed, and well, it went downhill from there and I got angry. I may have mentioned if there was anyone who was unstable and capable of physical violence it was him and-"
"You said that to him?" Heero interjects. I nod my head and the horrible feeling that clenched my insides when I said those words to Trowa, returns with a vengeance. I pull my legs into my chest and bury my face in my knees. "Christ, Duo," I hear him say breathlessly.
"I know, I know," I moan into my lap. I lift my head and look to the young man seated across from me and I can see the disappointment in his eyes. "Believe me, Heero, there is nothing you can say to me right now that I haven't already used to berate myself. I was just so angry. He keeps pushing us away when he should be reaching out for help. I just got frustrated and I snapped at him without really thinking about what I was saying." I reach for the pack and pull out another cigarette.
"Do you think he really is scared of me?" Heero asks in an almost, dare I say it, bashful manner. I blow the smoke sideways out of my mouth.
"No, not really. I think he is generally concerned for you. Me, on the other hand, I'm public enemy number one right now...I just wish he would talk to me so I can explain that I didn't mean to say those things to him."
"But you believe what you said, right?"
"Well, he has been acting very erratic, don't you think?" I don't expect Heero to answer so I take another drag, but he manages to surprise me.
"That's not the point. You feel he's handling the situation badly, correct?" I nod my head, not really sure where he's going with this. "That's what you told him. Granted, you could have put it in a more delicate way, but you basically told him that you feel he is not capable of dealing with what happened."
"I never said I thought he couldn't deal with it. I said he wasn't going about it the right way," I say a little irritably.
"It doesn't matter," he says with a rueful shake of his head that causes his long bangs to fall into his eyes. "The point is that you told him that you don't have any faith in him getting through this."
"Wait just a goddamn second. I never said anything like that," I practically shout.
"You did. Not in so many words, but you did," he replies with a stern voice. I open my mouth to disagree, but Heero continues. "Think about it. Think about how Trowa would interpret something like that. He's always been self-sufficient. To admit that he needs help now, especially with something as personal as this, is the greatest form of weakness there is."
"Oh? And what makes you so smart?" I ask with my usual sarcastic tone, but then I take a good, long look at Heero and the realization hits me like a blast from Wing's beam canon. O my god. I really haven't been paying attention, have I? "Heero..." I whisper and he looks away, ashamed. I want to say more, but my throat has closed up.
The minutes tick by in silence as I try and absorb what Heero has just said. I stare at him, though he is unable to meet my eye. He keeps his gaze pointedly on the floor directly in front of him. He is absently tonguing the bloody scab on his lower lip. I extinguish one cigarette and light another one. I don't usually smoke this much, but my nerves are pretty shot, and the nicotine is the only thing keeping me from ripping the hair from my scalp in frustration. I should have known that Heero would be the one to make the pieces of this puzzle fit. I just never thought it would be because he feels exactly the same. The hydra just grew another head.
"I think that I should move out for a while," Heero says with a sigh, and I choke on my cigarette.
"What? Why?" I say incredulously. He reluctantly meets my gaze.
"It would be for the best. If I wasn't here, then Trowa would be more comfortable, and that would help him heal."
"Heero, that has got to be the most absur- Ah!" The door I am leaning against suddenly gives way and I find myself flat on my back staring up at Trowa. He's leaning heavily on the doorknob, but his gaze is not on me, it's fixed on Heero.
"No, Heero, if anyone should leave here...it should be me."