Can Duo help Trowa and Heero in the aftermath of a mission gone wrong? Post EW.
A/N: This chapter contains descriptions of sexual abuse. Please do not read if you are sensitive to the subject matter. Trowa POV.
It took so long to remember just what happened.
I was so young and vestal then,
You know it hurt me,
But I'm breathing so I guess I'm still alive
Even if signs seem to tell me otherwise.
"Prison Sex"- Tool
"Hey, boy. Working late?"
What do they want? The six of them crowd around my small work area. I stand up slowly. Something feels wrong. They haven't bothered with me for the two weeks since I came here. Why now?
"Why don't you take a break? Hang with us for a bit."
"Don't be shy, boy, come here. Now, there's no need to back away. Just come over here and we'll be real nice to you."
I smell alcohol. They've been drinking, but they don't look drunk. I'm filled with a sudden urge to be anywhere but here. They look like a pack of hungry dogs. One of them reaches out, presumably to touch my face, but I take a quick step back. When another one takes hold of my arm, I smash the wrench into his face and dash in the other direction.
"Grab him! Don't let him get away!"
"Fuck! That little shit knocked out a tooth!"
"He sure is a quick bastard."
I climb up the suit I'd been working on hoping that I can make it up the catwalk and out of their reach. My hands are slick from the gears and it's hard for me to get a hold. One of them snags my ankle and yanks me back down.
"Heh, not so quick anymore."
A fist to my cheek, one to my gut and I crumble to the ground. They're on top of me before I can react...so heavy. I can't breathe. I claw at them, trying to fight back. They're hands are everywhere. Someone's boot heel is on the back of my neck. My hands are bound. I can't move...so heavy.
"Bend him over the leg of that mobile suit."
"I don't know about this. I ain't no faggot."
"Trust me; your dick won't know the difference. It'll be tighter than any virgin girl you ever had."
The clothes are torn from my body. This is not happening. This is not happening. Horrible hands grabbing at me, spreading me open.
"Yeah, he's got a sweet, pink, little pussy."
"Not even a hair on him. I bet his balls haven't dropped yet."
"Grab me that goop they use to grease the gears. I don't want a dry fuck."
They don't even try to be gentle. God, this isn't happening. It takes three, hard, shoves before the first one is fully seated in my bowels. I scream incoherent, pleading things. I just want it to stop. I can't breathe. He's forcing the air out of my lungs with every thrust, ripping me in two, grunting rotgut whiskey breath into my ear. My stomach cramps powerfully as all my muscles try and force the intruder out. I'm going to be sick. This can't be happening.
"Fuck, he's tight...so fucking tight.."
"Damn, this is the most noise I've heard him make. Get something to gag him with."
I don't want to remember this.
"I've got something to gag him with."
I can't fight them off. I'm not strong enough. The fingers pressing into the hinge of my jaw prevent me from biting down on the cock in my mouth. My eyes tear from the stench of sweat and poor hygiene. Another deep thrust and it triggers my gag reflex. I can't fight them off.
"Aw, gross...the little shit just puked all over me. Now, suck on it right so that doesn't happen again."
I don't want to remember this.
"Holy shit, Bulldog, what the hell did you bite him for? Shit...never heard a scream like that before."
"Is it my turn yet? By the time it gets to me, he's gonna be all stretched out."
"That's it, boy, relax...enjoy the ride."
"He ain't responding. Is he even conscious?"
"Maybe this will wake him up."
I DON'T WANT TO REMEMBER THIS!
I scream something inarticulate as my body jolts into wakefulness. For a moment, I'm panicked, unable to recognize my surroundings. My eyes focus on the window opposite my bed and I remember that I am home; in the house I share with Duo and Heero. That thought doesn't comfort me though.
I can't seem to catch my breath. My lungs fight to fill with oxygen, but my ribs are an agony unto themselves and I feel like I'm going to hyperventilate. I try to be calm and will myself to relax through the stabbing pain so that my lungs can expand. My hands won't stop shaking and my heart is about to burst through my chest. Why? Why now? I need...I need...
"Duo?" I ask as I reach out unconsciously to the body beside me. My hand touches nothing but empty bed and cool sheets. That's right, he's not here. He'll never be here again because I said those horrible things to him. But it was for a good reason. I was becoming too dependent on him for...for everything it seems. It had to stop. I mean, he was going to loose interest eventually. I'll just be saving him the trouble. It's better this way.
My face is wet with tears, I notice, and I scrub them away angrily with the back of my hand. I just need to calm down and it'll pass. When I close my eyes, the room spins. I keep swallowing against the bile that has risen in my throat.
/Drink it all up, boy./
I can still taste the memory of my blood mixed with their semen. I curl into myself. I don't want to remember these things. I don't want to remember what I've done. I start to tremble. A cold sweat breaks out over my body. God, I think I'm going to be sick again.
/Hey, I think we just found a new job for you, boy. Yeah...use your tongue some more...that's it./
No more. I don't want to remember. My throat tightens and I know I'll never make it to the bathroom in time. Despite the pain, I pull my body upright and then fall hard onto my knees in front of the small waste pail beside the bed. One powerful heave and the meager contents of my stomach spill from my mouth. I cry out at the unbearable grinding of my broken ribs as my body locks and wrenches forward for another wave. The pail isn't deep enough and some of the vomit splashes back to hit me in the face. I cry out at the indignity of it all and begin to sob. I'm so fucking worthless. Why...why did this have to happen again? Why now?
When the gagging finally subsides, I fall back against my dresser, weak and spent. Each heaving, wheezing breath that I take is torture. It takes a huge effort just to bring my arm up to wipe my spittle-covered lips on my sleeve. I let the tears run down my cheeks.
I need to stop being so weak. I got past this before, and I can do it again. But that sadistic doctor was still alive. How could that be? My plan was perfect. But if the doctor made it, then it's possible that some of the others did too. Oh, God...what if he's still alive? Shit. He might be able to find out where I am. He might come for me.
"No...no, he has to be dead," I whisper, shaking my head in denial. "He has to..."
An icy shiver passes through my body, right through my very soul. Too many memories are fighting to resurface from the place I buried them long ago. Phantom hands touching, grabbing, hurting...crude voices murmuring perverted intentions in my ears. They overlap one another until it becomes a deafening roar, sapping my energy. I fall forward onto my knees and fold myself over them to cradle my head. Please, make it stop. I don't want to remember this.
I pound my fist against the deep pile carpet in futile anger, not caring that I feel the stitches on my back pull. This has been going on for two days. Every hour, it seems, another specter from my past comes back to haunt me, to remind me of what I used to be. And I don't want to remember. I no longer need to remember. That is not who I am anymore. I'm different now. I'm no longer the scrawny kid they used to torment.
/Damn it, boy, stop being so difficult. Don't make me have to use the belt again. Yeah...that's it...maybe I'll let you come this time. I'm your favorite, right, Nanashi?/
Stop it! I'm not going over this now. I don't want to think about this anymore. He can't be alive...he just can't. My pulse is racing. That insidious voice won't get out of my head. What happened to me this time was nothing compared to eight years ago. I can get through this. Slow your breathing and calm down. Stop bringing up shit from the past. I wish Duo were here with me. I don't want to admit it, but he helped. In many ways, he helped me forget.
I sit upright and grab the bedpost with my uninjured arm and pull my battered body to my feet. I have to stand still and wait for the room to stop moving as another wave of dizziness strikes. A few clumsy steps and I'm at the door to my room. When I open it, I almost expect to see Duo come tumbling in like before, but the hallway is empty and the house is quiet. I look to his room across the hall. The door is open. As I make my way over, I realize that I have no clue what I'm going to say to him. I'm not going to apologize. I meant everything I said. Well, I won't say anything, then. Just being around him will be enough to calm me down. We don't need to have a conversation. He'll probably tell me some corny joke like he always does when the silence drags on for too long. I do my best to ignore the little twinge of fondness in my chest at that thought.
But he's still going to want to know why I'm here. He'll probably know why I've come; he was always very perceptive when it came to that sort of thing. In the past he knew just the right amount of space or comfort I needed even if I didn't at the time. Then why the hell is he so hell-bent on making me relive every goddamned second of an experience I would just as soon like to forget? He talks a big game, but he doesn't know. He could never understand what I've been through in my life.
Duo's room is empty when I finally talk myself into crossing the threshold. It's still a mess, but all of the clothes are off the floor and his bed is stripped. He must still be downstairs doing laundry. That means I'll just have to go downstairs and find him. This actually works out better for me. I won't have to come up with an excuse. I can say I was getting a drink or something to eat. I turn back around and make my way down the stairs and through the living room to the kitchen. There is a quiet sort of rustling sound every few seconds. As I come to the doorway, I go stock still.
Heero is seated at the kitchen table, head bent low, long, shaggy bangs obscuring his face. He is scribbling furiously on a sheet of paper. He's incredibly focused on what he's doing because he hasn't heard my approach. My heart leaps into throat. I don't want to see him. I don't want to speak with him. Whereas Duo makes me forget, Heero makes me remember. He saw everything. He bore witness to my shame. I can't face him.
I try to back into the other room slowly so that I don't call attention to myself, but the second I move Heero's head snaps up. His eyes focus sharply on me, but then soften when he recognizes me.
"Oh, Trowa. Are you okay? Do you need anything?"
The pity oozing from his voice makes me want to puke again. I shake my head in the negative and remain where I am. "Duo?" I ask looking around the kitchen, my eyes going anywhere but on him.
"He, uh...went out for a bit. He'll be back later."
Absolutely not what I wanted-needed to hear at the moment. Duo's not here. Not here when I need him. I feel my stomach do a flip. Breathing becomes doubly hard once again. "Where?"
Heero eyes me suspiciously. "To get cigarettes...or so he says. I think he needed some space to think."
Think? Think about what? Okay, this is not what I want, but I'm going to have to play it cool and not let it show how much this is bothering me. I lean against the doorway as casually as I can and fold my arms loosely over my chest. If I bolt now, that will only make him more suspicious and he'd more than likely follow me.
"What are you doing?" I ask him. His eyes dart back down to the paper quickly and then back up to me. He looks a little uncertain, embarrassed even.
"I was sketching an idea I had for landscaping the backyard. I can't seem to get it right, though."
"Ah, I see. With all this free time, I guess it's a good idea to keep busy."
Heero dips his head in agreement, but when he speaks, his voice is dispassionate. "Yeah, I guess."
When I don't move from my spot, he cocks his head and regards me curiously. "Are you sure you don't need anything?" He rises slowly from the chair. "I can make you something to eat if you're hungry."
My immediate reaction is to back away, to put more space between us. It takes an effort greater than I'm willing to admit to not give in and do so. "No, I'm fine."
Heero turns around to the sink and begins to fill a glass with water. I take this opportunity to step over to the table to look at what he was drawing as he drinks quietly. I don't know what I'm expecting, but when I gaze down to the paper I'm immediately surprised at the detail. It's still roughly sketched with hard lines and shading, and he's gone so far as to draw each and every shrub, tree, and row of flowers pictured in his head. For some reason it's hard to imagine Heero doing anything this artistic. Well, that is unless, you find beauty in the way he handled a Gundam, but there are only a handful of people in the Earth Sphere who would think that...including myself.
"I can't decide if an azalea bush or honeysuckle would work better in the corner of the yard where Petra's puppy keeps digging under the fence."
"I know nothing of plants or flowers, sorry," I say as I look up at him. He's leaning against the counter, but I still take a step backwards. The table between us isn't enough of a barrier.
Heero gives a soft snort and shrugs. "Neither do I. I figured the best way to learn is to jump in with both feet."
"Yeah," I say through a sigh. "That sounds like you."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
His tone is light, possibly bordering on joking, but with just enough of his natural gruffness to state his potential to be offended by the comment. I give him a noncommittal shrug and shift my weight to the other leg. "You always did like to do things on the fly."
"Nah, that's Duo's specialty," he says with a small smile.
Another long, painfully awkward silence before I ask, "Did he say how long he was going to be?" I don't want to seem antsy, but from the way Heero's eyes narrow at me, I must.
He shakes his head and those shaggy bangs fall into his eyes. "I think he just wanted to get away for a while."
I snort derisively. "Typical Duo 'run and hide' mentality. When the problem gets too big, get the hell out." I immediately regret saying that out loud the second Heero's expression saddens.
"Is that what you think you are? A problem?"
I have to laugh at that. That was the last thing I expected him to say. "You're playing psychologist now?" His eyebrows go up. "No, I don't think of myself as a 'problem,' but it's clear that both of you do."
"Then you would be wrong. You're not a problem, but what you...ah...experienced is causing problems," he tells me evenly.
I find it amusing to watch the two of them skate around using the word "rape" like it's so terrible. "Look, it's not causing a problem for me. This crap that's going on now will pass and I'll move on with my life. You and Duo seem to want to wallow in this shit, not me."
"But Trowa-" he starts, and I cut him off immediately.
"But- nothing. Why is it such a hard concept to understand that I am not some emotional wreck because of this? I'm not a woman. You're not going to find me huddled in the shower, sobbing because my precious body has been violated. It's not going to happen, Heero, so leave it alone. In fact, I don't know why I'm standing here listening to this."
"Listen to wha- Trowa!"
I hear him call after me, but I pay it no mind and keep walking as fast as I can through the living room. He comes after me; of course, he can't let me have the last word, after all.
"Trowa wait...your back is bleeding."
That gets me to stop. Actually, that's probably the only thing that would have made me stop. From the serious tone in Heero's voice, I know that he's not talking about a little stain on the back of my shirt. I reach back, over my shoulder to press my palm over the wound there. The back of my shirt is damp. Last night, I patched myself up as best I could when I first ripped out the stitches, but it looks like I bled through the bandages. I slowly bring my hand back and look down at the red staining my fingers. It triggers something inside me. It's like someone flipped that long-forgotten switch I had buried to block out every horrible experience from my past, and it all comes flooding back. You see, ever since the amnesia my memory has been a tricky thing. On some level I know these things happened, but the details are sketchy, time's made them foggy, abstract feelings and emotions. Plus, it's in the past and I want to keep it there. It has no bearing on my future and it's...not who I am anymore. I don't need to think about them, so I don't. But this whole fucking disaster of a mission is bringing up unwanted memories.
/See, boy? This is what happens when you don't do what we tell you. We make you bleed. What? Still trying to be defiant? Give him another lash. You're bringing this on yourself, Nanashi./
No, not now. I can't do this now. Not in front of Heero. My chest is tightening. Fuck, I can't breathe. I need to get upstairs. He can't see me like this again.
/Ooh, that one had to hurt. You gonna cooperate now? That's a good boy. Take him to the Doc and get him cleaned up. Don't worry, boy...chicks like scars./
The maniacal laugher echoes in my ears. I...I've got to get out of here. As I stumble towards the stairs, my foot catches on the end table next to the couch and I fall. Instinctively, I throw out my elbow so that I don't land on my broken wrist, but I still skid across the rug with enough force to remove most of the skin in that area. The impact knocks out what little air I had left in my lungs and I hear myself making this pitiful squeaking sound as I try to replenish my oxygen supply. The intense, stabbing pain from my ribs paralyses any attempt I make.
"Shit, Trowa, are you okay?" Heero asks as he tries to help me up. I bat his hand away.
"Don't...t-touch...me," I try to say firmly, but it comes out as a wheeze. I begin to crawl on my hands and knees the rest of the way to the staircase, coughing and gasping.
/Always were good on your knees, boy./
/Where do you think you're going to run to, huh? You've got nowhere to go. Now, get over here and earn your keep./
Hands. I can feel those phantom hands all over me again. Hands that hurt, pulling my hair, pinning my arms...spreading my legs. Stop it, please. Leave me alone.
The hands are grabbing me, trying to hold me down. I scream and kick trying to get away. I'm so cold. It's so cold in here. I can't breathe. Please, just leave me alone. No more, I can't take anymore. I wish they would just kill me and be done with it. I don't want to live anymore.
Duo...where are you?
/Ah, Nanashi. It looks like they really worked you over this time. I keep telling them that if they play too rough, they'll end up breaking their toy. And we can't have that, can we? This group can't afford to lose the best mechanic we've had in a while. Oh well, let me get my suture kit. Oh, and Nanashi? This is going to hurt...a lot./
I rise to consciousness gradually, brought back by the growing intensity of pain throughout my entire body. I don't think there is any place on me that isn't feeling some sort of ache.
I open my eyes and realize that I'm lying face down on my bed. When did I come back up here? My eyes feel gummy and swollen. Shit, I must have been crying again, and in front of Heero to boot. I make a move to roll over when a hand presses down on my shoulder firmly. I freeze.
"Try not to move. I'm almost finished," Heero says quietly from beside me. I lift my head to look in his direction and can barely see him out of the corner of my eye. He is sitting on a chair that he pulled over to the side of the bed. I have to will myself to relax to let him finish. And despite my best effort not to, I shiver at his touch. The fact that I am also shirtless isn't sitting too well. That means I blacked out and Heero brought me up her and removed my shirt. These fucking lapses are leaving me too vulnerable. I need to get control over them.
He withdraws his hand and I feel a gentle prodding at the gash on my back. I hiss through my teeth as he squeezes the wound closed. It hurts, but pain is something I can deal with.
"Sorry," he apologizes quickly, but keeps going. "It's not that bad, but it needs to be re-stitched. The bandage you put on wasn't covering the area that reopened. That's why it bled right through your shirt. After I butterfly it, I can drive you to the hospital to have it-"
"No," I interrupt him sharply. I feel his hands stop moving. "We're going there tomorrow anyway. It can wait."
He exhales loudly to show that he's upset with my decision, but to his credit, he doesn't say anything. Heero works quickly and efficiently with practiced hands as we pass the next few minutes in silence. I have nothing to say to him. In fact, I wish he would leave me alone. I don't care if the injury becomes infected or if I bleed to death. I just want to be left alone. Why in front of Heero? Why did all this have to happen in front of Heero? If I wasn't in so much pain right now, I think I might actually feel embarrassed, but right now all I can feel is an overwhelming sense of shame.
"Are you cold?" Heero asks. "You've got goose bumps. You we're complaining that you were cold before when you...uh..."
"Had a panic attack. Just say it, Heero. It wasn't my most shining moment, but it happened so you don't need to be so goddamned delicate." I push myself up onto my elbows so that I can turn my head to glare at him. He looks nervous and that pisses me off even more. I'm not a fucking basket case, nor am I a weakling, and the kid-glove treatment is getting on my last nerve.
"O-okay, I'm sorry," he says as he shrinks back into the chair.
I press my face into the pillow and scream. It's surprisingly cathartic, but not enough. "Stop apologizing. You have nothing to be sorry for," I tell him when I raise my head. He makes this noise like he's going to say something, but settles for sighing loudly again. I curl my legs under me and slowly push myself up into a seated position. Once again, Heero surprises me by not trying to help. I have to give an inward smile. Duo should take lessons from him, at least when it comes to this. Duo is far too touchy-feely sometimes.
"Heero," I begin calmly when I get myself comfortably situated against the pillows. As soon as he turns those sorrowful blue eyes in my direction, I loose whatever I was going to say.
"How can you say that?" he asks as he looks down at his hands. "This whole situation is my fault. I failed...the mission, you...everything."
Look out, incoming guilt trip at twelve o'clock. I have to fight the urge to roll my eyes. "We had bad information. It was a trap, we didn't know. You can't blame yourself for that. If that were the case, then I'm just as guilty as you are."
"But if I only..."
"If you only you what, Heero? Went in by yourself? The outcome would have probably been the same. They were waiting for us. It was an ambush, plain and simple. Then you would have had to face those two alone." At that comment his head snaps up and he looks at me wide-eyed and remorseful.
"That would have been better. I hate that I couldn't do anything for you. I would have traded places with you in a heartbeat, Trowa."
If I had been able to reach him before he reacted, I would have punched him. Instead I give him my iciest glare. "Don't you ever say that again. I don't want to hear you spout crap like that. That is an ordeal no one should ever have to go through."
He's quick to respond. "But you went through it. If Duo and the rescue team didn't get there when they did, I would have too."
"No," I shake my head adamantly. "Never. I would have never allowed that to happen. I knew how to keep them distracted. They would have never gotten around to you."
Heero sits back in the chair, clearly stunned at my words. "What?" he asks incredulously.
"It's not important," I mumble and look away.
"Because you've gone through this before," he states rather than asks. If I'm not mistaken, there is a hint of irritability in his voice.
"Yes, and I wasn't about to let it happen to a friend, okay?" I snap. "Not when there was something I could do about it." Great, that's all I need, is to have Heero feeling guilty over this.
"Well, that was a shitty way to handle things. I was really scared for you."
I stare at him in disbelief. There are tears in his eyes. Tears. He's on the verge of crying. I don't fucking believe this. I can't believe that this is the same person who stood in front of every member of the Noventa family and handed them a loaded gun. I was there, I watched every time he bowed his head and explained how he wronged them and that if they felt it necessary, to go ahead a put a bullet in his head in retribution. No. I can't deal with this now.
I lean back carefully against the pillows and cross my arms over my chest. "Well, tools were made to be used, right Heero? I did what I had to do."
His brows furrow and his mouth drops open in shock. It takes him a moment to compose himself before he rises slowly and steps away from the bed. "I'm going to leave you alone now. It's not the time to discuss this. Perhaps some other time will be better."
"There is never going to be a better time," I tell him coolly.
He sighs loudly as he opens my bedroom door. "I care about you, Trowa. I don't want to see you hurting, but that doesn't mean that I will just stand by and watch you intentionally do this to yourself. I meant what I said before. I'll leave if you think it will help."
"Because you love me, right?" I say with a sneer. His expression darkens a bit before he responds.
His voice is barely a whisper and the sincerity behind it stabs right into my heart. He can't love me...he just can't. I know what I have to do. I take a deep, calming breath and let the mask slide over my features.
"You just want to fuck me," I say with a snort. The look on his face is precious. I don't think I've ever seen that much emotion, not even when we were in that room two days ago. I roll onto my side and run my fingers along my collarbone in the most mockingly seductive way that I can. "That's right, isn't it Heero? You want to fill in for Duo? Want to help me fuck all the bad memories away? Come on then. In my condition, I'm hardly at match for your strength. You could easily-"
I cut myself off when I hear an odd creaking sound. The metal doorknob that Heero had been clutching is now crimped where his fingers had been. He looks down at the damage and then back to me. He looks like a lost child, so confused. His Adam's apple bobs visibly as he swallows hard.
It's obvious that he's doing his best to not react to what I just said. "Get some rest," he tells me, his voice hoarse with tears choked back. "I'll be downstairs if you need anything."
And with that he backs out of the room and closes the door behind him. Things will never be the same between us, and that is for the best. You shouldn't love me, Heero, no one should. I'll only hurt you in the end.
I curl my body into itself, hiding, blocking out the rest of the world. And I repeat lies over and over in my head in the hope that one day I'll be able to believe them.